Oly 9-18 vs Pan 7-14 vs Sam 7.5

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by phoenixag, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. phoenixag

    phoenixag Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Ok, so I know there are many threads on this very subject on this forum and on others (trust me, I have been through all of them, word by word, page by page).

    BUT, I am still confused about which one to get for my situation.

    So I have a few lenses listed in my signature. The normal zoom range lens I have right now is the Oly 12-50, which I am going to sell soon and wait for the new 12-40.

    I am going to be buying one of the two, either the new Oly 12-40 f/2.8 or the Pana 12-35 f/2.8. That will be my walkaround lens.

    I want a nice wide angle lens. Having gone through all the discussions and reviews, this is how it stands as I can see.


    Really small
    Takes filters
    Not as wide
    Not as sharp
    More normal range
    Lower cost


    Excellent quality and sharpness
    No filters
    Ugly lens flare on OM-D (I have an OMD)
    High cost

    The problem now is that I like filters, to the extent that they protect the front element (UV) and enhance images (CPL). The lower cost and size are bonuses as well, plus no lens flare.

    I love the pictures of this lens. I don't know whether people with this lens are just taking better photos or what but I just can't find comparative pictures on the 9-18 side. The cons are that its big, its expensive and lens flare. I don't like the no filters bit as well as I like to know my lens is protected.

    My main problem is, if I get the 9-18, it's basically 3mm difference from my main walkaround (12-35). I really will not be using the FL from 10-18, having it locked to the 9mm setting.

    So is it really a big difference? I don't want to spend £480 for 3 degrees of difference and possibly a much lesser lens.

    I'd rather save up and get the 7-14 at this moment, but from all I've read, there are more hassles with it:

    lens flare
    no filter protection
    people say its big and heavy so they dont take it out as much, plus its UWA to UW, so not as versatile (personally not a problem), etc.

    Ok I am ranting on now...

    Question is..what are your thoughts? Which one to get?

    Oh and I forgot to mention..I really want the Samyang fish eye. I love the pictures it generates.
    If I get the 9-18, I just might pick up the Samyang as well.

    However, if I get the 7-14, do you think it will make my desire for the Samyang less?

    What is a better combo?

    Thanks guys! :)
  2. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    What do you like to take pictures of? If you don't know where you're going any road will get you there.
  3. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    I have not owned the 9-18, but did previously own the 7-14 and it is a stunning lens.

    I sold it a few years ago when i sold my EP-2 kit. Now, I have an OM-D kit and as much as I would like the 7-14 again, I'm seriously looking at the 9-18 for two reasons: the flare situation, and cost.

    I wouldn't say the 7-14 is huge, but by m43 standards and in comparison to the 9-18 it is large. There are ways of fitting filters on it if you absolutely positively need filters, so to me the only concern is price and flare. I never missed the filter option on my previous 7-14, so for me that is a non-issue (although it is a real issue for some).

    It seems the 9-18 is a very nice compromise - lose a little bit of wide, lose a little bit of speed, lose a little bit of image quality but gain with lower price, filters and smaller size. All with what amounts to a minimal loss of image quality.

    So really, the difference is that 2mm between 7 and 9. Only you can decide if that extra 2mm is worth the price. It is nice that we have these choices ...
  4. phoenixag

    phoenixag Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thanks for the answers guys.

    I take pictures of a lot of things, but my main use for the UW lens is going to be landscapes. I might try some of the creative shots I see people doing with the 7-14, but honestly, 95% of it is going to be landscapes.

    I understand the 2mm difference and only I can decide. However, in the pictures, due to the perspective distortion of the 7-14, it gives a more dramatic image as compared to the relatively flat one of the 9-18.

    If I get the 7-14, honestly, I am not going to be bothering with filters as the solutions seem really cumbersome. But the kind of pictures I see leads me to believe I won't need one anyway (was mainly thinking of UV for protection and CPL for clouds, water..no ND filters as I don't do long exposures).

    My MAIN concern is whether the 9mm FOV is too close to the 12mm FOV I will have with my standard lens.

