Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
Englishman in France
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Would buy the Olympus if you are shooting kids or parties
In reply to Jim Laurel, 5 months ago

I own both. I got the Panasonic 20mm for my GF1 ages ago.  Got the Olympus 17mm in a fit of frustration just after Christmas, because of the autofocus.  I had simply stopped using the 20mm to take photos of my family, and would use the PL25mm or the Oly 12mm even if the focal length was unsuitable for the occassion. The only time I would use the 20mm was when I was going on a walk and wanted a small lens on my camera to fit it in my pocket.

I was worried about all the reviews saying the Oly 17mm optics weren't as good as the Panny 20mm (four stars versus five), which is why it took me so long to buy it.  But I am glad I did, and have never used my 20mm since then.  If you like nice gear, and by that I mean solid, nice feel in hand, quick and silent, then you will prefer the Olympus.  I haven't noticed the difference in optical quality for the type of photos that  do.

If you are taking indoor shots of childrens birthday parties, kids unwrapping christmas presents, parties with people dancing about, kids running about indoors (or any indoor activity with people moving) then I would strongly recommend the Olympus over the Panasonic.

The advantage of the panasonic over the olympus is better still life photos and slightly more compact.  Having said that, I still prefer to use the olympus over the panasonic, because it just feels better to use.

Deep down though, I really wanted Lieca to design a 17.5mm summilux for Panasonic, instead of a 30mm.

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mh2000
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Re: slowness
In reply to Anders W, 5 months ago

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

One_Oldman_4U wrote:

What do mean slow? noise? How slow is the focusing compared to a "kit"lens"? Is it noticeable? And the noise? Is it coming from the focusing mechanism? I ask since I'm interested in this lens for my GM1.

Well we should be careful here. It is certainly "slower" but probably unfair to call it "slow". When it first came out and was used on cameras already pretty slow to focus (E-P1) it might be fair to call it just plain slow. These days, with something like the GM1, it will be slower to focus than the kit lens but still focus respectably fast - especially when compared to a lot of other mirrorless systems. In my experience you will notice the slowness even more when you are shooting in low light. It is perfectly usable speed wise for most things. I'd be frustrated using it with moving kids or pets.

As to the noise the focus motor is pretty loud, the loudest of all the native m43 lenses I think. Not as loud as some big old SLR AF lenses I've used in the past but noticeably louder than anything else you'll find in m43 land. It is the focusing motor making the noise (not aperture chatter) so in MF it is of course silent. Again, there are a lot of SLR lenses out there a whole lot noisier so it might unfair to call it loud but by comparison to the typically very quiet m43 lenses it is certainly louder than a kit lens.

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Ken W
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When I use my gf's 20, it is noticably slower than even my Oly 17/2.8.

Agree it's totally usable, but it seems to slow focus and not focus more than other lenses. That said, the IQ is really good.

My nits against the 20 is that it produces starburst highlights (some like, I don't).

Any lens will produce "starburst" highlights when stopped down.

It also tends to produce green polygon flare patterns (again, I don't like them). It can render things a little harsh.

Yes, as shown here, you can produce a green polygon flare if you really try:

http://www.lenstip.com/269.9-Lens_review-Panasonic_G_20_mm_f_1.7_ASPH._Ghosting_and_flares.html

Apparently, my own attempts have not been sufficiently energetic in this regard to ever produce one. In general, this lens handles flare very well, just as Lenstip indicates. Their summary judgment is the following: "In the case of work against bright light the Panasonic 1.7/20 gets from us a very high mark."

Really, I would pick based on FL. I would prefer having both 17 and 25 instead of a 20... others like the more in between FL.

I would love having the scale focus feature of the 17/1.8 for night photography! If you don't do this, it might be a non-issue, but when it's too dark to focus, scale focus is a great boon!

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Hahaha! Well, that may be well and fine for these tests, but living in AZ, real life proves differently!

Why would that be? Unless I am mistaken, it's the same sun we are talking about in Wroclaw, Poland, as in Arizona, USA.

