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WA:Toughest Choice in m4/3

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ssgreenley, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    So I got an unexpected promotion this week; now to blow a bit of money on lenses! I'm trying to get wider than 14mm, but it's a very, very hard choice. Here's what we've got:

    Panasonic 7-14: Pros: Image quality, constant aperture. Cons: Relatively big, no filters, not overly bright.

    Olympus 9-18: Pros: Size, more useful length for a walkaround lens, cost. Cons: Not bright enough for dark rooms, soft corners.

    Olympus 12: Pros: Brightness, image quality, distance scale, size. Cons: Not that much wider than much cheaper 14mm's.

    So, which did you choose and why?
  2. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    I've got the 9-18, chosen primarily because of cost, but the only other choice at the time was the uber expensive 7-14, which was still almost double the price in the UK, and still is.

    You need to decide what you want, wide or u l t r a - w i d e, if you want ultra wide aperture isn't such an issue as you'll need it higher to get everything in focus.
    The 12 is nice, but for an extra 2mm and a bigger aperture is it worth the cost when for a bit more cash you can have the 7-14.

    The 9-18 is probably still the best compromise lens in its class with regards to ability and cost, in my opinion.
  3. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    I chose the Panasonic 7-14, this is roughly why...

    - I generally shoot in the 20-50mm range, and I generally shoot with fast lenses (see signature), so the only reason I wanted an ultra-wide was for those fairly specific moments when I want an ultra-wide. I have no interest in 'walkabout' wide-angles...

    - The m.ZD 9-18 tends to review as 'quite capable'. The 7-14 reviews as 'bloody excellent'.

    - I had the money available and know from experience that if I don't get the best to begin with I will eventually get it anyway :smile:

    I wouldn't worry too much about the slow max aperture, with decent technique camera shake isn't very noticeable on ultra-wides :wink: This shot was 10 seconds hand-held at 7mm...


    Really, the only grumble I have with the 7-14 is the whole filter thing. CPL's are useless on ultra-wides anyway, but neutral density filters would be steller for long-exposure landscapes, especially given the GH2's minimum 160iso and Micro Four Thirds issues with diffraction over about f11...
    • Like Like x 1
  4. 43hk

    43hk Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2010
    I went for the 7-14. After lugging the office Nikon and 12-24 around, this is better and wider. Have used it for a lot of architectural and interior work and the hours saved straightening and joining images means it's paid for itself.

    It's expensive but the quality is certainly there.

    It's pretty good at the 14 end as well and has saved me even being tempted by the 14mm panny.

    I have to admit that I like the look of the 12mm f2. Just for the better DOF control.


    DMC-GF1    ---    7mm    f/5.0    1/1300s    ISO 100
    • Like Like x 3
  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I have the 7-14. It's a brilliant lens. But I miss the 9-18 I sold and I will eventually get another. It's a more useful lens in most circumstances and I honestly didnt notice any difference in image quality.

  6. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Do we think the Samyang 7.5mm is a credible competitor in this category? I honestly never really considered a fisheye before, but it is a fairly cheap way to 'go wide' on m43, and it has reviewed particularly well.
  7. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I think a fisheye is its own thing, personally. I'm also considering it, but I think I would still need a rectilinear wide angle as well...
    • Like Like x 1
  8. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Panny 7-14. Widest and the best quality of the 3. But unless you really like the UWA look, the 9-18 is probably better value. The 12/2 is a very specialized lens. Unless size and wide-aperture is very very important, the other 2 are better options.

  9. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Wow, so I've been leaning toward the 12, but there's no love for it here! Gordon, have you never found the 9-18 to be soft at the corners? I'm worried that if I had I would never get the quality I'm looking for with landscapes...
  10. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    I suppose you could de-fish it..but for 200-300$ more I'd way prefer the ease of use of the 9-18. I have the 9-18mm lens..very good IQ, tiny, takes filters, versatile focal length and half the price of the competition. What's not to like?
  11. Jimboh

    Jimboh Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    Got to test both the panny 7-14 and Oly 9-18 side by side.
    Bottom line, Panny slightly better (build, quality, sharpness), but not $250 (at the time) better. I concluded in day-to-day shooting the only thing I would miss from the Panny was the extra 2mm at the wide end. It does make a difference. I posted somewhere on this site side-by-side photos.

    That said, I am happy with the Oly, and it's become my favorite lens. I have no problems going to high ISO on my GH1 to compensate for the f/4-5.6 because it is so wide it tends to diffuse the noise. Also so wide, I'm not bothered by some corner softness. Polarizer may darken (vignette) at corners if not careful. Buy one for the bigger lens (14-140) and a stepdown ring so you can use it in the Oly too.

