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Panny 14mm vs 20mm - if you had to choose

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by russell, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. russell

    russell Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    Victoria, Australia
    I am still dreaming about my future :43: setup, which will be some time off yet... but I doubt I can afford both the Panasonic 14mm and 20/1.7, at least initially.

    What would you choose if you could only have one?

    Would your answer change if you were in my position of also having an OM Zuiko 28/3.5 (plus various longer OMZs) and most likely the oly 14-42 kit zoom?

    I'm curious to know your thoughts. I'm thinking, if the 28/3.5 turned out to give good IQ and be easy to use, then maybe I'd get the 14... otherwise I guess I'd get the 20 and try to get over its FOV limitations with stitching (or using the kit zoom... but I prefer primes). Ideally I reckon I'd rather a 25 to complement the 14, but maybe I'm just hanging on to what I got used to with film (28 then 50).
  2. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The question really not be what we would choose ... but what/how do you shoot? A logical answer could be based upon asking yourself what percentage of your shooting is done with a normal lens and what percentage is done with a wide angle? Based upon those percentages ... your choice should be clear.

    Other factors may be that you are planning to shoot different subjects and change your shooting style with the micro setup, which nullifies my above mentioned logic. Another factor is pure dollars, the Panny 14mm is a brand new lens and typically nobody will make a deal on an out-of-the-gate piece of hardware. The 20mm has been around a bit and the price will vary from dealer to dealer. So the 20mm will get you more cluck for the buck because the price has already dropped a bit.

  3. russell

    russell Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    Victoria, Australia
    Yes and no... at least half of my shooting is macro photography, which doesn't really enter into this (I will probably use my OMZ 50/3.5 Macro or an 'new' legacy lens for that). Of the remainder, which is roughly evenly split between landscapes, architecture and street photography, I suppose I use a normal lens more than wide angle. However, you can crop a wide angle image more easily than you can stitch exposures from a longer lens (and being a film person, I've never tried to stitch!).... but then there is the fact that the 20mm is faster than the 14mm.... but then there's also the possibility of making use of the 28/3.5 Zuiko... :confused: 
  4. junk_space

    junk_space Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 22, 2010
    i have a gf1 with both of those lenses now and do mostly street stuff... personally, if i had to choose one or the other, it'd be the 20/1.7. don't get me wrong it's wonderful to have the extra real estate of the 14mm especially when shooting architecture (and it makes a fantastic complimentary lens to have in the bag), but honestly there is something magical about the 20mm for it's size + price. could be the speed, or maybe it just reminds me more of my rollie 35 days - but everything seems a bit more personal through that lens. this is only my opinion for my style of shooting of course, but i think relying on stitching would be annoying.

    gary is right - we're starting to see some very good deals out there now on the gf1/20mm kits and the 20mm lens alone.
  5. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    I have the 20mm and I'm very happy with it. The resolution and sharpness is really quite outstanding, and the low-light capability is excellent. I've recently returned from a 3-week holiday, and seldom needed to switch to my 14-150mm lens to get a wider field of view. I would be reluctant to give up the extra light gathering and speed for a greater field of view.

    Reviews on the 14mm are mixed too, whereas the reviews for the 20mm are pretty-much universal in their praise.

    So my vote is for the 20mm.
  6. chasm

    chasm Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2010
    I have the 20mm & the Olympus 9-18mm zoom. When I used :frown: to shoot 35mm I always tended to prefer a 24mm lens to a 28mm, and I tend to find that I'm more often around the 11-12mm range of the zoom than the 14mm. For that reason I've not gone for the 14mm f2.5. If they brought out a 12mm f2, on the other hand... :smile:
  7. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser

    Nov 16, 2010
    You have already both focal lengths covered by the 14-42 zoom. I suppose the main advantages for both of the pancakes are: Smaller size, better image quality and faster operation (larger aperture and faster autofocus). In my opinion the 20mm lens' size is already small enough and its IQ is better than the 14mm lens'. Also it is better for low light photography and I have found the stiching to be very easy afterwards. With the 20mm panny you can get more shallower DOF if you desire that for some of your shots.

