Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

Started Aug 6, 2013 | Discussions
tsi Forum Member • Posts: 54
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
16

By releasing a new version of the 20mm f/1.7 pancake, Panasonic raised new hopes that they may have solved the banding problem. The banding issue is the major drawback of an otherwise excellent lens.

Although Panasonic has not announced technical improvements, there have been speculations that they may have fixed the problem quietly. Unfortunately, it has been a vain hope.

The new model 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) produces bands in high ISO images shot with the E-PL5 in the same way as the old model 20mm F1.7 (H-H020E).

Here are two examples shot at ISO6400 and processed in Lightroom (exposure +1, contrast +100).

The first image taken at f4.0 shows the full frame with horizontal bands visible in dark areas.

New Panasonic 20mm 1.7 II (H-H020A) at ISO6400, f4.0, 1/50.

The second image taken at f1.7 shows horizontal bands in a crop of the same scene. The width of the bands is much smaller than in the first image. This is not a systematic difference since the width of the bands is known to change over time.

New Panasonic 20mm 1.7 II (H-H020A) at ISO6400, f1.7, 1/200 (crop)

The previous discussions about the banding issue can be found here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50092818
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50340448

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic 20mm F1.7 II Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH
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marcwee
marcwee Regular Member • Posts: 152
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
2

This is very disappointing. What's the use for better cameras with better sensors if you can't use the better high ISO? The 20mm is one of the most important compact low light lenses of micro four thirds. I'm curious to know if the banding issue will also turn up with the GX7.

Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 17,007
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
7

Very disappointing.  I specifically bought the old 20mm f1.7 as a fast, small lens for low light use when I travel and to be used on my E-M5.  I wrote about the problem here:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51029028

The single reason I got it is the exact circumstance where it fails.

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agachart Regular Member • Posts: 279
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
1

marcwee wrote:

This is very disappointing. What's the use for better cameras with better sensors if you can't use the better high ISO? The 20mm is one of the most important compact low light lenses of micro four thirds. I'm curious to know if the banding issue will also turn up with the GX7.

Auto Focus is faster(2x-3x) than old version and still fast on low light target 

objepath New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

agachart wrote:

Auto Focus is faster(2x-3x) than old version and still fast on low light target

Are you saying that Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) has a 2x-3x faster auto focus than the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 I (H-H020)? That would be too good to be true!

OP tsi Forum Member • Posts: 54
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
6

agachart wrote:

Auto Focus is faster(2x-3x) than old version and still fast on low light target

I cannot confirm this.

Auto Focus speed is almost the same in my case.

OP tsi Forum Member • Posts: 54
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
1

The following image is shown for comparison. It has been taken with the old lens with the E-PL5 at ISO6400 and processed in Lightroom (exposure +1, contrast +100). The strength of the banding is very similar to that observed with the new lens.

Old Panasonic 20mm 1.7 (H-H020E) at ISO6400, f4.0, 1/40 (crop)

Finally, an image of the old and the new lens. Image shot with 75/1.8 at ISO6400 (no banding):

Panasonic 20mm f1.7 (left) I (right) II

mister_roboto Regular Member • Posts: 340
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
3

From what I understand the only difference between the two versions is cosmetics.

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gorred
gorred Senior Member • Posts: 1,205
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

I have never experinced any banding issue. On the other hand it is very seldom I shoot with ISO more than 1600 or so with a fast lens like this. So for me it is a non issue.

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hazwing Regular Member • Posts: 146
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
2

can you post a picture where you haven't pushed the exposure, or the contrast so heavily?

If your pushing a ISO 6400 photo +1EV, isn't that essentially taking a photo at ISO 12800 (or near enough anyway).  I very rarely go above ISO 6400

Corkcampbell
Corkcampbell Forum Pro • Posts: 18,895
What's your source for this info (AF speed increase)? Nice, if true. (nta0

no text

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inasir1971
inasir1971 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,706
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

gorred wrote:

I have never experinced any banding issue. On the other hand it is very seldom I shoot with ISO more than 1600 or so with a fast lens like this. So for me it is a non issue.

I can get banding with the 20/1.7 on my E-M5 at ISO 1600. All it takes is a dark background and an auto levels adjustment in Lightroom.

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yslee1 Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

objepath wrote:

agachart wrote:

Auto Focus is faster(2x-3x) than old version and still fast on low light target

Are you saying that Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) has a 2x-3x faster auto focus than the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 I (H-H020)? That would be too good to be true!

