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Choosing P20/1.7 or Oly17/1.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jimr.pdx, Dec 20, 2015.

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  1. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    Once I fully settle in with :mu43: gear I plan on acquiring the 35-100/2.8 and a prime or two. Faster is better of course, and manual lensres are OK. In the 15-25mm range I would prefer the slightly wider choices; I owned the oly 17/2.8 before and liked the view so the 1.8 version sounds very nice. And of course the 20/1.7 is well liked & has been for years.

    Can anyone address how these two compare, esp. for outdoor work? There must be a thread on this somewhere so pass me a link rather than rehash.. I didn't find one after thrashing around a while. Thanks!
     
  2. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    I'd be surprised if there wasn't a previous thread, I'm pretty sure this was debated endlessly. In short, both lenses are good, but the Panasonic is better optically whilst but the Olympus is faster when it comes to AF. If you can't have both, you should be happy enough with whatever choice you make. You will see from the threads here that both can render some fantastic images. If you do have to make the choice, then just make the decision and stick with it, you'll be fine.
     
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  3. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    I bought the two lenses a few months ago.
    The differences I noted:
    - first, the focal length. 3 mm make a noticeable difference in the pictures taken. That should be the #1 criteria between the 2 lenses.
    - the 20 mm is sharper and produces more bokeh (and better bokeh imho, but this is very subjective).
    - the 17 mm has a kind of pleasing soft look.
    - the 17 mm has a quicker AF (I didn't find the 20 so bad, but many people do, so, that's something to take into account for the choice)
    - I had more missed AF shots with the 17 mm (that doesn't mean everybody will)
    - the 17 mm is "prettier" (in black). It's all metal with a "vintage" look that goes very well with the Olympus EM bodies. The 20 mm is "glossy black"... both constructions are good.
    - the 20 mm is a pancake lens. That makes a difference even if the 17 mm is more compact
    - the 17 mm has a "AF/MF clutch" to simulate a purely manual lens (with distance / DOF scale).
    - the 20 mm can produce banding at high ISO with some bodies (mostly E-M5 / E-M10 / E-M10 mkII)
    - the 20 mm has better flare resistance.

    I would have been happy with any of the 2 lenses, but as we can choose, I chose the 20 mm (prefered focal length + more keepers).
     
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  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Pick the focal length you like best and go with that. The 20mm is better optically, but the 17mm is definitely faster and easier to work with. I ended up keeping the 17mm, for being a better all-around lens, but I do like the 20mm a lot and miss it. So yeah it's not an easy decision! Lol
     
  5. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Exactly my views too. 20 slightly sharper but the 17 overall the nicer lens to own and use. I sold the 20 and kept the 17.
     
  6. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    I think they're different enough to warrant owning both if you can. I do and am happy not to cash in with one of them.
     
  7. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    Thanks for the confirmation of my suspicions: 2 great lenses with their own strengths. I'll lean toward the 17 but a fire sale on a 20 would not be awful :) My 12-32 arrives tomorrow so I'm OK for tiny lenses, so the 17's slightly wider field will be nice.

    /edit/ I did read somewhere that the 17/1.8 focus is quieter.. good to know if video is involved. Do you folks with the 20mm agree with that?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  8. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    626
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    If you intend to do video with the prime in question, I'd really recommend the 17mm - not only because of the noise (the 17mm is virtually silent) but also because of AF speed and accuracy. But then, you'll have a very capable video lens soon - the 12-32mm is a very good lens for its size and price, and its AF is silent and fast, too ...

    M.
     
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  9. luck002

    luck002 Mu-43 Regular

    37
    Jul 21, 2015
    Somewhere in Indonesia
    Abu
    I had those lenses and here's my words. P20 in Oly's body is really really bad at night (slow AF and hunting). O17's AF is more reliable in both Oly and Pana's bodies.

    I don't have those lenses anymore. I prefer the P20, it has 'something' I dont know what in it. You can easily find someone who buy this lense multiple times (buy-sell-buy again-repeat) more than the O17. You took great picture until in some point you complain the AF, then you sell it. And after a while, you'll regret sold it and thinking to buy again.
     