Atmospheric conditions and reflective landforms are typically not comparable.

Aside from moisure and clouds, think Sunny-16 and corrections for snow on the ground.

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mh2000
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Re: Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.
In reply to Anders W, 5 months ago

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

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Ken W
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Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

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Anders W
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Re: Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.
In reply to mh2000, 5 months ago

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

-- hide signature --

Ken W
See profile for equipment list

Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

 Anders W's gear list:Anders W's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +21 more
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Anders W
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Re: slowness
In reply to mh2000, 5 months ago

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

One_Oldman_4U wrote:

What do mean slow? noise? How slow is the focusing compared to a "kit"lens"? Is it noticeable? And the noise? Is it coming from the focusing mechanism? I ask since I'm interested in this lens for my GM1.

Well we should be careful here. It is certainly "slower" but probably unfair to call it "slow". When it first came out and was used on cameras already pretty slow to focus (E-P1) it might be fair to call it just plain slow. These days, with something like the GM1, it will be slower to focus than the kit lens but still focus respectably fast - especially when compared to a lot of other mirrorless systems. In my experience you will notice the slowness even more when you are shooting in low light. It is perfectly usable speed wise for most things. I'd be frustrated using it with moving kids or pets.

As to the noise the focus motor is pretty loud, the loudest of all the native m43 lenses I think. Not as loud as some big old SLR AF lenses I've used in the past but noticeably louder than anything else you'll find in m43 land. It is the focusing motor making the noise (not aperture chatter) so in MF it is of course silent. Again, there are a lot of SLR lenses out there a whole lot noisier so it might unfair to call it loud but by comparison to the typically very quiet m43 lenses it is certainly louder than a kit lens.

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Ken W
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When I use my gf's 20, it is noticably slower than even my Oly 17/2.8.

Agree it's totally usable, but it seems to slow focus and not focus more than other lenses. That said, the IQ is really good.

My nits against the 20 is that it produces starburst highlights (some like, I don't).

Any lens will produce "starburst" highlights when stopped down.

It also tends to produce green polygon flare patterns (again, I don't like them). It can render things a little harsh.

Yes, as shown here, you can produce a green polygon flare if you really try:

http://www.lenstip.com/269.9-Lens_review-Panasonic_G_20_mm_f_1.7_ASPH._Ghosting_and_flares.html

Apparently, my own attempts have not been sufficiently energetic in this regard to ever produce one. In general, this lens handles flare very well, just as Lenstip indicates. Their summary judgment is the following: "In the case of work against bright light the Panasonic 1.7/20 gets from us a very high mark."

Really, I would pick based on FL. I would prefer having both 17 and 25 instead of a 20... others like the more in between FL.

I would love having the scale focus feature of the 17/1.8 for night photography! If you don't do this, it might be a non-issue, but when it's too dark to focus, scale focus is a great boon!

-- hide signature --

Hahaha! Well, that may be well and fine for these tests, but living in AZ, real life proves differently!

Why would that be? Unless I am mistaken, it's the same sun we are talking about in Wroclaw, Poland, as in Arizona, USA.

Atmospheric conditions and reflective landforms are typically not comparable.

Aside from moisure and clouds, think Sunny-16 and corrections for snow on the ground.

I am talking specifically about the green polygon flare pattern that you mentioned and Lenstip illustrates. It is caused by having the sun at a specific angle just outside the frame. If you have the naked sun in that particular position, the lens will produce the same flare no matter whether you are in Wroclaw or in Arizona.

 Anders W's gear list:Anders W's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +21 more
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mh2000
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Re: slowness
In reply to Anders W, 5 months ago

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

One_Oldman_4U wrote:

What do mean slow? noise? How slow is the focusing compared to a "kit"lens"? Is it noticeable? And the noise? Is it coming from the focusing mechanism? I ask since I'm interested in this lens for my GM1.

