Owners of the Oly 9-18...how do you like your lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by LowriderS10, May 19, 2013.

  1. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Hi guys,

    For the past year I've been trying to decide on a lightweight travel alternative to my bulky DSLR setup. My main go-to lenses have been UWA zooms for years and years. First the Sigma 10-20 then the Tokina 11-16 on crop DSLRs, then the Canon 17-40L and currently the 16-35L II on full frame.

    I'm not interested in the Pany 7-14 because it's too big and it doesn't allow screw-in filters.

    That leaves me with the Sony NEX-6 + 10-18 or an OM-D + 9-18. At first I was hesitant about the 9-18 because it's slow at the long end (I've been shooting f2.8s for years, going down an f4 constant was going to be bad enough, but 4-5.6 was a hard sell) and because it's not wide enough. But...I'm more and more convinced that 9mm is wide enough and I can deal with the slow long end because the IBIS in the OM-D is so damn good. Plus, I like the body and the 45 1.8 (the only other lens I'll be getting), so OVERALL I think it'd be a great package.

    Still...I'd like to get your feedback...how do you like your 9-18? Specifically when it comes to sharpness, easily correctable distortion and CA?

  2. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I like it. The slow aperture doesn't bother me much given how I use it. But I'm mostly wanting deep depth of field when shooting wide.
  3. Pim

    Pim Mu-43 Regular

    Even though I don't have the 9-18 anymore (as I switched systems) it was my favorite lens on my M43 camera's. The size and weight combined with excellent optics make it a winner if you are looking for an ultra wide lens. General opinion seems to be that the Panny is maybe even a little sharper, but at a cost of weight, size and well... cost. I can fully recommend the Oly 9-18, excellent lens in every respect, you will not regret it.
  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Real Name:
    Mike Aubrey
    I love my 9-18mm, though I'm at a loss as to why you think the 7-14mm would be "too big":

    Compact Camera Meter
  5. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    It is a fine lens hand held in good light. Higher usable ISO on newer m4/3 bodies is nice and if you're getting a body with 5-axis IBIS then this is the lens for you.

    Stores really nicely, especially if you compare it to the size of the Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II.
  6. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Awesome, thanks for the feedback, guys, really appreciate it...keep'em comin'!

    The 7-14 is too big because it's 14mm wider and about 34mm longer...that's pretty significant compared to a lens that's barely 50mm long. I'm trying to get as light/stealthy package as possible. I'm hoping that the OM-D with the 9-18 will just look like some cheap old film camera and attract very little attention. The 7-14 also weighs twice as much as the Oly. Plus, it won't take screw-in filters...that's a big stumbling block.

    Yeah, definitely planning on getting an IBIS body...specifically, the OM-D. :)
  7. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I walk around most days with the 9-18, 17, 45 and it's a compact 3-lens kit.
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    My main complaint about the 9-18mm I'd that it feels a bit flimsy because of the plastic, collapsible design. Otherwise, I never see any CA because my Lightroom presets remove it, barrel distortion only really happens at close focusing distances, and edge sharpness can drop off at the widest angle setting.
  9. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
  10. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Awesome, thanks! I'm sure the feel of this camera/lens combo will take some getting used to...my current rig is above, my previous was a 1D Mark III with the 16-35L II...it's pretty much a tank that also happens to take pictures haha.

    Speaking of good light...for an average person, what's the slowest reasonable shutter speed you can take photos with at 9mm on an OM-D? I'm mainly going to be using it for static subjects, so motion blur isn't an issue...I'm hoping that the IBIS will make up for the fact that it's a stop slower than my lens (on the wide end and 2 stops in the long end, though it's only the wide I'm really concerned about) and that the high ISO performance (as great as it is on the OM-D) lags a couple of stops behind my camera.
  11. homerusan

    homerusan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2012
    izmir, TURKEY
    i am curious about the 9-18 also. i t has a wonderfull focal lenght 9 to 18. perfect for landscape and street i think.
    but do you ever try 2 or more screw-in filters? what was the result? is there any vignetting at 9mm while 2 or more filters attached?
  12. Anthon

