Panasonic 7-14mm or Olympus 9-18mm?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by foto2021, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    I want to buy a wide angle lens for my Pana G3, either a 12mm SLR Magic or one of the two 'native' m43 wide angle zooms. I am looking for the best optical quality, good sharpness across the frame, good contrast, lowest CA and - if everything else is equal - the lowest rectilinear distortion. I realise that I cannot have it all.

    The question is, which zoom? I would be happy with either range of focal lengths (7-14mm, 9-18mm). Optical quality is paramount.
  2. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    I have the 9-18. I shoot mostly tourist photos and the 9mm end is plenty wide for me. The lens is amazingly compact, which is also an advantage to me. The price difference sealed the deal. I would suggest that you buy a used one and see if it meets your needs. If not, sell it and go for the Oly. The experiment won't cost you much if you are smart about the buying and selling.

    Re optical quality, I'm sure there are reviews with all the specs dissected. For me, subjectively, the Panny is just fine.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    I can't speak to the 9-18, but I do have the 7-14, and the IQ on that lens is amazing. I consider it on par with my 20mm f/1.7. Tack-sharp everywhere it should be, and the bokeh is really pretty. The handling/zooming/focus is super smooth and the lens feels solid and high-quality.

    Things to consider:
    I'm a big fan of rectilinear ultra-wide distortion which is really why I bought the lens. Seeing that you're not, the Olympus would win in terms of range, because the only real difference between 7mm and 9mm is a lot more distortion at 7mm. The FoV difference is nothing you can't make up just by leaning forward a tad.

    The 7-14 can't accept filters - it has a non-removable lens hood and almost fisheye-looking front element that sticks way out.

    Neither lens is optically stabilized on a Panasonic body. The 9-18 goes from f/4-f/5.6, while the 7-14 is a constant f/4. Not sure what you're used to as far as lighting goes (if you take your own or only shoot available), but that's a full stop lost when you're not shooting at the widest end (which it sounds like you may not be if you're not a fan of distortion)

    If I were in your shoes, I'd rent both for 3 days from and compare. I really couldn't understand why the 7-14 had an MSRP of $1K until I rented it for a week.

  4. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    The 7-14 is slightly better optically but I imagine few would notice the difference in practice. If that's your only concern, you have your answer.

    That said the 9-18 has a few advantages:
    -more flexible focal length
    -far smaller and lighter
    -can take filters
    -and most importantly for me..around half the price
  5. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    Just did a comparison on - on paper, the Panasonic kills the Olympus in terms of CA and sharpness. Link is below.

    See results here
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Real Name:
    Track down Nic aka luckypenguin's review of the 9-18 in the native lens forum. It could save you money :wink:

    My two penn'orth bearing in mind I don't own either lens:

    The 7-14 is fantastic from what I've seen. The 9-18 is very, very good from what I've seen. The 9-18 is cheaper. The 9-18 will have no IS on a G3 but (big but) IS is not that important on an ultra wide lens due to the low magnification. I'd choose the 9-18 because a 35-ish equivalent at f5.6 would be more useful to me on a walk round lens than a 28mm long end. I'd consider using it as a main lens for European city breaks. I used to use a Pentax 24-35 zoom like this on 35mm film.
  7. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    I'am also on the same boat. Just saving to buy one of the two, but can't decide. How about the 4/3 9-18 version with adaptor?
  8. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    Some very interesting replies - thank you! Several issues that I hadn't considered came up, including price, light fall-off and the ability (or lack of it) to accept filters. The DPReview comparison was particularly informative.

    The Panasonic is sharper, but has more rectilinear distortion, is much more expensive and cannot take filters. The Olympus has less light fall-off but much more CA. There are significant focal length differences but both cover the range I need.

    I'll mull over the various pros and cons, sleep on it and make a decision in the next few days. Thanks again for your impressive and thoughtful responses.
  9. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
  10. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    i don't have the 9-18, but i have the 7-14... it's one nice lens. just prone to flare when directed to multiple light sources. :biggrin:
  11. Paulo Moreira

    Paulo Moreira Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 6, 2012
    Porto, Portugal
    I have the 7/14 and it is a splendid lens as it ought to be, considering the high price. Distortion is monstrous at 7mm in rw, but it is the sort of thing you would expect from such an exotic lens. Sharpness is superb, even wide open. It focuses fast, silently and it is a joy to use. Mind you, this is not a lens for everybody, but for a wide angle fanatic like myself, it is a must. It is a bit prone to flare, as expected too.As for the Olympus version, I can't comment, but I 'm through with Oly lenses on my GF's.
  12. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I have the 9-18 and it was price and size that sealed it for me, I used to have the 7-14 4/3 lens and did really like the 7mm but even so the 9mm on the 9-18 is plenty wide enough for most uses.
    I'm very happy with the performance of the 9-18 and it's compact size and light weight makes it a great carry around lens.

  13. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    Thanks. After reading all the replies I decided to make the same decision and will buy the Olympus 9-18mm.

    Compared to the Panasonic 7-14mm, I like the almost complete lack of light fall-off, the very low rectilinear distortion and the price.

    I am concerned about the higher chromatic aberration but will see how this works out in practice. If it is very bad, and difficult to correct in post-processing, I might have to swap the Olympus for the Panasonic.

    Thanks again to everyone who replied. This was an excellent discussion and hopefully one that will inform other people's choice of m43 wide angle zooms.
  14. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Real Name:
    Sold my 9-18 because it's butt ugly! ;-)
  15. cliffordjim

    cliffordjim New to Mu-43

    Dec 29, 2010
    I have the 7-14 and love it. Here is a recent photo I took at 7mm, f8 of a client's hair salon (yes I used the lens for the entire shoot). This is actually an HDR photo (3 shots from tripod 0,-3,+3).


    The detail on the full rez image is fantastic!
    • Like Like x 2
  16. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Why are you not considering the 12mm f/2.0 Oly ?
  17. chip

    chip Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2012
    Connecticut, USA
    I, too, have the 7-14mm and really like it. I haven't tried the 9-18mm. Here's a recent pic using the 7-14mm.

  18. landshark

    landshark Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2010
    SO CAL
    I have both but will probably be giving my 9-18 away, it is a nice lens, I just like the 7-14 more
  19. emptysensor

    emptysensor Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    Real Name:
    I guess the OP already made his decision, but I thought I'd chime in. I have the 7-14 and I love it. On a number of occasions, I've zoomed from 7-9mm just to see what it would be like and I see a significant difference in field of view, even though it's only a 2mm focal lenght change. I guess the real point is at small focal lengths, a 2mm change results in a much larger angle of view change than it does at a longer focal length, such as a 45mm. Plus the 7-14 is very sharp and focuses pretty much silently. It is a lot of money, but I've had zero buyer's remorse.
  20. zwagner

    zwagner New to Mu-43

    Jun 11, 2011
    Curious to see how the OP likes their Oly 9-18. I had that lens before I got rid of my m43 gear (which in hindsight was a mistake, now re-gearing), and I loved it. One of my favorite things about it was that it had almost zero distortion at 18mm, which means that you have a great walk-around focal length with no distortion, with the option to get pretty wide if you want. I ended up using it at 18mm quite a lot. I found the lens reasonably sharp, though I realize the Panasonic is sharper (haven't used it, just read the reviews). But for my uses it was a wonderful lens, and the one that stayed on my camera the majority of the time.