Olympus 17mm vs Panasonic 20mm focus question

Started Jun 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
twokatmew Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: Olympus 17mm vs Panasonic 20mm focus question

First off, I have an E-PM1, no E-M5. I purchased the 17/2.8 because the 20/1.7 was unavailable at the time, and I needed a faster general purpose lens than the 14-42IIR.

After hearing so many complaints about the 17/2.8, I was pleasantly surprised. It's quite sharp, and although it's not as fast to focus as the newer MSC lenses, it's definitely no slouch. Still, I like to take photos of my house cats in natural light, so when the 20/1.7 became available, I snapped it up.

I found that it's much, much slower to focus than the 17/2.8, and it frequently either missed focus or failed to lock focus at all. It was very noisy too. Although I've heard people say they just manually focus with the 20/1.7, that defeats the purpose of an AF lens. I found I ended up with lots of blurry shots. When the lens had difficulty focusing, it made enough noise that my cats would run to investigate the camera, and I couldn't get a shot at all. That said, I really liked the wider aperture and OOF rendering ... when and if I could get my shot! But the lens failed miserably at the job I intended for it, and at $359, I felt it was too expensive to keep. (Had it cost $150, I might have kept it for use in better light.)

Despite the 17's slower 2.8 max aperture, I find it relatively quick to focus, and I rarely miss shots in the same available light that caused the 20/1.7 much trouble. I do use the AF assist light on my E-PM1, yet the AF performance of the 20/1.7 (in my experience) is abysmal. Sadly, I returned the 20.

It's a very nice lens. Just don't plan to use it for moving objects in available (low) light. Now if Panasonic updates this lens with a newer, faster AF, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.


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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS +4 more
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