Review: Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 Micro Four Third Lens

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 micro Four Thirds Lens

This review will be looking at the lens being used on Panasonic and Olympus bodies.

Design

The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 is the next widest lens after the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0. This is made for the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system and is 18-36mm (35mm equivalent) on a 2x crop MFT camera.

This lens is not to be mistaken for the almost similarly named ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm f4.0-5.6 which is not the MFT system, but is of course compatible with four-thirds system via an adapter. This is a M.Zuiko -- remember the 'M'.

There's no lens stabilization so you'll have to depend on the camera's in-body stabilization, which is available on the Olympus but but on the Panasonic. Anyway, a wide angle lens isn't affected much by hand vibration.

Panasonic GF2 with Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 lens
Here's how it looks when fixed onto the Panasonic GF2. This is the locked position. It has to be unlocked to be used.

The design is really compact for a wide angle lens. Compared to the Olympus 14-42mm kit lens, this is slightly longer at 49.5mm and just 5g heavier at 155g.

Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 & Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 wide angle lens
Compared to the Panasonic 7-14mm, this is almost 33mm shorter and weights half as much, and is extremely portable as a result. It's one of the most compact wide angle lens across all camera systems.

Panasonic GF2 with Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 lens
The build is mainly plastic but feels durable enough, and better than the kit lens. It features a collapsible design with a zoom locking mechanism similar to the Olympus kit lens. The picture above shows the unlocked position, ready for taking photos.

The lens is threaded 52mm filters so you can have fun experimenting with filters.

Autofocus

Autofocus is snappy and quiet. It won't pick up noise when it is focusing during video recording.

Sharpness

Centre sharpness is excellent so we'll just look at the edge sharpness below.

9mm test on GF2 and E-PL2
There's some very slight softness at the edges, noticeable only when you zoom in 100%.

Distortion

At 9mm, there's slight barrel-shaped distortion not unexpected from a wide angle lens. This lens is very sharp in the centre but has some corner softness at this range, but gets better when going less wide.

Chromatic Aberration

Some slight chromatic aberration on the Panasonic body. Olympus cameras removes that with the camera software.

Vignetting

No vignetting is noticed.

Olympus E-PL2 with 9-18mm f/4-5.6 at 9mm | f/11 | 1/320s

GH2 with Olympus 9-18mm
This lens is great for landscape photography. At its widest, it is great for shooting in tight spaces but good light is required as the aperture is not constant and drops to f/5.6 at 18mm.

In the indoor shot above, you can see some edge softness even when the photo is scaled back this small. The landscape shot looks sharp enough.

Conclusion

Overall, it's an extremely fun to use. It has good image quality packed into a portable package. The major selling point is definitely the size of this lens.

The lens does not come with a hood or soft case which should really have been included given the price.

The other lens worth considering also is the Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0, which is sharp from centre to edge if you require your photos to be.

At a glance
+ Small, light and extremely portable
+ Good image quality
+ Fast focus
+ Quiet
+ Accepts filters
- Very sharp in centre with slight corner softness
- f/5.6 is not good in low light situations
- Does not come with hood

Availability

The Olympus M.ZUIKO 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 lens is available on Amazon (US | UK | FR | DE | JP)

Be sure to check out more reviews on Amazon.

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