Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6 Lens

6/24/2013 5:19:08 PM

The compact ultra-wide angle zoom lens designed for Micro Four Thirds System cameras offers an unlimited 2x zoom lens equivalent to 18-36mm on a 35mm camera. It costs about $ 675 and features a collapsible design.

Features and manipulations

Weighing just 155g and only 49.5 mm long when closed back, this lens is extremely compact compared with the limits it offers. The lens itself is made from high quality plastic and the lens mount frame is made of metal. It forms a great combination with the compact body of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 used for testing, and will also fit the smaller body from the Micro Four Thirds with an equivalent range.

Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6

Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6

As this lens features a collapsible design, the aperture will almost double its length. Once expanded, the rotation adjustment is limited zoom range zoom unless the side switch is activated, the lens can then fall again to become more compact when stored hold. Focusing process done inside the 52mm filter does not rotate during use, making this lens ideal for use with the filter scale and bias. The AF speed is fast and the focus ring is manually braked, which makes the adjustment process quite simple.

One odd thing on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 used to test is that the lens cannot focus all in manual focus mode. Because this lens creates a wide-intensive range, even at maximum aperture, it will not be a problem in practice. The lens has a silent focus motor and is labeled as one of Olympus’s MSC lenses, suitable for videos and stills. The minimum focusing distance is 25cm allowing capture images at close range and quite ideal for shooting in cramped conditions.

The body of the lens

The body of the lens


At 9mm and maximum aperture, the sharpness in the center of the box is great and the sharpness to the edge of the frame is very good. There is no real benefit to achieve sharpness in the center of the frame down by the focal length down, but the sharpness of the edges of the frame reached the improvement with excellent lower aperture down between f/5.6 and f/8.

At 14mm, high sharpness level is maintained at the center of the frame at maximum aperture, but obviously at the edges of the frame the sharpness dropped. Reducing to f/8 improves sharpness towards the edges of the frame at a pretty good level, while still maintaining outstanding sharpness in the center of the frame.

Finally, at 18mm, sharpness in the center of the frame is excellent with a maximum aperture at 14mm and is like, the sharp edges of the frame to fall behind a bit, which still hits pretty well. Reducing down to f/8 improved sharpness at the edge of the box well at this focal length.

Chromatic aberration review

Chromatic aberration review

How to read our charts?

The blue columns represent the index from the center of the frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. The average of the two figures above will be on the red weighted column.

The column on the left side shows the resolution of the actual image. The higher the column the better the quality of the camera lens.

In this article, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations on the edges of the frame are well controlled in 9mm, but rose to a remarkable point with zoom lens smaller than 14mm. Some key points may need to be done while shooting scenes for the position of high contrast edges near the periphery of the image area.

Definition image review

Definition image review

How to read our charts?

Chromatic aberrations are not only capable of focusing on the sensor or blurring all colors of visible light at the same point of the lens. High chromatic aberration gives the remarkable range or creates a halo effect around sharp edges around the image. It can be handled by the software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lenses (no bridge, ultra-low dispersion, etc.) to minimize the problem, so they usually have a much higher price.

In this article, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 using Imatest.

The light falloff towards the corners of the frame is pretty well controlled for a lens with such a wide angle. The lighting visual consistency process is achieved when the lens is reduced from the maximum aperture within its zoom limit.

The lens when installed on the device

The lens when installed on the device

Deformation is also well controlled throughout the zoom range with Imatest detecting only distortion of 1.8% at 0.1% at 18mm and 9mm. The low numbers did not cause problems for everyday normal snapshots. If all the lines are higher than the deformed ones relatively, it will be quite simple to fix as it is consistent across the frame.

No lens cover is supplied as standard with this lens and the lens easily gets blurred due to the flares and sensitivity to flashing light sources in the frame. Although the lens cover for a wide angle will generate protection against this just a bit, it still will be better if one comes.

Tested picture

Sample images

Sample images


This lens is currently the cheapest super-wide angle zoom lens on the market for Micro Four Thirds system, at about $675. With its nearest equivalent is Panasonic's 7-14mm f/4, the product retails at about $1.245. This lens provides a wide viewing angle and a continuous maximum aperture of f/4, but not the type that opens like this Olympus lens.


Those who are looking for a super wide angle compact lens for the Micro Four Thirds systems will not be going too far with this lens. It has a few drawbacks, as long as you realize this lens is capable of providing more quality results.

As it stands firm in its segment, it is a product with ultra-wide viewing angle for the best values ​​for MFT cameras and collapsible design, its lightweight also means it will be the perfect choice for your trip.


·         Collapsible design

·         Lightweight

·         Fast, silent autofocus

·         Excellent sharpness in the center of the frame throughout the zoom range

·         Los distortion

·         Good value compared to the alternatives


·         No lens cover supplied as standard

·         High CA levels towards the edges of the frame greater than 14 mm

·         Prone to flare


·         Lens mounts: Panasonic Micro Four Thirds, Olympus Micro Four Thirds

·         Focal length: 9-18 mm

·         Angle of view: 62°-100°

·         Max aperture: f/4-f/5.6

·         Min aperture: f/22

·         Filter size: 52 mm

·         35mm equivalent: 18-36 mm

·         Internal focusing: yes

·         Min focus:  25 cm

·         Stabilized: no

·         Construction blades: 7

·         Construction elements: 12

·         Construction groups: 8

·         Box contents: Lens, Lens Cap, Rear Cap, Warranty Card

·         Weight: 155 g

·         Height: 49.5 mm


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