dpreview.com have just posted their review of the Olympus ZD 9-18mm budget / consumer level lens.
It again reinforces the optical quality that Olympus is delivering in their lenses from centre to corners with minimal aberrations which is largely possible because of the smaller sensor size and their use of telecentric optic design.
The ZD lenses are perhaps the best reason to buy Olympus / Four Thirds dSLRs as they generally provide the best optical performance for the money and weight available, and as most of the Olympus dSLRs have in-built image stabilisation, you get this functionality as well for all lenses, even old legacy manual focus lenses.
“The lens is remarkably compact and lightweight for an ultra-wideangle zoom, due in part to the rather modest maximum aperture, but also realising the downsizing benefits of the small Four Thirds sensor format. At a mere 280g you’ll hardly notice it’s on the camera,”
“It’s sharp even wide open, has negligible distortion, and shows practically no vignetting. Indeed it’s a delight for pixel-peepers looking for high levels of sharpness right across the frame; there’s little of the drop in sharpness towards the corners that is often encountered with wideangle zooms. The only visible optical flaw is lateral chromatic aberration, but this is pretty well inevitable for this type of lens,”
“Olympus taking advantage of the smaller area of the Four Thirds sensor to produce optics which are simply more consistent in overall image quality and edge-to-edge performance than those of its competitors.”
“The lens is specifically designed to be compatible with contrast-detect autofocus in Live View on compatible Four Thirds camera, and works very well in this mode. Indeed it was unusually fast and reponsive on all of the cameras we tested it on, including the Olympus E-30 and Panasonic DMC-L10.”
Thus for those who cannot afford the much more expensive but weatherproof pro series lenses such as the brilliant ZD 7-14mm or the ZD 11-22mm, this lens will fit in very nicely indeed, providing high quality 18-36mm focal length coverage in 35mm terms and you can use standard 72mm polarising filters without vignetting and they don’t rotate as focus changes – ideal for creative work as well as landscape and architecture work.
There is also another excellent review at biofos.com