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.
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.
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.
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.