Oly 17mm - Panny 20mm. A question for owners of both.

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by johnny9fingers, May 20, 2010.

  1. johnny9fingers

    johnny9fingers Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Superior, Wisconsin USA
    I have the 17mm on my E-P2. I am happy with the photos I get and the AF speed is fine. But there is so much buzz about the 20mm. Is the 20mm that much better in image quality and AF speed, even after the recent Oly firmware update? Also, is the operating noise similar? I want to hunker down with one lens for the next year and learn how best to use the E-P2 and I thought the 17mm would be that lens....
    Please let me know your experience with both lenses..
    Thanks,
    John
    Advertisement
     
  2. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    6,284
    Location:
    Near "Playland" outside of NYC, NY, USA
    johnny, while your awaiting responses, I've just bumped up two threads that may be of interest if you haven't read them yet: "Which pancake for my E=P1?" and "How do you like your Olympus M. Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 lens?"

    I know Vidar loves his 17mm, but don't think he has the 20mm.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  3. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    6,284
    Location:
    Near "Playland" outside of NYC, NY, USA
  4. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    I have both.

    Honestly, I think my 17mm focuses faster than my 20mm.

    They both make a focusing noise, personally I like the motor noise of the 17mm better (if that's ever any reason to buy a lens :rofl:)

    Other than that... I personally find I like the 17mm a lot better, just everything from the slightly wider angle, to the smaller size.

    As for image quality, yes I do believe the 20mm is better than the 17mm, but personally I find that my shaky hands negate any difference I'd get from the 20mm.

    I almost sold my 20mm after having it for 2 months and never actually using it. I just keep it around now just in case I want to do some lower light shooting (F1.7), and a few other nonsensical excuses.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,129
    Location:
    Phila, Pa USA
    I'm with squeegee 100%. The 17 is such a natural FOV for me I don't have to adjust framing at all. The 20 is great but I just use it for low light stuff......
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. johnny9fingers

    johnny9fingers Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Superior, Wisconsin USA
    Hi BB, and thanks. I read through thoses threads and found them interesting, and informative. Thanks for you insight Squeegee. There would have to be quite a bit of difference in image quality for me to add the 20mm. I do feel kinda silly with this thread since I am happy with the 17mm, I should probably not worry about any other lens unless if filled a specific need. The combination of the nice quality I get at higher ISOs and utilization of IS, f2.8 has been fast enough for me so far.....
     
  7. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    6,284
    Location:
    Near "Playland" outside of NYC, NY, USA
    Good, I'm glad on all fronts.:2thumbs: Gear lust is such a wiley virus and so easy to catch that one can't be too careful. I have had a touch of it now and again.:redface: My brief gear lust goes along with "hindsight is 20:20".:wink:
     
  8. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,129
    Location:
    Phila, Pa USA
    Your sig is great....... Boogie Woogie....
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    It makes me feel better having 2 lenses though.

    I feel guilty having gone through all the effort to buy an interchangeable lens camera just to find myself super-gluing a single lens to it - and a prime lens none the less. :redface:
     
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs   Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,705
    Location:
    Near Philadephila
    Nothing quantitative - all impression. I've had the Oly 17 for a while. I really really like it - nothing bad to say about it at all. I like the wider field of view sometimes, but not all the time. When I was a kid, I did most of my shooting on a 35mm film camera with a 50mm prime, which is closer to the 20 than the 17, but sometimes I like a wider angle. So I love the 17.

    Then I got the 20. And its rarely come off my camera since. I can't tell you what it is about that lens, but there's something about the visual quality of the shots I've been getting with it that I just frickin' love. And I've seen the same unquantifiable thing in photos from others using the same lens. Maybe its just clarity - I prefer to think of it as magic!

    Bottom line. I'm really really happy to have both. I'm getting back to the point of spending a lot more time with primes on the camera than zooms. But having owned both, if I had to pick one and I could afford the higher price, I'd get the 20. If someone told me I had to give one up, I'd give up the 17 before the 20. Fortunately, nobody's telling me that. :cool:

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    546
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    I love my 17mm. The 20mm seems great, but I have not bought it yet. Do not think it will make me a better photographer.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. johnny9fingers

    johnny9fingers Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Superior, Wisconsin USA
    I guess what I was looking for was if you were to look at two identical photos and say:
    hmmmm, shot with the 17mm, nice.
    hmmmm, shot with the 20mm, WOW!!!!!!
    Otherwise I'll probably stick with the 17mm. And Vidar is right. The finest lens in the world won't make you a better photographer.
    Thanks to all who replied, this is a great site with wonderful people.....
     