    Anthon Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2012
    The 9-18 when collapsed is quite small

    but in shooting position it is bigger than the 7-14

  13. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Yeah, I'm not a fan of how much it extends (in general I hate extending lenses), but realistically, while travelling (I'm picking this up as a travel rig), it'll spend 90% of the time either in a backpack, or slung around my shoulder, powered off, being carried. To be honest, I think the 9-18 looks very cheap...which I'm hoping will work in my favour. Even extended, I think it would attract less attention than the big, bulbous front element/petal hood of the 7-14. And when not shooting (ie, wandering around town with it around my shoulder) it'll look like nothing special on an old film body...at least that's what I'm hoping!
  14. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Real Name:
    The 9-18 is my most used lens. I also came from the Sigma 10-20 on an APS body, and do a lot of wide-angle stuff, often in dimly-lit churches. I tend to use it mostly as either a 9mm prime, or an 18mm without having to change to my 17mm f1.8, hardly ever in between. Yes, it's not the fastest, but IBIS and Auto-ISO are your friends: I have a lot of sharp shots at 1/15s, and plenty at 1/2s and 1/4s; however at those speeds I usually take multiple shots to be sure. My Auto-ISO is set to top out at 3200, but I have seen many usable shots at 6400 on this site.

    I also carry a Manfrotto tabletop tripod with a Novoflex ballhead in my Hadley Small: When it's really dark I can usually find somewhere to set that up, or press it against a pillar or wall.

    I bought a used 7-14 to compare, but on the E-M5 the purple flare was really bad, so I resold it. I also tried the 12mm F2. It was very slightly sharper, and of course faster, but the added flexibility of the 9-18 and the increased width swung it for me. If someone comes out with a prime in the range 8-10mm, I might switch. But the 9-18 is a wonderful lens.
  15. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Awesome, thank you! That's the kind of shooting is I do as well, so this is very valuable information! :) Yeah, from all I've seen, I'm going to try to keep the ISO at 3200 or less (whereas on my 5D2 I go to 6400 without hesitation), so that's a minimum of two stops that I need to make up...but it sounds like the IBIS system can happily do 2-3 stops' worth of compensation!

    I have a small Optex tabletop tripod with a panhead, but I really want to upgrade to something with a ballhead, possibly with an Arca Swiss plate (my "real" tripod has that, and I love that system!).

    Oh, that's right, thanks for reminding me...that's another reason the 7-14 is out, because of the flare I keep reading about...and yeah, It's really nice to have that extra 8mm on the long end (it'll match my Canon 16-35 quite closely).

    Yeah, I've looked at some of the wide primes, but for travel I like to have a two-lens system: UWA zoom and a fast medium telephoto prime.

    Thanks again for your input, I really appreciate it!
  16. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Two questions:

    1: I've been reading about the purple blob problem being a big issue with the 7-14 and that it may be an issue on the 9-18 as well...is it?

    2: How annoying is the whole Lock button thing? Does it require two-handed operation to lock/unlock? Is it something you find bothers you if you're trying to get a quick shot or when you're putting the camera away?

  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    1. Never seen the same purple blob issue from the 9-18mm.

    2. To extend the lens you just twist the zoom ring and don't need to touch the lock tab. To retract the lens you just push the tab up with your thumb or finger and twist the lens in the other direction.
  18. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    It's a great general purpose use lens. Definitely my most used lens, especially for vacations where it generally acts as a 9mm and 18mm prime. Fast to get into action as the extension becomes second nature and is easily accomplished with one hand. I've printed off 12x18's and it seems to perform quite well.
  19. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    Real Name:
    Testing long exposure handholding on my OM-D with 12mm and bracing my arms against my body I came up with:
    • 1/3s slight camera movement visible
    • 1/4s just about acceptable sharpness
    • And shorter exposures were progressively better.
    But I expect it depends on how steady you are at that moment. If you've got the shakes then you've go no chance. I had to put myself into a trance to achieve those results! (not true)

    I am hoping that the Next OM-D EM-6 will have the improved IBIS IS6 and IS7. With IS6 you notice a resistance when you try to move the camera. And with IS7 you can actually let go of the camera. It stays in the air. Like with an Anti-grav. Maybe I'm getting carried away here. Too much Star Trek. Olympus said we'll have to wait til the 23rd century for that.
  20. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    There is no rule that the lens need be retracted in order to put it away. Unless the photographer has arranged the bag contents tightly (or has too small a bag) and the lens just makes it into the bag in the retracted position.