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Singing the praises... Zuiko 9-18mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by DHart, May 2, 2012.

  1. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    I'm in the 6th month of a 7 month tour of the USA. This is our home (and runabout) while on the road.

    E-PL3    ---    13mm    f/9.0    1/250s    ISO 200

    I've mostly retired as a life long professional commercial and portrait photographer.

    So, this isn't specifically a "photo tour". I'm just enjoying the travel and creating a lot of personal use images along the way.

    A couple of months ago I picked up the 9-18 as an addition to my 7-14, as I desired the extra length for general purpose travel/day walk lens and I strongly prefer wide angle of view for subjects that I find while traveling. While traveling, it is rare that I would use anything longer than 45mm on m4/3 (as in 14-45mm lens), but I continually find the need for wide and while I love the 7-14 for it's superb image quality, I like the 9-18 for it's greater versatility on the 18mm end.

    Of course, were I out to create striking images, I would use my 25/1.4 and the 45/1.8 a bit more often while traveling, for the subject isolation and bokeh, but my purpose here is simply to be a tourist, capturing the sights before me as I travel, with very little fuss about lenses and bodies and such. I have spent a lifetime painstakingly creating images as a professional photographer and sometimes, these days, I simply want to use my m4/3 cameras as "point n shoots", without putting too much effort into creation. That's my purpose in creating this thread... to show the use of the 9-18 as a travel/tourist/walkaround lens.

    As a "tourist" I wish to minimize gear, so in spite of having a diverse array of native and legacy lenses for my m4/3 gear, I typically head out for the day with two bodies, each with a zoom lens. Most often this is a G3 with 14-45 and E-PL3 with the 9-18. Between these two camera/lens set-ups I find I can capture pretty much whatever I want to in the way of travel images.

    The 9-18 has worked out well for me in this regard, so I thought I'd make a post about it and share a sampling of images taken along the travels... from the 9-18 lens. Pretty much all of these images were made with the lens at 9mm. Of course I shoot it at 18mm a fair bit as well... but my point here is to show how useful the extra angle of view offered by 9mm is.

    Unfortunately, even the 9mm wasn't as wide as I would have wished for in some situations - those are where I wished I had brought my 7-14mm instead. :rolleyes: 

    Here's a sampling at around 9mm... all with the E-PL3, all captured RAW (the only way I shoot), with a few quick tweaks in Lightroom. While all of these required at least 9mm on the m4/3 format, some would have benefitted greatly, compositionally, from using the 7-14mm lens (for the wider 7mm-8mm perspective), which I didn't bring with me on these outings.

    Monticello, Charlottesville, VA
    (This is the side that's on the back of the nickel in your pocket!)
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/10.0    1/400s    ISO 200

    Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/7.1    1/250s    ISO 200

    Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/5.6    1/125s    ISO 200

    Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
    E-PL3    ---    12mm    f/6.3    1/125s    ISO 200

    At Biltmore, Asheville, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/11.0    1/640s    ISO 200

    At Biltmore, Asheville, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/4.0    1/60s    ISO 200

    At Biltmore, Asheville, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/10.0    1/400s    ISO 200

    At Biltmore, Asheville, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/9.0    1/320s    ISO 200

    At Biltmore, Asheville, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/9.0    1/320s    ISO 200

    At Biltmore, Asheville, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/4.0    1/60s    ISO 2000

    At Biltmore, Asheville, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/5.6    1/160s    ISO 200

    On the French Broad River, Ashevile, NC
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/9.0    1/400s    ISO 200

    Knoxville, TN
    E-PL3    ---    10mm    f/4.3    1/60s    ISO 1600

    Knoxville, TN
    E-PL3    ---    14mm    f/9.0    1/250s    ISO 200

    Knoxville, TN
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/4.0    1/60s    ISO 2500

    Old Alabama Town
    E-PL3    ---    11mm    f/4.5    1/60s    ISO 2500

    Chattanooga, TN
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/4.0    1/60s    ISO 800

    Birmingham, AL
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/11.0    1/800s    ISO 200

    Birmingham, AL Union Station
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/4.0    1/60s    ISO 400

    Old Alabama Town
    E-PL3    ---    18mm    f/5.6    1/60s    ISO 640

    Old Alabama Town
    E-PL3    ---    9mm    f/4.0    1/80s    ISO 320
    • Like Like x 32
  2. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Fantastic set mate.....I really like the second and last shot heaps. I take it that classroom is of some historical significance ? Love how the red, white & blue of the flag pops out in the light against all that old timber.

    Sound like quite a journey.
    Hope you're having a great time.

  3. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Livnius... thanks, buddy, for your kind remarks. :)  Yes, the classroom is in a district called "Old Alabama" and is an historic site.

    For me this is the trip of a lifetime, indeed, and I hope to keep doing it for years to come! We plan to head back home (Washington State) for a couple of late summer/fall months and then start all over again before the winter sets in in the Pacific Northwest.

