Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?

Started May 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,356
Re: The 20mm and the 45mm make a great pair ;-)

j y g wrote:

I ended up purchasing the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. Here was the final decision making process:

1. Its (also) a widely used and well review lens. Its not quite the 45mm in quality, but far superior to my kit lenses.

In terms of image quality I would put my copy of the 20mm f/1.7 up there with the 45mm f/1.8.

2. Like the 45mm, its a very fast lens.

3. When it came down to it, the real deciding factor was that I wanted something wider, close to normal, than 45mm. I find that the 20mm might end up being more versatile, given the quality of the lens and the OM-D sensor (the body I ended up purchasing). This way I can get those indoor shots (though occasionally I wish I had bought the 14mm), but also use it as a portrait lens. What? Well, good portraits can be obtained by using more distance from the subject, to avoid distortion, but with all the high quality involved I can still crop appropriately for a portrait. Its not an ideal world, but its more than good enough for an amature like me.

4. Its small, a pancake lens. Because of this, and its awesome speed and DOF, it has become my go-to lens. I know that. if I'm paying attention. I can always get a pleasing shot with this lens.

All reasons why the 20mm f/1.7 was the first lens I bought for m4/3. It's still one of my favorite and most used. And you're right... it's great for portraits if you're careful not to get too close (and crop as needed). It's great for shots of two or more people, as well as for environmental portraits or full length portraits... shots the 45mm is often too long for.

My only regret is the sometimes abysmal focus speed. But truthfully, in practice, it has not bitten me all that much.

Hasn't been a big issue for me, but as my kids get older (they are 1 and 3) it's getting to become a bit of a problem. The 20mm misses some shots that the 45mm f/1.8 and 12-50mm kit lens would not. I'm not sure it's enough of a problem for me to run out and purchase the 25mm f/1.4, although I do want that lens

Why is #3 above not a regret, with regard to the 14mm? Because the 20mm is a faster lens, and if I'm committed to being more creating and thoughtful, the 6mm difference is rarely a problem.

6mm is actually quite huge in terms of angle of view at the wide end. At the tele end it doesn't mean much. That said I think the 20mm is a more versatile focal length than 14mm. I still might get a 14mm one of these days, but I own the Oly 9-18mm which is excellent and quite compact.

Hopefully this thread and these thoughts help someone else decide.


I would just say, keep that 45mm on your wish list for the future. It's stellar and produces much more wow factor than a kit zoom that is at f/5.6 in the same range. It excels in low light and shallow depth of field of cousre, but stopped down it still makes images pop because it's sharp and contrasty.

Happy shooting!


 sean000's gear list:sean000's gear list
Olympus Stylus XZ-10 Nikon D70 Nikon D200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +14 more
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