    I just feel that it's not worth the extra money, to get 3mm and a slower lens.
    While the 7-14 costs more, it does seem to have a more dramatic perspective and more of a difference (5mm).
    But it has issues (flare, bigger, heavier, expensive).

    Do you think the issues are dealbreakers?
  5. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    It sounds like that extra 2mm is important to you and the lack of easy filters is a non issue ... go for the 7-14, it is truly a fantastic lens.

    There are a few for sale, or have been, on the forum for very good prices.

    It is a great lens and I seriously doubt you would be disappointed. Whereas it sounds to me as though you would always be saying, boy, if only this 9-18 were just a bit wider, I should have got the 7-14.

    Enjoy it when you get it and post pics :smile:
  6. daum

    daum Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 26, 2011
    That's a tough one. I love long exposures of the city and the 7-14 is awesome. I chose it over the 9-18 because of the extra 2mm and sharper images (based on what I've read online).

    The purple flair is not present in the E-P5 if that helps any. :D
  7. landshark

    landshark Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2010
    SO CAL
    I had both and much prefered the 7-14
  8. phoenixag

    phoenixag Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thank you for the comments :) Much appreciated!

    I think I am leaning on getting the 7-14 now, most definitely! Just need to find a good price for it.
    I know there have been a few in the market place, however, I am in the UK and most of the people selling theirs have been in the US! So jealous!

    Do any of you with the 7-14 also have the Samyang 7.5 FE? What do you think of it? Is it used much?

    I'd love the Samyang just to play around with, but am afraid I can't justify it to myself if I get the 7-14.

    (BTW I know one is a UWA and the other FE)
  9. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    The fisheye is great fun, just set and forget. No need to focus as everything is in focus from about a foot in front of the lens so being a manual focus lens on this occasion is no problem. It's great fun and there is a link to some lightroom presets to adjust it back from fisheye.
  10. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I have both the 9-18 and 7-14 at the moment. I bought the 9-18 first and was very happy with it, but curiosity and desire for an even wider FOV led me to pick up a used 7-14 from this forum. The plan was to offload the 9-18, but it hasn't worked out that way...

    The 7-14 really is a fantastic lens - one of the definitive lenses of u43 and the extra 2mm really do make a big difference. It's not huge at all and balances well on the OMD. The flare issue is sometimes a problem, but it's manageable and sometimes can even be used to give good artistic results (check out some of Gary Ayala's theatre work posted on this forum). With some fiddling, it'll take square filters (Lee, Cokin) and for serious landscape work these are very beneficial. So, IMHO, the 7-14 really is the best wide landscape lens on u43.

    The 9-18 is different. Ignoring size/price issues, the big difference is that its range is better suited for walkabout use. I find it attached to my EPL5 most of the time and I take that camera pretty much everywhere with me - which ironically means I've got a lot of shots with the 9-18. And that's the reason why it stays. It's wide enough to be a good UWA and yet it's not just a UWA. It's sharp enough to deliver the goods and it doesn't break the bank.

    Yet, the 7-14 is my go-to if I know a fantastic landscape opportunity might present itself.

    Regarding the Samyang, I've picked up a used copy from a US seller (under $200 - in fact, B&H are selling the Bower-branded version at $199 new) but don't have it yet. I suspect that I'll have a lot of fun with it but that it won't replace the 7-14.
  11. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    I've had all three. I had the 9-18 first, because I like wide, and the flexibility up to 18 makes it a walk-around for me.

    Bur the siren song of the 7-14 reached me. I did what, in retrospect, was the right thing: bought a used one from a DSLR forum here in Germany.

    Yes, the extra 2mm make a big difference (used to have a 10-20 on my D7000, so I knew that before), but I really had problems with the flare for my type of shots, and the extra size and weight were a negative for me. So I sold it for about the same price. I found the IQ to be almost identical, unless you're pixel-peeping.

    That's my advice: get a used one and see what it does for you and your kind of photos.

    The fisheye is, well, a fisheye. I found I had very little use for it, and defishing didn't give me the look I wanted. But it has great quality, especially for the price.