    Thanks again for your comments.
  4. LVL8hacker

    LVL8hacker Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Larry Anderson
    Great set Don!! I cant believe you got away with taking indoor pictures at the Biltmore. I tried and almost got kicked out. Very rare to see private/current photos of the inside. GOOD JOB!
  5. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Nice shots. The 9-18mm is a great lens. Sure it's marginally less sharp than the 7-14mm and can't get as wide, but the size and ability to add filters is nice. And as you note the ability to hit 18mm makes it a great all-rounder/travel lens. Sure there are compromises, (you could say the that to the m43 system) but for half the price of the 7/14mm I think there are some great reasons for more people to pick one up.
  6. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Thanks for the comments... yes, I finally got "busted" when moving from George Vanderbilt's bedroom toward his wife's bedroom... I was asked to put the camera in my bag! (Very politely so, however.)

    I wasn't totally consciously aware of the photo ban in the house... I think I kind of fooled myself into thinking that I wasn't aware of it. But I certainly honored the request when a docent asked me to put the camera away. Before that, I got some great shots of the winter garden, billiard room, dining hall, breakfast room, and Vanderbilt's bedroom.

    We were totally awed by our visit to Biltmore... it was a life transforming experience for us.
  7. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Rockin shots here & yep, this lens is very capable! :cool: 
  8. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I've had the 9-18 for some time now, but hardly ever use it. I really just need to get myself to places where it can be used effectively.
  9. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    Wonderful shots Don. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the 9-18. That's a nice rig you are touring in!
  10. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Wow, great shots, but they made me miss my beloved South...
  11. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Forget the damned lens, I want a huge RV and truck (but a Honda Ridgeline, not a GM) and to travel around the US!

    We're up the eastern Sierra all the time, every season, and while I love camping, seeing the veritable flotillas of RVs at campsites and on the 395 makes me think how nice it would be to have a home on the road.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  12. m43_user

    m43_user Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    I actually sent the 9-18mm back to the store for a refund and bought the 12mm f/2. I wasn't happy with the optical quality. It was pretty descent, but after using the 45mm f/1.8, I got spoiled and wanted better quality so I returned it while I had the chance. I know the 12mm is fixed focal length, but maybe in the future I'll revisit the ultra-wide zoom scene again and see what's available. For the price, I won't want to buy the Panasonic 7-14 right now and I don't like the added size either. That's the advantage of buying Olympus lenses if you can find the one you want...they're usually smaller since they don't need the image stabilization built in.
  13. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Not the case with the 7-14; it does not have any image stabilization. It does have a noticeably wider FOV though, and a constant aperture, which necessitates the larger glass and size, not IS.
  14. m43_user

    m43_user Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    Oh ok. Well I mean in general, the Panasonic lenses tend to have OIS in the lens....some of them. I may check out ultra wide in the future but the only time I found myself using it in the past was indoors. Museums and so on.
  15. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    Great shots, I love the 9-18, I've sung it's praises on a thread I started too a month or so ago. It is the perfect partner to the 25mm too.
    The 9-18 is sharp and detailed, compact and light, a very under rated lens.
    As has been said the 9-18 focal range is a more practical range than the 7-14 and as the lens is half the price to my mind it's a no brainer.

  16. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    The advantage and wonder of the ultra wide angle does not need confined space nor huge scenery to come into play. (e.g., see the photo of the set table in Old Alabama in my first post). Just get close to your subject and let the lens create a dramatic depth and perspective... There are limitless applications for the ultra wide angle that I think a lot of photographers just don't realize until they spend some quality time using ultra wide angles and move into the shot closer than they typically would. Of course there's distortion, but often this becomes part of the drama of the image and is not a problem.

    While the majority of my professional work involved portraiture where long, fast lenses were just the ticket... when I'm shooting more general subjects, I'm thrilled with the dramatic imagery that the ultra wide angles can help me create.

    And I should probably repeat that in my view the 9-18 and the 7-14 are not mutually exclusive lenses; they each offer specific attributes and advantages that the other does not. I would not choose to get rid of either lens in favor of the other. But if I had to, I'd keep the 7-14 and let the 9-18 go.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. fgbrault

    fgbrault Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2012
    Thanks. A terrific set of photos. Love them. I also love my 9-18mm. I carry my E-PM1, Oly 9-18mm, Oly 40-150mm (and usually my Pany 20mm) with me at all times. The extra MM on the wide/long end (18mm) allows me to dispense with carrying my Oly 14-42mm. The gap between 18mm and 40mm has not been a problem.
  18. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    I hope you don't mean buying them, you can hire campervans fairly cheaply. I did this when visiting Australia, driving around the red centre and the north. I didn't have the 9-18 at the time though, I got by taking multiple shots on the 20mm and stitching them together later. I hope to go to America and do the same one day; it's certainly a big enough country to get some serious driving done. We just don't have those open expanses of highway in the UK.

    If you are thinking of going down under, Britz Campervan Hire & Car Rentals, Motorhomes and RVs in Australia and New Zealand comes recommended by me.
  19. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Frank... The 9-18 or 7-14 coupled with the 14-140 make an awesome pair as well. :2thumbs:
  20. asaulo1

    asaulo1 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2012
    awesome images.... I'm sure it's the person behind the lens more than it is the lens itself.... Cheers...
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