Well we should be careful here. It is certainly "slower" but probably unfair to call it "slow". When it first came out and was used on cameras already pretty slow to focus (E-P1) it might be fair to call it just plain slow. These days, with something like the GM1, it will be slower to focus than the kit lens but still focus respectably fast - especially when compared to a lot of other mirrorless systems. In my experience you will notice the slowness even more when you are shooting in low light. It is perfectly usable speed wise for most things. I'd be frustrated using it with moving kids or pets.

As to the noise the focus motor is pretty loud, the loudest of all the native m43 lenses I think. Not as loud as some big old SLR AF lenses I've used in the past but noticeably louder than anything else you'll find in m43 land. It is the focusing motor making the noise (not aperture chatter) so in MF it is of course silent. Again, there are a lot of SLR lenses out there a whole lot noisier so it might unfair to call it loud but by comparison to the typically very quiet m43 lenses it is certainly louder than a kit lens.

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Ken W
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When I use my gf's 20, it is noticably slower than even my Oly 17/2.8.

Agree it's totally usable, but it seems to slow focus and not focus more than other lenses. That said, the IQ is really good.

My nits against the 20 is that it produces starburst highlights (some like, I don't).

Any lens will produce "starburst" highlights when stopped down.

It also tends to produce green polygon flare patterns (again, I don't like them). It can render things a little harsh.

Yes, as shown here, you can produce a green polygon flare if you really try:

http://www.lenstip.com/269.9-Lens_review-Panasonic_G_20_mm_f_1.7_ASPH._Ghosting_and_flares.html

Apparently, my own attempts have not been sufficiently energetic in this regard to ever produce one. In general, this lens handles flare very well, just as Lenstip indicates. Their summary judgment is the following: "In the case of work against bright light the Panasonic 1.7/20 gets from us a very high mark."

Really, I would pick based on FL. I would prefer having both 17 and 25 instead of a 20... others like the more in between FL.

I would love having the scale focus feature of the 17/1.8 for night photography! If you don't do this, it might be a non-issue, but when it's too dark to focus, scale focus is a great boon!

-- hide signature --

Hahaha! Well, that may be well and fine for these tests, but living in AZ, real life proves differently!

Why would that be? Unless I am mistaken, it's the same sun we are talking about in Wroclaw, Poland, as in Arizona, USA.

Atmospheric conditions and reflective landforms are typically not comparable.

Aside from moisure and clouds, think Sunny-16 and corrections for snow on the ground.

I am talking specifically about the green polygon flare pattern that you mentioned and Lenstip illustrates. It is caused by having the sun at a specific angle just outside the frame. If you have the naked sun in that particular position, the lens will produce the same flare no matter whether you are in Wroclaw or in Arizona.

very bright regions just outside the frame also will trigger this. Things tend to be naked, bright and reflective in AZ -- sand, light colored rocks etc. There is lots of grass and foliage in most of Poland from what I remember.

Anyway, I have more problems with flare and most lenses here in AZ than I ever have when shooting on the East Coast. If you don't have this problem, it must be the type of different shooting styles that we have.

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mh2000
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Re: Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.
In reply to Anders W, 5 months ago

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

-- hide signature --

Ken W
See profile for equipment list

Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

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Anders W
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Re: slowness
In reply to mh2000, 5 months ago

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

One_Oldman_4U wrote:

What do mean slow? noise? How slow is the focusing compared to a "kit"lens"? Is it noticeable? And the noise? Is it coming from the focusing mechanism? I ask since I'm interested in this lens for my GM1.

Well we should be careful here. It is certainly "slower" but probably unfair to call it "slow". When it first came out and was used on cameras already pretty slow to focus (E-P1) it might be fair to call it just plain slow. These days, with something like the GM1, it will be slower to focus than the kit lens but still focus respectably fast - especially when compared to a lot of other mirrorless systems. In my experience you will notice the slowness even more when you are shooting in low light. It is perfectly usable speed wise for most things. I'd be frustrated using it with moving kids or pets.

