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Sigma 19/2.8 vs. Panasonic 20/1.7 comparison

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by stratokaster, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    Popco.net (which is quickly becoming my favorite photography site, in no small part because I can't understand a word) made a comparison between Sigma 19/2.8 and Panasonic 20/1.7. As usual, it's in Korean, but pictures and videos are easy enough to understand.


    The bottom line:

    Panasonic 20/1.7 is sharper, smaller, lighter and faster (as in max. aperture), but Sigma 19/2.8 is significantly faster (as in AF speed) and cheaper (at less than $200 it's a bargain).
    • Like Like x 1
  2. I swear that my 20mm doesn't focus anywhere near as quickly as the video shows.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    Say it isn't so! :eek: 

    Just kidding. I tried it on my GX1, I couldn't tell that it's be slower with subjects that aren't very far from each other (2 feet).
  4. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    For my part, I decided on the Sigma instead of the Panasonic, and thought of keeping the rest of the money to invest in the Summilux 25mm in the near future.

    Honestly, from any photo comparison I've seen, I can't find an astounding difference in IQ from the Panny 20mm, at least for my taste. That is NOT to say that it's not a better lens overall, esp. in lower light conditions.

    The Sigma focuses fast, it's reasonably small and lightweight (not a pancake though...) and its only problem is the slow wake-up behavior when the camera goes to sleep mode. I guess, if ~40mm equivalent is a crucial focal length, and/or you need the pancake size, you have to go for the Panny.
  5. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    The Sigma 19mm is really designed for APS-C so using it on a MFT kind of doesn't make sense to me. It's an amazingly capable lens in the larger format for the 28mm FoV. A bit of CA but easy to remove and it has great color.
  6. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    If your comment refers to the focal length equivalent, I beg to differ.

    38mm is comfortably close to the 35mm standard. Which BTW is much more "standard" than 28mm now, isn't it. I personally find it a quite convenient FOV.
  7. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    Do you use an Olympus m4/3 camera? I own several Olympus Pen cameras (E-P1, EPL1s, and E-P3) and none of them focus that fast with the 20mm either ... but several forum members have commented that Panasonic lenses on Panasonic bodies focus faster than Panasonic lenses on Olympus bodies.

    I will say that my Oly 12mm and 45mm lenses focus just as fast as what the video shows on my E-P3.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I don't have a problem with the focal length of the Sigma. I do have several other problems, though:

    Mainly, it's just too slow. I generally use the Panasonic prime when I need a significantly faster lens than the various zooms. The Sigma really doesn't buy me much there. Most times, if I can get buy with f/2.8, I can get buy with f3.5 or so from the 14-45.

    Also, it's not digitally corrected, like Panasonic and Oly lenses are.

    AF speed on the Panasonic works for what I use it for.
  9. The GH1 is the only Panasonic body that I have. On both it and the new E-M5 it doesn't feel like my 20mm focuses as quickly as it appears to in the linked video with the GX1. I liked using the 20mm on my E-PL1 because I didn't expect great speed from either the camera or the lens, but the 20mm on the E-M5 in particular feels mismatched to me.
  10. ageha

    ageha Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2011
    The Sigma prime doesn't make much sense to me. It's bigger than it needs to be because it's designed for E-mount and it's a bit slow for a prime with that focal length.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    Not sure where your f3.5 reference comes from. At 19mm my kit zoom is at f4.3, at 20mm it's at f4.4. If we were talking about the 14mm then the difference would be smaller of course.

    My main gripe with the Sigma is that it's only ever as fast as the new 12-35. You add these non-pancake primes together (12,19,30) and it's not much cheaper than the Panasonic.

    Again, I think it has to do with the relative distance as well. If I were to go from 1 ft away to 30 ft away in a low contrast or low brightness setting it wouldn't be as fast with the GX1 either. Their scene is very bright and I presume there are only a few between the subjects.

    I don't have my E-M5 yet (someone is bringing it to me in Europe in 2 days), I'll do an informal comparison then.
  12. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Exactly. There is no comparison with the kit lens. Another thing is, at least for my specific needs, taste, etc, the Sigma is sharp even at f2.8, and at least highly useable.