    I don't print much, mostly deliver to PC, web and tv.
    I can't comment on the new Oly f/2, except it's the type of innovation I love to see. I like seeing camera makers questioning everything.
  12. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    A little. But I've seen worse. Here's a torture test. Wide open @ 9mm. Not too bad at all. Not a great image but a good demo of sharpness wide open. It's not that the 12 isn't better. It is. But at f8, could you see the difference for the money when the zooms are both very good.


    and 100% of the bottom left corner.


    sorry about the quick and dirty processing. I did this in C1. Not my normal software. It's noisy AND over sharpened.

  13. Holmes375

    Holmes375 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 6, 2010
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    Indeed a difficult decision.

    I went with the 9-18mm as I prefer that particular range. The ability to use filters was also a consideration.

    If I were shooting architecture or indoor layouts I would have selected the 7-14mm. For me, the wide zoom will be for landscapes and such. The 9-18mm is a very nice walkabout focal length range.

    Having to buy the lens shade as an addition was an insult and I wished it would reverse for storage. Other than that I'm quite pleased with the Olympus wide zoom.
  14. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    All lenses are compromises. I myself went with the Oly 9-18 for the combination of price for performance. You get 95% of the quality of the Panny 7-14 at 65% of the price at the time I bought it.

    Plus it is tiny - great for walking around. You may lose 2mm at the wide end versus the Panny but you gain 4mm at the other end, making it a little more useful if it is the only lens you have at the time.

    I have taken more pictures with it than any of my other lenses since I purchased it, including my 20/1.7 and 14/2.5.

    Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4-5.6 Lens Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

    Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm F4 Lens Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review
  15. It still blows me away how small the 9-18mm is for an ultra-wide zoom


    • Like Like x 2
  16. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    +1 on this. i'm going for the 7-14 here. :biggrin:
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I'm a wide angle guy - I don't have much at the long end (or use it much), but I have lots of options at the wide end because that's where I live. I have the 12, 14, and 9-18 (as well as a GRD3 at the same focal length as the 14). And I just added the Samyang fisheye which, as noted above, is really a whole different thing.

    But in terms of a UWA zoom, I went for the 9-18 over the 7-14. I don't buy that the 9-18 is only "quite capable" while the 7-14 is "bloody excellent" - I think they're both optically "bloody excellent" - the differences are primarily that of focal length and also size, weight, filterability, and price. I like wide so the difference between 7 and 9 is significant, but the UWA zoom is a big part of my travel kit, and the smaller size, lighter weight, filter-ability, and more versatile range sold me on the 9-18 over the 7-14. With a 36mm equivalent long end I can spend a LOT of my travel time with this as my primary lens - I'd be less comfortable with the 28mm long end on the 7-14. And I've never found the 9mm end to be inadequately wide - I'm sure there are shots I'd love to have the 7mm if I had it, but the 9 always feels wide enough. I wouldn't worry about a quality difference between the 7-14 and 9-18 - I'd worry first about the focal range and secondarily about size and weight, and last about price unless that's a real issue.

    The 12 is a great little lens, but its totally un-necessary, being a little too wide as an every day main prime but not wide enough for that REALLY wide stuff. I love it and use it a lot anyway, but for anyone who's not a wide angle freak, I'd get the 9-18 AND the Pany 14 instead...

  18. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Don't get me wrong, I think the 9-18 is a great lens, and in many ways is a better all-rounder than the 7-14 - if you consider size, focal length, price and optical quality, it's probably the best wide-angle deal out there today...

    What I was getting at is that when I was researching UWA's, the 7-14 was consistently reviewed as optically one of the best lenses on the market, frequently compared to the legendary Zuiko 7-14mm.
  19. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    All indications are that it's better than Olympus 7-14/4, despite being only around half the price (and weight). The Oly 7-14/4 is built like a tank, but aside from that, the Panny comes out ahead.

  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I understand that. But I also saw a lot of reviews indicating that in terms of optical quality, both were really outstanding with differences that could only be seen at the most obsessive levels of pixel-peepery, if then. At which point, the other factors become much more important to all but the most obsessive peepers of pixels, and probably many of those folks too, given how close the two lenses are... I mean, if you have to blow something up to a 100% and keep looking back and forth between them to see any difference, is there REALLY any difference? To me, no. To most, probably no. To some, sure, yeah. So its good they're both out there. But I'd caution anyone against making a decision based on optical quality based on the farthest reaches of the reviews. Unless they can actually SEE a difference in real world conditions. If so, then go for the one that tickles your fancy, but I doubt most people would see a difference, let alone actually PREFER one or the other.

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