Will I be happy with the Olympus 9-18mm?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by alphasierra, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. alphasierra

    alphasierra Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 13, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    I've only had a m43 camera for a couple of months, and basically it's my first camera since I was a child. I got a GF2 with the 14-42, as well as the 20mm. I've been taking pictures of whatever pleases me (hiking, cities, people, etc) and found that I basically only use the kit lens at either 14mm or 42mm. Especially on the wide end, there are often times I'd like to be able to get more into the photo - for landscapes I can make a panorama, but not so good if anything is moving!

    So, I've decided I want to get a wide angle lens. After looking about, I'm leaning to the 9-18mm because it's smaller and cheaper. But, I also see people who say that the extra 2mm in the Panasonic makes a big difference, or that the Panasonic's image quality is a lot better.

    So, my question is, as a novice (and I don't think I'm doing anything too extreme), am I likely to miss those things? Or will the Olympus lens be wide 'enough' and sharp 'enough' for me to take nice pictures? Of course, if I can save a little money it can be spent on something else down the track.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    If you can afford it,
    IMHO, the Panasonic 7-14 is better....but if price is a factor, you'll like the 9-18 :smile:
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    From what you've stated, I think you'll be happy with the Oly 9-18. It's a very good performer.
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I concur with this statement. ;)
  5. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The 9-18 is downright TINY when collapsed.

    The 8mm fisheye is a nice lens, IMHO quite sharp.
  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    I currently have both. Performance on the Panny is *marginally* better. Plus it's a constant f4. I think the Olympus is the better travelling lens though as it is literally half the size and noticeably lighter than the Panny.

  7. alphasierra

    alphasierra Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 13, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia

    Thanks for that. I was figuring aperture shouldn't be too much of an issue - at 9mm both would give me the same, and by the time I get to f5.6 at 18mm there are other options if light becomes a big problem (can use kit lens for f3.5@14mm, or jump to 20mm f1.7 in really poor light - although I know 20mm isn't really so wide).

    Is this logic sensible, or am I missing something? Like I said, I'm new - so lots of ideas, but not so much experience!
  8. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    I only have both because I found a 7-14 used at a good price. I was perfectly happy with the 9-18 and I have used it for some recent commercial photography. I grabbed the 7-14 as it will be useful as a working lens. Otherwise I would have just stuck to the 9-18. It's a great little thing.

    Yes, I think your logic is sound.


    p.s. Shameless plug that my mint condition 9-18 is for sale. :)
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Note that the 7-14 is only big in comparison to the 9-18. It's still a prety small lens in the grand scheme of things
  10. alphasierra

    alphasierra Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 13, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Alright, thanks for the comments, but don't talk me out of it now... I've bought Gordon's lens!
  11. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Real Name:
    Richard Elliott
    This has become my favorite lens - I take it everywhere. I was debating between the Panny 7-14 and the Oly 9-18 and decided on the Oly for 3 reasons:

    1. it is smaller - size is why I went with m43 and this lens is in that spirit.
    2. takes filters - not critical but nice
    3. costs over $200 less - I am cheap

    Even though it is 9mm at the wide end versus 7mm for the Panny remember at the other end it has an advantage of going to 18mm versus 14mm for the Panny which makes it a little more versatile for general purpose shooting.

    And it is one lens I pull out in front of my Canon, Nikon and even Leica friends and they ohh and ahh over it. :biggrin:
  12. Jimboh

    Jimboh Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    Oly v Panny

    I think you'll be happy with the Oly 9-18, especially if price sensitive.
    Having shot about 400 photos with both lenses side-by-side, I found the Oly to be slightly sharper, but the difference would not really be noticeable without magnification or careful observation.

    I love the size of the Oly, about the size of a Gerber baby food jar. However, the Panny 7mm would indeed be worth the $200+ difference if you must have the most absolute wide angle without inducing the hemispherical distortion of a fisheye. That extra 2mm is very noticeable.

    It's nice to have tough choices. Top photo is Panny (7mm), bottom Oly (9mm).
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Panny 14-140, Panny 7-14mm, Oly 9-18
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Jeroen

    Jeroen Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 16, 2010
    the netherlands
    i recently got the 9-18mm and what surprised me the most was how fast and silent it focuses compared to the 14-42 and pana 20/1.7. It's an absolute joy to use. Plenty wide too if you ask me.
  14. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill (really)
    Size and price favor the Olympus, but I'm very happy with my 7-14mm. I particularly like, however, the way Panasonic deals with the various kinds of distortion in software. Lightroom even recognises those adjustments automatically in raw, as the information is carried in the data.

    By the way -- no filters on the Panasonic as the glass pokes out too far. Another point for the Olympus. (The built in lens hood fo the 7-14mm does protect it from harm.)

    There isn't much in the difference in image quality. Dpreview allows side-by-side comparisons

    And finally, I really liked Ken Rockwell's advice about using wide angle lenses at:

    How to Use Ultra-Wide Lenses

    Good luck with the Olympus.