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20mm 1.7 versus 17mm 2.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by BillN, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Just interested to know which you have, with maybe a comment. Has anyone compared the IQ of these lenses with the "kit" Panny and Oly lenses at the same range

    all about £300 in real money - which 20mm, 17mm or say a Voitglander 21mm f4, (or 15mm 4.5)
  2. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    I ended up going for the E-P2 with the zoom (which I have not used yet but am sure I will) because I knew I really, really, really wanted this 20mm 1.7 for its extra speed...and after looking at numerous photos using both the 17 and 20 and actually looking through them both, for me it was clear that I would enjoy the 20mm the most. I am also big on natural light.

    Wish I could have gotten the camera body and the lens I wanted for a good price but it wasn't available.

    Can't speak to the technical aspects because it's not my lingo but I have no doubt you'll get plenty o' feedback.
  3. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Bill, your Poll only allows one selection (doh! read the whole list! my bad :doh:) - so I've voted for the Lumix 20mm f1.7 even though I've got the 17mm f2.8 too.

    I haven't done side by side tests, but the 17mm f2.8 needs CA/distortion correction... and the 20mm f1.7 doesn't.

    If you have the right software to do the correction, then the 17mm f2.8 obviously gives a wider field of view - which I personally prefer... but the 20mm f1.7 is quite a bit sharper, has less CA and distortion and gives more flexibility for depth of field control.

    The mZD 14-42 at 20mm is pretty good at f6.3 I think... low CA/distortion at that focal length.

    Hope that helps, the 20mm f1.7 is the one to have imho... along with the mZD 14-42 for flexibility.


  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I love the 17 with the finder on the street.
    It's a beautiful combo for streetshooters.
    That being said and truthfully Brian posted some images on another forum in low light of his daughter with the 20. Well, I instantly was attracted to the quality the lens afforded in low light.
    The sharpness was nice but the overall subtle contrast sold me.
    So even tho my Natural FOV is a 35mm on my M's...
    The 20mm is what I use about 99% of the time I'm working.
    I'm a 1 lens shooter and that's the lens...period.
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  5. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    I have to admit that I am no photo perfectionist, and that I at the moment owns the 17mm (will buy the 20mm eventually for indoor shooting, speed is always good!). BUT in my opinion the colours from the Oly 17mm is better than the 20mm. I agree that the 20mm is sharper, but sharpness is not everything, 17mm is sharp enough for me! Regarding the CA/distortion correction, I don´t see the problem, have this ruined many shots for you Brian as you feels it needs this correction? Could you please explain more about this, as I never thought about it or seen this problem? But as mentioned before, I am no perfectionist!

    But I am very happy with the Oly 17mm for its field of view and great Zuiko colours, compared to the Pana20mms "colder digital" colours (IMHO). But that is just my amateur opinion.
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  6. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    i use both the 17 2.8 oly af and a 15mm 4.5 voigtlander for wide
    which is nothing like the kit zoom at 30, it has a more plunging perspective like a fisheye
    and also unbelieveable dof

    and I also use a oly a-28 adapter on the panny kit zoom which brings the 14mm end to about 11.5 with great sharpness to the edges

    my vote was for mf wide because the oly a 28 also can work on the 15mm giving a sharp 24 mm equiv, if i need wide i try to use it ,
  7. deckitout

    deckitout Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Essex UK
    I went for the 20/1.7 panny on an EP2 body.

    One thing I have learnt is get the best glass you can, it's painful at times spending the money but I always end up regretting the cheaper option in the long run.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    I voted MF as for now I am using a 24mm MF Nikkor.............but I am selling a few bits and would go for the Panny, (?)........but I am very tempted by a CV......more than tempted..........if I could see one used at a good price.....I would give it a go
  9. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    I have the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 which I use with my E-P1. I bought it from Japan for around the same price as the 17mm f/2.8 sells for in Australia. I had intended to buy the twin lens kit of the E-P1 but delivery problems and a good price on the single lens zoom kit won the day.

