25/F1.4 or 17/F1.8? Already have 12/F2 and 45/F1.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by rogergu, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. rogergu

    rogergu Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 11, 2013
    I am struggling between these two. I already have 12/F2 and 45/F1.8 and am looking for one more prime to fill the gap in between.

    Any suggestion is appreciated.
  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Real Name:
    Mike Aubrey
    I prefer the 25mm, particularly since you already have a nice wide angle, but both the 25mm and the 17mm are excellent lens to fill out a trinity or to carry around on their own. The main thing that would tempt me about the 17mm as the middle lens is its more compact size compared to the 25mm.
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    tough call... I have both... if you held a gun to my head I would say the 25

    its slap bang in the middle of your exisiting focal lengths and faster

    then again if you want a set of silver lenses go for the 17 :)

    17 is very good... but I think it lacks a character...

    Olympus 17/1.8 - a set on Flickr

    the 25 says leica on it... and regardless whether that is just marketing, it does have a look that is not dissimilar to a leica M lens

    P1040699 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    in the end it depends on what you shoot

    personally I have resisted the 12mm... its not a focal length that works for me... still having doubts that the 17mm is too wide and that the 20 works better for me

    • Like Like x 2
  4. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    That's a great shot Kevin! I will also put a vote in for the PL25. Can't go wrong with it.
  5. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I think you will continue to struggle...

    The "middle" is the 25mm as far as focal length goes, but filling a gap in the middle isn't necessarily what is best for you.

    I have all four of those lenses. As far as perspective goes the step from 12 to 17 is noticeable and significant, 17 is by no means "too close" to the 12. I've only just gotten the 17 in the past couple of days so I haven't had too much time with it. The handling, AF and bokeh are all nice. I can't really tell on sharpness yet - it is definitely "sharp enough" but I suspect if you are a pixel peeper who likes to look at detail no one is going to see unless you print wall sized that you will prefer the 25mm. If you like shallow DoF the 25 is going to allow you to get things a bit more shallow.

    The 25 is of course a bit chunkier than the 17. And bigger than the 12 and 45 as well.

    All that said, if forced to take only one I think I would go with the 25/1.4. I've shot a lot with that over the past six months or so and it is just an excellent lens and a very useful focal length. I'm happy I have the 17 but I doubt it will get as much use as the 25 still.

    Finally, going back to film/FF there are definitely two kinds of people. Those who like a 35mm (17mm) and those who like a 50mm (25mm). Hard to say which you are...

  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    What he said. The old rule of thumb was to have your lenses double in focal length so with the 12 as a starting point you'd go 25 (closest to 24) then 45 since we don't have a native 50.

    Having said that, where do you want the in between lens to be? Right in the middle? Then definitely the 25. But if you want something just not as wide as the 12, then the 17 may be the better option.
  7. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 18, 2011
    Any reason the P20 isn't an option for you? That'd be my choice.
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    P20 or P25 is an interesting debate.. I loved the P20... still have it and think i prefer its fov over the 17.. but havent shot it on the OMD. people bitch about the noise and the slow focus of the 20... but that was never an issue to me.

    here are some of my 20mm shots..mainly with e-p1

    Panasonic 20/1.7 - a set on Flickr

    the 25 is a different beast... character wise it, and its 4/3 predecessor definitely have a strong leica influence

    these are all pre micro 4/3 with the old pana 25 on a e-510

    Panaleica 25/1.4 - a set on Flickr

    from what i see the micro 4/3 version has a similar look

  9. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    Given your other lenses, you'll have to decide which field of view works for your kind of shooting. For me, I vastly prefer the 40mm FOV offered by the P20. 50mm is just slightly too tight for my preferences. I own both the P20 and the Oly 17mm f/1.8 and love them both.
  10. radamo

    radamo Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    Real Name:
    What camera are you shooting with? I have the om-d and am currently using the 20. I have been thinking of picking up the 17 1.8. How do you feel they compare?
    • Like Like x 1
  11. rogergu

    rogergu Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 11, 2013
    Thanks for all your replies. I am leaning towards 25/F1.4, although it is a little chunkier, and save for 17/F1.8 later.
  12. Richella

    Richella The Wandering Scotsman

    Aug 21, 2011
    Kuala Lumpur
    I also have both the 17 and 25. The 25mm was the first lens I got for my OMD and I just picked up the 17mm a couple of weeks ago. I really like both but I love the 25 and if I had to choose just one lens it would be the 25mm. It has a beautiful characteristic and I find it gives nice creamy backgrounds. The only time I have found it to be a little too tight is when I'm out for dinner and taking shots across the table. It's great for single portraits at this distance but a bit too tight for shots of couples. 17mm is perfect for this.

    Go for the 25mm. You won't regret it
  13. WorldShooter

    WorldShooter Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2013
    Giethoorn, Netherlands
    Real Name:
    Peter B.
    Ken is making some valuable arguments here.
    IMHO it all boils down to that last question: are you a 35mm or a 50mm shooter?

