Panasonic Pancake Pandemonium - 14mm vs 20mm vs 12-32mm

wimg

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As others mentioned, I'd recommend the Panny 20 F/1.7.
I own or have owned a lot of lenses in the street and/or very light carry-around photography arena, and currently I still own
Panny 14 F/2.5
Panny 20 F/1.7
Oly 25 F/1.8
Oly EZ 14-42 F/3.5-5.6 (the pancake version)

My 2 most used lenses in this regard are the Panny 20 F/1.7, which I have mounted by default on my E-M1 Mk II, and the Oly 14-42, which I have mounted by default on my Pen-F.

I did own own the Panny 25 F/1.7, but that is relatively big, be it light and cheap, but never convinced me, and the Panny 12-32, which I find a little too fragile and cumbersome with the unlockign mechanism for my personal taste, so those two were sold.

One lens I did not see mentioned yet, but which I also use a lot for compact carry, is the Oly 12 F/2. It is about the same size as th eOly 25 F/1.8, but more versatile if you need a wider AOV. For portraiture I'd recommend the Panny 42.5 F/1.7, BTW, if you'd want to do that the light way. The Oly 45 F/1.8 is slightly more compact, and I own it too, but I prefer the Panny myself :).

Kind regards, Wim
 

Generationfourth

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Hearing all the praise about the 20 f1.7 brings a tear to my eye. That thing came bundled with my GF1 ten years ago and it changed my life. It’s definitely the first thing I grab if the house was burning down and I could never leave m43 simply because of its existence. I’m gonna go shoot with it tomorrow because of this thread- it’s been too long!

why did Panasonic stop bundling this lens???
 

jacobm

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Sounds like I'll have to try the 20mm first, the rest later. I do plan on expanding my portfolio of Olympus 1.8 primes, 1.2 if I can afford it. My next lenses after this one are the 60mm Macro (unless a 100mm comes along before I pull the trigger) and the 100-400, but I'll have to save up for those.
 

Stanga

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I wish that Panasonic would make a 12mm f1.7 as well. It would give the f1.7 range a better spread.
 

RAH

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Sounds like I'll have to try the 20mm first, the rest later. I do plan on expanding my portfolio of Olympus 1.8 primes, 1.2 if I can afford it. My next lenses after this one are the 60mm Macro (unless a 100mm comes along before I pull the trigger) and the 100-400, but I'll have to save up for those.
If you do get the 20mm 1.7 (which is what I recommended earlier), the thing that will probably unpleasantly surprise you is the noise it makes when it focuses, more than the somewhat slow speed at which it focuses. It makes kind of a hum on my E-M5.3, but I seem to remember it differently on the E-M10.2 But anyway, the thing is - ignore it! I don't really find it all that slow to focus and haven't had any trouble with it hunting either.
 
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threeOh

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In terms of future proofing, my trio for my GM1 is the PL15/1.7, O25/1.8 and P12-32. I find all 3 fantastic lenses. The O25 being a pleasant surprise as it’s sharp beyond my expectations, render is more saturated. If I could only have one, the P12-32. Simply superb little zoom, sharp, neutral render.

I own the P20/1.7. Lovely render, very slow AF, I feel to large for a GM1. It’s a fairly heavy hockey puck with a diameter that's larger than a GM1/5 can handle.
 

threeOh

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The gotcha's on the 12-32 is the lack of manual focus, and I don't believe you can get a hood on it either. I liked the 14mm 2.5 on my last trip and used it for landscape shots, including one I hung on the wall in 20 x 14.

On the opinion front, maybe it's too big (though I don't really think so), but I have a soft-spot for the O25mm 1.8. Great indoor lens, IMO. Also, the 9mm BCL can be fun too. I've taken landscape photos with it.
IMG_8798.JPG
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37-52 step down then a hood. This is my daily carry and the hood is protection.
 

