Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Images Quality Review

The Zuiko Olympus ED 9-18mm 1:4-5.6 is Olympus’s newest all-new lens style, declared in May 2008. It rests in the company’s ‘Standard’ sequence of contacts, and provides ultra-wide position chance to the more budget-conscious customer. Associated with this it costs around 15% less than the revered ‘Pro’ sequence Zuiko Olympus ED 11-22mm 1:2.8-3.5, while providing considerably broader position protection, but providing up a stop with regards to highest possible aperture with lower construction (most especially no water/dust sealing).

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm

The lens functions an extremely lightweight and light-weight style for a wideangle zoom ability, understanding one of the benefits guaranteed by Olympus for the Four Thirds program on its release. This is accomplished with an visual system of 13 components in 9 categories, such as an ED cup factor to reduce chromatic aberration and comprehensive use of aspherical lens areas (the front side factor is ‘Dual Extremely Aspherical’, no less). Also making an overall look is Olympus’s ‘focus-by-wire’ program, with no immediate technical outcomes of the guide concentrate band and the motor-driven inner concentrate team.

The 9-18mm’s only immediate opponent in the Four Thirds program is the Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 EX DC HSM, which at the time of composing is rather less expensive and functions ultrasonic-type concentrating, but drops at the comprehensive end where every millimetre of central duration matters (9mm provides an extra 5 levels position of perspective over 10mm). The Sigma will be topic of a potential review; for now let’s see how the 9-18mm deals in our assessments.

Key Features

  • Ultra-wideangle zoom ability range (18-36mm equivalent)
  • F4-5.6 highest possible aperture
  • Four Thirds install for Olympus and Panasonic DSLRs
  • Fits Small Four Thirds digital cameras via adaptor

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Body And Design

The 9-18mm holds a powerful family similarity to Olympus’s acquainted 14-42mm kit zoom; it’s near-identical in design, fit and complete. With most other producers this could be considered a frightening indictment, but in this case it’s no bad thing at all, as the 14-42mm is one of the better-made of your financial budget kit connections. Accordingly the the external is created from light and portable but top quality nasty materials, and the 9-18mm benefits the welcome addition of a steel lens install. The wide zoom capability band consumes most of the gun barrel, with the concentrate band at the top side. However compared with Olympus’s ‘Pro’ and ‘Top Pro’ connections (e.g. the ZD 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 ED or the ZD 7-14mm F4 ED), this one isn’t enclosed against dirt or wetness.

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Body And Design
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Body And Design

‘Focus-by-wire’ guide focus

The most uncommon function of this lens’s function is the focus-by-wire guide concentrate program, which pushes the concentrating team ultimately via the lens’s auto-focus engine (as instead of the immediate technical relationship discovered in most connections, such as Olympus’s latest SWD models). As a result, the feel of the guide concentrate band never changes, regardless of whether you is set to auto or guide concentrate, or the concentrate has achieved the boundaries of its journey (either close or infinity), and this lack of responsive reviews can be a little befuddling in some circumstances. However, this technique does have some advantages; it allows gearing of the concentrate activity, such that switching the guide concentrate band quickly makes extremely quick initial improvements, but then switching it gradually allows very fine following remodelling. This basically imitates the effect of having an extremely long concentrate journey, and consequently (in concept at least) allows a advanced level of guide concentrate precision, especially when using stay perspective.


The 9-18mm feature’s Olympus’s conventional micro-motor concentrating program, again very similar to the 14-42mm kit lens. This isn’t particularly quick, but it’s certainly quick enough, as common topics for ultrawide connections (e.g. scenery and interiors) are completely willing to hold back. The tremendous detail of area natural to such short central measures will also cover up any minimal concentrate mistakes which happen, so on the whole there’s little to grumble about here.

The lens is created to be suitable with contrast-detect auto-focus in Live Look at suitable Four Thirds digicam, and works very well in this method. Indeed it was uncommonly quick and reponsive on all of the camcorders we examined it on, such as the Olympus E-30 and Panasonic DMC-L10. The 9-18mm is also fully suitable with the comparison identify AF of the Small Four Thirds Panasonic G1.

