Lumix 20mm f1.7 for my existing EPL-1 or buy a new EPL-3 for the same price?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by singaporegirl, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. singaporegirl

    singaporegirl New to Mu-43

    Dec 12, 2012
    Hi there -

    I'm going to apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge, as I'm pretty new to the whole world of Micro 4/3 and for that matter, photography in general.

    I bought an EPL-1 a year ago which came with a 14-42mm kit lens and a zoom lens (M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6). The main reason for buying this camera was to take pictures of my very active 5 year old boy indoors, and sadly the kit lens isn't very good.

    After doing a bit of research I saw that the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens would be a good choice for low light photos, so I'm strongly considering that. However, at $350 for the lens, I'm wondering if i should just spend an extra $100 and buy a new m4/3 camera, since there are m4/3 cameras around that price range (such as the EPL-3 or the Lumix Gf5).

    I'm not familiar with whether these m4/3 cameras I mention come with a better kit lens than the EPL-1 kit lens (which isn't working for me).

    Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated! Am i just better off using the 20mm f/1.7 on the EPL-1, or just buy a new m4/3. I would ideally like to keep within my budget of $400-$450.

  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    The trade off here is between faster AF on the E-PL3 and the higher shutter speed you could use with the faster lens. Given that you're indoors, I would go with the lens. The sensor and IQ are very similar with the E-PL3 and E-PL1. Just to point out, you could get an E-PM2 with a better sensor for $450, but I would still go with the lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    Madison, WI
    Well, the newer bodies will auto-focus somewhat faster. However, that doesn't help you with the lighting conditions so even on a new body you'll still be shooting the same exposure (combination of sensor ISO, shutter speed, and lens aperture). Going to a lens like the 20/1.7 with its wider maximum aperture means you would be able to gather more of the available light and shoot at a faster shutter speed, which is helpful for moving targets like a 5 year old! So I'd vote for the lens.

    I recommend checking out some basic tutorials to help understand the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture - it will really help you towards improving your shots. The AdoramaTV Youtube channels has some good introductory videos, such as their Digital Photography 1 on 1 series

    Edit: Oh and one more nice trick with the E-PL1 indoors is to use the built-in flash, but tip it back with your finger so the flash aims up at the ceiling. The extra light will hopefully let you shoot at a faster shutter speed and the bounced light will look more natural.
  4. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hi ..Welcome to the forum and EPL1 is a fantastic little camera. I would also suggest to go for 20 mm 1.7 lens or Panasonic Leica . PL25 mm 1.4 can be picked up for USD 450-475 and it focuses faster than 20 mm 1.7
  5. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Real Name:
    + 1 for lens, and +1 with using flash.

    However, my technique is either I put a white calling card in front of it at about 45-degree angle so the light bounces up, or I cover the pop-up flash with a dome-shaped paper towel tied with a rubber band at the base of the flash. Works wonders. :smile:
  6. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Lens with a flash. Epl3 was only marginally better IQ wise and the AF was significant improved but for indoor fast miving chid, won't make that much of a difference but the 1.7 light gathering and high quality lens will help a bit (if you understand the advantages of a 1.7 lens and dof impact vs. Light gathering).
  7. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    I've owned a pl2 for the last year, and have only used the kit zoom a few times for video. My primary lens is the 20/1.7, and it's astonishingly good. It can actually produce sharp, contrasty images wide open. You can shoot it in a dark room at f/1.7 iso800 and get good results. A newer generation camera would give you incremental improvements, but a fast prime would change your world. Imho.
  8. singaporegirl

    singaporegirl New to Mu-43

    Dec 12, 2012
    Thank you all for responding. After going through all of it and doing some additional research, i've decided to go with the lens. Now, the question is, WHICH LENS? Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 or the 25mm F1.4 ?

