1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Olympus 9-18 or Panny 7-14?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by gdourado, May 11, 2012.

  1. gdourado

    gdourado Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 23, 2012
    Lisbon - Portugal

    How are you?
    I know this has been discussed before, but I'm really with doubts here and could use some insight...
    I already know the obvious...
    9-18 is smaller which is a plus for me, and the 18mm on the long end are said to be more useful for a walk-around type of lens...
    The 7-14 is way more expensive, but is wider...

    So, my doubts: How wider is the Panny? Is it a dramatic difference?
    I used to shoot the Canon 10-22 on my old 20D and it was wide... And the 10mm were equivalent to 16mm which is between the 14mm of the Panny and the 18mm of the olympus...

    I might be going to Prague later this month and would like to just take a light m43 setup.

    I really want to buy a new OM-D...
    But I am also pending...
    On one end, I could buy the OM-D with the 12-50 lens...
    On the other, I could buy a a PL 25mm, Oly 9-18 and 45mm 1.8 and use it on my E-PL2 and wait to see what comes from panasonic and olympus this year...
    Or go for the 7-14 and 45...

    The funds are limited, and I don't know what to do...

    Can you point me somewhere... If it were you, what would do? And the priority? OM-D or glass?

    Thank you.
    Best wishes!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. allenrowand

    allenrowand Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Allen Rowand
    Amin did a nice comparison here-
    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 Lens Review

    I had to make the same decision, and chose the 9-18. I don't shoot ultrawide much so I couldn't justify the higher cost of the 7-14. The 9-18 covers the same field of view as the 12-24 on my Nikon D300, so it's a range I'm used to. The smaller size of the 9-18 doesn't hurt either!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    As much as I covet the EM5 I'd go with the glass. It doesn't matter how good my camera is if I don't have equally good lenses.

    Down the road a used EM5 or it's successor or a GH3 will work with the lenses.

  4. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    +1 The glass will last many years, the cameras move on quickly.
  5. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Like a lot of people (I suspect) I went through this same internal debate. I went so far as to order the 9-18, but eventually ended up with the 7-14, when I found a good used one for a decent price. You've outlined some of the pros and cons. At the end of the day I decided on the 7-14 for three main reasons:

    --All the testing reports I saw suggest that the 7-14 has a meaningful IQ advantage over the 9-18 (see, e.g., Amin's comparison linked above or compare the sharpness widgets on SLRGear.com)

    --The difference between the 7mm and 9mm is actually pretty significant. I now find myself shooting a high percentage of my shots with this lens at 7mm.

    --I feel that the 7-14mm is one of the couple of really great lenses available for MFT--among the best super-wide zooms available in any format. As a big wide-angle shooter, I felt that I'd be missing out on the best of MFT if I passed up this lens.
  6. kahren

    kahren Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    you sound really confused :) 
    if you are going to use the lens as a walk around get a 9-18mm
    if you want a specialty wide get a 7-14mm

    if it was me i would go with 9-18mm and 20/1.7 for when the light is low or you want some background isolation. taking anymore then 2 lenses on a trip becomes a hassle, sometimes its already a hassle to have one camera and one lens, that is where a good cell phone cam comes in.

    i would either get an e-pl3 or an omd, as i find the tilt screen indispensable, the omd has a better sensor and an evf, both cameras need an attachable flash if you are planning to use one that is. the e-pl3 comes with one not sure if the omd does. the e-pl3 being half the price of the omd so whichever one you choose depends how much more the evf and better sensor are worth to you.

    hope this helps you make a better decision :) 
  7. Normally I'd say lenses first, but right now the E-M5 is worth delaying purchasing at least one of those lenses for.
  8. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    It's like what older guys often say to younger guys that sounds like strange advice until you actually do it: ALWAYS be willing to pay more for better shoes.

    Top quality glass will repay your efforts again and again and, depending on how much of a IQ freak you may be, cheaper quality glass will only frustrate you more and more.

