I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
Anders W
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to jhinkey, 4 months ago

jhinkey wrote:

flacko_man wrote:

I just did an unscientific test of focusing on the cr@p around my desk in 7:25 morning light and the 20 1.7 seemed to focus as fast as my 45 1.8.

Try the same thing going from very far to something close and see if they are still equal. My experience has been that the 20/1.7 gets slow in this situation where other lenses are much faster.

Your experience agrees with controlled measurements. If you go from minimum focus distance (0.2 m) to infinity or the reverse, it may take about twice as long as other lenses (since the AF mechanism of the lens is the primary bottleneck in this case). If, however, you stay in the range between 0.75 m and infinity, it's about as fast as any other lens (since body processing is the primary bottleneck in this case). Fortunately, I rarely find a need to AF quickly between 0.2 m and infinity with my 20. But others may of course have other needs than mine.

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flacko_man
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to jhinkey, 4 months ago

Just did that. Yes, the 20 is a bit slower moving for near to far but as I don't use the 20 for action I'm going to lose any sleep over it.

Cheers

f_m

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Wesley Byrne
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to jeffharris, 4 months ago

Wesley Byrne wrote:

UPS just delivered my Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II. I had read the reviews and knew the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 autofocus wasn't fast, but I wasn't expecting it to be so unbearably slow.

You must be using an Olympus body. While the 20mm isn't a speed demon in terms of focus speed, it's not that bad. Like pretty much any AF lens it can hunt a bit in low light.

No, I use a Panasonic G3

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ThePhilips
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

Wesley Byrne wrote:

This lens is useless for even slow moving subjects. I am definitely returning this lens.

For moving objects, the lens is indeed useless. (It is also useless for video, unless you use an external mic removed from camera: AF motor is relatively loud.)

But the 40mm eq FL + f/1.7 + pretty good IQ makes it suitable for a host of occasions. I use it, for example, in social settings and it does its job well. Fast focusing? - No. Otherwise a pretty good lens.

If I were to compare the AF speed to the other lenses, then I'd say the AF speed matches that of many other (DSRL) lenses which lack fast motors. Or are simply to heavy to focus fast. On m43 it is very easy to forget that only 5 years ago, fast AF was a big headline feature for new lenses. And it is still headline feature for many DSLR lenses.

Give the 20mm a time. If it doesn't grow on you in a week - only then send it back.

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Wesley Byrne
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Anders W, 4 months ago

Wesley Byrne wrote:

UPS just delivered my Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II. I had read the reviews and knew the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 autofocus wasn't fast, but I wasn't expecting it to be so unbearably slow. Some here have said that the 20mm f1.7 isn't that slow, and that it autofocuses about as fast as other m43 lenses when large focus adjustments are not needed, but they are wrong. This lens is useless for even slow moving subjects. I am definitely returning this lens.

I know the 20mm f1.7 has many fans, presumably folks who photograph static scenes. In my opinion, compared to the 17mm f1.8 and the 25mm f1.8, the 20mm f1.7 is a dog. Panasonic should be embarrassed for releasing this lens with barely-functional AF.

</end rant>

Slow AF on the 20/1.7? Absolutely. Except if you use it in ordinary AF-S in the range from 0.75 m to infinity and manage not to send it hunting. Fortunately, that exception accounts for more than 99 percent of my usage.

This is the kind of bad advice I was referring to. Even in these conditions I found the 20mm f1.7 unbearably slow.

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Anders W
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

Wesley Byrne wrote:

Wesley Byrne wrote:

UPS just delivered my Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II. I had read the reviews and knew the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 autofocus wasn't fast, but I wasn't expecting it to be so unbearably slow. Some here have said that the 20mm f1.7 isn't that slow, and that it autofocuses about as fast as other m43 lenses when large focus adjustments are not needed, but they are wrong. This lens is useless for even slow moving subjects. I am definitely returning this lens.

I know the 20mm f1.7 has many fans, presumably folks who photograph static scenes. In my opinion, compared to the 17mm f1.8 and the 25mm f1.8, the 20mm f1.7 is a dog. Panasonic should be embarrassed for releasing this lens with barely-functional AF.

</end rant>

Slow AF on the 20/1.7? Absolutely. Except if you use it in ordinary AF-S in the range from 0.75 m to infinity and manage not to send it hunting. Fortunately, that exception accounts for more than 99 percent of my usage.

This is the kind of bad advice I was referring to.

It is neither advice nor bad. It is a correct observation based on controlled testing. See here:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50877416

What controlled testing did you perform?

Even in these conditions I found the 20mm f1.7 unbearably slow.

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dougjgreen1
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to tgutgu, 4 months ago

tgutgu wrote:

In the second version, Panasonic did nothing to improve AF.

Since there are now alternatives to the 1.7/20mm, which are equal or better in IQ (1.8/25mm, 1.4/25mm) and which have a fast AF, there isn't any point left to buy this lens, especially since the O 1.8/25mm is also pretty small and light.

