Why I can't convince myself to get the P7-14 and stick with the O9-18 + Samyang fisheye

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LowriderS10

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Hello all,

First off, I'd like to say this is nothing but an unscientific opinion post, not meant to put one product down or talk another up. I'm merely posting it because I know a lot of people are torn between what to get (we have it pretty good, don't we? Unlike systems where they have massive gaping holes in their lens line-ups, we have an embarrassment of riches).

Background: I've always been a huge fan of UWA zooms, and preferred fast lenses. Started with the Sigma 10-20, then Tokina 11-16, then Canon 17-40L and finally the 16-35L II. So, when I moved to Olympus, I wanted a good, fast, wide lens. I was torn between the 7-14 and the 9-18, but in the end settled on the 9-18, because I figured "Hey...the whole reason I left DSLRs is to go as small as possible without compromising quality too much," and the 9-18 fit that philosophy.

However, I did time and again return to the idea of the 7-14. When I was in Taiwan, I was tired when I happened upon a street full of camera stores where - thanks to me converting the currency incorrectly - I thought i had stumbled on the 7-14s at around $600-700. (they weren't, they were right around $1,000). I was feverishly going from store to store, comparing prices and testing them against my lenses.

In the end...even at that price...I walked away. This is why:
- Yes...the 9-18 is a stop slower at the long end. HOWEVER...that's at 18mm. At 14mm, it's maybe half a stop or two-thirds of a stop slower, which isn't so bad, especially with my OM-D's excellent IBIS and respectable high-ISO performance.
- The 7-14 can't take filters...that's a big one.
- The 7-14 is just big. Too big. I wouldn't want to have it attached to my camera as much as I have my 9-18 attached.
- My 7.5mm fisheye + 9-18 combo take up about as much room, weigh about as much (or less) and cost about the same as the 7-14 while being far more versatile, PLUS, I can always choose to have just one or the other with me. And when they're mounted...they're small and don't attract much attention. All of these are qualities I look for, since I use my camera for travel 95% of the time (and I travel by backpack, hike, etc).

So, there you have it...the 7-14 is undoubtedly an excellent lens, and anyone who chooses to go with it is making a wise choice. However...I think the 9-18 + 7.5 FE combo can be a far superior choice at the same price/size/weight. :)

Just my two cents...enjoy your day, ladies and gentlemen!
 

pdk42

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Your views pretty much echo mine. I did in fact own the 7-14 for a while and ran it in parallel with the 9-18. However, I found the 7-14 stayed at home in the cupboard too often. It's slightly sharper in the corners than the 9-18, but on the downside, it's got worse CA, worse purple fringing and of course worse flare on the Oly 16mp sensors. Overall, I can't really say that its IQ is "better". Add all this to the fact that it's comparatively large, doesn't take filters and is quite expensive, and the 9-18 overall makes more sense.

I do of course wish the 9-18 was wider but then I have the 7.5 for that.

Having said all that though, if there were an 8mm rectilinear prime that took filters, I'd probably swap my 9-18 for that.
 

Art

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Why I can't convince myself to get the P7-14 and stick with the O9-18 + Samya...

Oly 9-18 is great walkaround lens for outdoors due to more versatile FL. It is my "kit" lens (it even looks like one). The ability to attach CPL or ND filter (for long exposure) is very important. The sharpness is more than sufficient. But do you really need a FE if you got 9-18? I 'm thinking of selling mine...
 

cmpatti

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To each his own. My opinion is that, while the 9-18 is no doubt a good lens, the 7-14 is one of our system's true standouts. That and the extra 2mm width (which is significant) outweigh (get it?) the size and weight penalty in my mind. Certainly the 7-14 is tiny compared to equivalent FF offerings. I've never been a fan of the fisheye look, so that is not an option for me. Being a frequent UWA shooter, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to own a lens of the quality of the 7-14.


