Just how good is the 20/1.7?

Started Nov 9, 2012 | Questions
Pasmia
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Just how good is the 20/1.7?
Nov 9, 2012

I'm ready for a change. I currently have the g3 with the 14, 25, and oly45. With the cash i have on hand plus the sell of my g3 and 14mm, I don't have quite enough to upgrade to the em5.  However, if I include my PL25 in the sell, I'd have enough for the em5 kit and 20mm.  I'm keeping my oly 45 regardless.   My dilemma is that the PL25 has been my fav lens of the three (also had 14-45/45-200 but sold due to collecting dust) and feel that I might be giving up too much for too little.  I am really happy with the PL25 performance, fl, and IQ but the size is on the verge of unacceptable.  The kit lens with the em5 is justified IMO due to weathersealing and will be used almost exclusively for times that ask for it (beaches, snow, rain, playgrounds, pools, other dusty or wet environments).  My plan is basically to have the em5 and 20mm 90% of the time hanging from my neck.  The 12-50 in conditions that are relevant/necessary for sealing, and the 45 is simply used for portraits and kept at home with my studio gear.

Right now, the g3 and pl25 is almost always with me everywhere I go. The bulkiness of it is getting a little annoying though.  I even found myself taking pics with my phone because I left the g3 at home a couple of times (defeating the whole purpose of going with m43 in the first place). However, the PL25 allows for a decent secondary portrait lens, an amazing and fast af shooter in low lighting, great for what little videography I do (not much tbh) , and sharp when I want it to be and soft when I need it to be as well.  In all, it's a very versatile and useful lens, but what good is it if it's left at home?

So, I'm seriously considering the 20mm/f1.7.  I'm scared that the fl won't be as versatile but I hated the 50mm efl at first too.  I think the 40mm efl will put a little too much distortion to be used as a secondary portrait lens (My studio is limited in size, backing  up would make the lens wider than my canvas, the PL25 is just narrow enough). I'm also scared that the supposed slow AF won't be able to keep up with my kids.  And lastly, I wonder if that 1/2 stop aperture will have an impact on what i'm used to.

Pertaining to my body upgrade, I'm pretty much done with color correcting and playing with wb sliders in LR because lumix is inconsistent as hell in this regard and I want to give Oly a shot before fleeing off to  a different mount.  D5100 is dirt cheap now with a mix of a couple of 1.8s and a fast third party zoom is tempting Regardless of its bulk.

And if it wasn't obvious enough, I primarily take pictures of my family but I really do my best in making sure that its not all snap shots.  I try to think of every picture as a lifestyle portrait, incorporating composition, decisive and fleeting moments, good lighting, and capturing emotions as well.

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Pasmia
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

Just to make it clear, I'm wondering if the 20mm can effectively replace the PL25 in most if not all of my uses.

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Raven15
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

I'm no expert since I don't have the 25mm, but I wouldn't give up my favorite lens just like that.

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jkrumm
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

I agreeworth Raven 15...ifit's yourfavorite lens you will miss it. I really like the 20, not for close portraits, but for environmental portraits and two person shots indoors.

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micksh6
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

Pasmia wrote:

Just to make it clear, I'm wondering if the 20mm can effectively replace the PL25 in most if not all of my uses.

That's exactly what previous dozens of 20 vs 25mm threads were about. One of these is still on the first page of this forum. And your needs are not unique, in fact they are pretty much common.

I stopped arguing about this few months ago because I can't repeat myself that many times. These lenses are very different. One doesn't replace another.

Only you can answer this question because the answer depends on your overall priorities and how bad you need extra $200.

I suggest asking this question: Has anyone sold 25mm F1.4 lens for 20mm lens and became happier? Otherwise you will be overwhelmed with too many different opinions (that is if others haven't become tired discussing this topic).

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Pasmia
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to micksh6, Nov 9, 2012

I've read multiple threads similar to my situation but nothing quite exact.  There are a few that I've read about people 'upgrading' from the 20 to PL25 and even quite a bit that have both, but a majority of people/threads are simply making an initial purchase of one over the other.  I really haven't heard/seen much about people 'downgrading' from the PL25 to the 20.

However, I guess you sort of hit the spot about the $200 or so and I think it's sort of silly to consider that into 'downgrading' to the 20mm.  It's not like $200 won't come along in the future, but I'll admit to two things here, 1. I have a hard time not spending disposable cash lying around and 2. I have a severe itch for a something new.  The last time I had a couple hundred bucks lying around, I blew it on a bunch of random accessories (filters, diffusers, softboxes, cheap wireless triggers, continuous lighting, etc).  It's a bad habit, I know, and none of these "accessories" have any type of resell value either, it's something I'm working on and I'm sure I can't be the only one that does it... I hope.  Just wanted to put whatever cash I had on hand into something a bit more substantial than a random handful of unnecessary accessories.

My point still stands though, I'm kind of burnt out on Lumix and I still think the PL25 is a bit too bulky.  Maybe I should just buy a 20/1.7 and compare them for myself, keep the appropriate one and react accordingly.  Just hopefully, I don't fall in love with both of them.

