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20mm f1.7 - Did I get a defective lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Ophoto, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Ophoto

    Ophoto New to Mu-43

    Feb 27, 2013
    Hi everyone. This is my first post, but I have been reading for awhile.
    I just recently purchased a GX1 and have been really enjoying trying to learn how to use it. I am a beginner. I have been really impressed with the indoor (semi lowlight) quality compared to my old p&s. And this is with the 14-42 kit lens.

    So everything I see about the GX1 is followed by how great the 20mm f1.7 is, especially in lowlight. So I pulled the trigger on one and it arrived yesterday (brand new from B&H). I was testing last night in the house and the results were not good at all. No matter what I tried the kit lens looked better. Especially when the flash was on. With the 20mm and the flash on everything looked very orange. I was also having my 5 year old do jumping jacks and I couldn't get one picture without major blur. The kit lens was able to capture her at least once in awhile without blur.
    So my question are... Did I get a defective lens? Am I doing something majorly wrong? I don't mind manaully adjusting settings, but it has to be able to work better in iA mode (for my wife) too. Should I send it back for a replacement? Or should I just return it and practice more with the kit lens. Maybe it is because it doesn't have IS?

    BTW, I had the kit lens set to 20mm during the tests.

    Any advise would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Samples and examples always help.

    it could be AF speed, though. But that doesn't explain the color issue.
  3. Ophoto

    Ophoto New to Mu-43

    Feb 27, 2013
    Thanks for the quick reply.
    I'll post some samples tonight.
  4. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    This sounds like a simple issue of camera settings but as WT21 said, we need samples. Never fear, the :43: army is here to help! :) 
  5. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    The orange issue is probably a white balance problem.
    When shooting with artificial light the camera have problems deciding the correct WB and give an orange cast.
  6. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Have you tried taking some pictures with the camera set to "A" mode and the aperture set to f1.7? That should allow more light into lens which would give you a faster shutter speed to freeze the frame better. That could be a reason the images you took were a little blurred.
    I had the same issue with my low light images looking orange when I first started using the 20mm on my GX1. I changed my white balance setting to Incandescent and that pretty much fixed it.
  7. mh2000

    mh2000 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    My girlfriend has much more color balance issues with her 20 than I ever have with my 17/2.8... dunno why... all lenses render color slightly differently. most can just be fixed in RAW conversion or use a custom balance in the camera when you know you need one. IS won't help freeze a jumping jack, but it will help with everything that isn't moving. Think you just have to get used to using a non-IS lens... you have to steady the camera and be gentle yet firm when pushing the shutter etc... since you say you're a beginner and it sounds like you started out with an IS lens, you just haven't learned this yet because you haven't had to. It also helps to steady the camera against a doorframe or something when shooting. You'll get there and probably enjoy your new lens once you get used to it.

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ophoto

    Ophoto New to Mu-43

    Feb 27, 2013
    Thanks for the replies.

    I have tried in "A" mode at f1.7 with the same bad results.

    I haven't messed with the WB though. I'll try tonight. I assume the same WB setting is used with the kit lens and they look pretty good. Would the WB be effected differently with different lenses?
  9. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    No, it shouldn't work that way. It's possible you accidentally hit something. Samples with EXIF intact is the best way to diagnose.
  10. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    The 20/1.7 is a great lens for low light, as long as you're not trying to focus on anything with any speed at all. So I'm not terribly surprised you aren't getting good results trying to shoot pictures of a child doing jumping jacks. Motion blur is purely down to shutter speed, though, or capturing a mount of no movement.

    Switch to aperture priority or manual, lock your white balance (custom or a preset), and then check out what happens.
  11. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    The one thing I do not like about this lens, even compared to my old oly 17mm f2.8, is the amount of astigmatism/coma outside of the middle of the frame. When shooting some street scenes at nights, light from street lamps is really elongated.
  12. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    In addition to checking all the settings, if you are trying to determine if the lens is defective, perhaps try taking a few picture outdoors during dusk in low natural light to see if you are still getting the same results.
  13. BLT

    BLT Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Firstly - with the poor focus speed of the 20mm, catching a good snap of a kid doing jumping jacks is likely to be hard. Manual focus may be preferred in these situations, this way the camera doesn't try to focus each time you take a snap.

