9-18 on E-M5: 4/3 or m4/3?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by manypix, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. manypix

    manypix Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2013
    Portland, OR, USA

    Right now the 4/3 goes for $400 in mint condition, the m4/3 goes for more like $600. I understand that the m4/3 is smaller, and weighs a little more than half as much. It would definitely also focus faster on my E-M5.

    I've heard that the 4/3 has slightly better image quality. See this thread:

    DPReview says the below here: http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_m_9-18_4-5p6_o20/4:
    "The M Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mmm F4-5.6, perhaps unsurprisingly, has broadly similar optical characteristics to its Four Thirds cousin, which is no bad thing. However there is some penalty for the compact design: the extreme corners are a little soft, especially at the wide end, and chromatic aberration is noticeably increased."

    Here there seems to be the reverse sentiment, even though in the pictures in the thread, I see a bit more resolution--and possibly also more microcontrast--in the zd lens:

    Here are some examples, pictures from that article:

    img #10: zd: http://fourthirds-user.com/sample_images/274/P5240071.JPG
    img #8: mzd: http://fourthirds-user.com/sample_images/274/P5240069.JPG

    img #26: zd: http://fourthirds-user.com/sample_images/274/P5240087.JPG
    img #23: mzd: http://fourthirds-user.com/sample_images/274/P5240084.JPG

    img #46: zd: http://fourthirds-user.com/sample_images/274/P5240108.JPG
    img #47: mzd: http://fourthirds-user.com/sample_images/274/P5240109.JPG

    I already have a 4/3 to m4/3 adapter, so that's not an issue. If I intend to use manual focus, and the extra ~115g of the 4/3 lens doesn't bother me, is there any reason to pay the $200 additional for the m4/3 lens? Does anyone here have any experience with both of these lenses?

  2. manypix

    manypix Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2013
    Portland, OR, USA

  3. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    Real Name:
    Simple, if you think that the difference that you see in image quality is more important to you, then go with the zd. If you feel that you can sacrifice that slight better image quality, and get a smaller native mount lens that will focus faster/more accurate, albeit a bit more expensive then get the mzd.

    I honestly don't see much of a difference in the images between the two lenses. But then again, I am not a pixel peeper and both seem to provide images that would satisfy my needs. I personally would dish out the extra 200$ for having a smaller/native mount lens which provides you accurate and fast autofocus (I also factor in the adapter needed for the zd in the weight and price difference).

    In your position, if you don't care about the added bulk and you are going to use manual focus (and you also have the adapter), then there is no point in spending the extra 200$ on a lens that appears, in your eyes, to give worse image quality.
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  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    I think from memory that the ZD (4/3) may have been slightly sharper in the corners compared to the MZD (m4/3). The ZD is not expecially heavy but volume-wise there is a big difference to the MZD. You'll also probably want to buy an E-M1 to foucs the ZD properly because the AF speed (and noise) is pretty awful when using only the contrast detection AF on an existing Micro 4/3 body.
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  5. Gary Ramey

    Gary Ramey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 27, 2012
    Aurora Colorado
    Oddly enough my 43 9-18 was one of the better focusing lenses on my OMD. I ended up selling it to buy some m43 lenses but have regretted that decision everyday. I guess I just didn't realize how much I used it. Anyway, since most WA shots are architecture and landscape, I'd say you shouldn't be too worried about focusing speed. Just my two cents.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. manypix

    manypix Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2013
    Portland, OR, USA

    Thanks to all for your thoughtful comments!

    I bought a ZD (not MZD) 9-18. It's quite clear/sharp. As expected, the AF is fairly slow on my E-M5, but the DOF is such that it doesn't matter much. Manual focus is pretty good/usable, but not as good as on the 14-54 II. The size of the ZD doesn't bother me. I even did a little home movie with the ZD on the E-M5 (using MF only), and I was very happy with the results.

    When I see an MZD 9-18, I'll try it out, but I don't expect to see better image quality, though it would be more convenient to have better AF.