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(Need Help) AF speed: 20mm f1.7 vs X100

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by RussellOlaguer, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. RussellOlaguer

    RussellOlaguer Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2012
    Paranaque, Philippines
    Russell Olaguer
    Good day everyone.

    I currently use the X100 as my main camera for shooting in the streets. As all of you might already know, the AF speed is not that fast. I'm okay (somehow) with the AF speed of the X100 and get good results but I want something a little bit faster.

    Then E-M5 came. I pre-ordered the camera. It will be my first M4/3 camera and I don't have any experiece of using any 4/3 or M4/3 system. I have a D90 with some primes but sold it to make funds for the E-M5 (a lighter camera with interchangeable lens which suits my street shooting needs).

    I'm planning to buy the 20mm f1.7 lens from Panasonic which gives great image quality based on the pictures I saw here and based on the user's comments. I like this lens also because it's a pancake which makes the E-M5 lighter and more compact appearance.

    However, I read from some of the comments that it is somewhat slow to autofocus. :frown:

    Is it really that slow? I mean how slow? I have no idea. :smile:

    I would just like to ask also if any of you has a comparison between the autofocus speed of 20mm f1.7 and X100?

    Which do you think is faster? Is the 20mm f1.7 faster compare to X100?

    I hope the 20mm f1.7 is faster. :smile:

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Have a nice day! :smile:
  2. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    In my opinion the focus speed of the 20 is really exaggerated. It focuses slower than instantly, but not slowly in my opinion. Side by side with the 25, the 25 focused just a tad faster (pretty scientific I know). The x100 is slower and what I would actually consider slow to focus.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. RussellOlaguer

    RussellOlaguer Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2012
    Paranaque, Philippines
    Russell Olaguer
    Thanks duke.

    So you mean that the AF speed of 20mm f1.7 is faster than X100?

    Hope the others can provide their insights too.

    Much thanks. :) 
  4. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    The 20mm focus fast but not so fast as the newer lens. It helps to have the last firmware.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I have an X100 and I did have the 20mm for quite a while. On the new m43 bodies, the 20 may be a bit faster than the X100 (although with the new firmware the x100 is a good deal faster in low light). With the older bodies like the gf1 I'd say they're pretty similar. It's a nice lens, but no nicer than what you've got and not a lot faster. If AF speed is your priority, almost any other m43 lens is notably faster with the new bodies (only some of the older kit lenses are not). sadly, though, the Oly 17 is also somewhat slow if you're trying to Match the focal length of the x100. The Pany 14 and 25, otoh, are both very fast if you're ok going a little wider or longer.

    • Like Like x 2
  6. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    the 20mm is a bit faster to focus. The latest Olympus 14-42 though is instantaneous. So for when focus speed is your only concern, use the kit. If light gathering and more control of shallow dof are a concern, then use the 20mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. RussellOlaguer

    RussellOlaguer Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2012
    Paranaque, Philippines
    Russell Olaguer

    Say I'm going to use the 20mm in E-M5, will it be faster to AF than the X100 with the latest firmware version?

    The Pany 14 seems fine (although a wider). The 25 seem too expensive and also not compact compare to the other pancake lenses.
  8. RussellOlaguer

    RussellOlaguer Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2012
    Paranaque, Philippines
    Russell Olaguer

    I don't have the 14-42mm since the E-M5 will be my first M4/3 camera. I will have the 12-50mm bundled with the E-M5. I know this combination has very fast AF but this combination is also quite bulky. I want a pancake lens as much as possible for my street shooting. I also want to use prime for good IQ.

    I'm still torn in getting the 20mm...

    Just a question, do you think Panasonic will update the 20mm f1.7? I've read somewhere that this lens will be updated since it's been a long time since they release this lens.
  9. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I think there will be an updated 20/1.7, or something close from Panasonic, but have heard nothing that this is coming anytime soon. The reason I do think it will happen eventually, is that it is the only (or close to it) Panasonic lens that is not video qualified (HD label). I love my 20/1.7, but I would buy an updated version about 12 seconds after it became available. :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  10. MrDoug

    MrDoug Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2011
    Boise, Idaho
    both the 20/1.7 and X100 are kinda slow. I have had both .. the Panny 14, Oly 45 and PL 25 are much faster on Panny and Oly bodies IMHO.. but what do I know.. most guys here think I am a dummy from what I have been seeing and hearing.. not a Pro like most here. it's just my opinion.:smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  11. lowincash

    lowincash Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 6, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I had the 20mm 1.7 when I had the GF1, G3 and E-P3, the lens was quite slow to focus on all three cameras, I think slowest was the GF1. However, the GF1 being my first m43 I didn't care much about AF speed but after using the E-P3 (with the super fast focusing) that's when I felt the 20mm was slow lol Now that I'm coming back to the m43, ordered the E-M5, I don't think I will get the 20mm lens again. I love the focal length though.
  12. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    The 20mm is not THAT slow to focus. What is more annoying however, is sometimes the camera will fail to focus and the 20mm will rack back and forth attempting to focus; this can last a couple of seconds.

    How often this happens is also dependent on what body the lens is attached to, IMO.

    If you're streetshooting, aren't you going to be doing a bit of hyperfocal/zone focusing? That would alleviate your focus speed issues a bit...
  13. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi Russell, I have the X100 and E-P3 with 20mm f1.7 here to compare.

    Focusing time is almost identical - the E-P3 is a tiny bit faster, but the X100 seems to be more sure in lower light... Since the latest X100 firmware update, the X100 is much improved in focusing speed so this is rarely an issue for street shooting where you can pre-focus much of the time.

    There's a strong rumour that the mZD 17mm f2.8 is due to be updated - and my guess is it will have better image quality... it would be sensible to upgrade the focusing motors to improve focusing speed too. The point here is that the lenses continue to evolve and m4/3rds will always be the more flexible option.

    On the other hand, the X100 has unique qualities which give it a permanent home in my kit. I hope you'll find a way to justify having both :)  it's an ideal world solution.


  14. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    In good light, the 20mm focuses reasonably quickly. Wouldn't use it for children or dogs myself, for example, but you could probably manage it. In poor or weird lighting conditions, however, the 20mm degrades badly. It will wind up scanning the whole focus range twice and may not lock at all, depending on how bad things are. A concert with lots of lighting going on, for example, can be very difficult just because of the dramatic shifts in lighting.

    If you really want fast AF, the 25mm is pricey but will lock on without missing a beat. The 14mm is the same way.
  15. lowincash

    lowincash Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 6, 2012
    Los Angeles

    Hmm good point, now that I think about it, it was mostly slow and hunts more often on the E-P3, I don't remember thinking it was slow or hunts much on the G3. I guess the lens works better on Panasonic cameras than it does on the Olympus ones. I also noticed the 20mm's aperture blades are more noisy on the E-P3 than the G3. Then again it's been a while since I had those cameras so can't fully remember lol

    As for the X100, I was going to buy it, love the retro look. When I tested it out at the store, I was quite disappointed with the overall slow performance with the camera and decided to look elsewhere =/ I was lucky enough to get the NEX-7 couple of months ago. Great camera but sold it and going for the E-M5. Again, I love the retro look :D 
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