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7-14mm Panasonic or 9-18mm Olympus
  • Hi there,

    I'm really interested in a rectilinear Ultra Wide Angle lens for my GH2 but can't decide between these two. I intend to do video and long exposures with it in all conditions (including bright daylight), that's why I'm interested in the ability to fit filters. On the other hand, the idea of going for a wide angle lens is to get that massive perspective, I'm really fond of it for architectural shots.

    These two lens seem to be those that offer the widest rectilinear perspectives for the M4/3. I'm not interested in a fish-eye because I would like to shoot 1080p/i without loosing quality after de-fishing. If you aren't already familiar with these two lenses, I would sum up the plus and cons that really matter to me like so:

    Panasonic 7-14mm (+ widest reach) (- can't fit filters)

    Olympus 9-18mm (+ can fit filters) (- doesn't go as wide)

    Price, constant aperture, small quality differences don't really matter to me.

    In summary, as far as it goes in terms of what matters to me, what one has the other doesn't. That's why it's so hard to choose for me. Yes, I already researched this comparison thoroughly but never saw it applied particularly to video. Perhaps someone here faced the same dillema and managed to make a decision or could provide a recommendation based on something I'm unable to see here.

    Care to comment?

  • 24 Replies sorted by
  • I was considering buying the same thing. However, I just couldn't get over the fact that the 7-14mm couldn't fit filters or protection for the glass easily. Also it really wasn't fast enough for indoor use.

    The 9-18mm was an ok option but it didn't really go wide enough and wasn't fast enough.

    I finally gave up until the GoPro 3 Black came out. I am not suggesting that it is as good as those other lenses on the GH2. However, it offers so much more flexibility than those lenses when you mount it on the GH2/GH3's hot shoe.

    I can shoot ultra wide at 2.7K or even 4K and then just crop to whatever I need. It has a good F2.8 lens but its ISO performance isn't great. Protune helps a lot with that though.

    Honestly, there is nothing cooler than being able to shoot wide and tight simultaneously. I know this sollution is not for everyone. However, it is something to at least consider. The 2.7K @ 30 or 24 FPS with Protune is really very good for $400.

  • I have the 7-14 and its a fantastic lens. But it would be nice to have image stabilisation, because the very widest part of the range emphasises every wiggle of the camera. So you might find the 9-18 better. I must admit it didn't occur to me that very wide lenses start to show every camera movement. But it is amazingly sharp and great for landscapes and big architectural shots. It's not so useful for people in shot as it can look a bit "unkind" unless you have them reasonably central in the image - it's not so much that there's a huge difference in size to things nearest the lens, as the way they get stretched near the edges of the frame.

  • I got interested in samyang fisheye + pannini projection correction a while ago. I haven´t pursued it though (as I couldn´t motivate the spenditure). Seems like a very simple way to get a very wide angle of view if you take care when framing and you don´t loose as much as on a simple rectilinear correction. It can be quite spectacular. There´s some expertise on this if you look around the forum! Another option would be to get tokina 11-16 + tilt and shift ef/m43 adapters. Not as wide, but an interesting possibility nonetheless (especially for architecture). Both these possibilities as a combo could be worth consideration, too.

  • @mpgxsvcd interesting. I'm trying to stick to lenses-only solution. This is because I also want it for stills.

    @Mark_the_Harp I'm really craving for a wide aperture such as what the 7-14mm provides, so I'm not scared of any caveats.

    @RRRR The Samyang would be perfect for my needs if it weren't for it being a fisheye. The problem is that when you defish 1080p footage you loose a lot of quality. This can, of course, be mitigated by shooting in 1080p for a final output of 720p de-fished. For stills I have no problem with this lens and I'm aware of the wonders of the Panini projection. I am actually considering getting the Samyang 7.5+Olympus 9-18mm, that would offer a lot of flexibility and may be the answer I'm looking for.

  • I'm sure the Oly is nice and sharp, but I would never buy another variable aperture lens. Maybe that's worth something? I have the sigma 10-20 3.5 and really like it. Plus, I don't like buying a lens that locks me into one type of format (MFT). I buy nikon mount lenses (for the most part).

  • I tried the Micro 4/3 version of the Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6, and found the size was just too small for my purposes. The way the lens collapses is nice for a compact GF camera, but it doesn't play well for use on a rig with a matte box. With a lens this wide, shading is really crucial to minimize flares.

    What I really like is the legacy Four Thirds Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6, with a 72mm filter ring. The outer barrel on this lens extends just a few millimeters as you zoom, and it is sharper and more rectilinear than the Micro 4/3 version. This lens will also auto-focus on the GH1 as well as the GH2.

