panasonic 25mm f/1.7 or panasonic 20mm f/1.7 (pancake)?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by onewheeltom, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. onewheeltom

    onewheeltom Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Nov 18, 2015
    Cary, NC
    Tom Karches
    Looking for a prime lens for my Olympus E-PM1. Should I get the new Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 that is currently selling at B&H for $99, or get a used 20mm f/1.7 pancake for about $125 to $150 used? The pancake would be really nice for portability, but I could live with the larger size of the newer Panasonic.

    I would prefer the 20mm focal length, but it's not a huge factor.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    I've always considered focal length more important then price.

    But...

    The 25mm is about 52mm long versus the 20mm at 25.5mm long, the 20mm is also a bit lighter. But the 25mm has a smaller diameter.
     
  3. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi, the 20mm exhibits image banding at high ISOs on many Oly bodies.

    Also, the 20mm is not known for fast focus in low/indoor light; some users complain about it not being able to lock on their moving kids.

    Barry
     
  4. onewheeltom

    onewheeltom Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Nov 18, 2015
    Cary, NC
    Tom Karches
    What lenses 20mm and below are a good value and appropriate for my E-PM1? I have no problem with buying used.

    --tom
     
  5. sesser

    sesser Zen Master

    489
    Mar 10, 2015
    Portland, OR
    randy
    Yes. If you need to capture fast (ish) moving subjects, then the 20mm should be crossed off your list. That said, I bought one new when it first came out. It's a really good lens. Sold it because of the focus hunting, but ended up buying another one because I really like the focal length (compared to the 25mm). YMMV. Buy both, sell the one you don't connect with.
     
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  6. sesser

    sesser Zen Master

    489
    Mar 10, 2015
    Portland, OR
    randy
    The Oly 17/1.8. While not a "pancake," is a great lens. The Oly 17/2.8 is a pancake, but (from what I've read) not the best performer, but still very usable. The Panny 14/2.5 is also a decent, small lens. I haven't used either 17/2.8 or the 14/2.5, but the 17/1.8 always produced good results.
     
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  7. onewheeltom

    onewheeltom Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Nov 18, 2015
    Cary, NC
    Tom Karches
    That would be nearly identical (speed and focal length) to my 35mm f/1.8 Nikon DX. My favorite Nikon lens.
    --tom
     
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    The 14mm was one of my favorites. Since the E-PM1 I've owned both a GM1 and GM5. The P14 or P15 would be good options. For a zoom I would look at the 12-32, it even has OIS.
     
  9. onewheeltom

    onewheeltom Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Nov 18, 2015
    Cary, NC
    Tom Karches
    I have the 14-42 kit lens, which is f/3.5 at 14mm. So, while the 14mm f/2.8 will bring the size down, it's not much faster, though primes are typically sharper than zooms (in my experience). How would the 14mm prime feel different than the kit lens at 14mm? I rarely shoot moving targets.

    If I got the 9mm f/8 Body Cap lens, that would give me the wide angle that I like without the expense of a faster wider prime (with an obvious speed/quality sacrifice.). I have a Sigma 10-20 Nikon lens which I really like, but the 4/3 wider primes seem rather pricey.

    At this point, I don't feel like I need to replace the 14-42mm (which I'm pretty happy with...not spoiled by anything better yet)). I just miss having a prime for the E-PM1 and not sure if a 2.8 is going to be enough for me. Perhaps I can rent a fast prime at the local camera shop and see how I like it.

    --tom
     
  10. onewheeltom

    onewheeltom Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Nov 18, 2015
    Cary, NC
    Tom Karches
    Rokinon 7.5mm is a prime, and I really enjoy wide angle. B&H has it for $199 which seems an exceptional price. But I digress. The 25mm 1.7 for $99 is tempting, and I could resell and get my money back if I don't like it.

    --tom
     
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  11. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    If you're using the 35/1.8 on a DX Nikon body, it has a 1.5 crop factor. Its field of view is almost identical to a 25mm lens on a µ4/3 body. Which is to say that you really do want the Panasonic 25/1.7.
     
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  12. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    921
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    The 20mm won't band on the older sensors in my EPM1 or EPL1. It has a slow deliberate focus action on these cameras. The new 25mm is definitely faster to focus, especially in low light.

    Where you will see the slower focus is on scenes like Xmas lights at night, or maybe a lit up building, where it may hunt and not find focus unless you bring up a focus box on your EPM1. Then it will go to work, if told where to look.

    I liked using the 14mm and 20mm on the EPM1 over the 14-42 zoom. My EPM1 is retired, so I haven't really used the new 25mm on it,

    If you can find someone silly enough to sell the 20mm for $125, go for it. Otherwise, the 25mm for $99, if that price holds up, is a great value.
     
