Best pancake lens for MFT cameras

Started May 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
Blue Orca
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Re: Best pancake lens for MFT cameras
In reply to Nathan B, May 3, 2012

I own the 20mm/f1.7 and the 14-42X from Panasonic.

I also have the Olympus 12mm/f2 and 45mm/f1.8. While they are not pancake lenses, they are quite small and very easy to carry.

A lot of people like the 20mm/f1.7 because it is optically fast, and the images are very sharp; however, it focuses slower (and noiser) than all the other lens I've mentioned. The lens may take up to a couple of seconds to hunt rather than reaching focus almost instantly on my GF1 and GX1. The effective 40mm focal length is also a little awkard for some - not wide enough for group photos, or narrow enough for portrait shots. If you had come from P&S, you may be more comfortable with a smaller focal length than 20mm, like 14mm.

I am surprise no one mentioned the 14-42X pancake zoom, and you asked for pancake lens rather than just pancake prime lens. The 14-42X gives flexibility over a very usable focal length; however, some find its images a little soft at times, and there are some bad copies out there that can give you double images at 42mm and shutter speed between 1/100s and 1/200s.

I do not have the 14mm/f2.5 pancake, but I understand it will give you rather noticable vignetting when using the lens wide open at f2.5 (-1.97 EV), or when stepped down to f5.6. Hopefully 14mm/f2.5 owners can give you a better idea on how bad the vignetting really is on real life photos. The 12mm/f2.0 also has some vigneting at wide open, but not as severe (-1.1 EV). It is not noticable in most of my real life shots.

In short, I do not believe there is such a thing as the best pancake lens. You will have to decide which lens meets the most of your shooting needs (i.e. performance, price, type of pictures you want to take, etc.), and you are least affected by its downsides.

Good luck.

Blue

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