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Photographing children with Panasonic 20 mm? [+banding issues]

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by SojiOkita, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Hello everyone,

    I'm wondering if I should buy or not the Panasonic 20 mm f1.7.

    I already have several primes, as the 14 mm f/2.5, that I don't use much, and the 25 mm f/1.4, that I like a lot and use a lot.
    However, the 25 mm is sometimes a bit huge and a bit long.

    I was aiming the Oly 17 mm f/1.8 but it's quite expensive, and I think it may be a bit wide for what I like.
    The only thing I fear on Panasonic is the autofocus.
    I would use it a lot for photos without a moving subject, for which autofocus accuracy is more important that AF speed, and I think the 20 mm will be fine for that.
    But I would also use it from time to time to photograph children, and young children can sometimes move quite fast in an unpredictaple way.

    Is the 20 mm AF usable for such photos?
     
  2. csnite

    csnite Mu-43 Regular

    35
    Feb 21, 2012
    Florida
    I have had the 20 and loved it for many things, but not for taking pictures of my children. I always found the AF to be slow, especially in lower light. The Olympus 25mm f1.8 I have found to be a very good performer in low light, with lightning quick af and is very small. The 20 and 25 I have found to be very close to each other in focal length, and IMO, not needed together. I would look into the 17 if you really want something a little wider than the 25, but in my case, I'm either going wide (12mm) or sticking with the 25. For me, if I were to chose from what you listed, I would save for the 17 and crop a little if you really want 20mm, but the 20 is a great lens that is very compact. Alternatively, if you are just looking for size, why not look at the panasonic 12-32 pancake zoom? It is very small and a good performer. It is not a low light lens, but it is good.
     
  3. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    830
    Sep 30, 2013
    What body do you use? I've read that the 20/1.7 has better AF performance on recent Panasonic bodies than Olympus. I wouldn't recommend it for kids on an Olympus body, but it might be ok on Panasonic. If you're shooting mostly in bright day light the 20/1.7 will likely be fine, but when the light drops it hunts quite a bit on Oly bodies and I wouldn't trust it to capture moving kids. The 17/1.8, 25/1.8, 25/1.4 (and I imagine the new 25/1.7) focus fast enough in SAF mode to catch active kids in my experience, even as the light starts to drop.

    The Oly 17/1.8 is a very nice lens, used on eBay it sells for $250-300 which isn't bad.

    When I first got my EM5 I had the 20/1.7, but replaced it with both the 17/1.8 and 25/1.4 due to the poor AF. I've been very happy with that discussion though I have since sold the 17/1.8 as I tend to use either the 12/2 or the 25/1.4.
     
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    for posed shots = yes.
    For candids = no due to the AFC limitations.
     
  5. greenjp

    greenjp Mu-43 Regular

    69
    May 15, 2014
    Maryland
    My foray into "real" cameras started with a Panasonic G3 and 20mm in the spring of 2014. My two kids (5 and 3) are my most common subjects and I don't find the 20mm to be problematic at all. I suppose if we're talking about shooting them running towards or away from the camera in dimly lit rooms it's not perfect, but I find that the focus is accurate and quick enough in most situations. I've subsequently gotten a 14-42 v2, which rarely gets used because I much prefer the performance of the 20mm.

    jeff
     
  6. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    218
    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Greg
    I took a lot of photos of my kids with the 20mm, I found that it works great. The slightly-wide angle of the 20mm makes it a bit more versatile than a 25mm, without as much distortion as a 17mm if you get real close. It's also a tiny lens as you know which makes a difference. That said, if I had the 25mm 1.4 I doubt I would buy the 20mm. I suppose it could be the difference between fitting in a jacket pocket or not, depending on the camera.
     
  7. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    I take a lot of candid shots but always in AF-S. In fact I never use AF-C on m43...

    I have an E-M10 and a GM1.

    Unfortunately, I'm not able to make a choice like this for now... even if I think that having fewer primes that you really like is probably better than more lenses.

    I already have the 12-32, which is good but not fast (aperture).
    I use it a lot when I travel, but there are times I find it more fun with a prime lens.
     
  8. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    290
    Oct 12, 2013
    I use the Panasonic 20mm. Yes, it doesn't focus the fastest, but it is perfectly serviceable focusing to take pictures of children. If they are running around, some pictures may be out of focus, but despite that, the 20mm has completely replaced the Sigma 19mm and 30mm I used to use. (They focus faster, but the shutter-speed advantage of the additional light-gathering is much more important.)
     