    For what it's worth: I've always been more of a 35mm man than a 50mm man. This harks back to my Pentax ME Super w/ SMC Pentax-M 35mm f/2.0 lens days. In my "normal" perspective shots I like a little bit more of the environment blend in with my subject. The 50mm perspective just feels too tight for me. If I want portrait, I'll go with the 85mm ~ 105mm perspective.

    No surprise then that next to my Oly's 12mm f/2.0 and 45mm f/1.8 I have the Oly 17mm f/1.8 to fill the gap.

    BTW the Oly 17mm f/1.8 sometimes gets some negative reviewing. If you read those reviews carefully, you will find it"s not really about the lens quality, but more about the perspective that just doesn't work for that particular reviewer/photographer. Not too long ago Robin Wong put up a review of the lens accompanied by really great pictures of the Deepavali Festival of Light. The shots are amazing, but he still didn't like the lens, because it didn't feel "right" for him. (Well, Robin Wong, if you can make these shots with a lens you're not comfortable with, you're an awesome photographer).

    In short, the lens quality is excellent. I'm very happy with my small shiny lens trio!

    Good luck with your choice!
  14. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Real Name:
    As mentioned by others it's down to how you "see" things by eye - I know this from my film days where my wife and I went shooting her main two lenses were 24 and 35 where as mine were 28 and 50. I preferred to use 90mm for portraits she used 50mm.

    For me the jump from 12mm to 14mm is significant never mind 12 to 17!!

    12mm, 17mm, 30mm ( or 35-100) plus 40-150 would make sense for her and 14mm, 25mm, 45mm and 75mm (+ 100-300?) would make sense for me.

    I'm afraid only you can really decide which view you prefer and feel comfortable with but between the 12 and 45 I would put both the 14 and 25.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    Having shot 35 and 50 w film, and having used Leica glass I'd go for the PL 25...I feel that by taking a couple of steps back I can almost get the 35 look. The PL 25 is really nice.
  16. tol1l1yboy

    tol1l1yboy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 12, 2013
    I definitely prefer 35mm to 50mm coming from full frame slr and I still went with the 25mm f/1.4. I think it boils down to three things:

    1. Images have a certain something that other m4/3 seem to lack;
    2. It is a stop better in low light and for dof;
    3. It is sharper (not the sharpest lens I own but sharp enough)

    I felt like the images I saw from the 17mm just didnt have that certain je ne sais quoi that I saw from images that I looked at from the 25mm. I just got my 25mm a couple of weeks ago and I wish it was a bit sharper wide open than it is but there is definitely something I really love about how it renders. :)
  17. dino1891

    dino1891 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    I love both lenses and use them for different purposes. I am a 50mm shooter but I can't deny that for street photography, which I do a lot, 35mm is much better. For anything else, I absolutely love the panaleica 25mm. If I absolutely had to choose only one, I would pick the 25mm.
  18. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    As you can see in my signature below, I have the Panasonic G5 and GX1... and the Olympus E-PM1. I've had the Panny 20 ever since it came put. I love it. But I bought the Oly 17 f/1.8 because there are some slight banding issues at hi ISOs (1600+) with the Panny 20 on the latest generation of Oly bodies.

    In fact, it is my humble observation that, while one certainly can freely use any micro four-thirds lens with any micro four-thirds body, Panny lenses work best on Panny bodies and Oly lenses work best on Oly bodies. One might not notice any difference in general shooting but, when pushing things to the limit, one will find that's the case.

    Panny 20 vs. Oly 17 f/1.8: The Panasonic may be slightly sharper, but it's only noticeble when pixel-peeping. The Olympus focuses faster and quieter. And no banding at high ISOs on Oly bodies. The field of view is slightly wider with the 17mm (35mm equivalent vs. 40mm with the Panasonic). I think 40mm is more "natural" to my eyes and for my kind of shooting. But the difference wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me.

    Upshot: If you don't shoot at high ISOs all that much and haven't experienced any banding, I'm not sure I would run out and buy the Oly 17 right away. But if you have actually noticed while shooting that you could use faster and/or quieter auto-focus, I say go for it.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Real Name:
    This has been the case with my OMD. I bought the Panny 25mm f/1.4 and it did not want to work with my OMD. Rattled all the time and constantly hunted for focus. Had to return it and a 2nd one I tried at a shop did the same. :mad: My Panny 20mm f.17 is good in daylight, but it does not want to focus in low light, so I recently bought the 17mm f1.8 and could not be happier. I have the Oly 12, 17, 45, 60 and 75 and all work just great with the OMD.

    I like the 50mm FX perspective and wish Oly would make a 25mm 1.4 or 1.8 (it would be smaller), I would buy it in a heartbeat, as I see the need for both 17 and 25mm. Plus a fast 150mm too.
  20. WorldShooter

    WorldShooter Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2013
    Giethoorn, Netherlands
    Real Name:
    Peter B.
    Getting off topic here, but you know Panasonic is working on / has announced a m43 150mm f/2.8?
    My guess is an MSRP north of $2000...