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Panny 20mm 1.7 or Oly 45mm 1.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by 369, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. 369

    369 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    Now that the Oly 45/1.8 has been announced and the price of the 20mm and 45mm is almost the same. Which lens is good?

    I just have the kit lens on my ep-1 need something for lowlight and portraits, will the Olympus lens be better for that. Then again I am thinking th pancake size of 20mm is so convenient.

    I have not invested on the mft system except the camera and the ket lens that came with it. I want to get in the right direction in terms of investing my money in the system.

    any examples of portraits with the 20mm.

    Kindly suggest
  2. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    For portraiture the 45mm will be easier to work with. The longer focal length is somewhat more flattering. For street photography the 20mm will allow you to get in closer and render a more 3D feel as a result of that. The 20mm may also be better for groups, especially in tight situations.

    It's not really an either/or choice with these two. They do very different things and you'll probably end up with both if primes are the way you like to work.

  3. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    Those are different lenses for different purposes.

    20mm is a semi-wide walkaround lens, perfect for casual snaps, street and low-light photography. It's not suitable for classical portrait photography because it distorts faces.

    45mm is a dedicated portrait lens. But it's probably too tight to be used for general photography.
  4. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    +1 to what Stratokaster and Flash said.

    Just wanted to add that you can (sort of) take head and shoulder portraits with the 20/1.7 without significant distortion, but you will need to step back and capture a little bit more of the environment around the subject, and then crop. If you are not going to be printing big photos with the head and shoulder portraits, losing some resolution due to cropping won't be a huge deal.

    But if head and shoulder portraits is really your main need, then 45/1.8 is probably the way to go.
  5. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Hard to compare a normal lens and a telephoto... Portraits have been made with all focal lengths
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I agree with all of the above. Might be worth experimenting with your zoom to see which focal length you use the most and then buy the corresponding prime.

    That said, the Panasonic 20 gets my absolute highest recommendation.
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    They really are too different to compare that way. I can see a having both in a kit as they serve different purposes. It also depends on what your style of shooting is. For me the 20/1.7 is terrific for the kinds of things I like to shoot and it gets a lot of on camera time. I don't shoot a lot of portraits so the 45/1.8 would be of limited use to me.
  8. 369

    369 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    i am actually running in all sorts of direction. I have not found yet what I want internally. When I see the 20mm pic thread I absolutely love it. When I go to fred miranda and people photography and see canon 50mm 1.4/1.8 I absolutely love it too.

    I have not used either so i don't know which I will like, or if I should get a canon t3i and 50mm 1.8
    I am still struggling where I have found my absolute gear. I guess 20mm makes more sense and more for general photography.
  9. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    I have the 20mm and am 99% sure I am going to buy the 45mm. That said I have used many different m43 lenses and I wouldn't trade the 20mm for any other lens for my every day use.
  10. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    You say you have a "kit lens", but which one? If it's the 17/2.8, I'd keep it as a perfect complement to the 45/1.8. Else, I'd sell the zoom, get the 17. It is a good lens enough eventhough it doesn't get the 20's raving reviews. The 17/2.8 and 45/1.8 even share the same filter size.

    Just as Panasonic has it 14, 20 and 45mm line for its prime lenses, it seems Olympus chose 12, 17 and 45...
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    I believe low light is also important to the OP. 1.7 vs. 2.8 is pretty significant IMO.
  12. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I don't think that there is such thing as perfect gear. I think the best gear is the stuff we know best and can bend to our will. Instead of going to sites like fredmiranda (great site BTW) or here or where-ever just get out with your kit lens and experiment. See what works for you and what doesn't. You'll get much more insight about what lens you "need" (or if a different system might be better) by trying stuff out. I can get easily wrapped up seeing other folks samples but I learn more when I see my own.
    • Like Like x 3
  13. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    So, they're fairly substantially different focal lengths.
    * 20mm (40 equiv) is rather short for portraits. The 45 is a much more comfortable length.
    * The pancakes (14/17/20) are all really handy for low-light 'social' situations and walk-around use. The 45 is way too long for this.
    * The 45 will have a shallower depth of field, due to the longer focal length. That can be good or bad, but it helps its case as a portrait lens.
    * The pancakes are obviously a lot easier to tote around.
  14. semma

    semma Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    I understand that you already own a mu43.
    And I doubt you gonna make better pictures with the t3i then with your mu43, and you will own 2 different systems then.
    I don't push you in any direction, but if you have the 14-42mm kitlens, shoot shoot shoot for a few months, and see what focal lenght you take the most pictures. If it is the wide side, then go for the 20mm, if it is the long side, then the 45mm.
    You own a good system, and time is on your side, Oly and Pana (and even Leica) are making great glass for this system, just find out what glass fits your needs best :wink:
  15. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Semma's suggestion is good: are the majority of your pictures taken at the wide or tele end?

    If you want to take portraits of more than one person, or photograph more of the body, then the 20mm's focal length is easier.

    If you want to do shoulder and up type of portraits, the 45mm is more ideal.

    I love my 20mm but when I'm using it for portrait shots I have to be really careful about my distance to the subject. It applies a distortion to faces that is noticeable, giving some pictures an "off" look. Note that this really only manifests if you are pretty close; you can always step back and crop (but then, bokeh comes into play...)

    Most of the time I end up using my 50mm f/2 ZD instead.
  16. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Wow - ready to buy one, and you don't have any idea what the image quality is like yet.
  17. sylvesterii

    sylvesterii Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2011
    I'm certainly excited about this as well, you can easily find a place in your bag for both the 20 1.7 (I am extremely impressed with that lens so far) and the yet to be seen 45 1.8. Granted, there are not any images yet, so who knows if it will be a clunker or not.

    14 f/2.5, 20 f/1.7, 45 f/1.8 and if they made a 100mm f/2.8 I think I would never need another lens for this system...
  18. JCD

    JCD Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 10, 2010
    Palermo, Italy
    if you are looking for a (close) portrait lens, then the answer is only one: the brand new 45mm....
  19. 369

    369 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    I did not mention the 25/1.4 because its $200 more but I guess more comparable to the 20/1.7.

    I noticed that when doing C-AF with the 14-42 kit lens with my ep-1 there is a lot of focusing noise. Is the 20mm quieter than the 14-42.

    If I upgrade my camera to ep-3 or epl-3, I would still be able to use this lens right?
  20. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Olympus all the way....Panasonic in this case isn't even a thought...
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