RAH

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I own the P20/1.7. Lovely render, very slow AF, I feel to large for a GM1. It’s a fairly heavy hockey puck with a diameter that's larger than a GM1/5 can handle.
I agree that the diameter of the 20mm can be a problem, even on a larger camera like the E-M10.2. The edge can protrude below the edge of the camera, which can make it hard to mount on a tripod unless you have a very small quick release plate.
 

Alex2

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I own both the Panasonic 14mm and 20mm, and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8. I love to use each of them, especially on my Olympus E-M5 Mark II.

I seem to be one of the few people that loves the 14mm angle of view, so the 14mm has been used a lot. I love this lens, and my copy is very sharp (and yes, I can compare to the Pro lenses). I also love its contrast and colors.

But... The Olympus is really the one I love most for its rendering. One of the other commenters mentioned this already, and I have to back this up. There is something about the Olympus that I really love. The colors, the bokeh, the type of contrast it renders. All very beautiful. So when walking around in a city, I quite often use one of these, plus the 20mm.

The 20mm is a no-brainer. Sharp, contrasty, good bokeh, and of course nice to be used in low light or to render some more bluriness when you want it.

(the 12-32mm has nothing to do with these lenses IMO, as collapsible lenses extend when being used, and I also thoroughly dislike its handling).

In my opinion Olympus and Panasonic should have aimed much more heavily for pancakes, because these emphasize what it is about in the m/43 world. The range is now quite limited.

But think about this: Both Canon and Pentax make a 40mm f/2.8 pancake... Why do we not have that lens? Make it a little smaller (the Canon is a full frame lens) and you are done... Olympus even made their own version in the past, the 40mm f/2 Zuiko (and also the 40mm f/1.7 RD!). I cannot understand why they did not extend the range... Or think about the Olympus 25mm f/2.8 pancake... That would also be a nice lens in the range... Or an improved version of the 9mm f/8 with normal handling (I used it and disliked the too-easy-to-move focus range switch) and, say, an f/4 aperture.

In the meantime they have filled up the range with other lenses, so the economic proposition is not really there anymore... But what if they had created a new 40mm f/2 instead of the 45mm f/1.8 that they created instead? A missed opportunity, I would think.
 

cjoliprsf

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The Olympus is really the one I love most for its rendering.
It is interesting to see there are now 3 of us who raised our hand to say "Hey, that O17/2.8 is in fact quite good" while the general consensus is that it is a poor lens. Could it be because there would be a lot of variability? Some are lucky to have better copies maybe.
 

wimg

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I own both the Panasonic 14mm and 20mm, and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8. I love to use each of them, especially on my Olympus E-M5 Mark II.

I seem to be one of the few people that loves the 14mm angle of view, so the 14mm has been used a lot. I love this lens, and my copy is very sharp (and yes, I can compare to the Pro lenses). I also love its contrast and colors.
Nah, I love it too. But I also love 12 mm - it therefore gets hard occasionally :).

But... The Olympus is really the one I love most for its rendering. One of the other commenters mentioned this already, and I have to back this up. There is something about the Olympus that I really love. The colors, the bokeh, the type of contrast it renders. All very beautiful. So when walking around in a city, I quite often use one of these, plus the 20mm.
I think I was the one who mentioned this. When I went dslr in 2005, I chose for Canon, due to its UI and lenses, and I shot Pentax analog before that, for 30+ years. Basically I find that I like the rendering, colours, and bokeh/rolloff of Canon lenses better than that of the Pentax lenses in the past.

I always found that Olympus lenses in the digital era are very similar to Canon lenses in this regard, maybe slightly warmer, and Panasonic lenses very much like Pentax lenses. Since I mostly shot in b&w with my Pentaxes, that didn't really make a difference, but in the last 10 years with film I ended up shooting mostly with colour, out of necessity, and I found the result just a little too cold looking for my preferences. I find that too with Panasonic, although it is not as pronounced as with Pentax lenses in the past. The renderign s probably more neutral, but I prefer warmer tints. :)

The 20mm is a no-brainer. Sharp, contrasty, good bokeh, and of course nice to be used in low light or to render some more bluriness when you want it.