    If the actual FOV isn't an issue, get the better glass; get the Panny.

    On edit: For landscape, I could have the 7-14 and the 25 and never want for any other lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. BlairMacKay

    BlairMacKay Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    Calgary, Alberta
    Amin did a terrific job in his review. Loved how the images overlapped the different focal lengths. It made for a great comparison tool!

  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    When considering the 9-18 vs. the 7-14, you've gotten good advice above.

    I have both 7-14 and 9-18 and find plenty of uses for ultra wide.

    Here's my thinking on the use of ultra wide lenses and photographers who don't have much experience using them:

    Many photographers believe that they have little need for UW lenses. I think many of these folks haven't truly explored the imaging potential of these lenses. They are much more useful than some photographers realize - though as with all lenses, they have good applications in some ways and not so good in others.

    Those who consciously go out with an ultrawide on the camera, with the intent of putting it to use, rather than waiting for a situation which they think would be suitable for an ultrawide, find plenty of great visual applications for an ultrawide - in tight spaces, in huge spaces, for close-ups, and far away subjects.

    All lenses have a learning curve to understand the uses and visual expressions of optical compression & expansion, shallow DOF vs.deep DOF, angle of view, and juxtaposing close subjects with distant backgrounds, etc.

    Ultrawide lenses are capable of a wonderful range of visual expressions depending on how they are used. Knowing about this takes a little more working with the lenses than other focal lengths tend to need.

    I believe most photographers are limiting their creative expression if they do not have both ultra wide and telephoto lens capability, in addition to mid-range optics, fast optics, etc.

    All that said, to repeat what others have said... the 9-18 is perhaps a better walk around lens due to the longer (36mm equivalent FOV) focal length. However, if you use two bodies or two lenses, the 7-14 can achieve better image quality and the extra 2mm on the wide end is significant in achieving more dramatic visual results and covering a wider FOV. I often go out with two bodies, 7-14 on one body and 14-45 or 14-140 on the other. This minimalist setup allows coverage of a huge range of FOV. Adding a fast lens to this mix, like the 20/1.7 or 25/1.4 enhances visual imaging capabilities.

    Sometimes, I will head out with just one body, perhaps having the 9-18 on it, with a 14-45 in the pocket. All depends on the occasion for the outing and the intent of my imaging at the time.

    While the IQ and visual drama capability with the 7-14 is clearly superior to the 9-18, and the constant f/4 aperture is great, some folks may not put a priority on those particular differences and may prefer to put priority on lower cost or smaller size.

    Whichever choice you make will involve compromising something - as it is with all choices in life. SO, what the compromise is needs to be something you personally determine.

    I don't know if this has helped you any, but hopefully it has provided some more food for thought.

    I have two threads showing some of my personal-use travel photography with the 9-18 and the 7-14 here:


    • Like Like x 4
  11. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    All reasons why I would go with the 9-18mm. That's what I did because I think it plays the most to m43 strengths. Flexibility, tiny size and weight..not leading IQ, but pretty close. Isn't this the compromise of the system and why we chose it? In many ways, I feel like it(and the 20mm) shows the greatest strength of the system.

    Oh and half the price. :biggrin:
  12. chlau

    chlau Mu-43 Regular

    May 13, 2011
    I think this pretty much sums up the two wide zooms. The 7-14 is a true UWA with distortions at all FOVs. The 9-18 can shoot at 17.5 - 18 which is about the widest you can go with no distortions. In that sense it's more versatile. It also accepts filters so again, more versatile.

