Panasonic 14mm 2.5 or 20mm 1.7

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ejackso1, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. ejackso1

    ejackso1 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 26, 2012
    I just can't decide.

    I'm new to the MFT system- I'm moving away from my Canon DSLR and just recently sold my Canon EF 28mm 1.8 in order to fund a Panasonic GF1 (which I bought used on Amazon for $115 shipped) and a lens. The problem is, I really don't know which of these two lenses I want to purchase. This will be my only lens for the foreseeable future, so I want to make the right choice here.

    I've seen amazing shots come out of the 20mm, with great blurred backgrounds at 1.7. I'm also pretty impressed with the shots I see coming out of the 14mm, it's not as fast but the focal length is nice and wide and as someone who goes to large conventions it'd be nice to never miss a shot just because the room was crowded and I couldn't stand far enough away. The 14mm is also smaller and will make the camera easier to carry around.

    I was able to sell my 28mm Canon for $350, and subtracting the $115 that I paid for the GF1, leaves me with $235. That's more than enough to fund a brand new 14mm parted from a GF2/GF3 kit, but not quite enough for a used 20mm. I have the extra money to spend if necessary, but I'm hesitant.

    As you can probably tell, I'm leaning heavily towards the 14mm. However I can't help but think that I may be disappointed having only f/2.5 after coming from an f/1.8 lens on a APS-C DSLR.

    What do you experienced MFT shooters think?
  2. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    I have both and use both for DIFFERENT purposes. If I knew I would only have one of them for a while I would buy the 20mm because its focal length will render 40mm focal length which is closer to "normal."

    If you said you were a landscape shooter and loved to shoot wide than the 14mm would be a better choice being a "normal wide." FL.

    It's really no more difficult than that. The 20mm was my first lens after the kit lens and that wasn't a bad decision.
  3. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Get the 20mm it will give you a fast alternative in a very small package.
    the 14mm is very near in quality and speed to the kit you already have. If you shot landscape then in any case you probably close the aperture for DOF in this case the 14mm lose it only advantage over the kit.
    Go on the 20mm you will not regret it, there is a good reason why it is almost it is in every :43: kit.
  4. BLT

    BLT Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    I own both.

    Without hesitation I would have the 20mm over the 14mm. With your old GF1 you will find that the extra speed really helps. On my E-P1 I find the 14mm unremarkable and the 20mm still amazes me all the time.

    The 14mm is still a perfectly acceptable lens, just doesn't wow me.

    I use the 14mm for casual video the most. It's wide FOV and quick focusing make it more suited to general video.
  5. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    The 20mm would be a 40mm equivalent and would be closest to the 28mm (w/1.6 crop) that you have been shooting. The 20 is also sharper. I would tend to think the 14mm is too wide for general purpose (full time) use. The 20 focuses slower but I used it almost non-stop for over a year when it first came out and I rarely felt that I was being held back by the lens.

    Neither lens is perfect but the 20mm would be my first choice if selecting a single lens.
  6. ejackso1

    ejackso1 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 26, 2012
    I don't have a kit lense, I bought the GF1 body only and whichever lens I buy will be my only lens for a while. but yeah, I was kind of thinking the 20mm 1.7 would be close to the 28mm 1.8 on my APS-C DSLR. I'm trying to decide if I want something a bit wider, as there have been times where the 28mm on my APS-C DSLR has felt too long (in a very crowded convention center). Also, I don't see the 20mm being sold on any of Panasonic's kits anymore, it's either the 14mm, or a zoom. Which is likely why I can buy the 14 for a lot cheaper than the 20- all of the eBay sellers who break up the 14mm kits. Unless by "kit" you meant a lot of users here have it in their collection of lenses. In that case yes, it does seem to be a popular lens, but so does the 14.

    Thanks for the opinions everyone. My Canon 28mm sold via Amazon, but I have to wait a few weeks for them to transfer the funds to my bank account. I'll be keeping my eye out for a good deal on the Panasonic 20mm. If I can find one for around $240 I'll go for it, but otherwise I might just settle for the 14mm and see how the wider FOV works out for me.
  7. angusr

    angusr Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2011
    Obviously it depends what your priorities are, but for one lens, I'd take the 20mm every time.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Mu-43 mobile app
  8. Anthonys

    Anthonys Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 17, 2011
    I had both but just sold the 20 to fund the purchase of a 25, and kept the 14.

    They are different but I don't consider the obvious FOV different the major difference; the 20 is sharper and faster but noisy to focus which isn't great for video. The 14 is even lighter and obviously a wider angle, but that means it distorts people.

