Initial Impressions

Started 4 months ago | User reviews thread
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AlmostDoctor Senior Member • Posts: 1,136
Initial Impressions
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I had some reservations before I ordered it because of the high price tag and mixed reviews. But a few of the forum members have shared fantastic images from 20mm pro, so I decided to try it out myself. Afterall, professional gear reviews haven't always  been consistent with my personal experience. Oly 12-45 F4 Pro got lukewarm reviews from gear reviewers but it's a fantastic lens that I love. Living in the U.S., I could always return it if I didn't like it so I had nothing to lose.

I work hard all the time and we are all eventually going to die so I might as well live how I want while I canĀ 

Anyway, after a few days of trying it out, I have decided to keep the lens.

My copy of the lens is plenty sharp across the frame. It's not in the same league as Oly 17mm Pro, but it is quite comparable wide-open to P20, PL25 version I, and it's clearly sharper than PL15. In real-world shooting, I think the difference in wide-open sharpness is more academic than practical. (Though this was tested with relatively close subject distance. The result might be different when you focus farther. asobinet.com reported 20mm F1.4 being less sharp in corners wide open near infinity focus, but I haven't tested this myself yet.)

As for the rendering, it is very similar to Oly 17mm Pro in my eyes. This is fantastic for me, since I love 17 pro but it often gets left behind for casual outings due to its size and weight. Getting Oly pro prime rendering in small package is what this lens is all about, in my opinion.

The size and weight difference between 17 pro and 20 pro might not seem like much in pictures, but it is very noticeable in your hands, in your camera bag, and mounted on a medium sized bodies. Also, other people notice the size difference when you point the lenses at them too.

From now on, my everyday carry setup will be my Pen-F, 12-45 F4, and 20mm F1.4 Pro in a small shoulder bag. It's small and light enough to come with me everywhere, while still being incredibly versatile.

Some reviews mentioned issues with chromatic aberration. It's not the best in this area, but it doesn't seem any worse to me compared to my other primes in practice. I think it would be rare for the technical imperfection of this lens to ruin a photo, but more often than not, the character of this lens might give you something extra in your images.

If you only care about technical perfections, I don't think this is the lens for you.

As far as focusing speed goes (kind of seems pointless to talk about since MEDISN already did a fantastic comparisons on it) it is vastly superior to P20mm and noticeably faster than PL25 Version 1.  It also sems to focus well in very dim lighting.

TL;DR

OM System 20mm F1.4 Pro has the Oly Pro Prime rendering without the size and weight of the F1.2 primes, while sacrificing a little bit of technical perfection that likely won't matter in majority of real-world shooting (in my humble opinion).

Who is this for?

If you love the look that Olympus F1.2 Pro lenses give but you want something smaller and lighter to take with you everywhere, then this is it.

Who is this NOT for?

If size/weight doesn't matter to you, then F1.2 Pro lenses might be a better option since they are available in the used market for comparable prices.

If you don't have specific attachment to Oly Pro Prime rendering, then you are better off going with more affordable options that have similar level of sharpness and general optical performance.

Pen-F Custom color profile SOOC jepg.

 AlmostDoctor's gear list:AlmostDoctor's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Olympus E-M5 III Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Panasonic 20mm F1.7 II +5 more
OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 Pro
Prime lens • Micro Four Thirds
Announced: Nov 4, 2021
AlmostDoctor's score
4.5
Average community score
4.5
20mm F1.4 Pro Olympus PEN-F
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