Best lenses for the Olympus OM-D EM-1: Wide angle and telephoto zooms and primes

By Kevin Carter - Monday December 02 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best wide-angle primes for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 | Best wide-angle zoom lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 | Best trans-standard zoom lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 | Best telephoto zoom lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M1
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH1100159
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm f4.0-5.6700148
 

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH vs Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm f4.0-5.6

One of the reasons why there aren’t many wide-angle primes in the MFT system must be due to existence of these two lenses. The Panasonic 7-14mm f4 ASPH is a surprisingly advanced optical design, and looks like a scaled down version of Nikon’s AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8. The field of view isn’t quite as extreme but as the equivalent to a 14-28mm with a constant f4 aperture it’s a very tempting model.

Of course, at $1,000 the Panasonic isn’t exactly cheap, and while not quite as wide the Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6 may be a better choice for use with filters or when portability is an issue However, the 7-14mm isn’t a big or heavy lens by any means.

The Panasonic is very sharp at the wider end, even at full aperture, but corner sharpness wanes when zoomed to 14mm. However, it’s still very sharp centrally. At 12mm it’s not that far behind the Olympus 12mm f2.0 in the center but lacks that model’s uniformity. The Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6 is certainly more accessibly priced, and is a good performer particularly at the wider end and has less vignetting. Both zooms are prone to quite high levels of CA but even that may not be a big deal on the E-M1.