Lens body elements

  • The lens functions the ‘open standard’ Four Thirds install, currently suitable with DSLRs from Olympus and Panasonic. Interaction with you is all-electronic, via the gold-plated connections. The lens functions some rather simple molded holds on the side of the gun barrel to aid mounting/dismounting; they’re not great, but better than nothing.
  • The narrow line is 72mm, and does not move on autofocusing, which is beneficial when using polarisers or pretty neutral solidity gradients (the most likely to be discovered at the front side of this lens). Thankfully that standard-mount (8mm thick) polarisers may be used without vignetting, so you won’t actually have to pay extra for slimline editions.
  • The petal-type LH-75C bayonet-mount bonnet emerged as conventional, and suits favorably onto the top side of the lens. It’s created of black nasty boasting ribbed mouldings on the inside, to reduce insights of wander light into the lens. White arrows on the outside aid positioning for increasing. The bonnet is however 94mm (3.7″) across, so takes up a relatively significant port in your bag.
  • The rubberized hold on the zoom capability band is 22mm extensive, and the activity is sleek and accurate. It moves 80 levels clockwise from the 9mm to 18mm roles. The lens is actually quickest halfway between the 11mm and 14mm configurations, and the top side factor expands merely a 3mm on cruising to either 9 or 18mm.
  • The concentrate band is 10mm extensive, and while its activity is completely sleek, it gives no responsive reviews on function at all due to the ‘focus-by-wire’ design.

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Images Quality


Sharpness solutions may, with excellent stability across the dwelling at all main actions, and relatively little reduction of sharpness towards the ends. Best solutions are actually obtained set up, with the image progressively training due to diffraction on preventing down. As always on Four Thirds, F16 and especially F22 are best avoided.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is reasonably excellent, as expected for a wideangle zoom ability capability. Red/cyan fringing is recognizable at all main actions, but at levels little more extreme than those found on typical traditional zooms. The CA is highest possible at 11mm, and tends to get a bit more recognizable on preventing down (peaking at about F11). However the details are usually absolutely near to straight range that program adjustment should be relatively simple if required.

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Images
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Images


We consider falloff to start with becoming a potential problem when the region illumination falls to more than 1 stop below the center. The 9-18mm shows no essential falloff at all; if one happens to like vignetting, you’re going to have to add it in post-processing.


Distortion is extremely low, which variety from 0.8% gun gun barrel at 9mm through to -0.3% pincushion at 18mm. In real circumstances, this will to all intents and factors be imperceptible. However for those looking for definitely absolutely straight selections, disturbances can be set using Olympus’s 100 % 100 % free Professional program.


Control of surface is an important feature of a superwide lens; with such an extensive view of the globe, shiny mild resources will find themselves in the structure regularly. Overall the 9-18mm worked out pretty well in this respect, displaying only periodic issues with surface, most problematically with a very shiny mild towards the center of the structure.

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Images Qualty
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Images Qualty

The examples below demonstrate common daily ‘contre jour’ photos. With the sun in a area of the structure at wideangle, the lens reveals few issues at common capturing apertures, but produces unique radial ‘streaking’ styles on avoiding down (as in the F16 example shown here). Cruising in to 18mm with the sun still impinging close to the top side of the lens, we see some surface styles and a loss of comparison towards the top left of the frame; in such situations it would be better to provide additional covering to the top side factor beyond that already provided by the bonnet.

Chromatic aberration

Wideangle zooms are likely to suffer from a level of horizontal chromatic aberration, but Olympus has handled to keep it reasonably in balance in this lens. A level of red/cyan fringing are seen at all central measures, and the examples below give an idea of what to expect. The CA is reasonably simple cure in post-processing; the plants at the end demonstrate a ‘quick and dirty’ application of Photoshop CS3’s ‘lens correction’ narrow to the out-of-camera JPEGs, leading to significant (if not complete) elimination of the fringing. Better results could be extracted from implementing the modification during RAW transformation.

Distortion modification using Olympus Master

The 9-18mm reveals extremely low distortions which will only hardly ever be noticeable in real-world photos, but for those events when absolutely straight line is essential, it can be fixed using Olympus’s free Expert software (supplied with their cameras). The example below demonstrates this in action; the unique picture has minor but noticeable gun barrel distortions, after running it through Olympus Expert 2 this is fixed basically completely, with the collections at the base of the picture becoming totally straight. Amazing stuff.

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm Specifications

Street price • US: $525
• UK: £440
Date introduced May 2008
Maximum format size Four Thirds
Focal length 9-18mm
35mm equivalent focal length
Diagonal Angle of view 100º – 62º
Maximum aperture F4-5.6
Minimum aperture F22
Lens Construction • 13 elements/9 groups
• 1 ED glass element
• 2 aspherical elements
Number of diaphragm blades 7, rounded
Minimum focus 0.25m
Maximum magnification 0.12x
AF motor type Micro Motor
Focus method Internal
Image stabilization None
Filter thread • 72mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories* • Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood LH-75C
Weight 280 g (9.9 oz)
Dimensions 79.5 mm diameter x 73 mm length
(3.1 x 2.9 in)
Lens Mount Four Thirds