Deciding between a Panasonic 14F2.5 or 201.7?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Kevstarr, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Kevstarr

    Kevstarr Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2011
    I'm currently shooting with a G2 equipped with a Minolta MD 50F1.7. It's my only lens and I use it mainly for portraits. I'm looking for a versatile walk around lens I can use for street photography, car events, and social events. I started to look between the 14 and 20, but can't make up my mind. I feel that the 14 would be good for what I need it for, but the 20 seems more compromising because I could also use it as a portrait lens. The 1.7 vs 2.5 doesnt bother me that much because I'll have a flash with me for social events. So now I am stuck in a dilemma and cant make up my mind.Help me make a decision? Thanks!
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    You're between a slightly wide of normal, and a moderate wide. They're not very far off each other, and both are excellent lenses. It really comes down to whether you want the wide 14 or not, I think. I did.
  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I would be more inclined to the 14, though I personally started with the 20.

    In many ways, the 14 is a better walk-around lens, the 20 is a much better in-door lens. Based on what you are saying, I'd lean to the 14.

    An alternative would be to try a kit lens. That would give you zoom function, and if you don't care about the wider aperture because of flash, that might work out nicely for you. An Older Panny 14-45 is supposed to be a very good lens.
  4. Kevstarr

    Kevstarr Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2011
    If I can get a good price for the 14, I may pull the trigger on it. Is it capable for portraits?
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Personally I would go for the 20mm.... if you are doing street and social, then the 14 is a bit too wide... people will either get lost in the picture if you are too far away or be oddly distorted.

    here a set on flickr of some of my 20mm shots... it really is a nice lens with a very non digital character

    Panasonic 20/1.7 - a set on Flickr

    • Like Like x 1
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    20 is better for portraits.
  7. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    If you really want an all-rounder, especially with people candids, I would recommend the 20.

    My wife uses the 14mm as her pancake and general outdoor travel lens. When she is taking shots of the family, she switches to the 20 or Oly 45 (more often now).
  8. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Real Name:
    Kelly Gibbons
    The 20mm is an amazing all around lens.
  9. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I love my 20mm, but if it's head n' shoulders portraits you're thinking of, it's a bit on the wide side for that and people may end up with fish faces if they're face-on to the camera.... still a great all rounder though, probably moreso than the 14mm I'd say. I don't think I'd use the term 14mm and portrait in the same sentence to be honest.... environmental type portraits, yes....
  10. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Based on the fact that you are currently using a 50mm lens and that you want an overall general purpose lens, I'd shy away from the 14mm as it will be too wide for that type of requirement.

    The 20mm would be much better suited for you as it's great for indoor shots, better for portraits but still not ideal and since you didn't highlight movies as an area of concern it's noisy behaviour won't be an issue and better IQ to boot. If you want some wide shots, just 50% overlap 2 images and you'll get a wide shot with more real estate to crop after the merge.
  11. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I am not able to use 20mm for indoor group shots and social gatherings. Not only it's too short but the DoF is way too shallow. Panny 14 works much better and more reliable with faster AF.
  12. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    He really wants both lenses, or if the OP is truly using flash, and if DOF isn't an issue, then get a kit lens. Especially for car shows.
  13. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    For car shows, you want as wide as possible so you can get close and not have people walk in your shot. Also helps with the interior/ engine bay.

    Everything else you mentioned, you'll adapt to.

    With that said, I'd still go with the 20mm.
    It's nice to have that extra speed and shallow DOF so you can focus on the details. Take everything else as a minor challenge.
  14. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    OK maybe we go to different kinds of social gatherings... but in this MobileMe gallery I used an E-P1 with a Nikkor 50/1,2... and then after people sat down for dinner, and through the rest of the evening I used the 20mm exclusively

    MobileMe Gallery

    if I had had a 14mm I don't think I would have captured quite the same intimacy

  15. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I'd say 20,... Unless you secretly want both. Then for the money I vote kit zoom.
  16. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    DOF can be controlled in those situations by using Aperture-priority mode. The Lumix bodies' Program Mode (I can't speak for the Olympus bodies because I don't own any) tend to favor a wide-open aperture, and that can cause problems indoors in available light when you sometimes need more things in-focus (like in group shots).

    I'm not sure what you meant by 'too short'.

    To answer the original question, the 20mm would be a better all-around lens, IMO, because of the reasons already mentioned by the other responses. It is better for an occasional head & shoulders portrait, being just a tad wider than a 'normal'. Either will be an okay choice, but personally, I would choose the 20mm because of its versatility.

    (edited to add this): The original Lumix 14-45mm kit lens will also be a good choice for the OP.

  17. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Street photography == depends. Many like 35mm (closer to the 20mm), but many people use the GRD iii which is 28mm equivalent. So it really depends on the OP's style

    Car events == again, it depends. Wide is a must to get in the whole car, and use the legacy 50mm for intimate details. 20mm is not as useful, IMO, at car events (assuming it's the car you are after, as opposed to shooting shots of people at the events).

    Social events == again, it depends. Social events in small spaces of large groups? 14mm. In larger spaces, maybe 20mm. I think the 20 is likely better in most social events.

    Portrait == neither lens is actually a portrait lens, so use the 50. The 20 is of course better than the 14, but it's not a portrait lens.
  18. DDBazooka

    DDBazooka Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    Since you have a flash and plan on using it, then I also, recommend a kit lens. I would've recommended the 20 for the 1.7 but it looks like that's not relevant to you.
  19. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    The 20 will be a better general purpose lens and the 14 isn't really that wide. So find a used 20 and start saving for the 12. If you really need the wide angle now, look for a used Panny 14-45. I've been seeing them for $200. Then start saving for the 12.
  20. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Sorry I meant not wide enough for indoor usage. DoF is still shallow even at f2.5 and AF becomes even slower and sometimes misfocus especially w/face detect in low light. I found Panny 14 at f2.5 gives plenty DoF and focuses much faster