-- hide signature --

Thomas

Unfortunately, some of us greatly prefer the 20mm field of view to either of the 25mm lenses.  I agree that the 20mm focuses poorly, and I replaced mine with the PanaLeica 25mm, but I wish I had the 20mm lens with better focusing performance, rather than the 25mm.

I went and bought the Sigma 19mm for times when I don't need the large aperture.

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s_grins
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

1.7/20 does not focus when I set AF to AF-C, and lens is pretty fast when I set AF mode to AF-S (single).

Certainly, I do not use this lens for movies

Check my camera below

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Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

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krugman
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

Wesley Byrne wrote:

UPS just delivered my Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II. I had read the reviews and knew the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 autofocus wasn't fast, but I wasn't expecting it to be so unbearably slow. Some here have said that the 20mm f1.7 isn't that slow, and that it autofocuses about as fast as other m43 lenses when large focus adjustments are not needed, but they are wrong. This lens is useless for even slow moving subjects. I am definitely returning this lens.

I know the 20mm f1.7 has many fans, presumably folks who photograph static scenes. In my opinion, compared to the 17mm f1.8 and the 25mm f1.8, the 20mm f1.7 is a dog. Panasonic should be embarrassed for releasing this lens with barely-functional AF.

</end rant>

Here is aa Pana 20mm image thread from M4/3 Forum showing a lot of spontaneous people pictures implying fast focusing.:

http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=298

These are consistent with my own experience with the    Pana 20 on the Oly EM10: it focuses quite fast.

Krugman

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jhinkey
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

The OP has a G3 listed in his gear list - this is a quite "old" model at 3+ years - could the G3 focusing be contributing to the slowness of the 20/1.7?

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SkiHound
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

I have no direct experience with the lens. Just about every review praises the IQ and small size. And, while some folks find the AF speed at least OK, the reputation is that it's a relatively slow focusing lens. My guess is it depends a lot on what you're shooting, light levels, and probably body. It's the primary reason I've never been interested in the lens.

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SF Photo Gal
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to SkiHound, 4 months ago

A lot had already been said, but I'll add my $1.98.  It is slow.  Certaily not designed for sports or really fast moving kids.

OTOH, it's compast and great in low light.  I use mine a lot.  Depends on your shooting style. If it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work. 
SF Photo Gal aka Faggurl

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Anders W
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to jhinkey, 4 months ago

jhinkey wrote:

The OP has a G3 listed in his gear list - this is a quite "old" model at 3+ years - could the G3 focusing be contributing to the slowness of the 20/1.7?

While the G3 is perhaps not quite as fast as the most recent models, it is surely no slouch either. Middle-generation as far as MFT AF speed is concerned. Besides, to the extent that the G3 is slow with the 20, it is slow with other lenses too. Body processing time is what it is no matter what lens is used.

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Sergey Borachev
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to MAubrey, 4 months ago

MAubrey wrote:

Well...you were only misled because you listened to the wrong people.

Sorry it turned out that way.

-- hide signature --

--Mike

Unfortunately, it is not easy to tell the right from the wrong people, without spending a lot of time here researching and verifying comments. Number of posts, expensive equipment, or even quality of photos posted, are not reliable indicators of reliable comments. For example, even DPReview's review of this lens did not warn about this AF problem.

Lenstip OTOH only said this::

"The autofocus accuracy is absolutely beyond reproach for a change. In lab conditions with good lighting the autofocus didn’t miss one single time."

Photozone did not have anything to say except praise for the AF.

I suppose that's why we come to these forums for feedback. I suggest to OP to check widely and pay particular attention to any negative feedback, so as to err on the safe side.

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LMNCT
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

It may be a bit slower than some other lenses, but it is sharp and still one of my favorites.

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Klarno
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I believe it.
In reply to Wesley Byrne, 4 months ago

It's one of three AF lenses in the system that uses unit focus instead of internal focus. They focus by racking the entire optical system back and forth. The others are the original 14-42 that was the kit lens for the E-P1 and the E-PL1, and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8. They didn't actually change the optical formula or mechanics for the 20mm f/1.7 II, they just changed the coatings and gave it metal pants.

Internal focus lenses are faster because they are able to use lighter mass groups for focus.

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Anders W
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Sergey Borachev, 4 months ago

Sergey Borachev wrote:

MAubrey wrote:

Well...you were only misled because you listened to the wrong people.

Sorry it turned out that way.

-- hide signature --

--Mike

Unfortunately, it is not easy to tell the right from the wrong people, without spending a lot of time here researching and verifying comments. Number of posts, expensive equipment, or even quality of photos posted, are not reliable indicators of reliable comments. For example, even DPReview's review of this lens did not warn about this AF problem.

What problem? You mean this one?