(the 12-32mm has nothing to do with these lenses IMO, as collapsible lenses extend when being used, and I also thoroughly dislike its handling).

In my opinion Olympus and Panasonic should have aimed much more heavily for pancakes, because these emphasize what it is about in the m/43 world. The range is now quite limited.

Yes, I agree, and preferably F/1.7 and F/2, nothing slower than that, ideally.

But think about this: Both Canon and Pentax make a 40mm f/2.8 pancake... Why do we not have that lens? Make it a little smaller (the Canon is a full frame lens) and you are done... Olympus even made their own version in the past, the 40mm f/2 Zuiko (and also the 40mm f/1.7 RD!). I cannot understand why they did not extend the range... Or think about the Olympus 25mm f/2.8 pancake... That would also be a nice lens in the range... Or an improved version of the 9mm f/8 with normal handling (I used it and disliked the too-easy-to-move focus range switch) and, say, an f/4 aperture.

I wouldn't want a 40 mm in pancake format for MFT, basically because that is a telelens on MFT, an therefore not really doable. We already have those, the Panny 42.5 F/1.7 and the Oly 45 F/1.8. They're small enough, and very hard to make any smaller.

I would not mind a few 12, 14, 20 and 25 F/1.7-F/2 pancakes if at all possible, but then, we already have the Panny 20 F/1.7. I like the Panny 14 F/2.5, but I would have loved an F/2 otr F/1.7 of that lns in pancake format. 25 is porbably hard to do as well, as it requires a double Gauss type of lens, with 5 or more elements, and that gets fairly big as well. The 12 maybe rather difficult, because the flange distance is 12 mm already, which means it would have to be made like a proper (U)WA, which requires quite a few more lements and large lements at the front. In that way the current Oly12 F/2 is actually probably as smaal as it gets, with good IQ and a reasonable speed.

In the meantime they have filled up the range with other lenses, so the economic proposition is not really there anymore... But what if they had created a new 40mm f/2 instead of the 45mm f/1.8 that they created instead? A missed opportunity, I would think.

As mentioned, I do not see the advantage of a 40 mm pancake over the 45 mm, basically because it cannot be made as a pancake. As it stands the 45 is already very small, it is a well corrected short tele, and therefore requires a minimum length.

Let's consider the Canon EF 40 F/2.8, as I own one :). If you add an MFT adapter to that lens (which I also own), it actually is slightly longer (2 or 3 mm) than the Oly 45 F/1.8, and the latter is 1 1/3 stop faster. It also has a much narrower diameter, which means it is much more easily pocketable. That is actually the conundrum. Even if you'd make it a 40 mm, it would only be, at best, only 5 mm shorter than the current Oly 45. The laws of physics essentially don't allow you to make it any shorter.

Even if you'd use a Speedbooster XL with the EF 40, you'd end up with a lens only 4 mm shorter than the 45 F/1.8, and it would be a 29 mm F/1.8. That again doesn't compare favourably to the Oly 25 F/1.8, which is about the same height, but much smaller in diameter as well. And the Oly 12 F/2 is approximately the same size as the Oly 45 F/1.8, due to is UWA construction and design.

So, if you do want smaller, you'd end up with very simple constructions for lenses, apertures of F/2.8 or smaller, and still limited in size (length or height) by the actual FL. Essentially, the smallest lenses would then be in the 14 to 20 mm range, at apertures of F/2 if you are lucky, or smaller. Therefore, the ones that do exist, are effectively the only ones possible as it stands, the Panny 14 F/2.5, Panny 20 F/1.7, Oly 17 F/2.8, and maybe the Oly 25 F/2.8, although even that is debatable. I wouldn't count the 8 F/9 lenscap, actually, as that really is only a gimmick. Anything else is going to be bigger by definition.