    I've read that the 25mm focuses faster and the auto focus isn't noisy, like the 20mm (esp. for video). The 25mm is also much more expensive. I've read a lot of the pros and cons between the two, but what i really want to know is this:

    Should i shell out the extra cash for the 25mm to be used on the EPL1? Or just get the 20mm? I've only been using the auto settings on the camera, but i'm slowly learning how to manually change the settings.

  9. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Real Name:
    I wouldn't really bank on the focus speed of the 25mm if mounting it on the E-PL1. It's definitely faster on the newer cameras though. Buy the 25 if you prefer the focal length, want the extra light gathering ability and don't mind the added size or cost. Otherwise get the 20mm.
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    The E-PL1 kit has its strong points (mainly price), but it's worth underlining that for autofocus this is pretty much the worst combination possible in m4/3 - the lens itself is quite slow due to the rotation of the front element, and the body doesn't help.

    If the Panasonic 25/1.4 seems steep, you might consider splitting the difference with the Sigma 19/2.8 and a refurbished E-PM1 kit. For $400 you'll get a camera that can focus quickly, and two lenses that can focus quickly, one with a reasonably wide aperture. It'll certainly be faster at focusing than the 20/1.7 (also one of the slower lenses).
  11. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    The Sigma lens suggestion is a great one - it's half the price of the 20mm ($150 U.S. right now) but will still be noticeably faster than your kit lens. Play with that for awhile and decide if you still want an updated body or faster lens.

    One other strong point for the 20mm (my favorite lens) if it matters, it's so small it makes the camera easy to carry all the time.
  12. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Real Name:
    There's the Sigma 30/2.8 at $150 too. Fast focusing and lets in much more light than the kit lens at 30mm.

    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
  13. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    If the "kit lens is not very good" because it focuses too slowly in indoor light I would suggest getting a used 14-42 MSC II or 14-42 MSC IIR kit lens - they were standard on the 2nd - 4th generation Pen models (E-PL2 on up). They focus at least twice as fast and cost only between $75-125.
  14. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Real Name:
    Kelly Gibbons
    Buy the 20mm it is my favorite lens.
  15. marygoround

    marygoround Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 19, 2012
    Real Name:
    you might want to consider 14mm 2.5 or the sigma 19 2.8
  16. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Real Name:
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    Yeah lenses all the way. With a bit of research and buying used & new you could pick up three great primes for little more than the cost of a new Pan 20/1.7. In the UK you could get the following Pan 14/2.5 £100 used + Sigma 30/2.8 £100 new + Oly 45/1.8 £220 new ( a little less used) You would have a nice set of primes to cover portraits, street, landscape and lowlight. And you have the very compact 14mm

    If I where you, I would get practising. Then upgrade the body followed by replacing the sigma with either the Pan 20 or 25.

    I'm guessing like a lot of people when using your 14-42mm you shoot mostly at at either end of the zoom, wide or tele.
  17. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Since you asked about the 20 vs. 25, they are both awesome. Which depends on which focal you prefer and if the pancake is a selling point for you. I'd give the nod to the 25mm, there is something in its rendering that is pretty sweet but its bigger, longer focal and more expensive, also if you are looking to buy an epl5 or om-d later as an upgrade, you won't have to deal with the banding issue. It really comes down to budget and which you want.

    If I were you, I'd get the 20mm for the epl-1. In a year or two, you'll probably swap out the body to a used epm-2 or epl-5 but never regret the lens in the interim.
  18. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    Normally i would suggest a20 mm over the 25mm, but since you are taking photos of your active kid, the faster and more accurate af of the 25mm would be better for you. Another suggestion would be a epm2 kit, with much improved af speed and much better high ISO image quality from the class leading OMD sensor, that can solve both of your issues with one purchase
  19. digitaldan1

    digitaldan1 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2010
    One other point. If you're willing to buy used, you can probably pick up a good 20 1.7 for less than $300. If you're interested let me know and I'll post mine to the buy and sell forum. (Or there may already be a couple up there, they show up pretty often.)
  20. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    And less than half as fast. Based on the OP's post, I think speed is the only way to solve her problem.