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Panny 20mm as a landscape lens. Results and Observations

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tanngrisnir3, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    I got the 20mm about 45 days ago, after comparing it to the 25 1.4, as it wasn't substantially worse in any area that concerns me, and the price for the latter wasn't really justified in those terms. The low light capability was a bonus, but I was interested in a walkaround lens that I could leave on for a lot of situations, as landscape shooting often requires a lot a lens/filter changes and combinations. Or it does for me, in any case.

    Until I picked up the GH2, I was primarily shooting landscapes either pretty wide, at 18mm, or with a lot of reach, above 200, so the 40mm equivalent was/is fairly new to me. The first time I ever played around with a prime was a Canon 50mm 1.8 on a 7D, and that was an 80mm equivalent, but I liked the results and the convenience of not switching gear around.

    A. All of these were taken at various places in the Owens Valley, between the eastern Sierra and the Inyo and White ranges, where I and my girlfriend are sometimes twice a month. The ones that look similar were taken from a point off of Jean Blanc Road, north of Bishop, looking (in order) NE, E, N, W and then S.

    "The Road North" is the first thing I've shot that ever got listed on Flickr Explorer.

    B. I've simply GOT to get a quality, rectangular series of ND filters, grad, reverse, etc.. I usually just keep a CP screwed on to most of my lenses, since we're so frequently around water, but when we're not, esp. with the crappy quality of the 46mm I've got on this 20mm, opportunities can be lost. I'm starting to be convinced that bad CPs are worse than no CP at all, and I've got both. The "Western Wall" shot clearly indicates this.

    C. The only real disadvantage I can see in the 20 is that it hunts in extreme low light, but I don't shoot often in such conditions, so it's fine with me.

    D. All of these were done in LR4 Beta, and various websites tend to compress and darken them. They all look great (to me) in LR on my machine, but at some sights, they do not appear as I processed them.

    For more detailed descriptions, click through for the text at Flickr.

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    Storm Forming, Owens River by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

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    Pre-Sunset Clouds, White Mountains by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

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    The Road North, Owens Valley by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

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    Western Wall, Bishop by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

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    Evening Light, Owens Valley, Jean Blanc Road by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

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    Morning Light, Owens Lake by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

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    Road into Windmills, Mojave Desert by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

    And, finally, just for comparison's sake, on done with a Minolta Rokkor 200mm 3.5, equivalent to 400mm. Not an easy thing to keep steady.

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    Infinite Towers & Heat Waves, California Desert by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

    So while I'm happy with the lens in overall terms, I'm really looking forward to trying out the 7-14 on an extended basis, and/or for the upcoming f2.8 Panasonic zooms. I learned to shoot with an LX5, and miss the ease and flexibility of not having to change lenses so often in order to get longer/wider reaches.
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  2. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
    Beautiful shots!
  3. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again and again Subscribing Member

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    Very nice images.

    I love that part of CA.
  4. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2011
    Great shots!

    Regarding the NDs: if you're going to shoot landscapes, why not use a tripod + shutter release and do exposure bracketing? I tried Cokin A-series grads and was disappointed in the color cast, and found the fixed gradation pattern tough to grok in complex landscapes, so I'm hoping to try bracketing in the future.
  5. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Great photos! I've never really thought about using 16:9 for landscapes before (duh) but seeing them against the 4:3 pictures (which are also still excellent) I think they make for more "interesting" landscapes, composition-wise.

    I'll have to remember trying 16:9 next time I take landscape photos (not often). Thanks. :thumbup:
  6. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    I already do shoot almost 95% on a tripod w/a shutter release (which was a POS and just broke) but it just seems much easier to me to hold a filter in front of the element while in the field for one shot rather than, under possibly rapidly changing conditions, have to take three or more shots by bracketing and then go fuss with them in post.

    Perhaps I'm wrong, and I'll give it a go, but although I love the art of digital PP, I try and shoot in such a manner where it is minimized in the overall end-product that people end up seeing.

    That, and although I can make LR sing, my skill level in PS is somewhat hilariously less.
  7. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Wow, nice stuff!
  8. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I've been stalking your images on Flickr :biggrin: ... great series and I appreciate your thoughts on the 20/1.7 for landscapes. I really like the idea of going super light and making one lens do it all.
  9. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    I love the 20mm and shoot landscape with it also. You've done a really nice job with it here. I have my 9-18mm mounted and my 20mm always in my pocket. If I see something that will benefit from higher contrast I put it on. The really amazing shots come from my 20mm, ALWAYS.

  10. spinyman

    spinyman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    San Diego
    Wonderful pics.Thanks for sharing.Lucky you to be in that part of the world so often.Years ago, I spent a winter at Mammoth and know it well.
    dcassat,I have been wanting the 9-18 for a while now.Price holds me back.Now you have given me pause by referring to a higher contrast in the 20mm.I own the 20 but seldom use it, preferring my Oly 17 or the kit for the big picture.
    Is the 9-18 that flat looking?Should I stop lusting for it?
  11. Fantastic images! I love (amongst other things) the light in the road north and western wall. I tend to prefer wider aspect ratios for most things, but for landscapes such as some of yours above they work so well because the compliment the strongly horizontal compositions, whereas 4:3 creates a static image that doesn't lead your eye across it nearly so much. The multi-aspect sensors in the GH1 and GH2 are so valuable because they make every lens just a little bit wider.

    Great work!
  12. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    really great, thanks for sharing
  13. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks. Living in LA, we've got (all w/in max 5 hour drive) Yosemite, the Owens Valley, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Death Valley, The Channel Islands (I can't wait for those), the Mojave, The Salton Sea, Joshua Tree National Park, Anza Borrego State Park, Big Sur (where I'm from), the Carrizo Plain National Monument, the Los Padres National Forest, The White Mountains, the Grove of the Patriarchs, various and assorted National Wildlife Refuges in the San Joaquin Valley for avian shooting and, of course, this city itself. The pickings, especially if you've got a 4wd and are willing to backpack, ain't slim.
    While it's rather deeply post-processed, this guy seemed to use it to good effect.

    500px / Photo "similar" by Kevin Williams

    Then again, look what the 7-14 can do, even stretched to the max at 7mm

  14. No.
  15. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    Great photos. I just picked up the Panasonic 20 today, nice to see some inspiring photos.

    Next step, find a Heliopan step-up adapter to use my Hoya HD polarizer on the Panny 20mm.
  16. spinyman

    spinyman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    San Diego
    I shall continue lusting after the 9-18.
  17. Sorry :blush: It's never going to quite match up to a fixed focal length prime like the 20mm, but the 20mm doesn't have to deal with the issues an UWA lens does.
  18. flaxseedoil1000

    flaxseedoil1000 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    Curious to see a stitched 20mm landscape shot

    Anyone :) 
  19. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    Great photos! What CP do you recommend by the way? (Or any bad ones to avoid?!)
  20. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    For budget level CPs that actually work well, I've always stuck w/Tiffen.

    For much higher quality, but much more money, B+W has always been my choice.

    The reason I got a crappy one (it's a Zeikos) was that I had a remainder balance on a Amazon gift card. I got this CP and a remote shutter release for about $7 that doesn't work.
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