The only way to have smaller, for transport only, not for actually using it for photography, are the collapsible standard zooms, like the Panny 12-32 and the Oly EZ 14-42. They are good enough, but not as good as the small primes.

BTW, as I do own the Oly lenscap, Oly 12 F/2, Panny 14 F/2.5, PL 15 F/1.7, Panny 20 F/1.7, Oly 25 F/1.8, Panny 42.5 F/1.7, Oly 45 F/1.8, and the Oly EZ 14-42, apart from a bunch of other, less compact lenses, plus Canon gear, metabones Speebvoosters Ultra, XL, and Metabones adapter, for me it is very easy to compare these. The lenscap I never really use, as I also happen to have the Panny fisheye.

HTH, kind regards, Wim
 

D7k1

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Love my 14 (especially with the GWC1). My is sharp and just so small. There must be some sample variation as my mine compares to my other lenses. Size, you cannot beat this. On the Gx85 the 14 with the GWC1 gives you 28/22mm and is a great city combination.
 

PakkyT

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First comment is I love when you read the initial post on this type of question and you think, ok here come all the suggestions that do not at all answer the specific question asked. Sure enough while original poster mentioned three lenses specifically and the characteristic of wanting a pankcake lens everyone starts to suggest other lenses most of which are definitely NOT pancakes. :coco:

In my opinion Olympus and Panasonic should have aimed much more heavily for pancakes, because these emphasize what it is about in the m/43 world. The range is now quite limited.
My own opinion on this is a lot of m43 users pay lip service to having a very small kit but most here still want better lenses, hence why Oly probably obsoleted the 17/2.8 pancake with my theory being no one wanted such a "slow" prime and instead the 17/1.8 remains in the lineup. In 4/3rds the same issue existed for the 25/2.8 pancake lens. It was an OK lens and most people on groups like this were the types who were not willing to give up quality for a marginal reduction in lens size, especially back in those days when most of the camera bodies were huge compared to what we have now.

interesting to see there are now 3 of us who raised our hand to say "Hey, that O17/2.8 is in fact quite good" while the general consensus is that it is a poor lens.
I love my Oly 17/1.8 and think the quality is excellent. I have not seen any consensus that it is a poor lens, perhaps occasional poor copies, much like the 25/1.8 (of which mine is also excellent).
 

RAH

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First comment is I love when you read the initial post on this type of question and you think, ok here come all the suggestions that do not at all answer the specific question asked. Sure enough while original poster mentioned three lenses specifically and the characteristic of wanting a pankcake lens everyone starts to suggest other lenses most of which are definitely NOT pancakes. :coco:
Personally, I plead not guilty! I suggested the 20 f1.7 (I guess it's a pancake even though it doesn't require deployment) and the 12-32. I was also going to suggest the IHOP 16mm 1.2 Pro but decided that it was too expensive...
 

Mike Wingate

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So when using the P20, do owners mount a UV filter? And what about a lens hood, slotted, no slots, step-up ring? What do you use?
 

PeeBee

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So when using the P20, do owners mount a UV filter? And what about a lens hood, slotted, no slots, step-up ring? What do you use?
I have a 46mm metal slotted hood and a selection of 46mm filters. It’s a case of one or the other, but mostly neither.

The 46mm hood also fits my Oly 60mm and accepts the Raynox DCR carrier, but I haven’t mastered the naked lens yet, so I’ll reserve that idea for future development.
 
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It is interesting to see there are now 3 of us who raised our hand to say "Hey, that O17/2.8 is in fact quite good" while the general consensus is that it is a poor lens. Could it be because there would be a lot of variability? Some are lucky to have better copies maybe.
Not that I know of... I've owned two... or maybe three... and they were all pleasant. I think it's mostly pixel-peeping that makes the 17/2.8 get negative reviews. Or corner performance. Personally I like some vignetting and softness in the extreme corners, it's "filmic" (yeah, I know, that's not accurate but it suggests the cheapish kit primes that would come with many cameras in the film era), but to some it's anathema.
 

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