As to the noise the focus motor is pretty loud, the loudest of all the native m43 lenses I think. Not as loud as some big old SLR AF lenses I've used in the past but noticeably louder than anything else you'll find in m43 land. It is the focusing motor making the noise (not aperture chatter) so in MF it is of course silent. Again, there are a lot of SLR lenses out there a whole lot noisier so it might unfair to call it loud but by comparison to the typically very quiet m43 lenses it is certainly louder than a kit lens.

-- hide signature --

Ken W
See profile for equipment list

When I use my gf's 20, it is noticably slower than even my Oly 17/2.8.

Agree it's totally usable, but it seems to slow focus and not focus more than other lenses. That said, the IQ is really good.

My nits against the 20 is that it produces starburst highlights (some like, I don't).

Any lens will produce "starburst" highlights when stopped down.

It also tends to produce green polygon flare patterns (again, I don't like them). It can render things a little harsh.

Yes, as shown here, you can produce a green polygon flare if you really try:

http://www.lenstip.com/269.9-Lens_review-Panasonic_G_20_mm_f_1.7_ASPH._Ghosting_and_flares.html

Apparently, my own attempts have not been sufficiently energetic in this regard to ever produce one. In general, this lens handles flare very well, just as Lenstip indicates. Their summary judgment is the following: "In the case of work against bright light the Panasonic 1.7/20 gets from us a very high mark."

Really, I would pick based on FL. I would prefer having both 17 and 25 instead of a 20... others like the more in between FL.

I would love having the scale focus feature of the 17/1.8 for night photography! If you don't do this, it might be a non-issue, but when it's too dark to focus, scale focus is a great boon!

-- hide signature --

Hahaha! Well, that may be well and fine for these tests, but living in AZ, real life proves differently!

Why would that be? Unless I am mistaken, it's the same sun we are talking about in Wroclaw, Poland, as in Arizona, USA.

Atmospheric conditions and reflective landforms are typically not comparable.

Aside from moisure and clouds, think Sunny-16 and corrections for snow on the ground.

I am talking specifically about the green polygon flare pattern that you mentioned and Lenstip illustrates. It is caused by having the sun at a specific angle just outside the frame. If you have the naked sun in that particular position, the lens will produce the same flare no matter whether you are in Wroclaw or in Arizona.

very bright regions just outside the frame also will trigger this. Things tend to be naked, bright and reflective in AZ -- sand, light colored rocks etc. There is lots of grass and foliage in most of Poland from what I remember.

OK. I know what Arizona as well as Poland look like (been to both places) but I don't think you can get that green polygon flare pattern we are talking about from anything but a bright direct source of light or possibly a very distinct reflection (like from a water surface) of a kind I think would be just as likely in Poland as in Arizona.

Anyway, I have more problems with flare and most lenses here in AZ than I ever have when shooting on the East Coast. If you don't have this problem, it must be the type of different shooting styles that we have.

As late as last summer, I visited parts of California that are in relevant respects just like Arizona. I had no more problems with flare with this or any other lens than I have in Sweden or Poland (i.e., almost none). I keep all my lenses well hooded though.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +21 more
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brentbrent
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Pana 20/1.7 version II versus version I
In reply to kenw, 5 months ago

kenw wrote:

I have the version I 20/1.7 and the 17/1.8. By all accounts nothing changed optically or AF wise on the version II.

I have had the v.1 20mm for a couple years.   I got a good deal on a v.2 20mm when I was buying a GX7, so I got that lens and planned to keep it and sell the v.1.   I prefer the appearance of the v.2.

My personal comparison of the two:

1.  The v.2 was much quieter when focusing than my v.1.  Whether that is due to age of my v.1 or sample variation, I can't say, but I can say there was a definite difference.

2.  I did not notice any difference in AF speed.

3.  On test images I shot, the v.2 seemed a bit softer at the edges than the v.1. I believe I've read something similar from some test site (DXOMark?)  I am far from an expert when it comes to evaluating lenses, so I wouldn't suggest that anyone put a whole lot of weight on what I say in this regard.  But I've been so happy with the v.1 lens for years that I ended up selling my new v.2 lens and keeping the older one.  I just didn't want to take the chance that I'd end up not as impressed with the v.2.  Again, perhaps just sample variation, if anything.