  9. pmpup4p3

    pmpup4p3 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Jun 23, 2014
    Hello,
    I have the 20mm and take most pictures with it. I recently went to Paris with my kids (3 and 8 yo) and only used the 20mm walking around the city with them. Got some great ones, mostly environmental but some candid closeups too.
    I also use it quite a lot in the house where the f1.7 is important, I can use higher shutter to freeze running around kids...
    Naturally, the lens sometimes hunts focus, but not so much that ever bothered me.
    I have a GX7, I think most internals are common to the GM1, so maybe it will work similar.
    You may search youtube (or here, I posted a link on some other thread) for a video of Tyson Robichaud testing focus speed with the GX7+20mm (both versions) - that's what helped me decide to get one.
    If you can (I now it's not easy most places) try it out...
    Good luck with your decision
    Disclaimer: notice most phrases have I or me (as in my experience/needs) :)
     
  10. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    The 20mm was my first stand-alone M43 lens 5 years ago and it has served me well. It does focus slower, and there are lighting conditions where it hunts. For a toddler sitting in a chair, it does a fine job. When they start running around, well those make lousy pictures anyway, but if you must do running around pix, there are faster focusing tools. Nonetheless a good craftsman can make this lens work. After all, some of us shot running around pix with manual focus long ago and we're still here.

    If you have to prioritize your lens collection, you might be better off waiting for a good deal on the 17mm f1.8 or consider the new lower cost Panasonic 25mm
     
  11. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Thanks for all the answers.
    There seems to have as many opinions about its lens AF as there is users...

    I've been thinking a lot about my purchase.
    I've wanted Olympus 17 mm for a long time, but I think now that I may prefer the Panasonic 20 mm: it's a pancake - and I want a small lens - it's optically very good, it is cheaper, and it has a nicer bokeh (it's a very tiny advantage for this focal length, though).

    So, I think I will buy it and see for myself if it's autofocus is good enough for my use.
    If not, I'll wait for a good deal on the Olympus 17 mm.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    While the 20mm is a true pancake, the difference in depth between the 17 and 20mm is not even a half inch.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    830
    Sep 30, 2013
    Yeah, honestly, unless you've got a GM1/GM5 that you're trying to fit into a pocket, the differences between the 12/2, 14/2.5, 15/1.7, 17/1.8, 20/1.7, and 25/1.8, are pretty trivial. The 17/1.8 and 25/1.8 weigh 20g (0.7oz!) and 36g more than the 20mm respectively. The 25/1.4 isn't really that much larger/heavier either, while it is double the weight/length of the 20mm, it's still only 200g/54mm (~2.1 inches) long.

    Personally, when I had both the 14mm and 20mm, they were too small, and I would often smudge up the lens with finger prints because there wasn't a good place to hold the camera with my left hand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    218
    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Greg
    The biggest difference is the pancake lens on a smaller camera body can fit into a jacket pocket. This gives the 20mm a uniquely useful purpose, it's not really wide or long so it ends up being more versatile. I even like the old 17 2.8 Olympus for this purpose but I prefer the Panasonic lens. You're right that weight is not a big deal on any of them.
     
  15. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    938
    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
    I shot almost exclusively with an epm2 and a 20mm for 3/4 of a year, during which I photographed my 2 kids, both under 4 years old. There were only a hand full of times where the AF would do its own thing, but otherwise it's a great lens. I now alternate between it and the 12-32 on that body.
     
  16. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Half an inch isn't negligible...
    Sometimes that means that the camera won't fit in your pocket.

    I have the PL25/1.4, and I find it pretty huge.
    Compared to the Oly 45, for example, it makes a real difference when you use it.

    And I do have a GM1;)
    (that I'll probably replace with an E-PL7 or something similar one day)
     
  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    http://camerasize.com/compact/#491.30,491.383,ha,t

    Just make sure you aren't giving too much priority to the size in the decision process is all I'm saying. Mounted on the camera, the kit is 56 vs 66mm thick. So the only way the GM1 is really a pocket camera is if you remove the lens.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    830
    Sep 30, 2013
    It's all relative, I have the 25/1.4 and most certainly consider it a small lens. My 42.5/1.2 on the other hand is not, though even that is not huge (my Sigma 85/1.4 was way bigger). I consider my 35-100/2.8 a tiny lens for what it is, but again, that is in relation to my previous Sigma 70-200/2.8 which weighs about 4x as much.

    My camera bodies are EM1 and EM5II, no matter what lens I put on them, they don't fit in my pockets. My RX100 III is pocketable (just barely), anything bigger is not, for my pockets at least.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  19. pmpup4p3

    pmpup4p3 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Jun 23, 2014
    Lol - that's true, yes! That's why I think try before you buy if you can :)
     
  20. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I am a larger guy who doesn't wear tight pants. Meaning my pants pockets are about as big as they come. I consider the 41mm depth of the RX100 III to be even a tiny bit too thick to be comfortably pocketable. I think that already stretches the upper limit. 290g can be a bit brick like in the pocket if your day involves a lot of walking, too.

    I usually do belt pouch if it is bigger than about 25mm thick (1") and 225g (1/2 lbs)