Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II or Olympus 25mm F1.8

Mooring

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I'm looking for a prime lens for use in lower light situations, especially indoors. Two of my prime candidates are the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II or Olympus 25mm F1.8. Trying to get a feel for what others use and their opinions. Also wonder about the Olympus 17mm F1.8. I shoot with an E-M1.
 

Promit

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17, 20, and 25 are different focal lengths, and not subtly so. 20 and 25 in particular feel distinctly different to work with - not better or worse, but different. Personally I dislike the 50mm "normal" equivalent as a very awkward focal length. I want to be wider, on the 35mm end of the scale, or closer to 85mm equivalent for portrait style work. I've owned and sold the PL25 twice now - wonderful images but never the perspective I wanted.

That aside, the 20mm is a slow focusing lens and can get confused in some situations. Both Olys are quite snappy. There's little to complain about in the optical qualities of any of them, and what differences there are don't matter in the face of how each lens actually feels to shoot with.
 

RichardB

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You can see what the lenses can do by clicking on Sample Images at the top of this page, then looking at the native-MFT lenses that interest you.

The received wisdom is that the 20mm is slow to focus in dim light. However, in a casual test, taking snapshots on an E-P5 of various objects around a dimly lit room, the 20mm and 25mm lenses seem very close. They both hunt, but they achieve focus in less than half a second. (I have the second version of the 20mm, if that makes a difference.) As a sanity check to make sure I wasn't insensitive to speed differences, I tried the 45mm/1.8 and its autofocus is noticeably faster than the 20mm and 25mm.

The 20mm and 25mm surely have other differences in areas such as vignetting and chromatic aberration, but those issues can be remedied in post-processing and anyway they are far less noticeable than the angle of view of each focal length. If I wanted a low-light lens mainly for interiors, I would choose the wider 20mm over the 25mm, and I would also consider the 17mm/1.8 (which I haven't tried).
 

gravijaflare

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the olympus 25mm and 17mm focus faster (in the same low light conditions) than any of the 20mm versions. the 20mm's af motors have not been updated to newer (silent and faster) ones since its release way back.

another option would be the panasonic 25mm and 15mm, both have better af speed than the 20mm, when used on olympus bodies, but will likely be a bit faster when used on panasonic ones.
 

davdenic

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I think the best quality of the p20 is the small size and low price, it's also easy to found it used.
 

LowriderS10

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This is a frequently pondered question on here...it really comes down to personal preference. For you, I'd say that if you're planning on shooting indoors, a little wider may come in handy, so the P20.

When I was thinking about this, I went P20 mainly because:

- I got into M4/3 for the size/weight savings over my old DSLRs. I wanted to maximize that advantage with some pancake lenses.
- I prefer 40mm (equiv) to 50mm as a "walkaround" lens. I used to have the 40mm pancake for my full frame Canon and really liked it, so I wanted to mimic that with the OM-D + P20 setup.
 

alex66

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I had the 20mm it is superb optically but on the EPM2 and G3 it was just not fast enough to hit focus and so I sold it. I bought a GX7 that came with one and it actually hits focus a lot quicker, but it is slower than the Olympus 25mm on the GX7, I may sell it not sure. I love the 25mm/50mm focal length its one I will happily walk around with for days on end and only rarely (less than 1%) think I wish it was wider or longer, this could be from only having a 50mm on my cameras for years before I got anything else.
 

RamblinR

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If I were choosing out of the Panasonic 20 1.7 and the Olympus 25 1.4 I'd go for the Olympus. I've heard too many people say the 20 is slow to focus and I wouldn't want to have to sell and re-purchase. I haven't used either lens but I'm advising what I would if I were in your shoes.
 

fransglans

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I always defended p20. I like to have more dof control. and if that lens was f0.95 it would be fine. but for me, I need to jump up in a tighter fov like 25 to get that creamy look to portrait and stuff. yes i could use my o45 for that, but its nice to have that kind of control even with a 25ish lens. I actuallt took the pl25 instead of o25. sacrificing size for light and a different rendering. my 2 cent...
 

kwalsh

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Is what you are shooting in low light also moving (e.g. kids)? If so give the 20/1.7 a skip and choose either the 17 or 25 depending on what field of view you want. I find around the house I use 25 a lot as I'm mostly focusing on the people and not their environment (i.e. the house). When I out of the house with my daughter I prefer 17 or these days 15 as I am doing more environmental portraiture and so want a wider FoV to capture where we are visiting.

