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Manual lens vs. 20mm pancake

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by v_roma, May 2, 2010.

  1. v_roma

    v_roma Mu-43 Rookie

    May 2, 2010
    Hi everyone,

    I need a reality check. I'm getting a GF1 body and I'm trying to decide whether to get the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens or a Voigtlander 21mm f4. I have a dSLR and I'd be using the GF1 mostly for street photography, where scale focusing is pretty essential (at least to me). Not having a distance or focus scale on the GF1 or the 20mm lens is a real issue. At the same time, is it ridiculous to go with the slower and more expensive Voigtlander just to get the focusing scale (and maybe better optics, not sure)? Are there any other adapted lenses out there in the 20 - 25mm range that would be fairly cheap so that I could get both the panasonic 20mm and a manual adapted lens?

    Thank you very much for any help,
  2. back alley

    back alley Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    get the 20.
    it's way faster, incredibly sharp, much smaller and auto focus.
  3. v_roma

    v_roma Mu-43 Rookie

    May 2, 2010
    Yeah, I'll probably end up doing just that. I just can't get past the fact that you don't know what distance you're focusing at.

    /EDIT: I've also read somewhere that one work around would be to use the custom settings. For example, you would focus at a certain distance you measure and that would give you a large depth of field and then save that to the custom settings. Can anyone confirm that the GF1 custom settings also store focusing distance?
  4. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    I understand your concerns, but the 20 is an optical gem, and to offset this shortcoming, there are old tricks that can help. For instance, at f/8, focusing on the floor from over your head gives about hyperfocal. Just don't touch af again and you're set. Otherwise, you can focus on an object at a distance you feel comfortable, and keep it for hip shooting. Putting AF on another button instead of shutter trigger is required.

    It's a bit awkward at first, but you soon get used to it and the pancake 20mm is the perfect size for street shooting.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Don't know about the GF-1 - but with the e-p1 you can configure it so that AF lock isn't part of the shutter button function, but rather on a separate button. The way of working the is to focus once at the hyperfocal distance and then just shoot away

    I would probably go for the 20mm - though I do have a OM 24/2 that i really like


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    View attachment 144158
    • Like Like x 2
  6. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    as much as i love voigtlander lenses the 20 1.7 is the more practical and useful choice , the 20 f4 is $369 in screw mount so its 30 dollars less than the panny

    screw mount to m4\3 adapters are available
  7. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    set the focus mode to mf by pressing the af\mf button focus and the shutter will not affect focus, only the lens ring
  8. silverbullet

    silverbullet Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 10, 2010
    The last weeks I could see here pics made with the Pana 20mm that blew off my socks. From portraits to landscape and other genres. Long story short: In the UK I ordered this lens and screwed it onto the Pen. Whoww!!

    Yesterday I went to the 'meilenwerk', a transformed tram repair shop, now containing old cars and bikes of all centuries.

    Here some snaps of static subjects, more streetpics when I'm in France next week.

    The Color Skopar 20mm f4 is my main wide angle for silverfilm, together with the Bessa R4a (21mm lines in VF) a very capable combination:

    JU52 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 3
  9. v_roma

    v_roma Mu-43 Rookie

    May 2, 2010
    Well, it seems unanimous so far. Let's all hope for a focus scale firmware update somewhere in the future. Thank you all.
  10. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    Love the shots, esp the Jag & Morgan. I assume your "Ignition?" question is about the switch on the hub of the steering wheel? If so that is actually a 'Trafficator' which was the mid-century term for 'turn signal'.

    As for the original question, just get the Panny 20mm and you'll be amazed what a great lens it is.
  11. v_roma

    v_roma Mu-43 Rookie

    May 2, 2010
    Hello again,

    Even though I went with the 20mm and will probably do most of my shooting with this lens, I would still like to have a manual lens for when I am out doing strictly "Street Photograpy" and need to do quick zone focusing. Is there anything out there in the 15 to 25mm range that can be had for around $100 or less (excluding adapter)?