    About the geometry/color correction thing, I've found that the profile in LR4 (probably for the APS-C version) works quite well, if need be. In a generic fashion I imagine, but still you can use it.

    I'm one of those believing that we need scores more of those cheap, even one could say "disposable" lenses like the Sigmas, in :43: world. I hope Tamron, Tokina and others will deliver. In every system, most people end up with 1-3 great, expensive lenses and 3-6 more economical, "good enough" (but still really good) lenses in their collection.

    edit to add:
    Good point, but only because the 12mm Oly is extortionally expensive. I bet most people shall compromise with the 14mm Panny. In Europe the total cost of 14, 19, 30mm is about 500-550 euro, if you shop around, half that of the alleged 12-35 cost. But I believe the 12-35 is for another set of users anyway, it is weather sealed and significantly higher quality than the aforementioned primes.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    Possibly for sharper corners? I mean, people adapt 35mm film lenses, even medium format lenses, to :43:. This is partly because you can take advantage of a lens' center sharpness, and any vignette or soft corner issues a lens might have are cropped away. So, a lens designed for APS-C sensor size will have some of the same benefit.

    Neither lens is perfect. The 20/1.7 is almost double the price and the AF is much slower. The 19/2.8 starts up really slowly and is slower glass but has sharp corners and fast AF at a steal of a price. What matters most to you?
  14. ageha

    ageha Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2011
    The focal length, aperture, AF speed, size/weight and a bit IQ. I would rather buy the 17mm F2.8 prime for the E-M5 than the Sigma lens, it also looks nicer. ;-)
  15. rich00

    rich00 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    Sigma brings more choices to m4/3. You need to keep in mind that it's a lot cheaper than the panny 20. With that it brings it's limitations, size, max aperture etc.. If people want a faster lens then get the panny 20 and expect to pay a higher price.
  16. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I know I'm late to this thread but I had a GX1 and P20 and I can tell you mine never focused that quickly.

    As to the Sigma vs the Panasonic 20...I love the P20. I used one almost my entire time using m43 cameras (on a number of Panasonic and Olympus bodies). I think it is not that far off in image quality from the PL25 but now that I have picked up a new G3 I went with the Sigma 30 (might pick up a 19 as well). I had a Sigma 30 on the NEX (where it does NOT focus quickly but that's another issue) but image wise the lens was nothing short of spectacular. It was crazy sharp, had wonderful bokeh and lovely color. At the current going price of $150 it's an absolute steal.
  17. Mogul

    Mogul Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2012
    For the edification of anyone who has ever wished to know what a site says in English, there's a tool that SOMETIMES :) smile:)  works:
    Instead of just clicking on the link, highlight it, copy it to the google search window and press search. You will often get the link accompanied by a blue note to "Translate this page..." Click on that phrase and you will get the link with an attached translator. Choose the language you want (most default to English) and yoy should be able yo read at least part of the text in your chosen language. Good Luck!
  18. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    At 19mm, my 14-42 kit lens opens to f/4, so the Sigma f/2.8 gives me an extra f-stop. I know I could get another stop-and-a-half from the 20/1.7, but that advantage is reduced by its reported trouble with auto-focusing in low light.

    Also, I have IBIS in my PEN, so the Sigma can take a longer exposure in low light than it could on a Panasonic camera. If I had a Panasonic camera, I might lean more toward a wider-aperture lens.

    I know that some people crave the wide aperture so they can blur their backgrounds, but I'm not a bokeh fetishist. One reason I like the 19mm focal length is that the wide-ish angle helps to separate subject from background.

    I think you're wrong about digital correction of the Sigma lens. If I open an .orf (raw) file in Viewer 2, I have the option to auto-correct distortion using lens information, and ticking the option straightens lines in the image. I don't have that option with legacy lenses.
  19. lefty

    lefty Mu-43 Regular

    I just bought a 20mm used. The guy I got it from said that the focusing was clearly much faster on my camera than on his. We both have EM5s except mine was bought in early May and his in August.
  20. ageha

    ageha Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2011
    I think he just wanted to be a good sales guy.
    • Like Like x 1
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