Panasonic 20mm or PL 25mm?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Estrellas321, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Estrellas321

    Estrellas321 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 19, 2015
    Vancouver, BC
    I am trying to minimize my kit and I am looking to get rid of one of these lenses.

    Backstory: When I got the 20mm, I used it for travel (Philippines) and it stayed on my camera 90% of the time. I didn't own the PL25 yet but I did own the 25mm f1.7 which I have since sold. I only used it for a couple Christmas portraits. But the 20mm is just such a versatile focal length - not too wide, not too fast. The "slow" AF never really bugged me at all.

    Now that I own the PL25, I don't use it quite as much but also I don't want to have seller's remorse and let go of what is said to be an amazing lens. I'm sure I will get great photos out of it when I use it, but it just feels situational to me. I don't consider it a walkaround lens like I do with the 20mm.

    Anyways, if you had to keep just ONE of those lenses, which would it be? You don't have to answer what I should do, I just want to hear what other people would do if they had to give up one for their own reasons!
  2. sigamy

    sigamy Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    I've never owned the 20mm pancake. I went straight for the PL25, have owned it for over 3 years and I love it. I wanted more standard lenses so I went with the PL25 and the Oly 17mm f/1.8. I love the out of focus backgrounds on the PL25. I may sell the Oly, but would like to hold on to it.

    I'm the opposite of you---The slow AF and "in-between" focal length of the 20mm don't appeal to me. I mainly shoot kids and dogs. Need the speed...

    Lots of people loved the 20mm a few years back. I'm not sure where it stands these days. I definitely would not keep both, too close in range.

    If you are on a budget, maybe keep the 20mm and sell the PL25. If you aren't on a budget, I would sell the 20mm and get something wider--PL15, Oly 17, or even Lumix 14mm.
  3. MJL

    MJL Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2016
    New Zealand
    Real Name:
    Hard to give an answer without knowing what other lenses you have.
    For what it is worth: There seems to be some opinions that the 25mm has a nicer bokeh than the 20mm.
  4. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee

    May 3, 2013
    Don't worry about what you think you're missing out on because of what others say about the lens. If you're not using a lens, sell it. It's that easy. You can always buy it again if you find a need for it in the future.

    Personally, I would pick a 25mm lens because I prefer the focal length. But you seem to prefer 20mm, sounds like the choice is made :)
  5. tpitch14

    tpitch14 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 31, 2010
    In my experience, I started out with the 20mm... then my wife was expecting our first child. Even though a newborn is a relatively stationary subject, I wanted faster AF- so in came the Oly 25. When I moved to a G7 body, I made the swap over to the P 25 1.7, and have just recently added a PL15 to the stable.
  6. harryz

    harryz Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 3, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Real Name:
    It seems like you already answered your own question.
  7. Estrellas321

    Estrellas321 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 19, 2015
    Vancouver, BC
    Indeed it sounds like I've made up my mind already, but the question was what would YOU keep :) Everyone has different situations and preferences and I'm just curious to know what and why they are. I suppose 90% of why is the preferred focal length, but there could be other reasons.

    In threads that ask along the lines of what is your walkaround lens, the lens you couldn't do without, etc. etc. - it seems to be split among the P20 and PL25. I've seen why people like the P20 so much, and I'm trying to find an opportunity to give the PL25 a chance to love it, I just haven't put it through its paces yet like I have with the P20.
  8. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I also have both. I will always want to keep the 20mm/1.7 . It is a lens that stands alone as a fast compact normal-ish sharp prime. The small size is very important to me. It looks and feels perfect on a small body like GX1. Other lenses are either bigger or not as sharp or slower.
    Like you, I find the 20mm focal length is more suitable for just walk-around photography. It also has a closer minimum focusing distance. Good for food pics :)
    I do like the character and look of the 25mm/1.4 a lot. Bokeh is smooth and pleasant . I think it's great for situational people photography. I could use it for walk-around photography too , the faster focus is nice and slightly longer FL can be a plus for street photography.
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You said you used the 20mm all the time and don't use the 25mm much. That seems like a pretty clear answer. No point in having lenses that sit on the shelf, is there?
  10. NWright

    NWright Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2014
    I was in the exact boat as you not more than a month ago - and my 25mm was also finding a lot of shelf time.

    I ended up downsizing my kit and came out the other side holding only the 20mm & I've been happy so far...
  11. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Real Name:
    Two reasons I kept the P20. Size and Field of view.