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  10. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    This is so true you know. Doesn't help the op one bit, but it's so true.
     
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  11. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Yep, I'd mirror all the advice given here.

    Don't use the 20mm for video, unless you're focussing it manually (and / or using an add-on mic). It's going to be noisy, that's the nature of all pancake lenses, since they are unit focussing rather than internal.

    If it's on a G7, the 20mm's AF for stills won't be nearly as bad as the reputation it has, which is mostly earned on Olympus bodies. On my GX1 and GX7 the 20mm is very quick to focus as long as I am using the touch-screen to pick a high contrast edge. The DFD AF system on the G7 should improve that even further. Still, I don't think there is any denying that the 17mm will have faster AF, no matter what the body is. It's just whether the difference is dramatic enough for it to matter to you.

    If you like the wider-normal FoV, you might even consider the PL 15mm/1.7 - its AF will be just as speedy as the 17mm's. Just depends on the focal length you want, really.
     
  12. Yong

    Yong Mu-43 Regular

    96
    Sep 25, 2014
    Also consider Panasonic 15mm. I think it is more closer counter part of 17mm in Panasonic side than 20mm. I hear praises of the lens every time.
     
  13. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    238
    Jan 8, 2013
    The 17/1.8 seems to be designed for environmental portraiture/street more than landscape. It's pretty sharp in the center at close to medium distances but isn't that hot near infinity focus...probably no better than a kit lens at the same focal length/aperture settings.

    For landscapes I'd probably recommend the 15/1.7. It has more distortion than the 17 but higher resolution overall.

    I probably would pass on the 20/1.7 unless you want the focal length or the smallest size. The slower AF speed limits the capabilities of your camera, and you'll notice it switching with other faster focusing lenses.
     
  14. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Out of curiosity, what body have you tried the 20mm/1.7?

    I feel like most of the people who highlight the slow focusing speed of the 20mm/1.7 end up having Olympus bodies. With touchscreen-selected single-area AF on a Panasonic body, even my old GX1, the 20mm focusses very quickly. As fast as most DSLR lenses, but not nearly as fast as the best M4/3 lenses, obviously.
     
  15. luck002

    luck002 Mu-43 Regular

    37
    Jul 21, 2015
    Somewhere in Indonesia
    Abu
    I own P15mm now, but still, I miss the P20mm. P15mm doesn't reach the versality level of the P20mm. IQ wise they are on the same level.
     
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  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For me the biggest thing on the Panasonic cameras is that it flat out will not let you use tracking AF, C-AF or video C-AF while the 20mm is mounted. So it limits functionality on some areas. Since I wasn't loving the focal length, it was an easy lens to let go for those reasons.

    Olympus bodies might let you enable those and then you just get awful results, so maybe that's even worse?
     
  17. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    On my E-M10 the AF is reasonably quick.
    There's not much difference, for example, with the PL25.
    However, as tkblsc said, this lens is supposed to be used in S-AF only (never tried C-AF with it).
    That's a limitation for some uses.
     
  18. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I have them both still. I would take the 17 over the 20 for an Olympus body, mostly for the focal length. When I want to avail myself with the pancake size and better optics, I'm glad I still have the 20mm.

    When I used the 20mm on an EPL1 or EPM1, the focus issues were just part of the general PEN clunkiness, and not noticed given the excellence of the optics. Only when I moved to the faster EM5 and EPL5 did I notice focus issues, mainly at night. On these two cameras, touching the screen where I want it to focus will resolve any hesitation on the part of the lens.
     
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  19. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    Oh I've done that many times with Pentax! Dumb kit lens = sell, wait it's weather sealed = buy, repeat. 55-300 slow AF = sell, IQ unmatched at price = buy &c. Oh yes.
     
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  20. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    For Image sharpness the P20. For AF precision and speed, the O17. Both render beautifully.

    You can look at the showcases to see if one tends to appeal to you more than the other as you're the only one that can evaluate for yourself.