Compared to...

Compared to Olympus ZD 9-18mm F4-5.6 and Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm F4

To get an idea of just how small the 9-18mm really is, here we see it in its retracted configuration, nestling between the other two wideangle zooms that will mount and autofocus on Micro Four Thirds cameras. On the left is the Olympus Zuiko Digital 9-18mm F4-5.6 for Four Thirds (which is itself tiny for a DSLR wide zoom), mounted on the Micro Four Thirds adapter; on the right is the Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm F4 (click here for a similar picture without the adapter, but with lens caps).

There's really very little to add here beyond what's obvious from the picture. The Four Thirds lens is obviously fully compatible with Olympus's DSLRs, but a side effect of this is that autofocus is slow and hesitant on Micro Four Thirds cameras. Meanwhile the Panasonic lens is much wider and has a constant F4 maximum aperture, but on the other hand it doesn't accept filters. As usual, the Panasonic and Olympus lenses zoom in opposite directions - clockwise (from the photographer's perspective) to zoom in with the 7-14mm, but anti-clockwise with the two 9-18mm lenses.

The table below compares and contrasts the vital statistics of the three lenses. Overall we can't help but feel that Olympus's impressive feat of miniaturization with the 9-18mm fits better with the specific strengths of the Micro Four Thirds system.

Olympus M ZD
9-18mm F4-5.6
Olympus ZD
9-18mm F4-5.6
7-14mm F4
Price • US: $700 • US: $475 • US: $1100
Focal length 9-18mm 9-18mm 7-14mm
35mm equivalent FL
18-36mm 18-36mm 14-28mm
Diagonal Angle of view 100º - 62º 100º - 62º 114º - 75º
Maximum aperture F4-5.6 F4-5.6 F4
Minimum aperture F22 F22 F22
Lens Construction • 12 elements/8 groups
• 1 ED glass element
• 1 HR glass element
• 3 aspherical elements
• 13 elements/9 groups
• 1 ED glass element
• 2 aspherical elements
• 16 elements/12 groups
• 4 ED glass elements
• 2 aspherical elements
No. of diaphragm blades 7, rounded 7, rounded 7, rounded
Minimum focus 0.25m 0.25m 0.25m
Maximum magnification 0.1x 0.12x 0.15x
Filter thread 52mm 72mm n/a
Weight 155 g (5.5 oz) 280 g (9.9 oz) 300 g (10.6 oz)
Dimensions 56.5 mm / 2.2" diameter
49.5 mm / 1.9" length
79.5 mm /3.1" diameter
76 mm / 3.0" length
70 mm / 2.8" diameter
83 mm / 3.3" length
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds Four Thirds
Micro Four Thirds

Compared to Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ED

Just to give a second perspective on the 9-18mm's diminutive size, here it is alongside Olympus's other collapsible zoom, the familiar M Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom (in its plastic-mount 'L' incarnation). The 9-18mm is a little bit longer, but slimmer and very similar in weight. Despite this it feels distinctly better-made, with much smoother and better-damped zoom and focus rings in particular. It also has a proper bayonet mount for a lens hood (the bad news being that this will be an optional extra), and due to the internal focus design, the front lens cell and filter thread don't rotate on focusing, making filter use much easier.