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Thread: I got my Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm lens today

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    I got my Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm lens today

    Arrived today from Japan. I don't think anyone has it on the shelves here yet and I got it cheap (around the same price as the Four Thirds 9-18mm lens locally).

    I am impessed with this little beauty. Focus seems fast enough (only tested in low light so far), the lens is very quiet, renders images that appear to be sharp across the frame with lots of detail.

    The lens is still quite compact, just a little longer than the standard kit zoom but narrower. Manual focus works fine and the lens is happy with my Cokin P series filter holder and there is no vignetting with the filter holder even at 9mm.

    Here are my first two half serious photos taken at Tom Ugly's Bridge this evening. It wasn't a great night for photos. There was no moon, no clouds and smoke hanging around from a bushfire burnoff today that went wrong.

    One thing I must say about this lens is that it controls flare very well and certainly better than any other lens I have.

    These shots were taken using my Olympus E-P1 and are are for 13 seconds at f/8 and ISO200. They are at 9mm and 18mm respectively. The images are unedited other than cropping of some of the bottom.

    Cheers

    PeterB666
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    Last edited by peterb666; 11-05-2010 at 11:36pm.

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    Might want to run it through some noise reduction on the sky and water? Nice and sharp though!

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    Just an example. Hope you dont mind.


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    Thanks I guess, but there are now jaggies on the underside bridge on the left and you have lost my star in the sky (that spec wasn't a hot pixel), and the lens flare is reduced. The idea was to show the capabilities of the lens, warts and all.

    Personally, I don't mind a bit of image noise as I have memories of what ISO1600 film use to do and I don't understand this obsession at removing noise. It wasn't something you could do with film. The camera default settings in the JPEGs are adequate and I don't intend blowing these images up into posters.

    Cheers

    PeterB666
    Last edited by peterb666; 11-05-2010 at 11:40pm.

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    I really like these, they are very nice. Looks like it's going to be a great little lens! Hope you enjoy it
    Olympus bodies: E330 & the E3. Lenses: Zuiko 12-60mm, 50-200mm. Sigma 105mm. Extras: EX25, FL36R, FL50R and a few odds and ends

    "A stranger is just a friend you don't know yet!" ~ Billy Connelly

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Hi Peter, as I'm interested in the the m43 system I appreciate your opinion on the subject.
    As Owen pointed out, there does seem to be very noticeable noise even in the reduced size pics you've posted and this was shot at ISO 200.
    Do you find this is the case with all long exposures on the EP1?
    It could also be jpeg artifacts making the picture appear worse but it'd be interesting to hear your comments. Have you used other DSLRs that you can compare with?
    Nikon FX

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    I did no noise reduction in those images. That's just the default noise levels from the JPEGs out of the camera.

    Noise levels are variable under the conditions and length of exposure, just as they are in every camera.

    I do find noise levels high in very long exposures when there is little light. For example on the same night I shot some 60s exposures at f/8 in a very dark area when I needed to use lightpainting to pick up any significant detail (which wasn't successul as I bought the wrong torch on the night). Those images were very noisy.

    When there is a bit of moon and some cloud cover to reflect the light, those images have much less noise and would have been acceptable to me.

    I generally don't find a little bit of noise objectionable and will use it to build on the atmosphere I want in a picture. I come from film and used ISO1600 film a couple of times. In my opinion, for long exposures, the current Four Thirds and MFT cameras better the noise than you would generally expect from ISO1600 film.

    Yes there are JPEG artifacts in the shots out of the camera and there are also size reduction artifacts and additional JPEG artifacts in the reduction and compression.

    I don't shoot to make giant posters but 99% of the time to post on the Internet, email or display on a monitor or TV. I rarely print so I use JPEGs rather than RAW because it is quicker and suits my needs. BTW, night shots I generally use RAW+JPEG but rarely go to the RAW images.

    I came a cross a comparison of the new Sony NEXT camera, to (I recall) the Nikon D5000, Olympus E-P1 and the Canon Ti for noise and the results were interesting. From my past experiences, I would have thought that the Nikon D5000 would be a clean winner but overall the Sony NEXT was picked the best compromise, and it was a toss up between the Olympus E-P1 and Canon Ti for low and high ISO shots. That really surprised me. BTW, that was their assessment, not mine.

    Overall, 99% of the time I am happy with the noise levels relative to other cameras. Yeah, full-frame 35mm would be better but I cannont shove one of those things in a jacket pocket.

