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E-PL5 and 17mm f/1.8 or 20mm f/1.7?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by zlongi, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. zlongi

    zlongi New to Mu-43

    Mar 7, 2013
    Hi all

    I'm hoping to get some advice for getting into m4/3. I currently shoot with a 5D2 but there are times when a full frame 35mm system is too bulky to carry, yet I want better image quality than a phone camera or a P&S can provide.

    The key criteria are:

    - must be non-photographer friendly (ie, easy for my gf to use)
    - easy to use for self portraits
    - good semi wide fast prime lens
    - allow for RAW+JPEG and have a good JPEG engine for SOOC use
    - wifi card support with Android/iOS would be good but is not a dealbreaker
    EDIT: also, having in body IS is a plus, built-in flash is a nice to have but not essential

    I'm looking closely at the E-PL5 and either the 20mm f/1.7 or 17mm f/1.8 to satisfy the above. I'm thinking that touch to focus should be easy for my gf to use and being able to flip the screen back for self portraits will be a big plus.

    Any comments on whether a) the E-PL5 is best for this and b) whether one of those lenses would be better than the other for this role? I should say that I have rented an OMD for a weekend with the 12mm f/2, 25mm f/1.4 and 45mm f/1.8 - I was quite impressed but I would prefer something with a FF 35mm FOV for general use, particularly as this is closer to the iphone so my gf is already used to it.
  2. vcs700s

    vcs700s Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 9, 2013
    I own an E-PL5 and highly recommend it. It will do everything you want and more.

    The 17 1.8 would be a great choice. It will probably be the next lens I purchase.
  3. Talanis

    Talanis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2012
    Sherbrooke, Canada
    Eric Cote
    I bought an E-PM2 for my wife and she loves it. It's a great camera. For the lens, I have not try the O17 but I own the P20 and it is very nice. THE AF is not as fast as the O45 that you try but it's precise and the lens is really sharp. The only drawbacks are a bit of purple fringing while shooting wide open and a banding problem when you shoot over 2000 ISO. What I like the most is the size (pancake) and sharpness.
  4. Talanis

    Talanis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2012
    Sherbrooke, Canada
    Eric Cote
    Oh! and about the wifi... I'm using an EyeFi card and my photos transfer automatically to the Nexus 7 in my bag while I'm shooting :) 
    It works great and it's easy to setup. I shoot RAW + JPEG and transfer the JPEG to the tablet.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I have both an E-M5 and am E-PM2. Back when I owned the E-PM1, I ordered the Panny 20/1.7 and promptly returned it. The AF hunted, complained loudly and missed focus if it could get a lock at all. Of course, I shoot in low light a lot. In contrast, I purchased the Oly 17/1.8 a few weeks ago and love it. Quiet, fast AF, gathers lots of light and is silent, not to mention its fantastic build. Yes, it's larger and more expensive than the 20/1.7, but well worth it. The 20/1.7 annoyed me to no end. I sadly returned it, because it wouldn't satisfy me for its intended use, though I know many love this lens.
  6. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    I took a trip last fall to Ireland with only the EPL5 and Panny 20mm and could not have been more pleased with the images they produced. I personally am not happy with the PEN form factor and for that reason alone I recently traded the EPL5. If it had a built in viewfinder I probably would have kept it. But it produces stunning images and the flip out screen did come in handy from time to time.

    The EPL5 does not have an inbody flash but comes with a little fill flash unit that works as it is supposed to.

    As for non-photog friendly, you can set it to expose automatically and, though I neve used it that way, I am certain it would produce stunning images .
  7. Ddeveryday

    Ddeveryday Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2013
    I find it difficult to do self portrait with the 20mm. It's not wide enough for me. My head usually covers 3/5 of the frame. I probably have a short arm.
  8. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    As great as the Panny 20mm is -- I owned one and captured many great moments with it -- I "usually" recommend Olympus primes over Panasonic if you want the fastest AF and quiet AF on an Olympus camera.

    The only Panasonic prime I have left at the moment is the Pana-Leica 25mm f/1.4 and I really LOVE that lens but the AF on that lens is a fraction of a second slower than the Oly 12mm f/2, 17mm 1.8, 45mm 1.8 or 75mm 1.8 and the Panasonic lens has noisier AF if I'm shooting video with AF.
  9. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I don't find the 25/1.4 all that slow in terms of AF. It's comparable to the 17/1.8. But you can't lump the 20/1.7 into that camp.