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Anders W
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Re: Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.
In reply to mh2000, 5 months ago

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

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Ken W
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Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

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Re: Pana 20/1.7 version II versus version I
In reply to brentbrent, 5 months ago

brentbrent wrote:

kenw wrote:

I have the version I 20/1.7 and the 17/1.8. By all accounts nothing changed optically or AF wise on the version II.

I have had the v.1 20mm for a couple years. I got a good deal on a v.2 20mm when I was buying a GX7, so I got that lens and planned to keep it and sell the v.1. I prefer the appearance of the v.2.

My personal comparison of the two:

1. The v.2 was much quieter when focusing than my v.1. Whether that is due to age of my v.1 or sample variation, I can't say, but I can say there was a definite difference.

2. I did not notice any difference in AF speed.

3. On test images I shot, the v.2 seemed a bit softer at the edges than the v.1. I believe I've read something similar from some test site (DXOMark?) I am far from an expert when it comes to evaluating lenses, so I wouldn't suggest that anyone put a whole lot of weight on what I say in this regard. But I've been so happy with the v.1 lens for years that I ended up selling my new v.2 lens and keeping the older one. I just didn't want to take the chance that I'd end up not as impressed with the v.2. Again, perhaps just sample variation, if anything.

I'd chalk all the differences up to sample variation. The lens design is exactly the same, optically as well as mechanically. The differences between v.1 and v.2 are purely cosmetic.

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kenw
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Re: Pana 20/1.7 version II versus version I
In reply to brentbrent, 5 months ago

brentbrent wrote:

1. The v.2 was much quieter when focusing than my v.1. Whether that is due to age of my v.1 or sample variation, I can't say, but I can say there was a definite difference.

Interesting.  It could certainly be sample variation.  I know some motors and the servo loops can have a surprising variation in noise depending on what exactly the source of the noise is.  Common with some "noisy" lenses in other systems as well.

As to the optical difference that's likely sample variation.  Testing lenses when you buy them is an annoying thing to have to do!

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mh2000
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artist vs. robot?
In reply to Anders W, 5 months ago

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

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Ken W
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Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

artist vs. robot?

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Anders W
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Not artist versus robot, but smart versus stupid human
In reply to mh2000, 5 months ago

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

-- hide signature --

Ken W
See profile for equipment list

Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

artist vs. robot?

Robots don't "feel" so no. Smart versus stupid human is more like it.

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mh2000
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Re: Not artist versus robot, but smart versus stupid human
In reply to Anders W, 5 months ago

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

-- hide signature --

Ken W
See profile for equipment list

Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

artist vs. robot?

Robots don't "feel" so no. Smart versus stupid human is more like it.

It's not smart vs dumb, it's whether or not you can get by with one of the finite choices you have in lenses. That might not change how you feel, but it may let you accept how you feel and get on with creating art wiith your equipment...

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Anders W
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Re: Not artist versus robot, but smart versus stupid human
In reply to mh2000, 5 months ago

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

-- hide signature --

Ken W
See profile for equipment list

Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

artist vs. robot?

Robots don't "feel" so no. Smart versus stupid human is more like it.

It's not smart vs dumb, it's whether or not you can get by with one of the finite choices you have in lenses. That might not change how you feel, but it may let you accept how you feel and get on with creating art wiith your equipment...

If you let your incorrect perceptions guide your choice of lens rather than allow objective data (provided for example by testing) to correct your perceptions, you are behaving irrationally. Consequently, it is a matter of being smart versus dumb.

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mh2000
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Re: Not artist versus robot, but smart versus stupid human
In reply to Anders W, 5 months ago

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

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Ken W
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Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

artist vs. robot?

Robots don't "feel" so no. Smart versus stupid human is more like it.

It's not smart vs dumb, it's whether or not you can get by with one of the finite choices you have in lenses. That might not change how you feel, but it may let you accept how you feel and get on with creating art wiith your equipment...

