Olympus 9-18mm vs. Panansonic 7-14mm is a comparism of both lenses from a practical point of view and not meant as a test 😉
The Olympus 4-5.6/9-18mm came along with my Lumix G6 and is characterized by a compact design and pretty good optical qualitiy. But more often there was a need/wish for more wide angle because 9mm or 18mm euqivilent on full frame wasn’t enough.
The Olympus 9-18mm is pretty compact and weighs 135gr. only, but at 18mm focal length you only have a maximum aparture of f 5.6 . The Panansonic 7-14mm almost doubles the weight compared to the Olympus 9-18mm, but the Panasonic offers a maximum apartufe of f 4.0 on the complete focal length range. Sometimes i missed a optical stabilizer on the Olympus 9-18mm but with Olympus and newer Lumix bodies which offer stabilization in the body this feature is not essential any more.
The curved front lens reminds on a fish-eye lens and doesn’t allow the use of filters, while the Olympus lens allows the use 52mm screw-in filters. The nearest focusing distance is identiacal on both lenses at 25cm.
The Olympus is very compact locked in transportation mode, but if you unlock it for photographic use its almost as long as the Panasonic 7-14mm. Of course the Olympus lens is pretty slim, but the Panasonic lens isn’t that big at all.
The optical performance at 7mm is very good in the center, the edges are soft at wide open aparture. You can gain a little bit more sharpness by closing down the aparture , but beginning at f 11 overall sharpness is reduced by diffraction blur.
At focla length 9mm we can do a first comparism between the two lenses. Both lenses have a very good sharpness in the center, so i can’t prefer one or another.
On the edges there is a difference in favour of the Panasonic 7-14mm lens.
And now we take a look at 14mm, first the center
There are no significant differences between the 2 lenses. The Olympus lens reaches f 4.9 at this focal length. The edges have the same result as with 9mm.
The differences are a little bit less, but the Panasonic lens is a bit better. At wider open aparture the Panasonic edges are only slightly better, but consider the olympus captures with f 4.9 at this focal length.
Angle of view
The difference of 2 mm on the shortest focal length doesn’t sound that much. But 2mm or 4mm on full frame format is a lot of difference in ultra wide angle. Lets take a look at the following example:
Quite a big difference. If you like ultra wide angle photography you’ll be happy with 7mm 😉
In the center areas of an image the optical performance of both lenses is on a very high level, so you can’t set a winner. The edges are slightly better even at open aparture with the Panasonic 7-14mm. But still the Olympus 9-18mm is a compact and a very good lens. For the Panasonic there are solutions for using filters with this lens and the lack of a stabalization on both lenses isn’t that important with Olympus or newer Lumix bodies.