    If I was building a kit today from fresh and the choice comes down to 20/1.7 and 17/1.8? I would base my decision on the focal length and most importantly size. For some people 40mm is a gold in-between but for others they prefer the slightly wider 35mm or the slightly tighter 50mm. The faster AF on 17/1.8 sold me.

    I wouldn't mind a new 20mm pancake prime, f/1.8 or faster with a modern AF design.
  10. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    The only downside I see to the to the 17mm is the increased size and cost over the pancake 20mm. If you can live with both of those, that would probably be the way to go, although the 20mm is sharper wide open from what I understand and offers more shallow DOF due to the slightly larger aperture and longer focal length.
  11. Iceman Baldy

    Iceman Baldy New to Mu-43

    Nov 5, 2012
    Ashburn, Virginia
    I agree with ean10775. I have an E-PL5 with the 20/1.7 and it's the perfect traveling complement to my E-M5. It's sharp and provides for some great DOF but I understand not as nearly as quick as the 17/1.8. I'll probably pick up the 17/1.8 for street shooting given the AF speed difference and use the 20/1.7 more often on the E-M5.
  12. Iceman Baldy

    Iceman Baldy New to Mu-43

    Nov 5, 2012
    Ashburn, Virginia
  13. suntoryjim

    suntoryjim Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 6, 2013
    My 20mm focuses faster in low light on my EPL2 than it ever did on the OM-D I tested (with 1.5 firmware). Isn't there mention somewhere on the net about this issue being more pronounced on the OM-D, with some even going so far as to say that the issue is exclusive to the OM-D?
  14. pcdawg

    pcdawg Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2012
    Funny thing, I just recently sold my 20mm and picked up the Oly 17mm 1.8 last night.
    I am using the E-Pl5.

    The size difference of the 20mm and the 17mm is very slight. Its still very pocketable.
    The AF speed on the 17mm is very quick. Pretty much the same as the Oly 45mm. I had a hard time focusing on my toddler with the 20mm and with the 17mm I had no trouble at all. Its super quiet as well unlike the 20mm when it tries to focus you can hear it whirring trying to lock in on the subject.

    The build quality is top notch. The snapback manual focus ring is very easy to use.

    I have no regrets selling the 20mm for the Oly 17mm 1.8 lens at all.
  15. sabesh

    sabesh Mu-43 Veteran

    Get the 20/1.7 - Smaller, lighter, faster & has a shorter MFD.
  16. BillyChocobo

    BillyChocobo New to Mu-43

    May 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    I had both...And while if you are looking for portable and price vs performance, the 20 1.7 is great, but I can't say that I've missed it since I got the 17 1.8. I know it got a lot of crap when it was in pre-production, but I dont' know...the usability of the lens is a whole different story...
  17. tomkn

    tomkn New to Mu-43

    Mar 19, 2013

    I have switched (after 20 yrs) from NIKON to Olympus PL5, starting with Kit 14-42 and Pana 20 1.7. In the kit I bought (699,- EUR) was the cam, 14-42, 8GB wificard , VF3 and a little flash. I also tried a fujix and the om-d at the store.

    After 3 days of trying / comparing I think you will be surprised on AF-precision and speed and picture quality (compared to weight / price)

    I cannot recommend the pana 20 1.7. It definately shows purple borders around for example hairs in lowlight. Using it as an "always on" and then do video is nearly impossible. The AF pumps even on the slightest movement and makes the video "blur" for a second, doing this much, much more then even the kit (yes, I know on dof) or a simple sony dsc w50 used for compare.
    I will change to a oly 17 1.8, maybe + oly 45 1.8 for portrait and maybe now or later + a rarer used tele (150 or a zoom like 70-300)


    Best regards
  18. zlongi

    zlongi New to Mu-43

    Mar 7, 2013
    Thanks all - I bought the E-PL5 and Oly 17mm f/1.8. The focus speed (single shot) is great and the accuracy is acceptable. I find the sharpness and microcontrast quite decent - not up to say the 5D3/Sigma 35mm f/1.4 combination but fantastic for the price.
  19. Wizard Steve

    Wizard Steve Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2013
    Provence, France
    David Ricketts
    Another plus in favour of the O17 is the focus snap ring.
  20. sabesh

    sabesh Mu-43 Veteran

    If you intend to take landscapes, get the 20/1.7, as it's sharper in the corners, as compared to the 17/1.8.

    I have the 20/1.7, which has served me well over the years. I'm curious about the 17/1.8. I'm picking one up on Monday. If I can live with the 17's edge performance and it's bigger size, I'll keep it as a side kick for my trusty ole' 20/1.7.
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