    ISO200 gives the best dynamic range in the E-P1 and I use that other than when I need to extend the shutter speed. Dynamic range is the weakness of the Olympus cameras and is a stop or so behind most dSLRs. Still, it is all about getting a reasonable compromise.

    I will post a link later but I have to go out for a few hours. Cheers

    Peter
    Last edited by peterb666; 15-05-2010 at 10:42am.

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    Noise comparison of the new Sony NEX-5 to Panasonic G2, Olympus E-P1, Samsung NX10, Canon T1i (500D), Nikon D5000.

    When we originally looked at the Sony NEX-5's high ISO images, we thought a new benchmark had been set. Indeed, the images do look pretty good, and may actually set a new high mark for overall quality, but these detail crops show that it's not quite a complete coup. The chief rivals for the top spot continue to be the T1i and E-P1 at ISO 100, and the E-P1 and T1i at ISO 3,200. At 3,200 the T1i renders more lines in the Lager letters, but that's partially a function of its slightly higher resolution (14.2 vs. 15.1). I'd say the Sony NEX-5 is probably the most even performer we've seen to date in this price and size range.
    See here... Sony NEX-5 Test at Imaging Resource

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    Member Ross the fiddler's Avatar
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    I did no noise reduction in those images. That's just the default noise levels from the JPEGs out of the camera.
    Hi Peter,
    I can see you are using auto gradation (auto shadow adjustment) & that will bump the dark areas up to a much higher ISO area (as seen in Olympus Viewer 2). That is where the noise is coming from. If this photo is taken in RAW as well, I suggest trying the Gradation at normal (using RAW developer in Olympus Viewer 2, Master or Studio to change it) & seeing if that will still give you what you want. For a photo that isn't for showing warts & all you might have to add some compensation to bring up the details again instead of a fixed level of shadow adjustment or the shadow can be lightened by raising the dark areas a little in the curves adjustment.

    Another thing I have noticed when uploading photos (to 4/3 user) that anything less than 1000 wide gives a square grid appearance.

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross the fiddler; 28-05-2010 at 10:23pm.
    Ross
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    What Owen refers to as 'noise in the sky' looks to me to be more like posterisation.

    Noise in the grey areas is much less significant, and if there was in fact noise in the image, it;s more likely show up in the grey areas.

    but the two images displayed here show more noise in the blue channel.. ie. posterisation.

    Very common to see in the blues, I get it quite often when I underexpose blue by too much(over use of grads and polariser combinations!!) at ISO100 on my D300, and have seen it with D700's/D3's too as other folk's examples of how common it is.

    I'm not 100% sure as to why it happens so much.. actually it's the explanations of the phenomenon that are hard to understand!! Soemthing to do with exposure levels, signal to noise rations from the camera, and colour management too.

    Anyhow.. enough grumbling from me.

    What I'm curious about is the levels of distortion now!

    I was only recently reading a new caption on DPR(yep! I still occasionally visit DPR, but only for some brief news/review/info value.. most certainly not ... their forums

    Lots of drivellous rantings about how manufacturers are cheating with respect to lens design, because the cameras now have automagic distortion control built into the camera!

    yeah!? .. so?
    (with the caveat that it has to be user selectable!)

    Oh! and on another note.

    I was recently wandering aimlessly wandering about town, and noticed a Zuiko 7-14mm f/4 in a shop window(sorry can't remember how much!) .. but JEEZUZ!!.. that thing was HUUUUGE!!!
    I reckon... quite possibly as big as the Nikon 14-24/2.8
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    Hi guys, I posted these images as an example of the framing of the 9-18mm lens. Now I know some people get their socks off on noise or the lack of it, but it is totally irrelvant.

    In that sky you have smoke from a burn-off that went wrong during the day. Also removed from the image that has been manipulated are stars and a pipe sticking out of the water. Those are not noise either.

    Added by not welcome are jaggies on the sloping lines of the older bridge. If that's the byproduct of extra noise reduction, I don't want it.

    Yes, there is posterisation in the second image. This came about to get the image small enogh to upload into AP. The 250kb limit is often too small, even for an image that is only 1024 pixels wide.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ross the fiddler View Post
    .I can see you are using auto gradation (auto shadow adjustment) & that will bump the dark areas up to a much higher ISO area (as seen in Olympus Viewer 2).
    I didn't shoot these images in RAW as the purpose was to test out the lens. The atmospheric conditions were not what I would have liked for this scene. That's why I used the term "half serious" to describe the images.