There was just a thread on DPR two months ago about a guy frustrated with focus indoors with his kids using the 20/1.7. After much discussion he decided to give the 25/1.8 a try. He just posted back today after using the 25 for a number of weeks to say he was much happier with the results he was getting switching lenses.
 

kingduct

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I recently bought the 20mm (used) largely because it was at least $100 cheaper than the lowest prices I've seen on the Olympus. I can't respond to comparisons of them, however I can say that the focusing speed is fast enough for me on my G5. Of course, the focusing speed on my old E-PL1 with kit lens was also fast enough for me. So while it is clearly slower (and noisier) than my other lenses when focusing, that does not limit my usage of the lens.

Of course, another reason I went ahead and got the 20mm Panasonic is that I already have the 30mm Sigma, so I wanted a bit more differentiation between focal lengths than I would have had with the 25mm. If you have any other primes, you may want to take that into account. If you don't, you may want to see what focal lengths you most frequently use with your zoom.
 

mark111

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Here in ripp-off UK the Olympus is £330 but the Panasonic is about £290 so only about £40, that's not much considering the P20 came out in 2011. If you are not concerned with the FOV then I would get the Olympus 25mm Lens, its AF is much better and its sharper too.

I'm not sure about US prices, but the UK price of the P20 has always bothered me, even though its got new paint we are still talking about a lens that costs as much as it did when it came out 3-4 years ago. In the v2 Panasonic updated the aesthetics of the lens, but didn't change the AF yet still thought it necessary to bump up the price - this alone is enough to put me off buying the P20 standalone, although I have had it as a kit lens with a GX7.
 

Ulfric M Douglas

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Here in ripp-off UK the Olympus is £330 but the Panasonic is about £290 so only about £40, that's not much considering the P20 came out in 2011.
But being a popular older lens the 20mm is common used for much less money, I think that's a big factor.
I own a copy that focuses plenty fast for me, so its my indoor no-flash lens.
If money was no object I'd be looking at the M.Zuiko17mmF1.8 as that field of view is so nice and could be very useful indoors.
 

ex machina

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I haven't tried the Oly but my p20 focuses plenty fast for me, granted, I'm not usually trying to capture fast moving subjects. If not for reading online reviews it might not have even occurred to me that the lens has any speed or noise issues. I'm astounded by its sharpness, even at considerable crops. It's a stunning lens.

While there are times I wished it was a little wider, I've yet to wish for a little tighter FOV.
 

Mooring

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Thanks for all the replies. Some of the comments here have me seriously considering both the Oly 18 & 25....now I just gotta find a little extra in the budget. It might have to wait until after the 40-150 Pro...and the 300 Pro....and the 7-14 Pro....wish they'd stop making stuff I want!
 

LowriderS10

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I always defended p20. I like to have more dof control. and if that lens was f0.95 it would be fine. but for me, I need to jump up in a tighter fov like 25 to get that creamy look to portrait and stuff. yes i could use my o45 for that, but its nice to have that kind of control even with a 25ish lens. I actuallt took the pl25 instead of o25. sacrificing size for light and a different rendering. my 2 cent...

Yeah, I think if I'd enter the 25 arena, I'd go PL25, not O25. The sizes/prices are close enough, and might as well go really fast. :)

The 20 is capable of beautiful bokeh as well...though obviously the longer the FL, the easier it is to achieve that.

14690154382_53c9f7e716_b.jpg
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EDITVOM6121 by Tamas V, on Flickr
 

LowriderS10

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I haven't tried the Oly but my p20 focuses plenty fast for me, granted, I'm not usually trying to capture fast moving subjects. If not for reading online reviews it might not have even occurred to me that the lens has any speed or noise issues. I'm astounded by its sharpness, even at considerable crops. It's a stunning lens.

While there are times I wished it was a little wider, I've yet to wish for a little tighter FOV.

That's why I've made the P14/P20 my walkaround combo. Fast set, 14 for wide, 20 for low light/tighter/shallower DOF stuff...one on the body, one in a pocket...it really makes you appreciate the M4/3 system!
 

LowriderS10

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Thanks for all the replies. Some of the comments here have me seriously considering both the Oly 18 & 25....now I just gotta find a little extra in the budget. It might have to wait until after the 40-150 Pro...and the 300 Pro....and the 7-14 Pro....wish they'd stop making stuff I want!

Errrmm....there's no Oly 18. ;) Or any 18 for the system... :)
 
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