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Panasonic 20mm 1.7 for OM-D in the city?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jadcx, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. jadcx

    jadcx Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Nottingham, UK

    I've recently joined your m43 world - and yes, liking it a lot. I splashed out and bought an OM-D with 12-50 kit. Having used it several times, I'm really impressed with this camera - but the lens, well, it's ..... slow. And yes, of course I knew it was going to be.

    Anyway, I'm going over to New York for a holiday and thought I might treat myself to a new lens for the trip. Money is most definitely an issue, but I can get the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 for £160 at the moment. Apart from it's bargain status - do you think this is worth it for some cityscaping?


  2. metalmania

    metalmania Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 19, 2012
    Panny 20mm is slow...on focusing speed.
  3. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    The P20 is probably one of those lenses that it doesnt matter it quirks it never drops on price, and thats for something. For me, if it wasnt that slow in the AF dept it would be the perfect normal-street-lens. And when people talks about slow AF they mean is not instantaneous as the O45 for example. but then thats fast. faster than DSLR type lenses.

    The P20 during the day and afternoons its perfectly fine. at night its great but it hunts a little sometimes.

    bottomline, with all its pros and cons the P20 is a "classic" in m43 land you will never go wrong.

    did i also mentioned that the omd plus the p20 is also a coat/jacket pocket camera?
  4. jadcx

    jadcx Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Nottingham, UK
    Thanks. And yes, the small profile of this lens only adds to my list of reasons I might buy it.
  5. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I have had a lot of m4/3 lenses come and go, but the P20 always manages to stick around. A small, potent package when mounted on the OM-D... as an all-rounder, pretty hard to beat, imo, until they come out with a mark II version.

    The other lens maybe to consider for cityscapes would be the Panasonic 14mm. It can be had for cheap on Ebay, from resellers that have parted it out from Panasonic kits. It is very sharp, even tinier than the the 20/1.7 and focuses quickly and quietly. Of course, different field of view and you lose some speed over the 20/1.7.
  6. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Yes, it works well for Cityscaping. More importantly it's light and compact enough to carry all day without feeling like it's a burden.

    A Rainy Day In Downtown Shanghai
    E-PL1 with PL20mm, f5, 1/640 sec, ISO 200

    E-PL1 with PL20mm, f5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 200

    E-PL1 with PL20mm, f3.5, 1/320 sec, ISO 200

    E-PL1 with PL20mm, f2.5, 1/160 sec, ISO 200
  7. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
  8. dnightingale

    dnightingale Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 12, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Yes, the P20 is slowish when it comes to autofocus, though on the OM-D and GX1 it's not something that often bothers me. I would most definitely say it's advantages, being IQ and size, outweigh the slower autofocus.

    The P14 is fast to focus, tiny, and I personally think a great focal length for cities. On the OM-D, you can bump up the ISO a bit, so I don't find the f2.5 v f1.7 too much of a deal breaker.

    If I could only have one... it would be the P20 though.
  9. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hi Justin -- Welcome to the world of M 4/3!

    In my opinion the Pany 20mm is an essential lens for anyone shooting the M 4/3 format. I live in NYC and it's a lens that's ALWAYS with me... That said, if I were forced to choose just one lens from my current collection of M 4/3 optics, it would most certainly be the 20. As for the AF focus speed -- MEH! It's fast enough for just about anything you might anticipate shooting in a city environment (and one can always opt to focus it manually for even more control...).

    I say go for it! :2thumbs:

    Here's what mine looks like with the Milich grip:

    And here is a "city" shot (Brooklyn Bridge) shot with my 20 (and an EP-2):

    And a few more shot with my OM-D / Pany 20 during a recent walk through Chinatown, SoHo and the Lower East Side...







    Good luck with whatever you decide to grab for your trip to NYC. Drop me a line if you'd like to meet up for a coffee or a pint when you get to town!

  10. ISO1600

    ISO1600 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 17, 2012
    Abilene, TX
    for a small/cheap prime to use as a walkaround on the OM-D, i can't think of a better solution than the 14/2.5- the 20's focus is just terrible in comparison.
    Difference in speed is what, 2/3 of a stop?
    I've always felt that 40mm (equiv) is kinda odd.

    My favorite native M4/3 primes, thus far, would be:

    optically the 20 is great. it LOOKS and feels good on the OM-D. But the focus is just terribly slow, and the software "problem" between the camera and lens can be troublesome..... If you're not aware, the 20/1.7 can lock up the OM-D when the camera has power save mode enabled. Requires battery pull to fix.
  11. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wow. While I completely respect Chris's experience and opinion, I have NEVER experienced the issues he asserts. The focus on my OM-D is simply NOT an issue (unless one is shooting very fast moving subjects or shooting in virtual darkness) and I've also NEVER experienced my OM-D "locking up" as a direct result of the 20 being mounted on it. I should also mention that I shoot EVERY DAY with the OM-D (part of my daily exercise regimen is my 3 mile walk across the Brooklyn Bridge) and have logged in thousands of images since acquiring the OM-D in June 2012. I'd also like to add that I have done some fairly extensive "tests" comparing my Leica M glass (35 & 50 "cron"), Nikon AIS (manual focus 28/2, 35/1.4, 50/1.4 & 85/1.4) and to a lesser extent a couple of Voigtlander lenses laying around and ultimately ended up preferring the Pany/Lumix 20 both in image quality as well as ease of use / handling. Go figure! :rolleyes: 

