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Olympus 45mm f/1.8, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, or Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 on E-PM1

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Kelton, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Hello all,

    To accompany my E-PM1 that I got today, I've decided to look around for a nice prime lens. I'm more of a night person, so a lot of my shots will be taken in low-lighting...without a tripod. For example, if I go to the fair at night, concerts, parties, and just casual indoor shooting, which lens would be better? The only concern I have with the Oly 45 is that it's not wide enough. I feel like it's easier for me to move closer to my target, than to move away from it.

    I know these are two different beasts, but I can only afford one at the moment. The Oly 45 is almost double the price of the P14, but I know people love it.

    At first, I was set on buying the P20, but after reading some reviews about low-light shooting and especially with the E-PM1, I've decided to look for other lenses... but I am still open to any suggestions.

    Thanks for reading, and hopefully I'll be able to make my decision soon!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I've spent a lot of time shooting with all three lenses on the PM1. I read some similar disparaging things about the 20 on the E-PM1, but I eventually bought it and it's worked out very, very well. It is a little on the slow side to focus and in some situations it will fail to focus lock entirely. This failure is very rare and has only come up in a tiny subset of situations. I held out on buying the 20 for months, but I wish I'd bought it instead of the 14 upfront. It really is good, including on the PM1.

    The 14 is, at the end of the day, only a stop and change better than the kit zoom. A stop is better than nothing, but it's just not very compelling. Combined with the fact that is'a very wide angle view, I just didn't think it was a good payoff. But the lens is optically excellent, focuses very quickly, is tiny, and is generally fun to use.

    Then there's the 45. The 45 is perfection. But it is long, long enough to make it very difficult for indoor use, parties, group situations, etc. It makes a wonderful outdoor street lens at night, a fantastic portrait lens, etc. But I almost never get decent use of this lens indoors.

    My personal opinion is that the ideal PM1 kit is: kit zoom, 20mm, Oly 45mm. The kit zoom fills in as your versatile lens for decent light, and your 20 and 45 comprise short and long FLs for low light use. I feel that the 14 falls in an awkward halfway point between the 20's speed and the zoom's versatility.

    If I had to pick just one of the 20 or 45...hmm. That would primarily be a choice between indoor and outdoor. I'd take the 45, but only just. The 20mm has also become very difficult to find lately.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. bedojo

    bedojo Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    depends what you shoot,
    if funds permit just get the 12mm :)  its a beauty !!
    otherwise the 20mm is pretty good as a walk around low light, so is the 25mm f1.4
    it really depends what you like shooting.
    my next lens will be the 25mm, the 45mm is a beautiful lens, so is the 12mm, but im missing something in between. the 45mm is a little long for hanging out with friends inside, unless you only want to shoot head shots.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks so much this review helped a lot. I'm still skeptical about the 20mm though... I don't want to miss an excellent shot due to some shortcomings with the 20mm and E-PM1...and like you said the Oly 45 is perfection, but it is such a long lens for the situations I'm trying to use it in. I heard the PL25 is a really great lens too, but it's quite expensive :/. I've seen the 20mm for sale in the forums for $300. I guess what I could do is buy the lens and try it out. If I don't like it, I can just sell it for almost what I pay for it.

    Well in my OP, I wrote about what I shoot haha. The 12mm is something I would like, but too expensive for me to purchase right now...I believe that the 25mm is a good trade off between the two, but it's expensive as well at around 500$.
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I've had the 20 for ages (it's probably one of the few lenses I wouldn't consider selling) and I've had it on everything form an E-P1 to an E-P3 and it's not so slow as to make it less useable and the IQ more than makes up for it.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I'm strongly considering it at this point haha. I tried taking indoor shots with the kit lens that came with my E-PM1 earlier tonight, but they all came out pretty terribly. I really NEED a lens that will work very well in low-light situations... which is almost always for me :p .
  7. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I'd go with the 20. Its my social and party low-light lens.

    Its also far more pocketable (or palmable) on an E-PM1.

    Before I got the 20 and 45 I used the manual focus Pen F 38 and 40 which were 45(ish) equivalents - they took lovely shots but I found I had to either take a step back in order to fit in the things I wanted to fit in.

    Next party or social event I'll definitely be taking both the 20 and 45 to see which one I end up using the most (the 20 feels more natural but the 45 focuses a bit faster).