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Pasmia
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

Oh and thanks all for your input.  May not seem like much, but much appreciated nonetheless.

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digi2ap
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

I 'downgraded' from the 25mm to the 20mm and don't regret it preferring both the smaller form and the wider view. Hope that helps in some way.

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Pasmia
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to digi2ap, Nov 9, 2012

digi2ap wrote:

I 'downgraded' from the 25mm to the 20mm and don't regret it preferring both the smaller form and the wider view. Hope that helps in some way.

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Really?  How did you feel about the difference in AF speed? Have you noticed any other substantial differences?  And what about the half stop ev difference as well?

Also, my LR says I got about 12k shots right now, almost 9k are at 25mm (according to smart collection, little off due to duplicates), so if I were to go through with this, that 20mm is gonna be used a lot.

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ulfie
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

The 20 is a de facto 25 via cropping.  It's sharp, even wide open in the center at f1.7.  From f2.8 onwards it's very sharp.  Boheh is decent too.  With the 20 one can have both a 20 and 25--and save the extra money.  (Caveat:  I have the 20.)

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Pic Man
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

The 25mm can be used for portraits if you're in a tight space. The 20mm is too wide for this IMO. You have extra DOF with the 25mm. As someone said I don't think one replaces the other with these two.

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Anders W
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

I have the 20 and consciously chose it over the 25, although I could easily afford either one. But that's me and I can certainly see why others might think differently. The pros and cons are in my opinion as follows:

Pros for the 20

  • Smaller
  • Lighter
  • Less expensive
  • As sharp or sharper at really wide apertures
  • At least as good bokeh if by bokeh you mean the quality rather than the quantity of the blur
  • Wider FoV makes it more useful in close quarters
  • Reportedly doesn't cause as much aperture clicking ("rattle-snaking")

Pros for the 25

  • Better low-light ability (about half a stop)
  • Can provide more background blur by means of its longer FL and greater max aperture
  • More narrow FoV gives it more reach and makes it possible to take images at close distance/high magnification without too much distortion
  • Noisefree AF (may be important for video where the noise is recorded if you AF during the clip; not otherwise)
  • Suitable for AF-C (the 20 is not)
  • Is not reported to cause lock-ups with the E-M5 (the 20 is, although I have never experienced this myself)
  • Is not reported to cause banding with the E-M5 (the 20 is, and I have seen it myself; but see further info below)

There has been much talk about the slow AF of the 20. I have tested that myself and found only a very marginal difference in ordinary AF-S compared to lenses that are known to be at least as fast (perhaps faster) as the 25. See here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50110471

As to banding when the 20 is used on the E-M5, see here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3285963

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Steven 2
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

I added the 25mm recently to the 20mm I had for a while and I understand what you mean about the bulk.  the 20mm is definitely very compact and you can totally forget about it when it hangs around your neck.  the speedy operation of the 25mm is a pleasant surprise though compared to the 20mm.

I would also consider the new Olympus 17mm/1.8 that will be coming out soon.   I don't know the dimensions yet, but it could be smaller than the Pana 25mm.

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Pasmia
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Steven 2, Nov 9, 2012

Steven 2 wrote:

I added the 25mm recently to the 20mm I had for a while and I understand what you mean about the bulk. the 20mm is definitely very compact and you can totally forget about it when it hangs around your neck. the speedy operation of the 25mm is a pleasant surprise though compared to the 20mm.

I would also consider the new Olympus 17mm/1.8 that will be coming out soon. I don't know the dimensions yet, but it could be smaller than the Pana 25mm.

I thought about this.  But then you have the whole champagne color mismatch crap going on if you own the silver EM5.  I've got a serious case of OCD and this is like having one wheel on my car without a hub cap on... I will end up doing something about it.  Have you seen special edition black Oly 45 yet?  I needed it to look a little weird on my G3, so I put some matte black auto vinyl on it.

Also, I'm simply dumbfounded at the price Oly is asking for the 17/1.8. Considering that I'm really in love with Fuji's OOC jpegs, I might just pick up an X100 as a 2nd body to have in the future.  It'll be faster swapping between the 50mm EFL and 35 EFL this way than having both the PL25 and 20/1.7 lenses. Used or refurb x100s can be had for the same price as the 17/1.8.  Two cameras > one camera.

IMO, the 17/1.8 brings the worst of both worlds.  It's got a heftier price tag than the PL25 AND it's bigger than the 20/1.7.  It's got a smaller aperture than the PL25 and it's got less 3D pop than the 20/1.7 (amount of background blur due to FL + aperture).  But what it does have going for it, and I'm assuming here, is that I'm pretty sure it'll focus faster and quieter than either of the Pannys... that's about it though.

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Adamant
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

Also, I'm simply dumbfounded at the price Oly is asking for the 17/1.8.

Has the 17/1.8 been priced yet?  Must have missed it...