    But ultimately it's your decision and only you know your needs. One advice is to look at your EXIF datas and see which focal length you use more, 14mm or 20mm.
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    It totally depends on whether you're a wide angle shooter or not. If so, the 14 is a no brainer. If not, the 20 seems to be the better lens in some ways (primarily faster but perhaps a bit nicer optically too?). I have the 20 and the 17 and find THOSE two lenses to be different enough to own both just due to focal lengths. The 14 is that much wider and is the first m43 prime that might be considered a true wide angle. Although I have that particular focal length covered in a couple different lenses already, I'll probably eventually break down and get the 14 someday also because of the faster aperture, better subject isolation, etc. And some days I just much prefer shooting with primes. If I had to choose only one, it would probably be the Oly 17 because its the focal length that sort of best meets the other two in the middle, is my favorite street shooting field of view length, and is fast enough for most low light situations.

  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I can say the 2 stops difference between my 20/1.7 and 45/2.8 is a HUGE difference even in OK light. There are many times I struggle with getting a sharp image at f/2.8 when it's nice and blur-free at f/1.7

    20/1.7 FTW due to low light performance
  10. nseika

    nseika Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2010
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    I’m new to taking pictures, so I don’t really have any habit brought from the older days with film camera.
    I think my natural (attention) field of view is somewhere around 80~90 range (yeah, someone had a narrow sight of the world) so I used legacy lens more. Besides, that enlargement gave me more comfortable distance from the subjects in my use case.
    Hasn't explored the world more than how I see it.

    Hasn’t been using the 20 recently other than when needing small lens for walkaound. Want to explore it again though. Maybe I’d rather get the 14 for when needing wider angle.
    But your case should be different. I already have some f/1.x legacy lens for that low light situation, even if it glowed wide open.
  11. I reckon that at equivalent focal lengths, the 20mm is further removed from the kit zoom than the 14mm - 2 1/3 stops faster vs 1 stop. The OM 28/3.5 is a neat lens, but I feel that 28mm is just slighly too long as a standard lens on m4/3. I prefer using it on a Canon DSLR (~45mm equiv). If I'm going to use a 28mm lens on m4/3 I'd prefer it to be fast(ish) and have a short min. focussing distance.
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Don't have the 14mm... but from what samples I have seen so far it looks OK... but nothing spectacular.... on the other hand the 20mm is a wonderful lens... don't think you will find many people who have one who would willingly give it up.

    As has been said it depends on what kind of photos you take.

    I have a set of shots taken with the 20mm here

    Panasonic 20/1.7 - a set on Flickr



    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    The Check by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Henri light up by kevinparis, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I have the Oly 17. I find it a jack of all trades..master of none kind of lens. As of late, it has stayed on the camera without coming off. While I do landscapes, the stop difference at 14mm won't win me over compared to the kit lens. If I want to go wider, I'll wait for the 12 or 11mm(24/22) to come out. If a 25mm f/1.x type lens comes out, that will be my next purchase for a lens.
  14. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    The 20mm, its my favorite lens. Small, bright, nice DoF, it's perfect for me.
  15. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2010
    If I had to choose one lens from any of native micro 4/3 lenses - it would be the 20/1.7.

    I've used Zooms, and I've nothing against them optically - but good ones are big.
    The 25/0.95 looks amazing, but it's not small either, and it's not cheap.

    To me, the little panny 20/1,7 is the sweet spot.
  16. DesertRose

    DesertRose Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 1, 2010
    I didn't expect to like the 20 so much, but now I rarely take it off my GH1. You can always get a used one and resell it if you feel it's not wide enough.

    BTW, stitching is very easy, don't be afraid to try it! :) 
  17. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    From my experience with both, the 20mm is a better lens from an IQ-standpoint and does work better in low light. If it is wide enough and small enough for your needs, then you really can't go wrong with it.

    However, the 14mm is noticeably smaller, especially with its smaller caps. If you want to carry your camera (or the lens separately as a backup to another lens) in your pocket, it is without rival. The 17mm is close, but is not as wide and is a quarter-stop slower. The 14mm also is very fast and quiet in autofocus.
  18. MarkWon

    MarkWon Mu-43 Rookie

    May 1, 2010
    The 20 f1.7 is so much more versatile because of it's extra speed and focal length. I just got my 14 today from Amazon. It's a great lens for it's size, af speed/silence, and optically not much inferior it seems. Ideally you would want both in a kit. But I would definitely start with the 20, unless you're Gary Winogrand, who shot mostly with his 28mm as a "normal."
  19. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    20 1.7, have love it for night shooting and indoor shallow dof work.
  20. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    Definitely the 20mm F1.7

    There are more times when I needed the extra light, than width.
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