Monday, April 1, 2013

Olympus 9-18mm F3.5-5.6 Experience

9-19mm lens fitted to E-PM2 in retracted position

9-18mm lens in ready to shoot position

Since selling my Sigma 10-20mm lens for my Canon DSLR, I do not have an ultra wide lens any more.  It is a focal length you do not tend to use all the time, but very useful for creating perspective that is very unusual.  Used creatively, very striking images can be produced.  This is when the Olympus 9-18mm lens comes in.  In 35mm terms, the angle of view is equivalent to 18-36mm.  Any focal length less than 24mm can be considered ultra wide.  The only other option available for M43 users is the Panasonic 7-14mm F4.  It is a lot wider but twice for cost.  For a lens I will not be using all the time, I cannot justify it.

This lens certainly give you different views

The lens is very small and light.  However, the length doubles when it is extended from its’ travel position to the shooting position.  Considering the cost of the lens, Olympus still does not supply a lens hood.  I was told by the marketing manager of Olympus UK, Mark Thackara, Olympus users do not use the lens hood, so they are not supplied.  Of course, I disagree and use a hood as much as possible.  I shoot with studio lights a lot and finds lens hood helps a lot with preventing flares.

Distortion looks OK for an ultra wide 

How well does it perform?  From my experience of shooting with it for just over a month, I find it sharp enough, but not as sharp as my regular lens, the Panasonic 20mm F1.7.  Focus speed is fast and silent.  As a wide angle lens, I use it mainly to create unusual shooting angle and view points.   For that it work very well and distortion does not look too bad either.

Looks far away even though I was next to him

EPM2 with 10 stop ND filter

The ultra wide angle lens option for M43 users is very small.  Apart from this lens, the only others are the Sanyang 7.5mm F3.5 fisheye and the Panasonic 7-14mm.  It is not as sharp as the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 or the Olympus 45mm F1.8, but still respectable and do well as a landscape lens.  When I have shot more with this lens, I will add more images shot using it.

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