  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,129
    Location:
    Phila, Pa USA
    That's a good question. It's a funny thing. The 17 gets a bad rap for some reason. It's very sharp with very even contrast and excellent color, especially on a Pen.
    Comparing between the 2, well, the 20 is sharper but then again with a sharpener tool, who cares....
    Look at it like this....either one won't make you a better shooter as Vidar stated....it's just that the 17 lets you see more of what you may be missing......

    It's really just a FOV issue and that's it....
     
  14. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    well lets try it this way... Both taken on a tripod in the same spot, using F3.5, and a 12 second shutter delay (Yes that's a half ripe tomato... :rolleyes: )

    I cropped the 17mm image to be the same FOV as the 20mm image, then I scaled the 20mm image (using a bicubic scaling) to be the same resulting pixel dimensions as the 17mm image, so they should be as close as reasonable now.

    They may or may not be close depending on your needs, does one make you go "wow" over the other?

    Click on them to view the larger / full size images.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. johnny9fingers

    johnny9fingers Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Superior, Wisconsin USA
    Thanks Squeegee, That was exactly what I was looking for. No WOW! difference between the two, so I'll be able to sleep at night content with the 17mm. Now I'll hazard a guess and say the first photo was taken with the 20mm and the second with the 17mm....
     
  16. scantron

    scantron Mu-43 Regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    77
    As far as I can tell, choose the 20mm if you need the f/1.7 = for more shallow DOF, and better performance in low light.
    Choose the 17mm for the wider field of view and lower cost. You'll sacrifice shallow DOF & low light performance.
    I chose the 20mm because it suits my needs.
     
  17. Jonas B

    Jonas B Guest

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    I wouldn't expect a lot difference at that aperture stop, and that image size. When looking at the bigger versions the first one is sharper (it could actually be enlarged more than the second image) and has a cooler tone and typical G20mm bokeh signs. The CA... maybe you used an Oly camera for this?

    Maybe if you show us what you get at f/2.8, not to mention a comparison at f/2 or faster...

    For me comparing these two lenses mainly has to be about speed. If you are happy with an f/2.8 lens and don't print big just pick the one suiting you best.

    Then we have these photographers used to a certain focal length, like Streetshooter, and then that may be the most important factor. I know I prefer a 25 to the 20, for example. (And I prefer the 20 to the 17 for obvious reasons.)

    Jonas
     
  18. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    yupp the first is the 20mm lens, you can see it in the exif. It is a little sharper but nothing too serious until you're looking at the pixel level.
     
  19. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    Both images are uploaded at the same pixel size, 3459 x 2594, the minor differences is due to my approximate cropping. When you click on the image it goes to the gallery view of an image, if you click on it again in gallery view, it opens it up in "full size", it took me a while to realise you could do that in the gallery.

    The question was the sharpness of the lens, not the FOV or DOF so that's why I cropped and scaled to the same size or it would be unreasonable to compare them, i.e. if I took a picture with a 14-45 zoomed into 45, I would get more detail than a 20mm lens, not because it's sharper but because of the FOV. I think when you view the full size images it's quite apparent the 20mm is actually sharper, the point is to let the "buyer" decide if they want to pay $350 for a second lens for that difference or not.

    I agree that if I had no lens, I would seriously consider the extra $100 on the 20mm lens. But if I had a lens already, (given hind sight) I wouldn't pay the extra $350 to get a second lens.

    As for F2 etc where the 17mm doesn't go, the OP was already aware of the 1.7 v.s. 2.8 so that was already clearly explained as an advantage for the 20mm, as was the FOV advantage of the 17mm lens.

    According to dpreviews tests (take it for what it's worth Lens Test) I believe the sweet spot for the 20mm is roughly F2.8 to 4.5 and the 17mm is F4.0 to F5.6 so, I think 3.5 is not too jaded of a choice for either lenses, possibly a slight disadvantage to the 17mm if anything.

    This wasn't meant to be an end all be all test. It was just a quick snap of the same image with both lens. I know I kind of wanted to know that when I bought the lens. I read all the hype about it too, that's why I bought it. After I bought it and saw the image results, I was slightly kicking myself for having spent the money on another lens which was "so close". With hind slight, I would have rather put the money towards a lens that out right does something different like a 100mm or a 9mm lens, not something which is pretty much the same, just a little sharper and 3mm fov difference. Sometimes the lessons I learn can be ... expensive.
     
  20. johnny9fingers

    johnny9fingers Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Superior, Wisconsin USA
    :wink: Well, looking at the data would have been cheating, and I wanted to see if I could tell the difference. To me, it seemed the first photo had a narrower focus area which would make the 20mm the more likely suspect. And the first photo looked a hair sharper to me, but not by much. Thanks again for posting the samples.....
    John
     

Share This Page