Not gelling with the 20mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tkbslc, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I've had the 20mm for a week now and I'm just not bonding with it. I'm used to a Sigma 30mm on 1.6x crop (48mm eq.) and this 20mm feels "off".

    Taking some indoor portraits with it, I was having trouble avoiding perspective distortion stretching. And then taking it to a party, it felt like it wasn't quite wide enough to be terribly useful indoors for environmental candids or groups. It's like I have all the drawbacks of wide angle with none of the benefits.

    Lens is sharp and I love the pancake design. The used price was excellent. I really want to like this lens! Maybe I should give it more time? Kind of regretting choosing it over the Oly 25mm right now, though.
  2. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Get the 25mm. Lifes to short to fight with something that doesn't suit your requirements or shooting-style.
  3. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    I sold my 20mm f/1.7 for a 25mm f/1.4 long ago (for focus speed), but IIRC the 20mm works well if you frame as if to fit about 3 or 4 people closely in the picture. I wouldn't want to take head shots with it, however.
  4. pterosonus

    pterosonus Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 17, 2014
    Cincinnati, Ohio USA
    If the 20mm wasn't quite wide enough for you indoors why would you go to 25mm? What about the Panaleica 15mm or the Oly 17mm? I don't own either, but I'm saving up for the 15mm.
  5. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    I had it with a Gf1 for a while, and I too struggled to love it. For me it was always too wide or not wide enough. I grabbed a 25mm 1.4 and it was perfect for my purposes. The 17mm was a close second, but I never picked one up. I just shoot 17mm on my 12-40. The 20mm is a nice sharp and compact lens, I just couldn't ever come to terms with the FOV. It deserves a cherished spot in the history of m43, but I feel it has mostly been surpassed by lenses that make more sense, in the current lineup. When it was released, it was a perfect compromise, given the limited options at the time. I just don't think it fits in as well now that the normal focal lengths are mostly fleshed out.
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    To be honest, I'm starting to feel like a 14/15 and a 25 is going to be better for me than just the 20mm. I had hoped (for my wallet!) that the 20mm could satisfy both indoor portrait and general use, but maybe it's not going to satisfy either.
  7. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    The 20 has served me quite well, give it more time...
  8. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I'm another one who has always liked the slightly more "relaxed" FOV that the 20mm f/1.7 provides compared with 25mm. But, then again, I always liked 35mm as a general, all-around FOV in my film days versus 50mm. We're all different and it may very well be that one's personal preference is for a different FOV. But there's no question the Panny 20mm is still a relevent lens.
  9. stripedrex

    stripedrex Do or do not. There is no try.

    Jun 8, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    Can you provide an example where you see perspective distortion? I found the focal length to be pretty versatile hand dont recall excessive distortion like I see with a wide.
  10. svenkarma

    svenkarma Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 5, 2013
    mark evans
    Perspective distortion is pretty much inevitable the wider the lens. I've certainly seen a bit of it with the O17/1.8, but it gives a certain quality to e.g. dog portraits that I rather like.

    I never bonded with the P20 either fwiw
  11. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    You can even get some distortion with the 25, depending on how tight you want to shoot. I started with the P14 and O45 and added the PL25 later. I use the PL25 more than the other two now, but if I catch myself shooting tighter head shots I realize I need to switch to the 45. I use the 14 for groups only. When I first bought it I tried some people shots with it and it was not flattering at all, unless it was an environmental shot.
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Actually, perspective distortion has nothing to do with the lens. It has only to do with your distance from the subject.
    Yes. With my film Nikons I never even owned a "normal" lens except for the 55 macro, which I hardly used. My two favorite lenses were the 24mm and the 105mm. Serious wide angle and serious portrait focal lengths. Now I shoot mostly zooms and my 14-140 is my go-to lens, with my 9-18 in close second place.
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    It is definitely a function of distance, but wide angles require you to get closer for similar framing. Also, a longer lens will not allow you to get close enough for perspective distortion and still fit a person in the frame. So people typically only see this on wide angles.

    I actually quite like normal lenses, just that the wide-normal of the 20mm is not what I'm used to. I
  14. OldRadioGuy

    OldRadioGuy Enthusiast Amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2012
    Austin, Texas USA
    The Panny 20mm f/1.7 was the first m4/3 prime I acquired, and it remains my favorite lens. For a slightly tighter FOV, I go with the 12-40mm PRO.
  15. svenkarma

    svenkarma Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 5, 2013
    mark evans
    Since you liked it in the first place have you thought about trying the Sigma 30 in its m43 state? I think of it as a kind of pre-cropped 25.
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I thought about buying it, but f2.8 is pretty slow for a prime on 4/3.
  17. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    It's perfectly serviceable for most situations though.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Mu-43 mobile app
  18. BeyondTheLines

    BeyondTheLines Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2012
    Horses for courses, I find the 20mm satisfies both for me. My only complaint being the autofocus when I'm trying to photograph an indoor party with kids moving around.

    It's a very sharp lens so you could maintain a little more distance and crop after to avoid perspective distortion. If you decide it doesn't suit you there are plenty of other options, good luck with your decision.
  19. ManofKent

    ManofKent Hopefully still learning

    Dec 26, 2014
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    I prefer the FoV of the Sigma 30 (and the rendering) but the Pana 20 is faster and a tad sharper (not that you could describe the Sigma as soft).
  20. timinsingapore

    timinsingapore Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 17, 2014
    Londoner in Singapore for 21 years
    Timothy Auger
    So to be clear, it's the 20mm focal length you don't like rather than the lens itself … ? In practical terms, it's a bit like having a 40mm lens on a film SLR, which I find is an ideal general purpose field of view. The raison d'être of a 20mm on m4/3 is that it is not a dedicated portrait lens, nor a dedicated wide-angle lens, but a general purpose lens, and as such I find it very good. I don't think you can blame the lens for 'perspective distortion' - you will get perspective effects, but they won't be extreme at that focal length. All that said, it can be quite challenging to produce 'impactful' shots with a 'normal' focal length, because you won't get any help from flashy effects, such as wildly emphasised foregrounds in w/a shots, or the exaggerated bokeh/subject separation effects produced by fast telephotos. It's all up to you and your skills in composition.
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