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Is there a better general purpose lens than the panasonic 20mm f1.7?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Tadgh78, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. Tadgh78

    Tadgh78 Mu-43 Regular

    73
    Feb 25, 2013
    Ireland
    In the medium focal lenght I also own the 14mm f2.5, the 14-42 x as well as the 14-42 v1 kit lens, but unless I'm shooting wildlife the 20mm stays on my camera 80% of the time. For a while the 14-42x was my go to lens, but since getting the 20mm a year ago the 14-42 doesn't get a look in. The 20mm's mix of sharpness, size and aperture makes it my favourite lens. But am I missing something? Has anyone given up the 20mm in favour of another general purpose lens?
     
  2. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I think the Panny & Oly choices (15/1.7, 17/1.8, 20/1.7, 25/1.8 and 25/1.4) are all great options, as are the 19 & 30 Sigmas. I think it is safe choice to pick the one that suits your needs and fits your budget best.
     
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  3. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    yup, gave it up for the PL25, and subsequently the 17/1.8. Kinda flip flops between the two. If I didn't ahve the PL25, I'd probably have the Oly 25/1.8.

    Why? Partly a change in FL preference. Partly tired of the 20 buzzing, heh. But everyone's "general purpose" is no doubt different. edit: and the banding on the E-M5.. forgot about that. It got a bit annoying.
     
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  4. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    432
    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Aaron
    The 20mm is a classic m4/3 lens for good reason. It really has a special character that other m4/3 lenses in the "normal" range can't replicate. I could (and have) had the 20mm as my only lens at times, and even when I owned other lenses along side the 20mm, the 20 stayed on my camera most often. The 20mm isn't the perfect lens for everything, but its very close!

    I have sold off the different copies of the 20mm I have owned for what I thought were better lens choices: once, for a 12-35 2.8 (then sold it and got another 20mm) and most recently for a 12-40 2.8. While both 2.8 zooms are very sharp - perhaps even sharper than the 20mm - they lack the rendering character, brighter aperture, and compact size the 20mm offers.

    After buying and selling a large number of lenses throughout the last 12 months, I've been trying really hard to make myself keep the 12-40 for a while. But the call of the 20mm continues to grow stronger!
     
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  5. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I love everything about the 20 except the poor focus performance. Yes there's plenty of defenders here, but I've been bitten by that lens too many times on too many bodies to use it any time I need consistent AF behavior. At the same time, I haven't sold it for one of the other options. The 25 is an awkward focal length for me, and I'd like to try the 15 or 17 but haven't gotten around to it. The 20 really is gorgeous optically, though.
     
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  6. Tadgh78

    Tadgh78 Mu-43 Regular

    73
    Feb 25, 2013
    Ireland
    The PL 25 although not as compact has suposedly better rendering character than the 20 and is somewhat brighter and probably focuses a bit faster. Did you ever consider that lens as a "20 beater".
     
  7. Tadgh78

    Tadgh78 Mu-43 Regular

    73
    Feb 25, 2013
    Ireland
    Two questions; 1) how did you find the 17/1.8 compared to the 20?
    2) Why would you consider the oly 25/1.8 over the PL 25/1.4, the latter being 2/3 of a stop faster than the former?
     
  8. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    1) it's a different focal length, so hard to really say. I just found myself liking a slightly wider FOV. The 20 is sharper in the center, but it really was FL and AF noise/speed.
    2) The oly can be had for cheaper and still is pretty damn good not to mention smaller and lighter. Granted, it's easy for me to say that owning the PL25... But I find I'd rather have more stops at longer FL's like the 42.5. But even then, the cost of that isn't justifiable to me. Not yet anyway, heh. But if cost and size/weight don't particularly matter, I'd go w/ the PL25 every time.
     
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  9. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Not if you want/need that small size.
     
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  10. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Yes, there are many options. The PL 20f1.7 has some very real drawbacks because of the poor A/F performance.
     
  11. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you are happy with the 20mm why consider a change? If you think you want something better, then first define better in related to your use?


    I sold the 20mm for the Olympus 25mm f1.8 because the 20mm focal length felt odd to me. Other than that it is fine lens.
     
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  12. The combination of the 20mm and my E-PL1 was a big factor in me deciding to switch my camera system to Micro 4/3 about three years ago. Where I started to fall out of love with the 20mm was that I wasn't getting the AF performance that I had come to expect on my former Canons, and the focal length was just a bit too short to give me the look that I wanted in a normal focal length lens (whereas the PL 25mm did). However, I do still think about re-getting the 20mm and an older compact body like a GX1 or E-PM1or even an E-PL1.
     