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53579948

As to DPR, they actually said the following:

"Autofocus is driven by a micro motor in the lens body, which works very well. It's not as fast as the Panasonic 14-45mm or 14-140mm zooms, but it's not terribly slow either (obviously this depends to some extent on the specific body used, with the E-P1 feeling just a little bit slower than the G1 or GF1). The focus motor is very quiet, and unlikely to intrude on any occasion. The 20mm F1.7 is also capable of continuous autofocus in movie mode."

Source:

http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/panasonic_20_1p7_o20/2

Lenstip OTOH only said this::

"The autofocus accuracy is absolutely beyond reproach for a change. In lab conditions with good lighting the autofocus didn’t miss one single time."

Actually, Lenstip also said the following:

"In cameras used in the test, so in the Olympus E-PL1 and the Panasonic G2 the autofocus work is based on the contrast detection method. As a result the focusing is not a fast process. The lens-plus-camera system first goes to the area close to the right position, passes it and then goes back and only afterwards the focus is set. The whole process can take as long as over one second. What’s more, you can hear a silent whirr during the work. "

Source:

http://www.lenstip.com/269.10-Lens_review-Panasonic_G_20_mm_f_1.7_ASPH._Autofocus.html

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Anders W
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Re: I believe it.
In reply to Klarno, 4 months ago

Klarno wrote:

It's one of three AF lenses in the system that uses unit focus instead of internal focus. They focus by racking the entire optical system back and forth. The others are the original 14-42 that was the kit lens for the E-P1 and the E-PL1, and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8. They didn't actually change the optical formula or mechanics for the 20mm f/1.7 II, they just changed the coatings and gave it metal pants.

Internal focus lenses are faster because they are able to use lighter mass groups for focus.

Sure. But the speed of the lens AF mechanism is the bottleneck only sometimes. See here

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53579948

and here

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50877416

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Sergey Borachev
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Anders W, 4 months ago

Anders W wrote:

Sergey Borachev wrote:

MAubrey wrote:

Well...you were only misled because you listened to the wrong people.

Sorry it turned out that way.

-- hide signature --

--Mike

Unfortunately, it is not easy to tell the right from the wrong people, without spending a lot of time here researching and verifying comments. Number of posts, expensive equipment, or even quality of photos posted, are not reliable indicators of reliable comments. For example, even DPReview's review of this lens did not warn about this AF problem.

What problem? You mean this one?

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53579948

As to DPR, they actually said the following:

"Autofocus is driven by a micro motor in the lens body, which works very well. It's not as fast as the Panasonic 14-45mm or 14-140mm zooms, but it's not terribly slow either (obviously this depends to some extent on the specific body used, with the E-P1 feeling just a little bit slower than the G1 or GF1). The focus motor is very quiet, and unlikely to intrude on any occasion. The 20mm F1.7 is also capable of continuous autofocus in movie mode."

Source:

http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/panasonic_20_1p7_o20/2

Lenstip OTOH only said this::

"The autofocus accuracy is absolutely beyond reproach for a change. In lab conditions with good lighting the autofocus didn’t miss one single time."

Actually, Lenstip also said the following:

"In cameras used in the test, so in the Olympus E-PL1 and the Panasonic G2 the autofocus work is based on the contrast detection method. As a result the focusing is not a fast process. The lens-plus-camera system first goes to the area close to the right position, passes it and then goes back and only afterwards the focus is set. The whole process can take as long as over one second. What’s more, you can hear a silent whirr during the work. "

Source:

http://www.lenstip.com/269.10-Lens_review-Panasonic_G_20_mm_f_1.7_ASPH._Autofocus.html

You are correct Anders, as usual, something was said but nothing like a warning, a Con in the Conclusion or something that could be more easily picked up as a no-go for those who cannot read in between the lines to realise there is a problem.

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jhinkey
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Re: I feel misled: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II AF is SO SLOW!
In reply to Anders W, 4 months ago

Anders W wrote:

jhinkey wrote:

The OP has a G3 listed in his gear list - this is a quite "old" model at 3+ years - could the G3 focusing be contributing to the slowness of the 20/1.7?

While the G3 is perhaps not quite as fast as the most recent models, it is surely no slouch either. Middle-generation as far as MFT AF speed is concerned. Besides, to the extent that the G3 is slow with the 20, it is slow with other lenses too. Body processing time is what it is no matter what lens is used.

I've never used my 20/1.7 on my G5 or GH2 so I have no idea how much slower it could be.  I was just suggesting that perhaps the AF speed of the 20/1.7 is slowed down enough on a not-so-current body (like a G3) that it passed the threshold of minimum nimbleness for the OP.

Generally with my 20/1.7 on my GX7 I have no real complaints - only when racking from near to far or back does it show it's lack of speed.  Short hops between distances are usually quick enough not to be an issue.  Tracking of a fast moving object is not something I've generally tried to do with my m43 gear.

I may swap it out for the new 15/1.7, but not because of AF speed . . . .

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