9-18 mm (now$599) vs. 7-14 mm ($984)

Started Apr 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
Josh Adelson Regular Member • Posts: 137
Re: 9-18 mm (now$599) vs. 7-14 mm ($984)

I just returned from a 10-day vacation in Europe for which I rented a 9-18 for use on my GH1, alongside my 14-140 and 20/1.7. Here are my impressions.

The 9-18 was incredibly versatile, especially for city and sightseeing type photography. I probably took 2/3 of the pictures with this lens. Being able to go from a very wide 9mm to almost "normal" 18mm meant I could keep this lens on almost all the time.

The pictures came out very sharp. Comparing similar pictures taken with the 9-18 and the 20, at 100%, you can only see a very slight sharpness difference.

In low light, the 9-18 is not as useful, especially if there is any subject movement. In those situations I resorted to the 20/1.7. Having said that I did shoot a number of church interiors with the 9-18, using high ISO and a slow exposure (e.g. 9mm, f4.0, ISO 800, 1/10 sec) and they came out fine.

I found it a minor annoyance that the zoom direction of the Olympus is opposite that of the Panasonic zooms (and my Canon zooms before that). I was always zooming the wrong way, then correcting myself. If you are coming from an Olympus heritage, then you will have the opposite tendencies. I also found it a minor annoyance having to use the little switch to fully retract the lens. I suppose in time I would get accustomed to these things.

I have never used the 7-14. One observation is that 9mm, while not as wide as 7, is still VERY wide. Ultra-wide shots even at 9mm start to look gimmicky (to me) if there are too many of them, so I would want to be very selective about using 7mm even if I had it. That's just my taste.

Ultimately it comes down to a tradeoff between the zoom ranges, apertures, prices and size/ergonomics and both seem to be great choices.

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