Questions re: 20/1.7 Banding and Oly's 16MP Bodies

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by twokatmew, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I picked up the Panny 20/1.7 recently for use on my E-PM2 and E-M5. I was aware of the slow AF and banding at higher ISOs on the new Oly bodies with the Sony 16MP sensor, but a fair number of E-M5/E-PL5/E-PM2 shooters seem to be happy with the lens, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    So far I've only used the lens on my E-PM2, and this copy of the lens is much better than a previous copy I tried back when I had an E-PM1. I have my E-PM2 set up to default to the small AF box, and the 20's AF speed/noise is acceptable. I hadn't seen any banding at up to ISO 6400, so I've been pleased with the lens and planning to keep it.

    Just a couple days ago, however, I began seeing banding at ISO 6400. I haven't had a chance to use the lens outdoors, as it's been snowing and now raining constantly. Now I only have a bit more than a week before I have to decide whether or not to keep the lens, so I have some questions.

    I've read in various threads on this forum that the banding on these Oly bodies is due to electrical interference and that banding tends to show up more in underexposed areas/shots. I've already read that banding can be seen in shots taken as low as ISO 2000.

    Beyond its very pocketable size, I like the sharpness and wide-normal focal length of the 20/1.7. I do a lot of shooting in low light and don't carry a tripod most of the time, so it's conceivable that I'll be pushing up the ISO to 6400 or sometimes even 8000. Still, I plan to carry my E-PM2 and 20/1.7 as my walkaround kit, so the lens should see a fair amount of low ISO use too.

    I assume that a firmware update for lens, camera or both won't fix the banding issue ... or it might have been corrected already? (Not necessarily, I guess.) For those of you using this lens with these bodies, what are your tricks for minimizing the chance of banding? I don't recall who wrote that banding is caused by electrical interference, but could someone elaborate on this?

    Other than banding, I really like this lens. I'd like to keep it, but I don't want to find I can only use it in good light because of unpredictable banding. I'd rather not keep the lens only to find I must sell it at a loss.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate more info on this banding phenomenon and how those of you with these Oly bodies avoid and/or deal with banding.

    Thx! :biggrin:
  2. Talanis

    Talanis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2012
    Sherbrooke, Canada
    Eric Cote
    The only thing I know that can help is be sure not to underexpose. I never go above 3200 ISO with this lens but you can still see some banding at 2500 sometimes.
  3. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
  4. weeowee

    weeowee Mu-43 Regular

    May 6, 2012
    I tried to produce the banding problem with my omd because befofe i had this issue when using high iso, but i can'tseem to replicate it anymore.i'm happy it's gone but it's weird haha