  • I have the 7-14 and it is magnificent. A bit slow indoors but spectacular outside. It is sharp as a tack and the extra 2mm that it gives you can produce remarkably wide shots. It can at a pinch fit filters as this was my concern too. I use a Cokin P filter holder and have an attachment to handle square filters. It's not ideal but it can be done. I did some research on it and found someone who had had success with this arrangement. You will lose the widest part of the lense because the filter holder will be seen by the wide angle. This takes it to about 9-10mm

  • And here's a video shot with the 7-14mm using Grad ND and polarizing filter. For some reason banding in the sky is noticeable when using the grad ND. It was a test to see how this was going to work, and I stopped using the grad with this version of the hack. AVCHD doesn't like smooth gradation of any kind in my opinion.

  • Hi i have 9-18 mm. Excellent for architecture, strange shots, small spaces that you need lot of details... To shot people it could be weird sometimes. Autofocus is ok. And you can ad a Nd filter.

  • @rsquires Lovely video, very very very cool music!

  • Actually the legacy four thirds wide angle zoom could be the best choice as it would give also the possibility to use tilt and shift adapters. Not really sure how the lens would perform in such circumstances though and maybe @LPowell has tried something like that?

  • Tilt should work, for shift you'll need a larger image circle. But chances are better with FT than MFT for sure.

  • I have the 7-14 and I love it. @rsquires tip up top looks cool, but I also found this solution which appears to be better all around, though quite a bit more expensive. I haven't sprung for it yet, but it's nice to know that you don't have to compromise if you need filters on the 7-14.

  • I still think, if you have a 14-140, it would be better to go with the 7-14. Does the lens have a 'lip' to kind of 'sit a filter'? I'm able to manually sit my 14-140 ND filter on the 100-300 end.

  • 7-14 Pany. Its very good. Its my fav wide lens for MFT.

  • Thanks for everyone's input! I have to say that my heart would probably get the Panasonic but in the end I'm taking another route.

    I decided to get a Samyang 7.5mm. It's cheap and good quality and I'm going for this one to get started with wide-angle shooting. I can always de-fish any stills or footage. Should be good and fun enough to get started.

    In the end I'm hoping that we'll get a native MFT rectilinear wide-angle, prime or zoom, comparable to the Panasonic, but that allows for installing filters. Maybe Tokina will step in? I'll be 1st in line to get such a lens!

  • You know why they don't take filters, right? The lens body would need to be huge to accept a filter large enough to cover the lens's entire field of view.

  • I ended up starting with the Samyang 7.5. Very nice lens. Coincidentally, Fotodiox just recently announced an adapter for using filters in wide angle lenses, coverage on

  • @chocobanana

    Quite strange thing, need to chekc more specs and photos.

    We'll have 4x4 filter holder that has some similarity with it on deals today.

  • "I must admit it didn't occur to me that very wide lenses start to show every camera movement."

    All lenses display camera movement when used handheld. Results are dependent on the filmmaker's abilities and technique, shooting situation, camera rig etc. It's an aesthetic question -- whether the movement is overtly distracting or unintentional. Undesirable camera movement is a progressively bigger problem with longer lenses, especially handheld. If you don't want movement (other than panning and tilting) use a tripod.

    "I'm sure the Oly is nice and sharp, but I would never buy another variable aperture lens."

    Give that dude a cigar! I'd also pass on auto focus; it has it's uses but I generally avoid it. Many of the clips I've seen proudly posted on this site were effectively ruined by having the autofocus operating (continually seeking focus) while recording. Here's the normal routine prior to pressing the record button: frame and focus, set aperture/iris, check focus. Tap the auto focus if necessary, then turn the damn thing off! If you can't disengage the auto focus, don't use that lens for video -- or at least try and edit around the pulsating, amateurish crud you will inevitably end up with.

  • Any chance there will be a 7 mm prime for m43 in the future?

  • The 9-18mm was one of the first lenses that Olympus equipped with their ‘Movie and Still Compatible’ (short: MSC) autofocus, which is designed to be fast, silent, and accurate. And in fact it is.


    At the wide end and with the aperture wide open, sharpness is lacking especially in the corners. The center is decently sharp at all focal lengths and apertures (until diffraction kicks in, that is), but the corners only really sharpen up when zooming all the way in and stopping down to at least f/8. So if corner-to-corner sharpness under all circumstances is critical for you, you better look elsewhere. For web viewing or small prints, the performance is absolutely sufficient.


    M.Zuiko 9-18 exhibits some slight barrel distortion. You probably won’t notice it in a landscape picture, but in architectural shots or scenes with lots of parallel lines it will be noticeable.

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