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17mm f/1.8 oR 25mm f1.4

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by rabican, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. rabican

    rabican Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2012
    PL 25mm:
    Pros: f/1.4, great reviews, black
    Cons: Plastic, larger size, not as wide

    Oly 17mm:
    Pros: Metal construction, DOF scale, smaller, wider angle
    Cons: possibly too wide, f1.8 vs f1.4, silver color
  2. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    I think the major factor is which focal length you prefer...
    • Like Like x 1
  3. sge998

    sge998 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2013
    San Francisco, CA
    Both lenses are selling for the same price now. Preference wise I'd choose the 17mm but I cannot justify spending the money on a sub-par lens (according to reviews from well known photographers and test sites). The 25mm is bigger and longer but half a stop faster. All in all, it really comes down to what focal length you prefer. 17mm is a very versatile lens but the 25mm is optically better.
  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    From my reading of the reviews I've seen, I don't think the 17mm is "sub-par". I'd read the reviews as saying it's average to slightly above average (better in the centre than in the corners) and that the 25 is a very good to excellent lens.

    I've got the Oly 17mm F/2.8 pancake which gets worse reviews than the new F/1.8 and I've got a lot of good shots from it. When I posted my 3 favourite shots from last year in the thread related to that, one of my shots was from my 17mm F/2.8. I've also got the PL 25 F/1.4 and I would have said that it was my favourite lens in many ways, and it's certainly sharper than the 17mm pancake by a considerable amount yet there wasn't a shot from the 25mm in my favourite 3 shots.

    If you'd prefer the field of view of the 17mm to the 25mm, and/or if you want a physically small lens in that range rather than a larger one, I see no reason not to choose the 17mm. The best lenses to buy are the ones that suit your shooting needs, not the ones that get the best tests and reviews. If the 17mm is more suited to your shooting needs I see no reason to pass it up based on the reviews I've read, and I've tried to keep up with reviews and tests on it as they've come to light. Everything I've read indicates it's a good lens but not a great lens and we currently have no great lens in the 17mm focal length.

    I'd rather get good results from a lens with the field of view that I want than great results from a better lens with a longer focal length and narrower field of view than I want to shoot with. It doesn't matter how good a lens is, if it doesn't have the focal length and other features that you want for what you want to use it for, it's simply not the best lens for the job and a lesser lens with the focal length and features you want may well be the better lens for the job.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Barber
    Just meet in the middle. Get the 20mm and save yourself $150 with better IQ.
    • Like Like x 5
  6. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines

    And I think it will boil down to what FL you prefer - a 35mm or 50mm. both coveted lenses for street photography. Either way you can't go wrong AFAIK.
  7. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    I have spent my photography budget for a while, but always planning ahead I spent a good bit of time going through the focal lengths I used with my kit zoom over the holidays to see what focal length I seemed to naturally gravitate towards. I figured I'd plan to buy a nice prime at that focal length as my next purchase. I have really been leaning towards the P25 as the 1.4 and focal length appeal to me, as well as all I have read about its quality. But what I discovered was that many more of my photos were in the 17mm range and quite a few were in the 20mm range as well. Much fewer were right around 25mm. I was very surprised. I am sure if I bought the P25, I would adapt to that FL just fine, but apparently I naturally shoot closer to 17.

    The 20 would seem to be the logical choice for me, but I am a bit hesitant on it for a couple of reasons. I understand it hunts a good bit in low light, and I want to use this lens for indoor, no flash photography. I have also read about some other issues dealing with it on Oly bodies. So, that tends to steer me toward the O17, but all the reviews are quite lukewarm on it. And it is pricier. Good thing my budget is blown for now, maybe I'll have this figured out by the time I actually have the money.
  8. rabican

    rabican Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2012
    I currently own the 20mm and love it but the indoor low light hunting is horrible and I'm considering selling it for the new 17mm or 25mm.
    Would the 14 be a better low light lens and just keep the 20mm? I read a few reviews stating this although its hard to believe with the smaller aperture :( 

    I believe my shooting style is closer to the 17mm than the 25mm (which is why I love the 20mm so much) but I need a faster low light performer. This is why the decision is so hard.
  9. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    14 is great in low light in terms of auto focus. But if the lighting is sub-par, you'll have to crank up the ISO.

    17/1.8 and 25/1.4 are both great lenses. 25/1.4 is more than half a stop faster though, it's actually 2/3 of stop faster. A lot of people are happy with f/2 as evidenced by how much sales Leica get for their Summicrons. So if you're ok with ISO 1600 & 3200 indoors, go for the 17/1.8.
  10. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    The 25 is an exceptional lens. The 17mm f1.8 is probably fine for street shooting, less good for landscape, given the falloff in resolution toward the edges.