    Thanks again,
  12. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    your best bet is a 20 ,24 or 28 prime for slr not sure the price

    e bay is a place to start craigs list etc
  13. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    thinking that you might like the very common 24,, 2.8 pentax auto 110 can you live with one f stop ? 2,8? it not as bad as it seems!

    then a 24 mm f 2.8 pentax auto110 slr lens may be a good choice , its tiny ...... really tiny , has a great coverage on the m4\3 sensor and cost a song .........look into it
  14. v_roma

    v_roma Mu-43 Rookie

    May 2, 2010
    Thanks for the replies. Regarding the pentax auto 110 lenses, I do need more than one f stop for zone focusing. I would appreciate other specific suggestions as there are just so many lenses out there...
  15. acmatos

    acmatos Mu-43 Regular

    What about the Canon FD 20mm 2.8?


    The other day I was tempted by this lens on Ebay (which I did not win):
    Canon FD 20mm 2.8 Wide Angle MF Lens, F-1, A Series on eBay (end time 02-May-10 16:34:53 BST)

    It was sold for £87.00.

    It seems to be a good lens, as you'd expect from this sort of Canon lenses:
    Canon FD 20mm f/2.8 S.S.C. | Canon | FD Review

    New FD 20mm f/2.8 Lens

    I don't know how often it shows up for sale, but it might be worth looking for.

    It's not a small lens though:
    Maximum Diameter x Length 75 x 58 mm
    Weight 345 gr (0.76 lb)


  16. v_roma

    v_roma Mu-43 Rookie

    May 2, 2010
    Thanks, that's a good suggestion. Size is an issue but you can't have small, good, cheap. One of those has to give :) 

  17. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    actually ,imho this is one of the few times that small good and cheap is an option , not for all focal lengths but certainly when mining the used market for old glass there are millions on lenses out there and for portrait lens length [40- 58 or so] from f 2 to about 1.7 most lenses are virtually given away used , its possible to have a stable portrait lenses that cost next to nothing for micro 4\3 and adapters are becoming quite cheap too, even wide can be inexpensive i use an 18 mm from pentax 110 that i bought used from b&h for 11 dollars ....that is very sharp at 2.8 its only f stop ...many fine 50s and 40s abound reviews are out there
    when someone creates a meaningful focal reducer like nikon did in the early days of digital these lenses will revert to their orig focal length values but increase in speed by a stop or two ..... still waiting

    happy hunting
  18. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    I have the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and it is a great little lens. It is somewhat more affected by flare than I like but I do a lot of shooting in the night with point sources of light in the frame and sunrise shots.

    If you can pick up a cheapish Nikon or Canon FD 20mm lens, it may be a good choice but the Panasonic AF works well in normal shots and you get a stop and a third faster lens (plus it is more compact). Manual focus in the Panasonic is also fine one you get use to the absence of a scale. I use the Panasonic in MF mode a lot.

    Check out some of my photos I have posted. Almost all of them have been taken with the lens in MF mode. I would recommend the Panasonic.
  19. dyao

    dyao New to Mu-43

    May 17, 2010
    I have both the VL 21mm and the Panny 20mm, and I use the VL 21mm much more often. I never really got the hang of hyperfocusing with the Panny, as light conditions change and you can't always use f/8. Also, at f/8 there is some more noticeable shutter lag with the Panny as the aperture needs to stop down before the shutter trips. Shutter lag with the VL is nonexistent as the camera doesn't need to stop down the lens.

    The VL is definitely not as sharp as the Panny but it's acceptable for me. I keep the Panny in my bag for night time as it's so light.
  20. dyao

    dyao New to Mu-43

    May 17, 2010
    I should also mention that at f/4 the VL I think may exhibit corner smearing. However I've never done any tests to confirm if it is indeed corner smearing or simply OOF areas. Stopped down it seems to be okay.
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