No, he is referring to why would someone use new cameras with better sensors if there's banding with the 20/1.7. The faster refers to the AF of the new cameras, not the new lens.

tradesmith45 Senior Member • Posts: 1,795
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

I'm sure in all the posts about banding w/ this lens, some has asked this so if so I'm sorry.

The NIK plugin, Define, has a setting to reduce banding noise.  Does this work w/ this lens?

Since its in software, I assume that means other lens/cameras do this too.  Right?

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gorred
gorred Senior Member • Posts: 1,205
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

I try to avoid those circumstances that that means risk for banding  - very dark, black backgrounds and I never do auto adjustments in Lr. I get a lot of pictures anyway. If I must have the picture under circumstances where I will get banding, so be it, I will have to accept that. It is a matter of knowing the limits of the gear, and not have to high expectations. Within its limits it is a great lens, which is able to take very good pictures.

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OP tsi Forum Member • Posts: 54
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
5

hazwing wrote:

can you post a picture where you haven't pushed the exposure, or the contrast so heavily?

If your pushing a ISO 6400 photo +1EV, isn't that essentially taking a photo at ISO 12800 (or near enough anyway). I very rarely go above ISO 6400

You are right. Here is the second image processed in Lightroom (exposure 0, contrast 0):

New Panasonic 20mm 1.7 II (H-H020A) at ISO6400, f1.7, 1/200, LR (exposure 0, contrast 0) (crop)

The effect is more subtle at 0EV. However, it is strong enough to ruin a shot.

These images are only first tests. The visibility of the banding depends very much on the scene and on the width of the bands, which changes over time. Here the effect is less obstrusive because the bands are found in the background. So it is not the best example. It is more disturbing if the same bands appear in a portrait (face or clothes).

objepath New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

yslee1 wrote:

No, he is referring to why would someone use new cameras with better sensors if there's banding with the 20/1.7. The faster refers to the AF of the new cameras, not the new lens.

Thanks for clarifying, yslee1. Hope dies last

Cheers!

Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,468
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
1

tsi wrote:

By releasing a new version of the 20mm f/1.7 pancake, Panasonic raised new hopes that they may have solved the banding problem. The banding issue is the major drawback of an otherwise excellent lens.

Although Panasonic has not announced technical improvements, there have been speculations that they may have fixed the problem quietly. Unfortunately, it has been a vain hope.

The new model 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) produces bands in high ISO images shot with the E-PL5 in the same way as the old model 20mm F1.7 (H-H020E).

Here are two examples shot at ISO6400 and processed in Lightroom (exposure +1, contrast +100).

The first image taken at f4.0 shows the full frame with horizontal bands visible in dark areas.

New Panasonic 20mm 1.7 II (H-H020A) at ISO6400, f4.0, 1/50.

The second image taken at f1.7 shows horizontal bands in a crop of the same scene. The width of the bands is much smaller than in the first image. This is not a systematic difference since the width of the bands is known to change over time.

New Panasonic 20mm 1.7 II (H-H020A) at ISO6400, f1.7, 1/200 (crop)

The previous discussions about the banding issue can be found here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50092818
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50340448

Thanks for posting these news in spite of the fact that they are bad news. Like you, I had hoped and thought that Pany would have addressed the banding problem even if all other changes were purely cosmetic (as seemed to be the case from the outset). I wonder why. Merely a misdirected effort to avoid a small expense (they are fully aware of the problem as shown by the GH3 manual where the banding problem with the 20 is pointed out) or is it actually more difficult to fix than I (and others) thought?

BTW: Did you actually manage to put your hands on the new 20 for the purpose of taking these test images or did you get the pictures from someone else?

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s_grins
s_grins Forum Pro • Posts: 13,253
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding

I do not think this is the lens to blame. I think this is a sensor problem. Can you, please repeat you findings with different lens under identical conditions (especially ISO 6400)?

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Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,468
Re: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II (H-H020A) - Banding
3

s_grins wrote:

I do not think this is the lens to blame. I think this is a sensor problem. Can you, please repeat you findings with different lens under identical conditions (especially ISO 6400)?

It's not an either or situation. It's both and. This particular lens gives rise to banding when used with the newest MFT sensor (E-M5, E-PL5, E-PM2, E-P5, GH3). The problem has been tested and analyzed very carefully (see the links in the OP and a lot of threads before that). It has also been officially recognized by both Olympus and Panasonic.

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