Thursday, June 02, 2011

Wrapping up

I'll be packing up the M.Zuiko 9-18mm this weekend to send back to B&H, and writing a full review of the lens. It's going to be tough, as the M.Zuiko 9-18mm has been out now for some time and there are a good selection of reviews already on the web. I need to come at this from a different angle.

The µ4/3rds version of the Zuiko Digital 9-18mm has been a solid performer on the E-P2, and shows what a good quality lens designed to work with the E-P2 is capable of.

Sky Shot/Star Flair Check

I deliberately shot into the sun to check out the flair qualities of the lens. My original 9-18mm star flared magnificently; when it broke, it was replaced with another copy that had rounded aperture blades and didn't flare nearly as nicely. The M.Zuiko seems to fall between the two regular 4/3rd copies.

Red Z

9mm doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to go to the other end (18mm) to get the point of view you're looking for. Besides, I didn't realize the Nissan Z was up to 370. The last time I drove or rode in a Z car was a 280Z my dad owned. I'll let you figure out how long ago that was.

Surreal Scotter

But then sometimes 9mm does work, especially when close focusing. That, and a little dramatic tone shifting, and a pedestrian scooter takes on a surreal look.

Would I buy a copy for myself? I don't know. The current price is $600, and that's a bit of a stretch for my budget at the moment. Do I think it's worth $600? Again, that depends. The Panasonic 7-14mm for µ4/3rds is $950. From what I've read in reviews and seen in photos it looks to be a pretty awesome UWA, with a much wider angle of view than the M.Zuiko. I'd have to review that lens to make any kind of judgement call.

The bigger question is should I buy anything from Olympus. And that's an even harder question to answer than selecting between the 9-18mm and the 7-14mm.


  1. Bill,

    "The bigger question is should I buy anything from Olympus. And that's an even harder question to answer than selecting between the 9-18mm and the 7-14mm."

    That's the same question I'm asking myself. I have the E-520 DZ kit, plus an additional OM 1.8 50mm and ZD 2.0 50mm Macro. I'd love to have a 9-18mm and 70-300mm, or to replace that kit lens with something like an 11-22mm.

    But once you start thinking and calculating, there are so many nice alternatives which come to mind, like a D7000 for instance.

    The real dilemma between these thoughts: I'd give up (or put aside) a system which has perfect dust busting, in-camera vibration control, and which is known for its superbly made lenses, which don't need much correction in post processing, and which are usable wide open.

    So for the moment I keep asking myself whether it's all worth it, and use my E-520 where it's best: at ISO100 for studio work, and in scenes without too high contrast or too dim light.

    Love that Nissan photo - I also didn't know they're up that far. But wow, the Japanese Porsche; very tempting. I keep telling myself: "a car is only a thing", like detective Crews in "Life" ;-) If I had his 50 million, ...

  2. The grass isn't always greener...

    About 2 years ago I persuaded myself I needed to "upgrade" my E-510 and 12-60mm to a Nikon D300.

    So I spent lots of money on the camera and a AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED (don't you love those Nikon lens names!) and for 5 weeks I used the camera every day whilst travelling in Mexico and Ecuador, and I read the D300 manual from cover to cover more than once.

    After 5 weeks the camera was stolen and I had no choice but to go back to my E-510. To my surprise I found I liked the Olympus better and I still use it today having added the 9-18mm and 35mm Macro lenses. That particular Nikkor lens doesn't compare well with the Zuiko lenses in both build quality and optics.

    The D300 is undoubtedly a very capable camera but I prefer the ergonomics and relative simplicity of the E-510, and in the two years since I've realised that there's nothing wrong with the camera I have, and improving my photography is much more about improving me as a photographer than changing the equipment I use.

    To Wolfgang I would say, buy the Zuiko 12-60mm, it's a superb lens that just produces fabulous results time and time again and is a substantial improvement on the kit lenses, unless you do a lot of interiors, in which case the 9-18mm is fab.

    Bill, the photos you post of your blog are excellent in terms of both artistic and technical quality.


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