If you let your incorrect perceptions guide your choice of lens rather than allow objective data (provided for example by testing) to correct your perceptions, you are behaving irrationally. Consequently, it is a matter of being smart versus dumb.

Right, just like everyone who has a preference in cars is just stupid or gun owners who prefer shooting one gun over another because they are able to get better target accuracy...
Anyway, enjoy your rationality. I also care about how my equipment looks... go figure.

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Anders W
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Re: Not artist versus robot, but smart versus stupid human
In reply to mh2000, 5 months ago

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

mh2000 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Finally a few words about sharpness: I know that you know how to test lenses and am ready to take your word for it that your own copies of the two lenses are roughly on a par in that respect. On the other hand, nothing I have seen so far suggests that this is true more generally. On the contrary, both the samples and the MTF figures that I have seen indicate that the 20 has a pretty clear edge in this regard. This doesn't mean that the 17 does poorly. But I'd say that in this regard, it is merely decent whereas the 20 is excellent.

Personally, I would have swapped my 20 for the 17 if the 17 had been on a par with the 20 optically (since I have a marginal preference for 35 over 40 mm EFL). But since that didn't turn out to be the case, I abstained from the 17 and kept the 20.

Hi Anders,

Thanks for the excellent AF summary. You are probably right, what people really notice is if the lens starts to hunt the 20mm seems noticeably slower. If you can avoid hunting there is probably no real difference at normal focus distances.

As to sharpness we always fall into the sample variation issues besides the general difficultly in testing. I had a first copy of the 17 and I returned it, obvious asymmetry to the edges in tests. The second one I got didn't have any obvious asymmetry and the center was sharper than the first. I did a careful comparison test (adjusting shooting distance slightly so details were the same size in the image for comparison) with my copy of the 20mm. I got the same result as at least one other test had shown - the difference was in edges vs. center. This surprised me because I had initially presumed from casual examination that the 20mm was sharper than the 17mm overall. At least for my two copies that wasn't the case. And of course besides the possibility of my 17mm being better than most these is also the chance my 20mm was worse than most.

Oh - and on bokeh - "different" is probably the best place to leave it. Not sure "smoother" is the best description as you point out.

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Ken W
See profile for equipment list

Yup, it doesn't take many hunting excurisions before it makes a psyclogical impact. That's what I'm remembering.

Yes, I am sure that it's the hunting behavior along with the associated AF noise (both of which it shares with your Oly 17/2.8), that gives people the impression that it is generally slow (although it ordinarily isn't).

No test matters that much when you are out in the field.

Not the test but certainly the results of it.

I don't get this. Unless you test the exact case that causes a lens/body combo to hunt, what do other tests matter when you're actually shooting?

Why the 20 would be more prone to hunting than the O17/2.8 in the shots I take doesn't mean a thing if for what you shoot the 17 hunts more. There is no way to normalize these results. Even if shooting photos like yours would minimize a lens from hunting, I will still want to shoot photos that I shoot. I'm offering my personal experience with the lens the OP is asking about, that's all -- my experiences. I've said a bunch of good things about the lens too.

Tests results matter in several different ways: First they may be important for your choice of gear. Second, they may also be important for how you use your gear once you have it. For example, with the 20, it is a particularly good idea not to allow the lens to hunt to completion (although that may be a good idea with other lenses too).

As to the propensity to hunt, the only thing that matters on the lens side is its light intake and its contrast level (both at least as good for the 20/1.7 as for the 17/1.8; the 17/2.8 trails them both). The things the OP would shoot with the 17/1.8 or the 20/1.7 is likely to be roughly the same thing. Consequently, the propensity to hunt would be roughly the same.

Nothing to argue about here. If a lens seems to hunt more under certain circumstances, that's how it *feels* when *you* shoot it. If it *feels* that way to a large number of people, there is a higher probability that it will feel that way to you to.

People like car analogies here... if a car feels more responsive to drive, no matter what someone's standardized road tests show, the car that *feels* better really does feel better to drive.