    Good luck!
  12. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I have the 9-18 and the Samyang 7.5 they are both great lenses, but i find the 7.5 be more interesting. The shots with the 7.5 are more dramatic and it is a great snap shooters lens. Since you have the 12mm covered the extra 3 are nice but not significant (look at the attached photo), I would go with the 7-14 and might add the 7.5 for fun.
    Here is a blog post comparing the two.

    Micro 4/3rds Photography: Lumix G 7-14mm compared with Samyang 7.5mm fisheye

    • Like Like x 1
  13. Danny_SWE

    Danny_SWE Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 30, 2013
    Sweden (Gothenburg)
    I have the 7.5 fisheye and it's indeed a fun snapshot lens. For extra WA I haven't found THE solution yet :) there are great LR-lensprofiles for defishing but the result is not so nice.

    I'll try the cheap route again, ordered a 0.55 WA-converter that would make my 12-35 a 6.6 WA but I will use it on my compact 28-112 (7.7 then). WA-converters are of very varying qualities and I have seen results that make me happy with this Opteka one. But I don't have soo high demands on those shots. For big landscapes I think the quality is more important and personally I would use the 12-35 and stitch the images.

    Samyang is coming with a 10/2.8 also, not so interesting maybe but with a good quality 0.6 converter it should make a decent 6mm WA. Maybe!? Just my thougths :) I like WA but don't take it so seriously and would like it cheap.

    /edit: or that 10 with a speed booster! would make it a 7.5/2 or whatever it is. But then it's not so cheap anymore I'm afraid of, and definitely not small.
  14. phoenixag

    phoenixag Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thanks for the awesome responses guys! So my mind is still made up for the 7-14, however, I can't deny that everyone does say that the 9-18 is an awesome lens for what it is.

    I saw the Oly FOV image above and I am more and more convinced that paying £480 to go from 12mm to 9mm isn't wise. It's surprising not only how wide the 7mm is but also how tall!

    I think I am going to delay the purchase of the fisheye for now. Although I do really love the fact about how tiny the 9-18mm is...ahh!

    BigTam: What do you mean by your kind of shots? If I am shooting landscapes I sometimes do tend to shoot directly into the sun. How would it deal with the flare then?

    Thank you everyone for the links posted as well. They are very helpful. The Samyang does defish really well, doesn't it?
  15. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    I have a Samyang and 7-14. I've never tried the 9-18... Since I've had the 7-14, the 7.5mm hasn't been on the camera. YMMV of course.
  16. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Shooting into the sun almost always gave me terrible flare on the M5. But read the 'definitive purple flare' post on the forum for more details.
  17. christofp

    christofp Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2012
    Get the fisheye (and the 7-14)

    I read you will buy the 7.5 fisheye anyhow. If so, it is easy:

    • Buy the samyang 7.5:This lens is fun and really sharp. You can even defish the images to get a 5.5mm UWA lens (using Panini projection, rectilinear looks horrible below 7mm)
    • Optional buy the 7-14: If you see that you like the rectilinear UWA range and want to have ultimate sharpness and contrast

    I had the 9-18, and honestly between the 12-35 and the defished-fisheye there was not enough room to justify the 9-18 lens. I sold it ...

    I made a thread about the fisheye compared to the rectilienear lenses:

    Fisheye defishing and comparing: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
  18. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    I had the OMD and used the 7-14 with it. That was one of the reasons i now have a GH3. The flare was not acceptable to me. I would recommend against buying the 7-14 for use on an OMD.
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    The attraction of fisheye lenses has always been a mystery to me, but the attraction of defishing them is an even bigger mystery. Whatever resolution the lens had is substantially reduced by the mathematics of de-fishing, where away-from-center pixels must be significantly stretched to eliminate the distortion of the lens. I wouldn't be surprised if the cheapo WA converters actually produced higher resolution images than a defished fisheye. To each his own, I guess.

    Yes. That's what I like about mine. I am mostly a travel photographer and its small size and versatility are what keeps it on one of my bodies almost all the time. I just wish it was 9-25 or, better, 9-40!
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