    Since, as mentioned above, there is no really exceptional 35mm equivilent native m4/3 lens, my own plan is to wait until I can get a Leica X1 or Fuji X100 for the same POV, though with an APS=C 3:2 sensor. For my money (though maybe not for yours) the 17 f1.8 is too expensive for just an OK lens.
  11. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser

    Nov 16, 2010

    I would love to get that 17mm 1.8 lens but since I already have the Panasonic 20mm, I think the 17mm is just too expensive. Maybe I have to get the black 17mm 2.8 for the FOV and later sell the 20 to fund the 25mm 1.4. for Speed :thumbup:
    • Like Like x 1
  12. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Sub-par isn't how Pekka Potka saw it:

    pekkapotka - Journal - Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm*f/1.8).

    He reckons it's better at micro-contrast than the 20/1.7 and has much better CA/fringing performance (as well as much better AF).

    Ming Thein's review (Comparative lens review: The Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 17/1.8) concludes with this:

    That leaves us with the three native AF options. I would not buy the 17/2.8 unless size is a critical priority, or you know that you’re going to be shooting only static objects stopped down; otherwise the slow AF speed will drive you crazy. The Panasonic 20/1.7 is in a similar boat; it’s faster to focus than the 17/2.8 and optically better, but nowhere near as fast as the 17/1.8. The 20/1.7 and 17/1.8 deliver similar resolution in the center, but they render quite differently – the 20/1.7 is punchier but has slightly lower microcontrast; the 17/1.8 has lower macrocontrast but better reproduction of fine detail structures – i.e. better microcontrast. In the corners, the 20/1.7 is the highest-resolving of the three, but shows strong purple fringing on top of CA which is absent from the other lenses. ​

    I fear this lens is getting a poor reputation based on the LensTip review only. The Ming Thein and Pekka Potka reviews tell a different story.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Salt Peanuts

    Salt Peanuts Mu-43 Regular

    May 26, 2012
    I went with 17/1.8 and sold 25/1.4 for the 34mm focal length. I never really warmed up to 25/1.4 and feel it's bit overrated. Corners are bit soft (as most fast lenses) and coming from Canon/Nikon, it's AF speed left me wanting (especially in low light), the area in which Oly 45/1.8 completely trounced it.
  14. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Still neither of these reviews mentions the 25mm. The 17 may be a bit better than the 20 (maybe) but the 25mm has better micro contrast, it's faster and it's sharper than the 17overall. It comes down to focal length. Which focal length does the OP prefer? :cool: 
  15. abepak

    abepak Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2013
    SFV, CA
    the age old question of 35 vs 50. just a matter of preference methinks.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. dino1891

    dino1891 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    I like the 25mm's optical quality. However, after using the Olympus 75mm and Fuji's lenses, I think I am spoilt. The plastic of the Pan 25mm feels very cheap to me now.
  17. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    The 17 is good but by no means anywhere close in optical quality to that of the 20 or 25. Having all three at one point, it's easy to tell the difference without pixel peeping.

    As someone suggested, if you can meet in the middle with the 20 you can save some money.
  18. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    To me it's 99% about focal length. Color and 'build' aren't all that important, and size, IQ, and focus-speed aren't that different.

    As far as low-light goes, remember if you're taking pictures of static objects the shorter focal length allows a slower shutter speed. So in fact, the 25mm f/1.4 and 17mm f/1.7 have almost identical low-light capabilities. And even for moving objects, the movement is amplified at the sensor by the focal length requiring a faster speed for longer lenses to freeze action, so this effect partially offsets the 17mm's smaller maximum aperture.

    So, in other words, I wouldn't put too much stock in the difference in maximum aperture either, unless you're talking DOF.
  19. rabican

    rabican Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2012
    I ended up buying the 17mm 1.8. I agree it did ultimately come down to the focal length.

    I purchased both lenses and ended up returning the 25mm. The 17 was faster, lighter, smaller, and the silver doesn't look as bad as I thought on the black epl2.

    The 25mm does produce slightly better photos but ultiatmly i enjoy the focal length much more and on a limited budget this lens will be a better all around lens.

    I just sold my 20mm so I currently only have the new 17mm...I plan on buying the 45mm next and hopefully sticking with just these two lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I walked around for a day with 17 on camera and 45 in pocket. Was a great experience. I didn't even need a bag.
    • Like Like x 1
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