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jnewell

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To each his own. My opinion is that, while the 9-18 is no doubt a good lens, the 7-14 is one of our system's true standouts. That and the extra 2mm width (which is significant) outweigh (get it?) the size and weight penalty in my mind. Certainly the 7-14 is tiny compared to equivalent FF offerings. I've never been a fan of the fisheye look, so that is not an option for me. Being a frequent UWA shooter, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to own a lens of the quality of the 7-14.


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I agree. For me, the fisheye is unappealing and in any case doesn't overlap a 7mm rectilinear lens at all. Having the extra FOV at 7mm on the other hand is huge. The idea that the 7-14/4 is "too big" made me smile. :smile: I guess that depends on the camera body and personal preference, but I find it very comfortable to carry and to use.
 

FlyPenFly

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The Oly 9-18 is remarkably small for it's coverage. It's also a very mediocre lens optically. But it's okay.

The P 7-14 is one of the best UWA lenses available on any system... well as long as you're not using an Olympus body.
 

pdk42

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pdk42

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Well, I guess we all have our opinions and experiences, but whilst I agree that the 7-14 has better corner sharpness, I've never found that the 9-18 lacks micro-contrast or suffers more from flare (in fact, on the flare front, I think the 9-18 handles it better). I've owned both concurrently and shot them side-by-side.

The link I posted from Admiring Light is I think quite representative of the lenses' capabilities. I'd urge anyone wanting to compare them to take a look at that. Amin also did a comparison some time ago on this site (sorry, can't find it now),

Anyhow, not worth having a thread war over it - we all have different needs, perceptions and standards. What's important is what works for each of us!
 

Rudy

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I've owned three 9-18 so I would disagree, there is a very large difference in sharpness, micro contrast, and flare.
I also had both, now I only have the P7-14. I thought they were not that far apart IQ wise.
BUT, the build quality difference is huge and I could see that the Olympus with the extended tube getting loose *could* lead to more variations in IQ.
I did not see that on the lens I had, but this could be the reason why folks don't seem to agree on how good or bad this lens is.
In terms of size, once extended, the Olympus isn't really that much smaller, but certainly feels more flimsy.
Rudy
 

FlyPenFly

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I found the slrgear sharpness chart the most accurate of the oly 9-18mm's capabilities. I wish it was better because it's small and takes filters but it really doesn't measure up.
 

cmpatti

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Amin also did a comparison some time ago on this site (sorry, can't find it now).
Amin's comparison was important in my decision to buy the 7-14, since I thought it showed that lens had a significant advantage in corner sharpness, which is important for the type of images I make with the lens.

Also (since I never tire commenting on it) there is cheap, easy and complete fix to the 7-14's special problems on Olympus cameras. There are many threads describing it.


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maxphoto

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As for putting filters on the Panny 7-14, I got an extra front cap and cut the front off. To the outside, I epoxied a Cokin 77mm adapter ring. I put a Cokin single filter holder.
I am working on one for screw in filters that will work without as much vignetting in the corners. The Cokin is not bad at all. I want better.
Cutting the front of the cap off is the hard part. Most of it was done with a drill press and finished with a small drum sander and by hand. What makes it hard is doing all that without damaging the felt on the inside.
As for the lens, it is light weight compared to my SLR lenses. I don't find the 7-14 all that big or heavy. It is an exceptional lens and I do not get any purple flaring with mine.
If I get the filter adapter perfected I'll post pictures and a write up.
 

Ricoh

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Being a Panny 7-14 owner, I would be pleased to read further when you've refined the filter adapter.
Thanks.
 

GFFPhoto

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You make it sound like there's a huge difference in IQ - there isn't. This review I think sums it up pretty accurately:

http://admiringlight.com/blog/panasonic-7-14mm-vs-olympus-9-18mm/2/
All he is testing is build quality, sharpness, CA and flare. Yes, sharpness and propensity to flare can be considered IQ, but honestly they are fairly unimportant compared to contrast, micro contrast, brightness, etc (extreme softness can ruin IQ for sure, but most lenses have sufficient sharpness). I'm not trying to bash the 9-18. For a consumer grade zoom it's quite good, but the 7-14 is one of the best rendering zooms we have.
 
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