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Review Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6

Discussion in 'Reviews, Tests, & Shootouts' started by gryphon1911, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    oly9-18.jpg
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    Image © Olympus America

    Background
    Wide angle options can be very slim for a smaller sensor camera. Micro four thirds has a few zooms, the O9-18/4-5.6, P7-14/4 and the new PRO designated O7-14/2.8. This discussion leaves out the fisheye lens options.

    Today we are going to explore the O9-18 and why we chose and love this wide angle option.

    2016-09-16_11-01-36.jpg
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    1/1250, f/8, ISO 200 @ 9mm
    Olympus PEN-F

    Handling/Weight/Size

    Out of the three wide zooms, the O9-18 won out. After many hours of research, the IQ difference between the 9-18 and the Panasonic 7-14 were not that great. The Olympus was much smaller, and I only see this as an occasional use lens. There for, the less room it needs, the more likely I am to bring it, "just in case".

    The zoom and focus ring are ready to get to and find. The one little niggle that she might have is that the lens has a zoom lock on it. This needs to be unlocked when not in stored mode. There is a small switch on the side of the lens, you push forward and twist the barrel. I don't find it an issue as I just knock it and me it unlocked until I plan on putting the lens away in the bag for a while.

    It's a personal preference thing.

    The lens weighs next to nothing, and is very first pocketable or can be slipped into a small belt pouch.

    The field of view(FOV) of this 9-18 will be equivalent to 18-36mm. A great wide side, plus going down to 35mm FOV can make for an alternative option for street shooting in tight quarters.
    2016-09-16_11-01-17.jpg
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    1/200, f/8, ISO 200 @ 18mm
    Olympus PEN-F

    2016-09-16_11-01-30.jpg
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    1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 200 @ 18mm
    Olympus PEN-F

    Image Quality
    Don't let the small size fool you. While the aprrture range does not make this a first wide angle choice for low light, it is plenty capable and very sharp indeed. The images have good contrast, and distortion is well controlled, with only minor post processing need for what is not handled in camera (for Olympus users).

    I'll let the images speak for themselves.

    2016-09-16_11-00-58.jpg
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    Olympus PEN-F High-Res Mode

    11-26-2016_PENF_lanternfest_PB260044.jpg
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    1/100, f/4, ISO 1250 @ 9mm
    Olympus PEN-F

    11-26-2016_PENF_lanternfest_PB260112.jpg
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    1/60, f/6.3, ISO 800 @ 18mm
    Olympus PEN-F

    Auto Focus
    As to be expected with modern Olympus built micro four thirds lenses, this is a quick focusing lens. You'll have no complaints from me on its S-AF performance. Also consider that at f4-5.6 and 9-18mm focal lengths, your duty of for will be large anyway.

    11-26-2016_PENF_lanternfest_PB260123.jpg
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    1/60, f/4, ISO 400 @ 9mm
    Olympus PEN-F

    11-26-2016_PENF_lanternfest_PB260170.jpg
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    1/60, f/4.8, ISO 800 @ 13mm
    Olympus PEN-F

    Bottom Line:
    If you need a holy Trinity of Olympus lens, you'll want the 7-14, 12-40, 40-150 f/2.8 lenses. That wood be a great so for me, but I rarely need the very wide end, so convenience and cost are more important than pixel peeping sharpness and weather sealing.

    After you factor this into the equation, a used O9-18 was the best choice and as you can see, is capable of making some great images.
     
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  2. Gregory

    Gregory Mu-43 Regular

    153
    Mar 4, 2017
    An underrated lens certainly, which tests well at the wide end for which I imagine most people buy it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. snaimpally

    snaimpally Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    965
    Dec 31, 2012
    I love the O 9-18mm! It is very compact. The little lever that locks the lens in place can get a bit annoying when you are in a hurry to try and capture something - I wish they had a mechanism more like the Panasonic 12-32, 35-100 f4, etc. where a quarter turn of the barrel extends the lens into shooting position. However, all in all, a great lens.
     
  4. comment23

    comment23 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    777
    Aug 26, 2016
    Hampshire, UK
    Simon
    They do! The lock is only to close the lens.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    This lens and the Pany 35-100 f4/5.6 are my travel kit. fine performance is an extremely small size.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Toddster

    Toddster Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    322
    Aug 7, 2013
    Florida
    Todd Cleaver
    That seems like a big gap from 18-35. I just checked Lightroom and that would be 25% of my mu43 shots.
     
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Not if you didn't have a lens in that range. You'd have a lot at 35 and 18! :) 

    Edit: seriously though, a 12-32 or 14-42 pancake would slot nicely in between the 9-18 and 35-100 and it about the size and weight of a couple oreo cookies, so why not?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
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  8. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    I have two working feet:) 
     
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  9. Toddster

    Toddster Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    322
    Aug 7, 2013
    Florida
    Todd Cleaver
    :2thumbs:Yes I know my zooms make me lazy.
    Your combination does sound interesting. I frequently go with a 12-32 and 35-100 (the small ones) when I don't feel like lugging my 14-140 with me. I must admit that the 9-18 intrigues me but I'm afraid that I'd also throw the 12-32 in my pocket and wind up carrying 3 lenses:doh:
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. comment23

    comment23 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    777
    Aug 26, 2016
    Hampshire, UK
    Simon
    Why not?! Because it would cut into my cookie allocation! :( 
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  11. Perfect for a fast prime for travel. When I take just my 8-18 and 35-100 f/2.8 I often slip the 20mm f/1.7 or 25mm f/1.8 in.
     
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  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    I store my cookies in my midsection. Frees up room in the bag. :) 
     
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  13. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I've owned this lens twice! It's very good over 90% of the frame, but the corners never fully sharpen up. However, it has to be said that it delivers excellent images so long as you don't go pixel peeking into the corners. Contrast is excellent and you can't argue over the size or the range. I've moved on now to the PL 8-18 and whilst that is a better lens, it's 2-3x the cost and 2-3x the price; and for 95% of the time it delivers exactly the same results!
     
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  14. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    I imagine one of them was supposed to be size...
     
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  15. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Gambian sidling bush Subscribing Member

    763
    Feb 25, 2017
    Fixed it for you:

    I've moved on now to the PL 8-18 and whilst that is a better lens, it's 2-3x the cost and 2-3x the cookies
     
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  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    I am very proud to have created the cookie metric! I hope it gets used often. :) 
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. WhidbeyLVR

    WhidbeyLVR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 14, 2014
    Whidbey Island
    Lyle
    Now Amin will have to put a pop-up warning that the site uses cookies in yet another capacity.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  18. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Err yes - thanks! Or do I mean cookies ? :) 
     
    • Like Like x 1
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