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Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 review

It's a game of Four Thirds

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6
It's a shame that the effective widest angle focal length isn't that impressive


  • Compact design
  • Good build quality
  • Good performance


  • Lack of focus distance scale
  • Autofocus a bit temperamental
  • Limited wide-angle performance

Like any concept, the Four Thirds imaging system has its pros and cons. On the plus side, camera bodies and lenses tend to be very compact, but then the four/thirds aspect ratio that's in keeping with pre-widescreen viewing screens now looks dated.

The 2x times crop factor plays into your hands at the telephoto end but makes the manufacture of ultra-wide lenses even more of a challenge.

The Olympus 9-18mm is not only physically the smallest lens in the group, but also has the shortest focal length.

However, once you apply the crop factor, the effective widest-angle zoom setting is a less than impressive 18mm, so you simply can't get such a wide angle of view as you do with most lenses in the group.

How far?

Zoom and focus rings are silky smooth but, despite the focus ring rotating easily in autofocus mode, it's really only freewheeling, rather than enabling a manual focus override.

The autofocus itself proved quite prone to hunting back and forth in our tests in situations where other lenses managed to lock on without any fuss.

The lack of a focus distance scale seems a glaring omission too. Again, this is unique in the group.

On the plus side, there's some high-quality glass here, including regular aspherical, ED glass-mould aspherical and DSA (dual super aspherical) elements, which help to maintain optical prowess despite the very compact build.

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