    Decisions, decisions ;-)
  8. ill_dawg

    ill_dawg Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 26, 2010
    The 20 was the first lens I bought to go with my e-pl1 2 years ago. It's a great little lens, and sees a lot o use both indoors and out. It's perfect for group shots inside, and makes an awesome walkaround lens. That said, there have always been times when I wished I didn't have to get so close to get the shot I wanted. I had been using an adapted 50/1.4 to fill this gap, but I recently picked up the oly 45. It's another great lens, and highly recommended. They're both great at different things. Why not get both? Or, if price is a concern, get the 20 or versatility and a legacy 50 for reach. if you find yourself using the 50 a lot, you can always pick up the 45 down the road.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 9, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    the 45mm will be great for concerts. the 12mm and 25mm for indoor parties/ casual activities.

    12mm; albeit pricey.
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    The P20 and the Olympus 45 are really amazing lenses. The 14 is also quite good but not in the same league as the other two. It really boils down to what you need it for. If you want low light and general purpose the 20's FOV and speed are really going to be more useful for you. Last night I shot pictures of our Passover Seder with my E-P3 and the 20 (lit by a dim overhead light and candles). Here are a few wide open (hence the very shallow DOF). They're not great shots but you can see what the lens can do wide open. Mind you these were just things I snapped quickly.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dixeyk/6907606206/" title="Yum by dixeyk, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "1024" height="768" alt="Yum"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dixeyk/7053696281/" title="Seder Plate by dixeyk, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "1024" height="768" alt="Seder Plate"></a>
    • Like Like x 2
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I'd go for the 20/1.7. The AF isn't the fastest (it's still respectable), but the 14 is going to be uncomfortably wide, and the 45 is going to be narrow for a lot of indoor shots. The 20 is definitely the more general purpose lens.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    If only one, then P20. If two, then P14 and O45. Those are my 3 favorite lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have that same combo (P14, P20 and O45) and it really is versatile, light and capable of producing some amazing images.
  14. LDraper

    LDraper Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    Just for fun, here are three shots of my son's new puppy discovering the water in the irrigation ditch for the first time. Taken with the EPM1 and the 20mm. They are just grab shots, but the lens performed great in the moment. Its a versatile lens and I've been happy to have it on my camera many times. No lens fits all circumstances, but, as others have said, it works well in interior settings giving some context without being too tight or too wide. Both of those have their place, of course, but for just one lens, its a good choice - I use it as a convenient walk around landscape lens. On the EPM1 its even pretty pocketable, and it performs very well in most circumstances!

    BTW, the water wasn't very deep, it was the steepness of the bank that was the challenge!

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

    P4011542 by verreplein, on Flickr

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    P4011543 by verreplein, on Flickr

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    P4011544 by verreplein, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 1
  15. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    I went through the exact debate you're going through - wanted a lens for low-light, indoor shots. I ended up with the pana-leica 25, but if the price is too steep for you (or the lens to large...although it doesn't bother me at all), then I would go with the 20. I have the 14 and 45...almost never use the 14 (too wide for me), and adore the 45, but find the length limiting, especially indoors.
  16. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I'v read a few folks state that they rarely use their P14 and I fall into that same boat...with the caveat that WHEN I NEED WA I am awfully happy to have it. Also, the 14 is a pretty fun lens in that it is quiet, fast to AF (even on my E-P1) and so small that you could mistake it for a rear lands cap if you're feeling around your bag for it. The other nice thing is that compared to the O12/2 it's a huge bargain. It's not as wide and there is definitely a difference between 24mm FOV and 28mm FOV but for me it still serves me well when I need WA. I've had three of them, sold them each time because I thought I didn't use it enough and ended up buying it again. I'm not selling this latest one (unless I decide I can do without eating for the month and get an O12/2 to replace it).

    That said if I could only get one lens...P20/1.7 (even over the PL25/1.4).
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The 14 is my most used lens right now, and the 45 is my second most used; but if I had to chose just one, it would be the 20.
  18. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Decisions...decisions... I used to have a Canon SLR, and the 50mm was always way too long in my opinion... that's what's really holding me off of the 45. The 20 is probably what I'll go for once I get the money to do so... Thanks for the help everyone! I only considered the 14mm because it was cheaper and it got a decent amount of praise, but it is only 1 stop from my kit lens.
  19. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Get the 20, but it's funny. People often say about the 14 "it's only one stop from the kit lens, so why bother" and about the 20 "but it's a full stop faster than the 14, so it's much better!"

    Well -- which is it? Is 1 stop a lot or not, lol.

    Having said that, the 20 is about 2 stops faster than the kit. Get the 20, and give it a whirl.

    Happy shooting.
  20. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    It's because people are comparing equivalent focal lengths. The kit lens at 20mm is probably about 3 stops slower than the 20 1.7.
    • Like Like x 1
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