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Panasonic 20mm 1.7 on e-m10....good or bad ?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by damianmkv, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    I keep looking at this lens but I've read so many things about "slow" focusing, hunting in low light and banding at ISO3200 and over that ( on paper ), it doesn't look like a good idea.

    Its cheap but I don't want to buy the wrong thing as i do need good low light ability atleast once a month

    Should I save more and get something else or is it OK ?
  2. dombi

    dombi Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2013
    This is the default lens on my E-M10. It makes the setup very small, almost pocketable.
    I really like this lens. It might be slower to focus than other/newer lens, but it is quite sharp and very good in low light situations.

    Sorry, I can't comment much on banding.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Sold mine, now I want it back. Works great on the E-M10. It's a bit slow, but you can compensate by technique.
  4. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I used my 20mm f/1.7 on my E-PM2 with excellent results. I figure the E-M10 would be even better. Some say there are banding issues with this lens on 16mp Oly bodies - at high ISOs only. But I never saw much of anything.
  5. pinoyborian

    pinoyborian Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 3, 2012
    Peterborough UK
    Jerry Sisican
    Same as my experience
  6. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    by "slow" is that just because the Olympus primes are lightning fast ? Or slow as in "sloooooooow"...I'm impatient at the best of times :eek: 
  7. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    I suppose it is slow compared with most M43 lenses though sometimes it was quicker than my Oly 45mm which sometimes hunted more in low light. When I had it, it focusing speed was never an issue with me and never understood what other peoples problem was. It was a lot faster focusing on my GF1 than on any of my previous cameras. Maybe it does take twice as long to focus than the latest lenses. The only M43 camera that I've read about which it was slow on was the Olympus EP1 on firmware 1.0. Later Olympus updated the firmware on that camera and the focusing speed was greatly improved on the 20mm lens.
    As for banding, in real world use not really an issue, I photographed a band at iso 1600 & 3200 on an E-PL5, out 250+ photo's, only 1 had banding. There is a way of getting more consistent banding and that if you take pictures of a shadowy area near a fluorescent light source.
    It is a great little lens.
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    It's actually quick if there is good contrast and you're shooting at further distances. At close distances and low light it will slow down a bit, so it really depends on your distance and lighting conditions. But yeah, the newer lenses are lightning quick in comparison! :smile:

    Honestly it's not bad, I usually use the magnify AF box on Olympus cameras because it will limit focus on only that one area speeding up the AF.
  9. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I have both the 17mm f1.8 and the original 20mm f1.7. Both are good choices when you want a small fast prime, especially if you own a bar of soap PEN like my EPL5 .. Did you get the 14-42 II with your EM10? The 20mm focuses slightly slower than the zoom, but its motor is quite loud, so it seems slower than it is. What the 20 will do, and I noticed it taking shots of outdoor Xmas lights ,,, if the focus box is on a no contrast area, the lens will hunt for focus and quit. Easy fix with touch screen focus. Give the lens something to look at, and it focuses.

    The 20mm has given me, under nice light, some of my sharpest pictures ever, sharper than the 17mm.

    There are a few people who complain about banding. I look at their examples and barely notice it. I've never seen it affect my shots, even when I try to make it happen. I can hardly see it, There might be some very faint horizontal striping in the dark areas of a night scene above ISO 3200. I've printed those shots and it doesn't show, Maybe my monitor and printer are crap.
  10. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    Yes, I got the 14-42 which I can't say I've noticed as being slow really so if the p20 is similar, it should be fine ?
  11. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I own and use the 20mm and the 17mm (f/1.8); on the E-M10, I use the 17mm more, but not because I like the 20mm less - but because the 20mm is my default lens on the E-PM1, making for an extremely compact and competent setup.

    On the E-M10 and in good light, the 20mm is actually quite responsive, but it becomes rather sluggish in really low light. That said, it works very well on the E-M10 even in dim light - very precise, with hardly any hunting, though if it hunts, it misses focus completely most of the time. But as I indicated, that's in *very* low light I don't usually use the E-M10 in anyway (I limit myself and the camera to about ISO 1600). The 17mm focuses faster in all situations, but doesn't render the same way. It's the "nicer" (as in: less bitingly sharp) lens and gives slightly warmer colours, but the 20mm is very well balanced, and if you like it crisp and contrasty, it's definitely your lens ...

  12. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    Thanks Matt - how would you describe "dim" ? I ask because I attend car meets which are often at night in outdoor car parks - when I had a d7000 and used my 35mm 1.8g, there was no issue at all but I appreciate that this may be an extreme example of low light
  13. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I would have to try in order to be sure, but as long as there's enough contrast and/or directional light (like spotlights), it shouldn't be a problem. However, don't even think of tracking or doing quick single focus snaps in these conditions - the D7000 is heads and shoulders above the E-M10 in that respect with whatever lens you choose, but the 20mm is definitely slower to focus than the 35mm f/1.8 (I've got that lens on a D90 and know it quite well). It's actually a tough camera/lens combo to beat in any light!

    That said, I'd still choose the E-M10 over the D90 for that kind of subject, just with a different lens (probably the 12-40mm f/2.8 - or possibly the 17mm if I wanted to go light). If you can take your time, though, the 20mm won't disappoint, either. I often use it on the E-PM1 in low light because that little camera is good at low key work, and I hardly ever experience issues.

    I think I should add that I'm not a very patient guy when it comes to autofocus myself ...

  14. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    My 20mm is good in low light, I use it on an e-pL7 which is very close to the E-M10.

    No banding yet, no hunting.
  15. jasjb

    jasjb Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 28, 2014
    It does hunt a bit, but you wont miss the shot unless its a very short piece of action
  16. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I rather wonder how it compares in focus speed to the 17mm f2.8, another first-generation prime, which in the case of my copy at least is pretty slow in low light.

  17. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    I watched a few YouTube videos yesterday and it does seem a little slow and hunts compared to the olympus 17 1.8 which always seemed to hit focus.
  18. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    There certainly is banding at ISO 3200 and above (maybe 1600 as well?) but as the man said upthread, you adjust and work around it in PP. The banding only really occurs where, to be honest, I'm being a bit cheeky expecting the lens to function in very dark environments with too high shutter speeds.
  19. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I've never seen banding (with the first version on E-M10). AF works fine pointing focus box on something with contrast even in low light (iso 5000, f/1.7, 1/40).
    AF is slow if it has to run all the focus distance back and forth, when it misses, could be like one second for a full scan and it does it 2 or 3 times before giving up, but you can stop immediately and look for a better spot. Otherwise, after it gets the focus the first time, it is quite fast to refocus at a similar distance. AF speed could be a problem with moving subjects with low contrast where I would use the default focus box instead of the smallest one. It's not a sports lens.
    I've compared it to the 12-40 focusing on a wood table with faint grain, in low light (iso 3200, wide open), and the zoom had a slight advantage only in a few cases. I'm talking about missing focus, speed is no match.

    EDIT: it IS the slowest AF lens I have but often I just press and get the picture without even thinking about AF. And is quite noisy in a silent room but after a while you wont notice.

    EDIT2: CA can be quite strong and E-M10 wont correct it automatically (and I think there are no correction infos in the file too, you have to do it by hand)
  20. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    thanks - am thinking that perhaps its not the lens for me. I know its sharp and produces lovely images but I cannot afford to be buying lenses "twice" so maybe an O25 and a step backwards is better for me
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