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20mm Panny vs. 17mm Oly

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Djarum, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    So, the prices on both of these seem to be coming down. I am well aware of the quality/sharpness difference between the lenses and the stop differences.

    What I plan to use the lens for is mainly indoor pictures for parties, dining with friends, and the occasional night photography.

    I guess the question is, for these purposes, what has the better FOV? The reason I ask this is becuase I would be concerned that say at an indoor party that the 20mm might night be wide enough. Anyone with experience with both would be appreciated.

    Which one focuses faster in lower light on the E-P1? Usually at indoor parties things don't happen fast, but I don't want the camera hunting either.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    I'd like to keep the thread limited to the two items because I know that stop differences and "sharpness" differences can get heated. The 17mm looks sharp enough for most of what I need and I don't mind the stop difference.
  2. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    If you can wait a little bit (was supposed to be out in November) and can handle the extra $80, then the new Panasonic 14mm/f2.5 may be the best choice for you.
  3. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    I had the 17mm for a while and now have the 20mm. Both are suitable for what you describe - I think that the 17 focussed a bit faster (and was a bit quieter). OTOH, it's also less light-sensitive, so a higher ASA is needed. These days, when I need a wider FOV, I use the 14-42; it's a remarkable lens; I only wish it were a stop faster throughout.
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    If you're indoors at bars, parties, etc that extra stop of light gathering will be critical IMHO.

    20/1.7 FTW
  5. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I have both and use both as anything longer is to long for me.
    The 20 is contrastier and somewhat sharper than the 17. The 17 has better color separation and a very Summicron kind of contrast.
    The FOV is already understood.
    The 17 focuses faster on the Pens. Not much faster but faster.
    I don't go out without both. If I had to choose the 17 would win only due to FOV.

    I am not saying that either lens is better. They both due the job very well.
    That's the reason I have both. The new 14 will be in my pocket soon enough but will not replace anything. It will just make the 6 mm spread between lenses more manageable.
  6. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I understand the stop difference. But lets say you are at a party and everyone is in a 20x20ft room. How restrictive in terms of FOV is the 20mm?
  7. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA

    Thanks for your input. I have heard some people saying the 20mm on the pens is not as fast as the 17mm in terms of focus. I realize that there is only 6mm difference in terms of focal length, but I'd hate to be against a wall(physically against a wall, lol) with the 20mm and still not get the entire shot in.

  8. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    DJ, correct you are. 6mm is the world.
    At a party, 6mm is a blessing, especially in a 20x20' or smaller room!
  9. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    That is what I would like to know too. It is tough choice because I want the lens for the same indoor low light purpose. But I am conflicted with faster shutter speed vs FOV.
  10. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Whatever you don't have at the time is the one you will want. ;) 

    With the advent of the Panny 14/2.5 I would not eliminate that from the discussion.

    Even though I have the 20/1.7 if I could only have one lens, I would probably get the 17/2.8. The FOV would win out over the speed bu a nose.

    Part of my strategy was I would get the 20/1.7 now and add the Panny 14/2.5 later (next year).
  11. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    See here's the thing. The decision should be made on FOV. I'm not saying speed etc isn't important because it is. The real issue is the way you see.

    Get the lens that see's the way you see, naturally. Software and camera setup will take care of the rest.
    For me...it's the 17 as this is as close as I can get to 35mm on 35mm.
    So, it's a natural spacing to 20mm and then to 14mm. I have the 20 and will get the 14 almost immediately.

    Youse should look at your favorite images in your organizing software. Then choose 30 that you like the most.
    Then, check the exif data and see what focal length the images are and pay attention to the most often used. Then you now have a temporary Natural FOV.

    That's the lens you should seek out. The software will correct for speed etc.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I agree, too many nowadays get fixated on lens speed, rather than field of view. When it comes to shooting in cramped conditions, you can't 'zoom with your feet', so having a wider field of view means you're more to get the full picture. The 17mm is plenty fast in dim conditions and the camera will make up for things with ISO etc.


  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I'm sitting in my 12'x16' office, and at 11' back can see the entire 12' wall through the 20/1.7. To be clear, I'm not saying get the 20/1.7 solely because it's fast. I'm saying there is a range of focal lengths that will work for you, among them, I would choose the 20 because it has many things going for it - sharpness, speed, etc.

    Panasonic says the angle of view is 57*, so sounds about right. If you're trying to take a "portrait" of a group of people, I can't think of many situations where they are spread wider than you can get back from them.

    Now, if you're trying to take in the entire room with your back to the wall, I can see where going wider would make sense, but distortion is going to be more of a problem - where is the balance point between a nice rectilinear image with balanced proportions and angle of view?

    Much easier to stitch a panorama than try and get someone's nose back to fitting on their face
  14. zzol

    zzol New to Mu-43

    Nov 13, 2010
    Hey all,
    I want to know whether the max aperture can open to 1.7 when 20mm was mounted on the ep1. Someone told me there has been a firm bug for ep1 so that max aperture could only be 2.8. Is that ture?
  15. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Not aware of the bug - my Pana 20mm (thanks BBW!) certainly does f1.7 on my EP1.

    Lovely lens.
  16. Rider

    Rider Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 14, 2010
    For me, the FOV is too close to worry about. The f-stop difference is not.
  17. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    I don't own the 20mm lens, but I've tried it on my E-P1 in several shops. I have many photographs of cameras on shelves as a result, and I can confirm that f/1.7 is indeed perfectly possible.
  18. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Just to let everyone know, I picked up a 17mm Olympus lens used. (Thank you johnny9fingers). I've been playing with it for a day, and I must say I do really like the FOV. It focuses faster than the zoom kit. It would have been nice if it were f1.7 instead like the Panasonic, but we can't have everything. Hopefully I'll get a chance in the upcoming days to get some photos with it and I'll post them.
  19. johnny9fingers

    johnny9fingers Mu-43 Veteran

    You're welcome, I hope you enjoy the lens. I think you'll find it plenty fast enough for lower light shooting indoors, at least I did when paired with my E-PL1. The saving grace here is the E-PL1 takes pretty decent photos in the 400 to 800 ISO range.....
  20. Kosta

    Kosta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 29, 2010
    funnily enough i have taken shots at two indoor night time parties this past 5 months, and the panasonic shots came out way better. not only was the focus heaps faster (due to it's light gathering ability making it easier to pick up contrast) but it didn't need non-handheld speeds to take the shots, it also allowed me to use lower iso.
    yeh, the fov is a bit more limited, but for me it more than paid off not having to use flash and having a higher percentage of shots in focus - and in focus more quickly.
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