The insidiousness of the 20mm f1.7

Started 4 weeks ago | Discussions thread
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jhunna Contributing Member • Posts: 990
The insidiousness of the 20mm f1.7

Knowing what I know now, I don't think I would ever buy this lens.  The glass produces beautiful results but handling can really affect how you shoot.  Let me explain.

The 20 is often recommended as the first prime because its cost to output ratio are so good, add the bonus that its a light weight pancake and you have nearly the perfect beginner prime.  BUT to get good at shooting with the 20 you need to change how you shoot.  Waiting for focusing and not being able to utilize constant focusing instills habits that affect how you relate to other lenses.

So instead of shooting lens where they perform their best I would shoot them like they were the 20, which is a slower more methodical method.  Some of the techniques I tried are:

Set aperture at f5.6/8 and manual focus on something is 10 feet a way.  Great for things 10 feet away and farther but not so good if something is 5 feet away.

Back button focus was my next technique, this worked better and my hit rate went way up, but I still wasn't happy with my performance.

I like shooting people and I would need to get them to pose or shoot from a longer distance to get my shots.

Recently I started shooting autofocus with other lenses.  And the speed and accuracy increased my hit rate multifold. I then used CAF and again, I found I was able to make shots I couldn't make with the 20.  It has taken me almost 2 years to discover that taking pictures is easier and more fun than I have been making it.  I have broken my 20mm shooting habits, and I am able to focus on exposure and framing rather than focusing.

Bottom line 20mm taught me to not trust the focusing of the system, and in so doing affected all my shooting.


 jhunna's gear list:jhunna's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7
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