    I like to have a full or near full moon to increase the ambiant lighting with enough cloud cover (around 30% or so but not around the moon) to also reflect the city lights and to add atmosphere.

    Instead this was a cloudless, moon-free night with a lot of smoke haze which you can towards the horizon.

    On the issue of Auto Graduation (or auto shadow adjustment). I have played with similar RAW images to those posted in Olympus Viewer 2 and disabled the Auto Graduation but I cannot recover sufficient detail in the sky. Auto Graduation does a fairly good job so I leave it on all the time. I prefer not to bracket and layer - that's a skill I have yet to perfect to my satisfaction but I working on it.

    I haven't sought advice on image noise or the merits of these photos. There are a number of forums that are grouped under "CONSTRUCTIVE CRITIQUE - Members' Photos" where people post photos where the Noise Nazis can get all exiced and carry on to their heart's content.

    Cheers

    PeterB666
    Last edited by peterb666; 29-05-2010 at 1:12pm.

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    Member Ross the fiddler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb666 View Post
    I didn't shoot these images in RAW as the purpose was to test out the lens. The atmospheric conditions were not what I would have liked for this scene. That's why I used the term "half serious" to describe the images.

    I like to have a full or near full moon to increase the ambiant lighting with enough cloud cover (around 30% or so but not around the moon) to also reflect the city lights and to add atmosphere.

    Instead this was a cloudless, moon-free night with a lot of smoke haze which you can towards the horizon.

    On the issue of Auto Graduation (or auto shadow adjustment). I have played with similar RAW images to those posted in Olympus Viewer 2 and disabled the Auto Graduation but I cannot recover sufficient detail in the sky. Auto Graduation does a fairly good job so I leave it on all the time. I prefer not to bracket and layer - that's a skill I have yet to perfect to my satisfaction but I working on it.

    I haven't sought advice on image noise or the merits of these photos. There are a number of forums that are grouped under "CONSTRUCTIVE CRITIQUE - Members' Photos" where people post photos where the Noise Nazis can get all exiced and carry on to their heart's content.

    Cheers

    PeterB666
    Hi Peter,
    I'm sorry I joined in with the others (there can be too much emphasis on noise & not enough about getting great shots) instead of noting what a great lens the M.ZD 9-18 is. It certainly is a great performer, especially for it's price. I would love to get the regular ZD 9-18 lens for my Oly E30. I hope you have lots of fun using your new 9-18 lens & am looking forward to seeing more photos from you with it. Are you likely to go for the new 14-150 lens due to come out in July? I think it should be a nice versatile zoom range to have.

    With regard to Auto Shadow Adjustment, I actually find it very useful for bringing up details in dark clothing (if using low ISO, to avoid that dreaded noise) where quite often it can be lost due the amount of contrast in the frame.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Ross
    Last edited by Ross the fiddler; 04-06-2010 at 11:11am.

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    That's OK Ross. I have got over it now.

    I love the range of the 9-18mm and it being the only affordable wide option on the MFT cameras it bacame a no-brainer. I had toyed with the idea of the 11-22 zoom as I work in low light a lot and the combined price of the 11-22 and adapter was looking to be around the same from overseas but jumped on the native lens when one came up cheap from Japan. I don't regret the choice. If anyone is getting into MFT and they are interested in landscapes (seascapes for me), it is great choice.

    The 9-18 is also adequate as a city walkabout lens and I take it to work with me most days. I would think the 7-14 Panasonic would be too wide for that purpose.

    Performance wise, the FT version of the 9-18mm is said to be similar and it is much better value. It would be a good match to the E30 body, still give a reasonbly compact and handy to use combination.

    I find the auto shadow adjustment works well. It it harder to get the same level of detail out of a RAW image without it, although the new Olympus Viewer 2 seems to have that covered.

    I have been playing with HDR images and blending but for general scenes, not only is the automatic shadow adjustment fine, it take a lot of effort out of the process. I am just an absolute beginner with blending and have not been satisfied with my results to date. Part of that is due to the software I am using and an upgrade is due sooner rather than later.

    The 14-150 is a definite. The range suits me fine. On a recent trip to NZ, I found myself forever changing between the 14-42 Olympus and 45-200 Panasonic lenses. The latter proved too long to use most of the time and would only stay on the camera for a couple of shots. Its fine if you are doing something that needs longer focal lengths. The lens I used the most in NZ was the Panasonic 20mm.

    If I had been able to use filters on the 14-42, that would have been on the camera a lot longer but as that lens is front-focussing and has a weak AF motor, it cannot cope with a Cokin filter holder.