    I know you said you're only looking to buy one but worthwhile considering how they may expand in to a set. If you just want a fast prime to work with a zoom then the 20 is one of the most practical/best given it's size. If you want to build a kit of prime lenses I'd recommend deciding whether you prefer 12 and 20 or if you'd prefer 14 and 25 in that range. Of course you could just stick to one of them, or even go with another option like just the 17 1.8.. ?
  9. ejackso1

    ejackso1 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 26, 2012
    It's highly likely that if I buy the 20mm now, I might pick up the 14mm later, and vice-versa, as they're both relatively affordable lenses. However I don't think I'll ever bringing myself to drop money on an Olympus 12mm or the Panasonic 25mm...I'd say the same for the Olympus 17mm 1.8. They cost around the same as my Canon 28mm 1.8 did, and cost is one of the main reasons I'm going to Micro Four-Thirds. I mean, selling my Canon 28mm 1.8 got me enough money to buy a GF1 body as well as (a cheaper) lens, which kind of boggled my mind, so I don't think I want to spend that kind of money on a lens again.
  10. Anthonys

    Anthonys Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 17, 2011
    In that case I wouldn't bother with both and just buy one, depending on your preferred FOV. I would actually go with 20mm if I had just one, even though I like wide angles the 20mm is much more versatile and I think gives sharper results. If you were to buy another lens later then probably the 14-42 zoom is a better option, unless you really like primes. You won't notice much difference at 14mm between it and the prime, it costs about the same but gives you more range as well as OIS which is nice for video..
  11. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    Very different focal lengths . I would go with whatever one you think would like to use most . Both are very nice - I have both :)
  12. ejackso1

    ejackso1 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 26, 2012
    I see where your coming from, but yes, I do really like primes, primarily for their size. If I were to get a zoom lens, I think I'd have the same problem I currently do with my DSLR, where I just wouldn't want to bring it anywhere because of the size.

    I do still own the Canon 60D with the 18-135mm for when I need zoom and IS for serious video work. Although it remains to be seen if I'll want to keep it around, as I'm predicting I won't be bothered to bring it with me anywhere when the GF1 is so much more portable. If I do end up selling that off, I will consider getting a m4/3 zoom.

    tl;dr- The GF1 with the 14 and/or the 20 will be perfect for slipping into a hoodie pocket, which is exactly what I'm looking for in my new setup.
  13. Swandy

    Swandy Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2009
    I have the 14mm and had the 20mm. If I had to pick only one, probably the 20mm. I sold my 20mm and the 14mm because I was getting the Oly 17mm and felt they were all too close. Ended up picking up another copy of the 14mm for the same price I got for mine for when I wanted something a bit smaller than the 17mm (now that I changed from the larger EM5 to the EP5).
    Is the IQ of the 20mm better - sure. Is it that much faster, not really (we are talking about 1.8 to 2.5).
    And while I really liked the 20mm, I just never loved the FOV of the 40mm equivalent. For me it was usually too narrow for a walk-around lens and also to use at parties, except for individual couples. Just liked the 28mm equivalent of the 14mm better.
  14. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Low Light: both sharp wide open but just to be safe I stop the 14 down to 2.8 and the 20 to 2.0. Slowest shutter speed with IS should be 1/14 (but I can get 1/4 easily). Slowest on 20 should be around 1/20 (again I can get much better, 1/8, maybe?) But the 20 is appx 1/2 or 2/3 stop faster. That said, by my trials and errors (and possibly incorrect knowledge on shutter speed), I feel that the 14 is actually the better performer for low-light hand-held shots. I could tell you definitively but I haven't used the 20 enough to know for sure.

    Sharpness: The 20 will spoil you. The 14 is plenty sharp enough.

    Focal length: If I could have only one I'd take the 20. I was taking photos of some kittens the other day and I was about 18 inches from them with the 14 and that was still not close enough to get them to fill 50% of the frame. The 20 would have done nicely here. And, when I was walking the trails and on the beach and in many other situations the 14 gives me things in the corners that I might crop out anyway.

    And, as a note, recently I took a trip to the beach, trails, to visit family, river, small downtown area, etc. I was alone so I was free to use whatever lens I wanted and change as frequently as possible. I used the 135 only when I saw some deer. Way too long. I was able to use the 50 at the botanical gardens with no issues but I keep backing up in many instances. Ditto the 40 only it's shorter so nice in some instances. The 14 was great for landscapes, beach, trail, and, pretty much, snapshots, but to be creative I prefer a longer length. I ended up getting fed up and a) deciding that next time I go somewhere I'm only taking ONE lens at a time (that way if you go to the zoo today with a 135 you can have as much fun tomorrow with your 50!) and b) leaving the 14-42 on the rest of the trip. I took most pics at either 14, 18, 29, or full zoom (which isn't sharp full tele). However, I realized that the best focal length for me will be around 28-30. Therefore, to conclude, if I were you, I'd go for the 20 :)
  15. harryz

    harryz Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 3, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    I have P20 and sold P14 to fund... g3. Want just remind that gf1+P20 bundle has vary slow af speed. I bought g3 to improve it, but it is still very slow. So my opinion is to take P20 if af speed does not matter and FOV does. And p14 in the other case.

    Sent from my Desire HD using Mu-43 mobile app
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