I don't find tautologies (e.g., that something feels the way it feels) particularly interesting. Of greater significance is that things sometimes aren't the way they "feel". If it "feels" like a lens hunts more under certain conditions although it doesn't, I'd say the appropriate solution is to bring your "feelings" in line rather than opt for another lens.

artist vs. robot?

Robots don't "feel" so no. Smart versus stupid human is more like it.

It's not smart vs dumb, it's whether or not you can get by with one of the finite choices you have in lenses. That might not change how you feel, but it may let you accept how you feel and get on with creating art wiith your equipment...

If you let your incorrect perceptions guide your choice of lens rather than allow objective data (provided for example by testing) to correct your perceptions, you are behaving irrationally. Consequently, it is a matter of being smart versus dumb.

Right, just like everyone who has a preference in cars is just stupid or gun owners who prefer shooting one gun over another because they are able to get better target accuracy...

The point I made is obviously not incompatible with having preferences. It is just incompatible with having irrational preferences. If the gun owner prefers a certain gun because it actually gives him better target accuracy, that's perfectly rational. If, however, he merely "feels" that its accuracy is superior to that of another gun, although it is actually worse, and he chooses to trust his "feelings" rather than the evidence, he is acting irrationally.

Anyway, enjoy your rationality.

I am afraid I am not all that rational about everything but I enjoy what I've got.

I also care about how my equipment looks... go figure.

Whether that is irrational or not depends on why you buy your gear.

 Anders W's gear list:Anders W's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +21 more
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photohounds
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Re: Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.
In reply to rgs_45, 5 months ago

Panny
+ smaller - 1/6th stop faster, lighter, cheaper, slightly sharper 1.7-2.8.
- Slower, noisier AF (audible in quiet movies), 0.4 stops more vignetting (meaning it is slower in practical usage except at the centre), more CA, focus by wire only, cheaper made.

Oly
+ Slightly sharper f4 to f11, Mechanical and electronic focus, proper lens hood available, less vignetting, less CA, quieter focus (I've never heard a peep out of it), better made.
- more costly, larger (but not large), marginally less sharp edges wide open.

They are both good lenses and BOTH trounce the Zuiko 17/2.8 except on price.  It is plainly a 'swings and roundabouts' situation.

So .. I struggled with this for a while - ended up going for the Zuiko and am very happy.  Isn't choice grand?  

Samples here :-

http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Gear-tests/Zuiko1718/

If you desire 100% crops of any frames there, please let me know - here or on the above page. SLRgear has good objective reviews, too.

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Well designed gear performs better for longer than well marketed gear.
http://photohounds.smugmug.com/

 photohounds's gear list:photohounds's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R +6 more
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Marty4650
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Re: Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.
In reply to rgs_45, 5 months ago

rgs_45 wrote:

Aside the the 3mm difference in FL, what advantages and disadvantages of getting either the Pana or Oly lens?? For someone that has or used both, which has better sharpness, IQ? Which has faster focusing speed?

Pana: (+) cheaper, smaller, faster

You mean "slightly faster" and only $60 cheaper. Neither one seems like a deal breaker to me. If the 20mm was an f/1.4 lens.... or cost $100 less, then maybe. A pancake is definitely a plus.

Oly: (+) better built (to me), wider coverage (-) more expensive

Wider coverage is a big deal.

At these focal lengths, 3mm is a lot on the wide end. They may seem to be similar, but they really serve slightly different purposes.

It may not be practical to own BOTH of these focal lengths, but if I wanted two prime lenses it would be 17mm and 25mm, or 17mm and 12mm, or even 17mm and 45mm.

I'm deciding which one to get and need some help. Will be used mainly indoors and low light shooting and maybe 10-20% video (short clips only). Will be getting one in a week for a trip. I have a GX1

Appreciate your help.

You failed to mention the AF issue. The 20mm f/1.7 is notorious for being a sluggish AF performer. Also, there is a banding issue if you use certain Olympus cameras with it.

 Marty4650's gear list:Marty4650's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R +6 more
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