The widest angle of view I’ve ever shot until recently has been the 28mm lens on my 135 gear and the 14mm lens on my four thirds cameras. When I upgraded to the EM1 Mark II, I also purchased the 17mm, 25mm, 45mm and the 75mm lenses. I chose this route so I would be more prepared for portraits. However, this left me lacking at the wide end and the long end. Outside of portraits, most of my shooting revolves around the wide end of the specturm. I love landscapes and cityscapes, so obtaining a wide angle lens is a must. When I began looking for a wide angle lens for my system, I came across the 9-18mm f4-5.6 lens. This lens has been in the micro four thirds line up for a while. The thing that I liked about this spec. was the 9mm focal length. Going wider than I’ve ever been was an interesting thought. This would quite literally open up my compositions. I found mixed reviews about this lens, but most appeared to be positive. In my view, this lens seemed to be a hidden gem. Hidden, because a lot of folks use the 7-14mm f2.8 PRO and the Panasonic offerings. You can’t beat its compact size and the collapsible design for storage. When you compare the cost to the other lenses, it seems to be a good bang for your buck. I first gave it a try last October for an event. I was very pleased with its performance. You can see those pictures and some video in my blog post titled Hot Air Halloween. I wanted to have one more outing with this lens before I took the plunge, so I rented it for a second test over a long weekend.
I figured I would revisit some of my favorite cityscapes and landscapes to put this lens through a second test. I opted for the night scene of Nashville for my first venture. Nashville is a bustling city, especially on the weekend. However, there are pockets of isolation that make you forget that you are in the heart of the city. With the exception of the last shot from the downtown area, I was the only person around when I took these shots. I’m sure the near freezing temperatures had something to do with that, but it takes more than the cold to keep a lid on the Music City. As you might guess, all shots in this post were shot at 9mm. I kept my aperture at f5.6. This appears to be the sweet spot, and at a focal length of 9mm, this aperture provides plenty of depth of field on a micro four thirds camera. I shot the first image while standing on the Korean Veterans Bridge overlooking the Cumberland River. Click on the images to view them in the lightbox.
The next two images are pictures of the Korean Veterans Bridge from where I was standing to get the first shot. I really like this low angle.
Below is the famous John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge otherwise known as the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. This was my last shot of the night. Since it was late and cold, it was easy to capture this shot without people. The 9mm angle of view allowed me to captured the bridge while also capturing elements of the skyline. Bringing the “Batman Building” into the composition really completes this shot.
My next outing took place on my favorite parkway, The Natchez Trace Parkway. The lighting wasn’t great and a lot of the pictures I took did not make the cut. Below are four of my favorites.
Finally, I made the trek to one of my favorite overlooks, the Narrows of the Harpeth Bluff Overlook. This image was captured just before sunset with the sun setting behind me. I actually like the morning view better with the sun rising in the distance, but this was my only window of opportunity before returning the lens. The people to the left of the frame walked up right after I found my composition. I decided to leave them in the frame for a sense of scale.
If I win the lottery or inherit some money, the 7-14mm f2.8 PRO is a no-brainer. That’s not going to happen, so the 9-18mm will do just fine. I’m really looking forward to adding this lens to my camera bag. Thank you for taking the time to check out my post!