    I am happy with the way things have worked out. I find the 20mm a reasonable focal length as a fixed focus lens for most things.
  10. Ben

    Ben Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 16, 2009
    Having jumped the gun when I bought the G1 (thinking the Oly 17mm was just around the corner) I bought it as soon as it came out (knowing full well the Panasonic 20mm was not too far behind).

    I didn't hang around long before selling the 17 once I had the 20. The 20 is not only much faster (which really is key with the relatively small 4/3 sensor) but it is a lot sharper. It also feels better made.

    I don't think there is really much competition between the two and I am hoping that the Panasonic 14 is as good as the 10. I'd be a very happy camper. They just need to make a 40 or 50 and I'm done!
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I like the Pana 20 better for the reasons mentioned above, but sometimes the combination of focal length preference and even tinier size have me reaching for the M. Zuiko. I think it's a good, underrated lens.
  12. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    You're right Amin, it (the 17mm f2.8) is underrated (everyone seems to want a simple "is this better than that?" answer) - but I think the 20mm f1.7 should be a good hard knock upside Oly's head to give us the quality of lens we expect from a company with their reputation.

    Look at the reaction the Leica 45mm f2.8 got - deservedly so, from Leica fans who probably expected 'stellar' rather than the limp review it got from Andy Westlake.

    It's not good to risk a reputation like that, imho.


  13. hodad66

    hodad66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Indialantic, Florida
    Very happy with my 20/1.7, great, quick, quality
    shots. Lately though I'm simply using my legacy
  14. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Just to BUMP this thread - about 50/50 is the verdict - 20mm versus 17mm

    but it is interesting that the 17mm does not feature in many, "show us your images" or whatever whatever threads..always about the 20mm Pany

    I've just got a 17mm with VF 1, bought them with an EP-1..........I really should sell it to raise some cash to keep family harmony, (I got a 14 42 as well - which i certainly don't need) ......... but I really like the VF 1 and I think that I will keep it, (I have a 20mm which I use all the time on my G1) - the main reasons that I have bought the EP-1 are a cheapish intro to video, smaller than the G1, (for the occasion when I need a more pocket able cam), and in body IS for the 20mm
    But I reckon that I should just keep the 17mm attached to the EP-1, I know it will not have (quite), the same OOF areas, wide open, but the in body IS should make the 2.8 as good as the 1.7 in low light shooting situation.........and as I said I really like the VF-1, (back to sensible optical viewfinder days)

    ..... am I getting hooked on M4/3? .......my bank statement says yes ......... bugger me ... we have a joint bank account ......... another day that I will need to intercept the mail
    • Like Like x 2
  15. wyip

    wyip Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 17, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Reviving this old thread; I was dead set on the Panny 20mm until I saw the price. Sure this is a small, fast, light, and incredibly sharp little lens but the best price I could find was about $350 after tax and shipping. Kind of steep for what is essentially a "normal" lens. Perhaps I should start dropping hints for my wife, since Christmas is around the corner :smile:

    Anyway, I may shop around more for a better price for a 20mm, but for the time being I just picked up a second hand Oly 17mm for about half the price. I find it interesting that there aren't that many second-hand 20mm lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    It's just too good to sell! The retail prices have dropped around 50-100$ in the last 6 months or so..aka when I bought mine for around 380-400$ Cdn.
  17. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Perhaps that's the best recommendation for this lens of all!
  18. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    with the EP-1 the 20mm f1.7 is just a great combo - it can almost do anything plus you get IS in the body to complement the f1.7

    just have a look at a few images taken with the lens it is so versatile
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  19. Burkey

    Burkey Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 26, 2010
    Northern New England
    The 20/1.7 is an incredibly versatile lens. I use mine a lot.
    . . . Burkey
  20. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    It's because we keep them =) I think it's sharper than the 17, and to me, the extra 1+ stop is well worth it. Also, the 20 is closer to the FOV I prefer.
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