    The only problem is that I have run out of camera play money so the 14-150 will either need to wait for the end of the year or the next big OS trip. I don't need it that much for what I do in Oz as I can take my time. I am also interested to see what Olympus do with the next generation of PEN cameras. I am hoping for something with more external controls and a fold out or rotating LCD on the back.

    Cheers

    PeterB666

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    Peter - have just bought the M.Zuiko 9-18mm on my recent trip to Japan as well. It is a great little thing, exactly as you've described it.

    Love the size and value. The Panny 7-14mm is a bit of a rip off, but couldn't resist grabbing the 9-18mm the minute I saw it on the shelves.

    Thumbs up from a fellow MFT supporter and lover...!!
    Bodies: Panasonic Lumix GF-1, G-1 & Canon 7D
    Lenses: Lumix G 14-45mm, Lumix G 20mm, Olympus M.Zuiko ED 9-18mm, Canon EF-S 15-85mm, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L, Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4

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    Member Ross the fiddler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb666 View Post
    That's OK Ross. I have got over it now.

    I love the range of the 9-18mm and it being the only affordable wide option on the MFT cameras it bacame a no-brainer. I had toyed with the idea of the 11-22 zoom as I work in low light a lot and the combined price of the 11-22 and adapter was looking to be around the same from overseas but jumped on the native lens when one came up cheap from Japan. I don't regret the choice. If anyone is getting into MFT and they are interested in landscapes (seascapes for me), it is great choice.

    The 9-18 is also adequate as a city walkabout lens and I take it to work with me most days. I would think the 7-14 Panasonic would be too wide for that purpose.

    Performance wise, the FT version of the 9-18mm is said to be similar and it is much better value. It would be a good match to the E30 body, still give a reasonbly compact and handy to use combination.

    I find the auto shadow adjustment works well. It it harder to get the same level of detail out of a RAW image without it, although the new Olympus Viewer 2 seems to have that covered.

    I have been playing with HDR images and blending but for general scenes, not only is the automatic shadow adjustment fine, it take a lot of effort out of the process. I am just an absolute beginner with blending and have not been satisfied with my results to date. Part of that is due to the software I am using and an upgrade is due sooner rather than later.

    The 14-150 is a definite. The range suits me fine. On a recent trip to NZ, I found myself forever changing between the 14-42 Olympus and 45-200 Panasonic lenses. The latter proved too long to use most of the time and would only stay on the camera for a couple of shots. Its fine if you are doing something that needs longer focal lengths. The lens I used the most in NZ was the Panasonic 20mm.

    If I had been able to use filters on the 14-42, that would have been on the camera a lot longer but as that lens is front-focussing and has a weak AF motor, it cannot cope with a Cokin filter holder.

    The only problem is that I have run out of camera play money so the 14-150 will either need to wait for the end of the year or the next big OS trip. I don't need it that much for what I do in Oz as I can take my time. I am also interested to see what Olympus do with the next generation of PEN cameras. I am hoping for something with more external controls and a fold out or rotating LCD on the back.

    Cheers

    PeterB666
    Like you, I've overspent my allowance. I got the E30 2nd hand for $800 a few months ago on the promise of not buying a new camera for 5 years (I can't see that lasting), but I have since got an FL50R flash & ZD35 macro lens at very good prices & there are still desires for a couple more lenses. I would like a PEN outfit in the future but with rumors of a new model being modular with interchangeable mounts etc, who knows what will be in the future.

    Havagoodwun,
    Ross

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    Digi-direct in Sydney have both the 9-18mm and 14-150mm m.Zuiko lenses available for $679. Checking another couple of sites that have these lenses listed. I just checked the Olympus Oz site and they have both lenses listed with an Australian rrp of $799. That makes the pricing of the 9-18mm very competitive by world standards.

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    Hi Peter,

    Don't mind me asking, how much did you pay for this lens?

    Wayne
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    I got mine from Japan in the first couple of weeks after it became available. It cost less than from the US with shipping but more than from is currently available in Australia now. Not sure of the exact amount but I seem to recall around $730 with EMS shipping. I don't mind paying the premium as I had the lens for 3 months before it started shipping here.

    Australian prices are currently good. I was surpriesed it came in with a rrp of $699 as I was expecting it to be $899 or $999 based on the relative pricing to other Olympus lenses overseas.

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    Great looking shots. I'm contemplating buying one of these for my girlfriend and I think you've just convinced me... Now I just have to find one - apparently they're like hen's teeth at the moment

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