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  13. Tadgh78

    Tadgh78 Mu-43 Regular

    73
    Feb 25, 2013
    Ireland
    Well, I supose I'm always looking for a better photographic experience. I don't own many prime lenses, but the ones I do own (the sigma 60mm and the P14/2.5) both focus faster than the 20mm. However I'm not sure that faster focusing alone would make me want to switch to something else.

    However, if another lens had faster AF, equal or larger aperture, nicer colour rendering AND small form factor and sharpness it would definitely be worth the switch imo. I don't think any such lens exists, but if it had everything except the last two it might still be worth a change. I'd be willing to give up size and some sharpness for speed, AF and rendering.

    Therefor I think perhaps the PL25 is a possibility as are the Oly 25 and 17. Of those I have read a bit more about the PL25. Its rendering is suposed to trump the P20's. I presume all 3 have faster AF. The fact that the PL25 is 2/3 of a stop faster than the others looks nice on paper but I have a feeling it is not that important a consideration as all are fast lenses anyway.
     
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  14. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    No. This is a fantasy of forums and incessant this vs that threads.

    What the hell is a "better" rendering? I invite you to define it either technically or subjectively. The PL25 renders differently from the P20, there's no denying that. I don't know a better way to describe it than "3D". I think it's something about the way the in-focus areas fade into the bokeh? Really not sure what's going on at a technical level, but I can see it in the images. I'd even describe it as more 'exciting'. But this isn't "better" or "worse" except by some strictly subjective "I like that". But it's not as if some actual technical parameter is deficient. I've bought and sold the PL25 three times (at a profit, conveniently). For me, the inconvenience of the actual focal length overrode anything to do with subjective image rendering of the lens or even the half stop of light.

    By all means, try the lens. Maybe you'll love that peculiar quality in its rendering. Maybe you'll be able to see it in the files others have posted. Or maybe it's just another, slightly narrower lens that focuses a bit faster.

    (It's worth noting that the audio world is plagued by many of these same problems, where objective measurements, subjective opinions, and marketing claims all collide in a big horrible mess. Try and find the "best" speakers/headphones and just see what happens.)
     
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  15. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    When it was first released I already had the 14-45 and couldn't see it was worth it, but when I picked it up recently and put it onto my GF1 I'm sort of kicking myself for not getting it earlier.

    Its not quite a 50mm equivalent from full frame but yes has a character I love. It sort of reminds me of the utility of my first 35mm rangefinder camera which had a 45mm on it

    rabbitProofFenceL.
     
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  16. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Don't use it that often these days but in answer to one of the op's questions, no, I could never give it up.
     
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  17. Why should something not be able to be described as better or worse just because it can't be related back to a technical parameter of have a number placed against? This is the big problem that I see with how cameras and lenses are typically compared and rated; it's all about the numbers, and not whether something simply produces images that look better to you. There doesn't need to be a lens that is indisputably "the best", only one that seems the best to you.
     
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  18. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    Alternatively it is people struggling to come to terms with what they are learning to see ... and attempting to describe. Wines are dreadfully fraught to discuss...

    ...

    I think you've just had a crack at what you were just annoyed about.


    Audio does have some signal processing advantages, but is not immune that's for sure. I just ran some tests on two of my audio recorders and the spectral analysis showed clearly which one recorded what ... to my ear eynsounded similar.

    Knowing one cuts off at 15K is helpful ... even if it does sound more "solid" than the other one :)
     
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  19. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Mu43 users are awash in normal (17-25mm) lenses. I've read many posts, and the only conclusion I can draw is that it's mostly personal preference. Your style or environs can push you to longer or shorter FL or faster apertures. I have stared at "definitive" comparisons of the the O25 vs. the P25 and lost track of which one I was looking at. There does seem to be some consensus that the 20 is slower to AF in low light. It's also a much beloved lens among many folks whose work I respect. If the 20 works for you, I strongly suspect a change won't help you much. Maybe save your money for something in the 12-15 or 40-45 range to give you another range to work with if you fall into a photo-funk.
     
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  20. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Still seems to me that bordom may also have a part in all this.

    All of the major choices being suggested are available for rental. Its really not all that expensive either.. rent it to buy...

    www.lensrentals.com



    My choice of the Olympus 25 over the Panny 25mm was driven by the small size of the Olympus.
     
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