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Mingjai
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Anders W, Nov 9, 2012

Anders W wrote:

I have the 20 and consciously chose it over the 25, although I could easily afford either one. But that's me and I can certainly see why others might think differently. The pros and cons are in my opinion as follows:

Pros for the 20

  • Smaller
  • Lighter
  • Less expensive
  • As sharp or sharper at really wide apertures
  • At least as good bokeh if by bokeh you mean the quality rather than the quantity of the blur
  • Wider FoV makes it more useful in close quarters
  • Reportedly doesn't cause as much aperture clicking ("rattle-snaking")

Pros for the 25

  • Better low-light ability (about half a stop)
  • Can provide more background blur by means of its longer FL and greater max aperture
  • More narrow FoV gives it more reach and makes it possible to take images at close distance/high magnification without too much distortion
  • Noisefree AF (may be important for video where the noise is recorded if you AF during the clip; not otherwise)
  • Suitable for AF-C (the 20 is not)
  • Is not reported to cause lock-ups with the E-M5 (the 20 is, although I have never experienced this myself)
  • Is not reported to cause banding with the E-M5 (the 20 is, and I have seen it myself; but see further info below)

There has been much talk about the slow AF of the 20. I have tested that myself and found only a very marginal difference in ordinary AF-S compared to lenses that are known to be at least as fast (perhaps faster) as the 25. See here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50110471

As to banding when the 20 is used on the E-M5, see here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3285963

I have both and think this list of pros for each lens explains the reason why I keep and use both.

I suspect the 20mm is slightly wider than its nominal focal length because it's very close to my 9-18mm at 18mm. The FOV difference between the 20mm and 25mm is actually pretty different. Here's an illustration of 9-18mm at 18mm, 20mm, and 25mm:



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carlosvp
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Pasmia, Nov 9, 2012

Pasmia wrote:

I've read multiple threads similar to my situation but nothing quite exact. There are a few that I've read about people 'upgrading' from the 20 to PL25 and even quite a bit that have both, but a majority of people/threads are simply making an initial purchase of one over the other.

I'm afraid I can't help you on the specific point of whether you'll be more or less happy if you "cross-grade" from the PL25mm to the 20mm.  I bought the 14mm instead of the 20mm, then saved for the PL25mm, and I love that lens too.  I've used the 20mm on a friend's camera, and didn't care for the sluggish AF speed - but optically, it's fine.

However, I guess you sort of hit the spot about the $200 or so and I think it's sort of silly to consider that into 'downgrading' to the 20mm. It's not like $200 won't come along in the future, but I'll admit to two things here, 1. I have a hard time not spending disposable cash lying around and 2. I have a severe itch for a something new. [...]

My point still stands though, I'm kind of burnt out on Lumix and I still think the PL25 is a bit too bulky. Maybe I should just buy a 20/1.7 and compare them for myself, keep the appropriate one and react accordingly. Just hopefully, I don't fall in love with both of them.

If I was in your shoes, I'd say use one of the tricks to keep you from spending the money for a little while (freeze it in a block of ice, have a trusted friend hold it, put it in 90-day bonds/certificates you can't sell early, whatever), and save until you can afford the E-M5 (with or without the 20mm), then sell your G3 and get the E-M5.  Keep all your glass.  Don't sell a lens until you find you don't use it anymore.

C.

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berni29
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to carlosvp, Nov 10, 2012

Hi

I use the 20mm with my EM5 because the combination can come with me anywhere. any bigger and I would probably leave it at home at least some of the time. Plus the 20mm is a good lens and compromise focal length.

Thats the bottom line for me. I want the camera to be with me.

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Berni29
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Pasmia
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to berni29, Nov 10, 2012

berni29 wrote:

Hi

I use the 20mm with my EM5 because the combination can come with me anywhere. any bigger and I would probably leave it at home at least some of the time. Plus the 20mm is a good lens and compromise focal length.

Thats the bottom line for me. I want the camera to be with me.

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Berni29
OMD, GH1 + Pana 20mm & 14-45mm Oly 45mm (prev E30, E510, E1)

This is exactly my thinking... Even though I haven't shot with the 20/1.7 I'm fairly certain I can get used to it's slightly slower AF with the benefit of such a small thumbprint.  But I think as the other poster mentioned, I'm underestimating the differences in the focal lengths and I just might benefit from being patient and buying the 20mm to compliment my PL25.

Also, the PL25 really does make for great portrait lens for my kids! Slight distortion is negligible on kids... I even use the 14mm in weird angles to get some 'fun' looking shots.

Ideally, I wanted to go with purchasing the 17mm to compliment my PL25, but if the rumored price holds true, the 20mm has had a recent price drop and is looking great if even to simply try it out for a while.

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Anders W
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Re: Just how good is the 20/1.7?
In reply to Mingjai, Nov 10, 2012

Mingjai wrote:

I suspect the 20mm is slightly wider than its nominal focal length because it's very close to my 9-18mm at 18mm.

Pekka Potka has claimed that the 20 is actually more like 18.5 mm and I believed him. However, after being prompted to do so in another thread, I took the trouble to measure it using the method described here:

http://www.panohelp.com/lensfov.html

My result: The 20 is a 20, no more, and no less.

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