    For myself a walk around kit of 7-14 (wide), 20 (fast) and 45/2.8 (deep) covers most of the shooting situations I wld normally encounter, though I do get periodically annoyed with the 7-14 when f22 just isn't slow enough.
  13. gdourado

    gdourado Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 23, 2012
    Lisbon - Portugal

    Thank you all for the replies!
    I really think it is helpful to read all your comments on this question.
    Although I have no doubts that the 7-14 is an excellent lens and a great optical performer, I think I will stick to the 9-18 for the time being.
    The difference in cost is quite significant as is the difference in size, because the Oly has the collapsable design.
    One of the main reasons I really like m43 is the size convenience and how unobtrusive the camera system is.
    Now I'm willing to pull the trigger on an OM-D, but I think I should probably buy some good lenses first, and then upgrade my camera... And maybe in two-three months the OM-D price will come down and maybe Panasonic will have a GH3 or G5 to consider also...
    Who Knows... But the OM-D is sure sweet...
    Is the 12-50 worth it?
    If it were you?
    - Oly 9-18, PL 25 and Oly 45
    - OM-D kit with 12-50?

    One choice doesn't eliminate the other... It is just a priority matter...
    If I go lenses now, I will keep my E-PL2 for three or four months more...
    If I go OM-D, I will only buy another lens 9-18 or PL 25 in two or three months time...

  14. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    You already have good lenses. After buying the 9-18, I'd consider adding the Olympus 45mm (small, cheap, optically great), especially if you do a lot of portrait work, but I wouldn't bother with the 25mm (expensive and you already have a good, fast prime in that general focal length range) or the 12-50 (large, adds only a little bit of focal range at the long end and, from reports, probably not as good optically as your current zoom) unless you really need a weatherproof lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA

  16. Panut

    Panut Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2011
    Like so many others, I've been through the same decision, and I guess the pros and cons have been discussed, and by better informed people than me - but here my experience if it helps any:


    I ended up with 9-18. The critical thing was the size.
    I didn't realize the amount of the size difference until I went to see them side by side in real life in a store: 7-14 is definitely not pocketable at all, but 9-18 is jacket-pocketable with a small body. I was planning a trip including trekking and wanted to have the UWA with me, and there was no way carrying around the 7-14 there (in a pocket).


    IQ - I had read the excellent review by Amin that was pointed above. Having read that, I knew 9-18 would not be super sharp and I took a note of the greater chromatic aberration in 9-18 in the review. I was prepared for the less sharp image, but I was a bit worried about chromatic aberration.
    Fortunately, I haven't had a problem with chromatic aberration with the glass. If there is any in my shots, it's so minimal that I haven't noticed. And yes, it's not as sharp as my primes, but good enough for me, I'm happy.

    Focal length - I've learned to like UWA so much, that I'm sure I could use the extra 2mm. If I were a millionaire, I would get the 7-14 as a second UWA, but I would not trade it 1-1 with my 9-18 because of the size.
  17. Panut

    Panut Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2011
    Agree. Those are the two lenses I currently use the most, and both are well worth the money.
  18. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    I'd get the E-M5 with the 12-50 first, and later get the likes of the Oly 45 and the UWA you want. I'm convinced of the incremental benefit of the PL25 over the 20/1.7, unless you prefer the 50mm look.

    You probably already know that the Panasonic 7-14 can't accept filters, I found this an inconvenience only when I needed to use ND filters.

    The differences between 9-18 and 7-14 are significant enough beyond IQ - angle, overall size, filter thread. I think it's important to choose with these in mind, since I think both UWA lenses are quite expensive. I found the price difference ($200 at the time) to the 7-14 justified.

    I've used the 7-14 for walkaround in Sydney (my first trip to Aus), and I only really swapped it for the 20/1.7 when I was taking photos of people and I didn't want the odd aspect towards the extremes. Given the widest aperture of the 9-18 @ 18mm is 5.6 I'd probably swap that lens for the 20mm anyway for more light or shallower d.o.f.
  19. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Ummm... Just curious, but why on earth would you ever go past about f/11 with the 7-14? Diffraction sets in pretty noticeably right about there.
  20. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    +1 for the 7-14!

    1. ability to go to the widest 7mm (14mm equivalent)

    2. constant F/4 aperture

    3. Mini-me version of the Nikon 14-24 hehe (sort of).
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.