Don’t buy a Micro 43 lens until you read this – Part 3

Shot on a GX1 with Olympus 9-18 lens as part of my Cloud Structures project
Shot on a GX1 with Olympus 9-18 lens as part of my Cloud Structures project

In this posting we will look at the lenses falling in the super wide angle category. I define this as being those that are wider than 24mm (full frame equivalent) or 12mm (Micro 43). At the time of writing there are only two zoom lens options which are described below. Headings are links to to see the lenses.

Super Wide Angle Zoom

Olympus 9-18mm

If you need a wider angle lens than the 12mm standard zoom you don’t have much choice. It’s either this lens or the Panasonic 7-14mm mentioned below. I own the Olympus 9-18 and really like it. It’s a sharp lens that performs well. At the wider angle end of the zoom range it will distort but the lens retains its sharpness. Some chromatic aberration is apparent but no more than you might expect from such a wide angle.

The lens is very light and small. It also collapses down on itself when not in use. This makes it very easy to carry and suitable for all sorts of camera design. Most importantly you can easily use filters on this lens, something that can be tricky with the Panasonic.

Panasonic 7-14mm

I can’t deny this is a sharper lens than the Olympus and is most certainly pro quality. The downside when compared to the Olympus is that it’s larger and quite a bit heavier although it’s still much smaller and lighter than a DSLR wide angle lens.

Despite its amazing performance, I opted not to buy this lens because of one key problem. The front element of the lens protrudes beyond the front of the lens making it very difficult to attach filters. If you can overcome this limitation and don’t mind that it’s quite a lot more costly than the Olympus then this is a great lens.

8 thoughts on “Don’t buy a Micro 43 lens until you read this – Part 3

  1. The Panasonic 7-14 also performs very badly when artificial lights are in or close to the edges of the frame. You get lots of purple edging and purple blobs on the image itself. For outdoors use it is a really great lens, maybe outstanding, but for real estate or architectural use, it has some big problems.

    1. Thanks for adding to the information. I hadn’t noticed these problems on the lens I was trying. Are you tending to use it wide open or do you stop it down? Colour fringing tends to reduce at smaller apertures.

  2. I use this lens with my Olympus in a Nauticam housing for underwater photography. Great for wide angle and broad image of seascape.

  3. Interesting reads in this series. In particular, had not known about the 14-45 kit lens being better than the others. Hoping you’ll compare the Panasonic 45-150mm to the Olympus 40-150mm. Would love to hear more opinions about lenses! Cheers and thanks.

    1. I’m just writing up my thoughts on the long lenses at present but I have never tried the Olympus 40-150 (I will be commenting on the Panasonic). I do however have a friend who had the Olympus but sold it in favour of the Panasonic (he also uses an Olympus body). There’s also more to come on the prime lenses as there are some stunning examples – not necessarily the lenses you might expect.

  4. Robin,

    Have you any experience / thoughts on the Panasonic pancake 14-42 lens – Panasonic H-PS14042E-K Lumix G X VARIO 14-42mm ?


    1. Hi Steve, sorry I don’t have any experience but I would advise to take care. My view is that there have been a lot of gimmicky lenses over the past few years. These seem to be aimed at making money for the companies rather than producing top quality images. Often these are sold as kit lenses, although the 14-45 Panasonic seems to be an exception.

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