  13. BLT

    BLT Mu-43 Regular

    187
    Jan 13, 2013
    London
    James
    I've owned the 14mm f2.5 & 17mm f2.8. And I have owned (and still own) the 20mm since new.

    The 14mm was great because of size and quick focus. The 17mm 2.8 was nice but not as nice as the 20mm and similarly slow to focus (basically the same from memory)

    The 20mm is the reason I still use M4/3. Such a versatile focal length, IQ that is consistently impressive, lovely rendering, fast aperture and TINY size!

    But yes, locking onto a child moving around the house can be tricky. A centre focus box aimed at a contrasty area fixes focus issues most of the time. But quick moving things can pose a problem.

    Comparing the 20mm to the new 25mm it's seems it's basically size vs focus speed. So choose which of those matter most to you.
     
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would agree, but also add that the focal length difference is greater than the numbers would seem to indicate. 20mm is almost wide angle. 25mm is not.
     
  15. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    For those who are curious, I did some devastatingly boring lens testing comparing the 20mm/1.7 to the 25mm/1.7. It is a bookshelf test, and I'm not sure you can say that I set it up particularly well. But I guess something is better than nothing? I imagine that some people may be more interested in poring over the results than I am.

    Lens Testing

    Testing was done with my GX7 on a tripod, with e-shutter, in aperture priority at ISO 125, and a remote cable release. Focus was manually done on the tiny wrinkle on the 2nd C in the spine of the CYCLEPEDIA book. I took a series of shots with the 25mm, then the same series with the 20mm/1.7 in the same position, then moved the tripod forward to better match the framing. I was not that meticulous.

    My initial pixel-peeping based conclusion: the 25/1.7 is decently sharp wide open, and doesn't improve substantially from that that, though from any practical point of view is extremely sharp at f5.6. Mine seems to experience a bit of a sharpness blip between f2.8 and f4, don't know what that's all about. May not bear itself out in repeated testing.

    The 20mm/1.7 is disgustingly sharp, though. In the center, it's sharp enough to cause moiré from the texture of the paper. Excellent microcontrast, too. I didn't even realize it had a texture until I picked it up and moved it under the light. Can't comment on across the field sharpness with this test, though. Whether it's because of slightly deeper depth of field or just its extraordinary sharpness, the texture on the Worldchanging book looks about as good at f2.8 (that is, pixel sharp and very crispy) as the 25mm does at f5.6.

    It's also a pretty close focus test, so doing it at more of a "full body" portrait distance might reveal different results.

    Very different field of view between the two lenses! You could crop the 20mm to the same field of view if you wanted to, but you'd be throwing away a full 50% of the pixels. Surprised me.

    2hgAViO.

    EDIT: Shoot, I just realized I forgot to turn off IBIS while on the tripod. So maybe a slightly confounding factor, and perhaps the explanation of the 25mm's hiccup between f2.8 and f4? Or not? Either way, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
     
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  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yeah, like I said above, the difference in FOV is way more than you'd think for 5mm! I couldn't ever get used to the 20mm for that reason.
     
  17. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    I would also say that the first thing to decide is what focal length do you need/want.
     
  18. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Sep 17, 2012
    UK
    Though OIS wont work with the OP's EPM1.

    I have the P14 and P20. Whilst the EPM1 with 14mm attached makes for a conveniently sized package, I've found the reach to be limiting, and I find the versatility of the kit lens far outweighs the size and minimal speed advantage of the 14. My 14mm is rarely used, the 20mm however, despite it's shortcomings, is probably my most used lens. I find the focal length much more universal and I love the IQ it produces. I tend to shoot static scenes, so AF speed isn't so critical to me. I will agree that AF performance isn't the best, especially on the EPM1. I find it to be less of an issue on Panasonic bodies. I haven't noticed any banding issues from the 20 on my EPM1 or EM10.

    I've not tried the 25mm yet, but the price is attractive so it's starting to get my attention.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  19. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Trying to remember, it's been a while since I had one. I think it's more a question of which takes priority or do they conflict?
     
  20. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Sep 17, 2012
    UK
    I was under the impression that Panasonic's OIS wouldn't activate on the early PENs, and I'm sure I've read other posts to that effect here too, however I've just tried my 45-200mm on my EPM1 and OIS seems to be doing something. The 45-200 has an OIS switch on the barrel. A second or so after switching on, the screen image is more stable and I can here a sound difference too. There are no menu controls to specify the OIS mode though like on Panasonic bodies, so it seems to be simply on or off via the barrel switch, and I'm wondering if the lenses without a switch will work at all? My 14-42 isn't to hand right now so I can't try it. Maybe someone else can clarify because I'd love to be proved wrong on this occasion?