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

Started Feb 24, 2014 | Discussions thread
kenw Veteran Member • Posts: 5,372
Re: Pana 20/1.7 (version II) vs Oly 17/1.8?? Need help deciding.

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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