    I guess it is possible that a f1.7 the greater amount of light being let in, compared to your kit zoom, is causing the auto WB greater problems. So it is worth changing the WB setting and seeing if that helps.
    (Note on the above: your kit lens will likely have a max aperture near f4 when at 20mm zoom)

    As others have said - see if you still have problems in other light conditions to further determine if your lens is faulty.
  14. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    I see a lot of people stating to just use A mode and set aperture to f/1.7. That seems like the easy fix sometimes, but we really don't know how little available light there is.

    I'll suggest safer fix for motion blur: Set the camera to S mode and set it to 125 or faster (higher number). Then hit the ISO button (directional arrow up) and set it to Auto. Your f-stop should automatically stay at 1.7

    If your image is out of focus what I suggested won't work. :)  In that case you can easily pre-focus. Use single focus box and half-press the shutter on an object at the same distance as your kid, or intended subject.

    Extra details:
    S is shutter speed priority. 125 is 1/125 sec which is not fast enough to freeze fast movement, but it's a good starting position, for static scenes you can go much lower. Using auto-ISO will give you a high ISO which will carry some noise, but it's better than blur. You may want to customize the auto-ISO limit to about 1600 to keep pictures clean of noise

    M - Full manual is slight overkill unless you're trying to control both the depth of field and shutter speed for freezing or allowing motion. I actually don't mean slight. M mode is necessary sometimes when using flash or shooting a fixed scene multiple times.

    I'm not contradicting other posters' solutions, nor do I claim what I proposed is the only or best way, but you'll avoid motion blur. Good luck!
  15. Ophoto

    Ophoto New to Mu-43

    Feb 27, 2013
    Thanks everyone for all the replies. It's great to know there is such a helpful community of users.

    I took a bunch more shots tonight. Mostly with 20mm. Here are some samples. These are NOT the worst ones. I deleted those immediately.
    The flash still seems to make everything very orange. Using S mode and setting the speed to 80 or 100 seems to help reduce the blur.

    1. This first one is actually in pretty good light. This one is with the kit lens.
    FL21 - f4.3 - 1/50 - ISO1600 AWB

    2. Same well lit spot. 20mm
    FL20 - f1.7 - 1/60 - ISO320 Incandescent

    3. Not as well lit with flash. 20mm
    FL20 - f1.7 - 1/100 - ISO640 AWB (Orange!)

    Attached Files:

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  16. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    Those shutter speeds appear to be a little slow for hand held. There are some good tutorials on how to hold your camera to reduce shake, try Googling it. I also find the focus slow on my 20mm in low light on my GF1. Also consider selling or trading your 20mm for the Oly 45/1.8. Might be better for YOUR needs and about the same values used. Not that the 20mm is bad, far from it. Try your kit zoom at 45mm to see if you like that prospective.
  17. PaulGiz

    PaulGiz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 3, 2013
    Rhode Island, USA
    I can't explain the White Balance issue.

    The reason the kit lens looks so much sharper is related to the Depth of Field of 21mm @f4.3. More of the image is in focus so the shot has a generally crisp look. That's just the nature of optics.

    Slowish shutter speeds (~1/30) shouldn't be a problem unless subject is moving quickly. I'd try to shoot a Aperture priority and stop down to 2.8 or 4 and let ISO go up as high as it likes. Set your noise reduction to -1 and limit the ISO to 1600. You will get sharp, in focus pictures. The noise shouldn't be too objectionable.

    Years ago, I remember saving up for a Canon 1.4 lens because I was shooting only natural light candids. Finally I got it. The images at 1.4 tended towards crap. Stopping down to 2.5 gave good sharpness but less contrast than my older, slower lens. I was disappointed but I learned something.

    • Like Like x 1
  18. PaulGiz

    PaulGiz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 3, 2013
    Rhode Island, USA
    Figured out WB issue on flash shot. At 1.7 most of the lighting is ambient, with only a little bump from flash, but camera will set WB to 5000K when flash is on. Presto! Orange kids.

    I'd use Program mode/Fill flash for flash shots.

    PS -- Adorable kids, even if they are Orange!!


    Sent from my HTC Sensation 4G using Tapatalk 2
    • Like Like x 1
  19. dagaleaa

    dagaleaa Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 4, 2011
    Naples, Fl
    I have gotten those same orange looking photos too when I use this lens inside.
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    To answer the original question, there's nothing to indicate a defective lens here. I can't help with the white balance issue because I pretty much never use in-camera flash and always shoot RAW, where fixing WB is very easy.
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