    I had both the P20 and p25 at the same time. The image quality of both was excellent. Ultimately, I sold the 25mm. I have occasionally felt some sellers remorse but it has never really made sense. I simply like the 20mm focal length more. 25mm seems to be just a little tight for me most of the time. The 20mm looks better on the camera, and is simply more transportable (the reason I shoot m4/3 in the first place). The 20mm is still my go to lens when I want to take the camera but not look like I brought the camera (system).

    PS, I currently have the Oly 25mm too and hardly ever use it. If I had to sell either it or the P20, I think the Oly would go to.
  12. Danltn

    Danltn Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 7, 2016
    The 20mm epitomises Micro Four Thirds. Tiny, with high IQ. I don't have a copy anymore (my old man has it.) but I really do think it's a great lense.

    An updated version with more usable AF would be lovely.

    The 25mm f/1.4 is a technically better lens in most people's eyes. But it's bigger and more expensive.

    I actually have the P25 f/1.7 right now, and it's my preferred choice for low-light street photography.
  13. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Real Name:
    I've switched between these 2 lenses more than 4 times. I ended up annoyed and at last decided to own both. They are so different, different rendering. P20 as my workhorse and pl25 for the extra occasions, like shooting into sun at Golden hour...

    Its most likely u will regret if ur selling one, that's just my bitter experience :)
  14. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Real Name:
    This sounds like my journey a bit. Started with the O25, then p20 + pl25mm eventually selling all of them at various times. I found that the extra size of the pl25mm was my biggest issue with it and I took the p20 out a lot more. I have since sold the pl25 and picked up the p20.. again. I'm sticking to it this time :)
  15. MJL

    MJL Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2016
    New Zealand
    Real Name:
    In the early days of 35mm film photography there were a number of 42/43 mm lenses. Later came a cheaper 50/55mm lens and afterwards came the 35mm lens. F2.8 was already regarded as a large aperture and it was not until later that the lower F2, F1.8 and then the"ultimate" F1.4 came on the scene.

    At the time the 42/43mm focal length was regarded as being a "natural" and "most pleasing" focal length so with the 20mm we have now gone full circle.

    Galen Rowell would often go out with just a 24 or 28mm lens and a 70-200mm zoom as his "light" kit and he reckoned he could get at least 90% of his shots with that.

    I've got the Panasonic 14-142 II lens which does not extend to a large extend when zooming and I use it on either 14, 20~25 or 42 mm depending on the subject - basically it is the 28 mm for landscape, 84mm for portraits and between 20 and 25mm for the rest (and I seem to use more often than not close to 20mm). For me this is the ideal "travel" setup but I have at times attacks of wanting to buy the 14/20mm and a 35-100 F2.8 zoom.... (untill I consider the expense...)
  16. ddekadt

    ddekadt Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2013
    Cambridge, MA
    Real Name:
    I've never owned or used the 20mm but damn I love the 25mm PL. Wouldn't trade it for anything. But I like shooting with a more tele perspective than most.
  17. Petermfiore

    Petermfiore New to Mu-43

    Jul 1, 2015
    I use the 20 everyday for street...I set the focus distance to 10' and use f/11 with auto ISO. Everything from 6' to INF is captured well.
    I have used it on my GX1 and on a GX7 with great results.

    • Like Like x 3
  18. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    To me, the keys are :
    -25mm is faster focusing.
    -20mm is a more "all round" focal lenght, near the famous "35mm street" (17.5mm on M43).

    25mm is too "standard" to me. It lacks a little more wideness to be "all round".
    17mm is optically a little worse than 20/25.
    So the choice was clear to me : 20mm, even with slow focus.

    On my E-M1, i can use C-AF (phase detect) to reduce focus slowness.
    Or S-AF is "High Frame Rate" mode.

    15mm seems a good option, but not the same price...
    Until there is a better 17mm or cheaper 15mm, 20mm will still the "all round" (slow focus) king to me.
  19. NoSeconds

    NoSeconds Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 9, 2014
    The Desert - Western Australia
    Real Name:
    I've got both and never gelled with the 25mm, probably sell it soon. I will never sell the 20 though!
  20. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    I think a lot of ppl dismissed 20mm due to slow AF, not "standard" 25mm(50mm eq) focal length, nor "street" 17mm(35mm eq), too old...
    It is a bastard lens, yes. But i love this bastard ;) Most of those ppl dismissed it without even trying it. Simple as that. And few sold it after trying it against 17mm or 25mm.
    That's what i seen on forums.

    I've taken some shots in a church, almost no light : very impressive. And handheld...thanks IBIS too ;)