    In any case, again, good luck with your search. I hope you do end up with the 20mm. While it may have some short-comings to some, it truly is a world-class lens in more ways than not. You'll be richly rewarded and it will inspire you to shoot more (as it has me!) :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 2
  12. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    I am a very big fan of the 20. When I shot Canon I always felt my 50mm lens was a little too narrow. It just always felt constricting to me for the purposes for which I wanted to use it (street shooting mostly).

    Then I picked up an E-P1 for my wife along with a 20mm to use as her prime. After just a few test shots on the street I was in love with the focal length. I went out and got the only 40mm available at the time, Voightlander 40 f/2 (manual), for my Canon and used it with great success before I switched fully to m4/3rds.

    So yeah, I would strongly recommend the 20 f/1.7 for use in the city.
  13. ISO1600

    ISO1600 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 17, 2012
    Abilene, TX
    Locking up is directly linked to the OM-D's power save mode. This is widely-documented across the web. Mine did it within 5 minutes of first using the 20.
    The focus speed is immensely slower than the 14 or 25, or the 12-50 as well. Most of my photography right now is of my 7 month-old son, which means the 20 just isn't fast enough. The focus is also LOUDER than any of my other lenses.

    As far as 20 vs manual/adapted lenses- of course the handling is better... I've been using adapted lenses for years, but still prefer a good AF prime for simplicity 90% of the time. :) 

    Wes, have you used the 25/1.4? It is simply stellar. I was holding out due to cost, but am SOOOOOOOOOOOO happy that i finally got one!
  14. capodave

    capodave Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 4, 2010
    Southern Cal
    I've had mine since july 2010 and it is by far my most used lens.
    I also have the oly 12,17 and 45.
    I love the way the oly lenses render with my Pens, but for size and brightness, the pannygets used the most.
  15. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    went to NYC 2 weeks ago with just a 20mm (on a GX1 though). didn't feel that I needed something wider. for cityscape, no need for very fast-focus, at least in my opinion.

    HDR - Top of the Rock, Empire State by rpamparo, on Flickr

    a few more from that trip: Flickr: rpamparo's stuff tagged with nyc
    • Like Like x 3
  16. jadcx

    jadcx Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Nottingham, UK
    Thanks for all of your views.
    I'm as sure as I can be that I'm going to go with the 20 - but unfortunately it's also been 'suggested' that I don't go spending £££'s before we go on holiday :frown:
  17. SimonL

    SimonL Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    NW England
    Ah yes, an opportunity for people to say what their favourite lenses are without regard to the original question.

    The P20 focus takes a tenth of a second longer to focus than 'their' favourite lens - a serious handicap when you're trying to freeze the motion of those fast-moving buildings.

    For little money you'll get an optically outstanding slightly-wider-than-normal standard lens which is a pancake as a bonus. That and the P14 fit in a nice, safe pants pocket.

    What's not to like?
    • Like Like x 5
  18. jadcx

    jadcx Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 2, 2012
    Nottingham, UK
    Surely you can't expect everyone to stay on topic for a whole 2 pages! :rolleyes: 

    And actually, I really don't mind - it's sometimes helpful to see what other people are thinking.
  19. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand

    Hey Chris the lockup thing was solved after updating firmware 1.1 on the OMD. so no such thing as the lockup problem after that. Like Wes said ive also used this lens extensively. yes its AF speed again is not instantaneous as the O45 for example, but then thats lightning fast, faster than DSLR lenses. so its also another extreme of speed. yes that would be awesome and this lens is not as fast. BUT is more than enough for everyday shooting or as a streetshooter. its definitely a must for me. also its FOV is just great thats probably personal since my Contax T2 is my favorite 35mm compact and that one has a 38-40mm lens so fits with me.
  20. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hey Chris,

    Yes, I have played around with both the original version as well as the M 4/3 iteration. To be honest, I just don't think it's worth the extra money (whether or not it has faster autofocus, SLIGHTLY faster aperture or the word "Leica" engraved on it :rolleyes: ) and also found the 20mm to be sharper and a bit more constrasty -- which are traits I find to be important. Finally, after lugging big pro Nikons (often with a monstrous 200 f/2 & 300 f/2.8) and Hasselblads around for most of my career, the whole point of transitioning to the M 4/3 format for ME was its small form-factor. The 20 & 14 are both TINY little lenses in comparison to that big hunk of glass that is the Pany 25. It's just NOT for me as such... That said, if the PL25 works for you and you love how it renders your images, then you're batting a hundred as far as i'm concerned! :thumbup:

    Ah Haaa! So THATs why I haven't had ANY issues with the locking-up anomaly mentioned (I immediately updated the firmware upon purchasing my OM-D). Thanks for the heads-up chrisnmn!
    • Like Like x 2
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