Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Review
The Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH was announced earlier this month as the natural companion to the compact Lumix DMC-GF1 Micro Four Thirds camera, alongside a Leica-branded 45mm F2.8 Macro (the camera is also available with a 14-45mm kit zoom). The H-H020, as Panasonic curiously likes to call it, is a large maximum aperture 'normal' prime in a very compact 'pancake'-type body. It gathers a stop and a half more light than Olympus's M. Zuiko Digital 17mm F2.8 pancake (which is only marginally smaller), and is therefore sure to be of interest to E-P1 owners who want to shoot in low light using a lens well-matched to that camera's size.
The F1.7 aperture is impressively fast for a pancake lens, and to achieve this Panasonic has managed to squeeze a 7 element, 5 group design into that compact barrel, including two aspheric elements to help reduce distortion and chromatic aberration. There's a 7-bladed aperture system, using curved blades designed to give an attractive, smooth effect to out of focus highlights. Rounding off the spec is a minimum focus distance of just 20cm. However it's worth noting, that unlike many of Pansonic's lenses, this doesn't have built-in optical image stabilisation.
The 40mm-equivalent angle of view may initially appear unusual, but this is in fact a 'perfect normal' lens, with a focal length equal to the sensor diagonal. This means that it renders images in a very neutral fashion, free of the 'perspective distortion' associated with wideangle or telephoto lenses. While this focal length was historically less common than the ubiquitous 50mm prime on 35mm cameras, it still occupied an honorable niche as the standard lens for a number of high-quality compacts, including the Leica / Minolta CL. Indeed with that 45mm F2.8 macro and an upcoming 14mm F2.8, Panasonic appears to be positioning the GF1 as the spiritual successor to the likes of the CL and the Contax G series - as a high quality portable camera system for serious photographers. Let's see if the pancake's image quality can live up to such lofty ambitions.
- 20mm 'perfect normal' fixed focal length; fast F1.7 maximum aperture
- Ultra-thin, lightweight design
- 'Focus by wire' manual focus system
- Micro Four Thirds mount for Panasonic Lumix G and Olympus Pen systems
Angle of view
The picture below illustrates the lens's angle of view (taken from our standard position):
20mm (40mm equivalent)
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH (H-H020) specifications
|Price|| US: $400
|Manufacturer's product code||H-H020|
|Date introduced||September 2009|
|Maximum format size||Micro Four Thirds|
|35mm equivalent focal length||40mm|
|Diagonal angle of view||57°|
|Lens Construction||• 7 elements/ 5 groups
• 2 Aspherical elements
|Number of diaphragm blades||7, rounded|
|Minimum focus||0.2m / 0.66ft|
|Maximum magnification||Approx 0.13x|
|AF motor type||DC Micro motor|
|Focus method||Unit focus|
|Filter thread||• 46mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories*||• Front and rear caps
• Lens case
|Weight||100g (3.5 oz)|
|Dimensions||63mm diameter x 25.5mm length
(2.5 x 1.0 in)
|Lens Mount||Micro Four Thirds|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
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