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Thread: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

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    Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    DPReview has their review up for the new 20mm pancake. They have results for both the GF1 and the Pen. Bottom line it is considered a must have lens for micro 4/3

    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/...ic_20_1p7_o20/

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    DPReview has their review up for the new 20mm pancake. They have results for both the GF1 and the Pen. Bottom line it is considered a must have lens for micro 4/3

    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/...ic_20_1p7_o20/
    Thanks for the link Terry . . . I want one!

    When do you get your GF1 . . . are you going to do a comparison with the EP1?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Thanks for the link Terry . . . I want one!

    When do you get your GF1 . . . are you going to do a comparison with the EP1?
    Jono - I'm in NY my GF1 is with my doorman in SF ... I will be back for about 8 hours on Sunday to grab the camera and a little bit of sleep before I leave on a business trip. The following weekend (3rd-4th) I was planning on going out and shooting all four m4/3 cameras together with various lenses. Should be a fun exercise.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Jono - I'm in NY my GF1 is with my doorman in SF ... I will be back for about 8 hours on Sunday to grab the camera and a little bit of sleep before I leave on a business trip. The following weekend (3rd-4th) I was planning on going out and shooting all four m4/3 cameras together with various lenses. Should be a fun exercise.
    You need extra hands!
    I'd offer mine, but they're too far away!

    Good Luck

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Yes, it's an excellent review - it's certainly convinced me the lens is worth having... looks extremely sharp, light and compact, and of course a nice fast aperture will be terrific!

    Interesting line on Auto Focus performance :

    "It's not as fast as the Panasonic 14-45mm or 14-140mm zooms, but it's not terribly slow either (obviously this depends to some extent on the specific body used, with the E-P1 feeling just a little bit slower than the G1 or GF1)."

    At last, out goes the 'Lightyears ahead' hyperbole which others have used, and we have a more realistic description.

    Cheers

    Brian

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    This is what I ordered for my GF1 (and thanks for the assist Terry!)
    It looks to be a promising little system.
    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 25th September 2009 at 04:25.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    What a terrific little lens. A quality lens lineup is the hallmark of a quality camera company and Panasonic seeming to be pulling out all stops. I enjoyed this quote from the review"

    "Panasonic appears to be positioning the GF1 as the spiritual successor to the likes of the CL and the Contax G series - as a high quality portable camera system for serious photographers."

    I have owned dozens of cameras over the years and the Minolta CLE was my all time favourite, particularly when partnered with the little Rokkor 40mm. The GF1 has some big shoes to fill. But if this lens is a sign of things to come, woohoo !!

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Here is a brief user take on this lens:

    http://photo.net/olympus-camera-forum/00UYG3

    IMO, the prices of the m4/3rds are a bit on the higher side. I think it is reflective of the success of the system.

    I hope that other players (Pentax, etc) will come in to the market. Leica lost a chance with the X1.

    M4/3rds prime lens prices are almost on par with those of the Cosina RF lenses.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Yes, the prices of 4/3 lenses introduced so far are higher than those of "genericana," but I think it's important to remember that in many respects they are "premium optics."

    Obviously a lot of attention is going into the optical designs, and the material choices (e.g. plastics) seem more for low weight than for cutting costs.

    Recently one of our offices bought a new low-end Canon DSLR (I forget which model) with its bundled "kit lens," and asked me to look it over. I thought the camera body was okay, but I was a bit appalled by the lens: it had IS and a useful zoom range, and the online reviews said it was pretty sharp, but the thing was as loose as a goose. The barrel felt flimsy, the zoom action was gritty, and when extended all the way, the front barrel shifted noticeably whenever you touched the focus ring.

    By comparison, the Pana 14-45 "kit zoom" feels like a much higher-grade lens, and there certainly hasn't been anything in its performance that I can complain about. I've owned the 45-200 only briefly and haven't shot much with it, but again it feels well-made and wobble-free. Other users seem to have commented similarly on the 14-140 and the two Olympus lenses to date.

    It strikes me as pretty smart on the part of the two 4/3 makers to realize that the whole format is going to gain or lose its reputation on the caliber of their initial offerings, and so far their lens choices seem to be emphasizing quality over quantity -- I'd rather have BOTH quality and quantity, of course, but it's hard to argue with this philosophy!

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post

    Recently one of our offices bought a new low-end Canon DSLR (I forget which model) with its bundled "kit lens," and asked me to look it over. I thought the camera body was okay, but I was a bit appalled by the lens: it had IS and a useful zoom range, and the online reviews said it was pretty sharp, but the thing was as loose as a goose. The barrel felt flimsy, the zoom action was gritty, and when extended all the way, the front barrel shifted noticeably whenever you touched the focus ring.

    The kitzooms of Canikons can be had for a pittance. You should have looked at the Olympus m4/3rds kitzzoom to compare. What is the list price of that?

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Yeah, I think the M 4/3 lenses are on the high side too. The M 4/3 kit zooms are better than the Canon kit zoom, but cost a LOT more as well. The actual optics is less impressive when you take out the autocorrections too. I mean I think it's good the corrections are done, but that still reflects on the actual glass. To be fair, the G1 kit zoom is fast and silent at AF.

    The new 20mm f/1.7 looks really nice, to a large extent I think the price premium compare to other fast normals is easier to accept since its a pancake.

    I think Panasonic is pricing the system as a whole for early adopters who want to jump on. As time passes and the system grows in success, prices may come down- especially if Canon or Nikon comes out with a competing mirrorless system. Good for them- they took a risk to develop a new system, and are now reaping the rewards and covering their initial investment costs.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    I would say that the Panasonic offerings were overpriced at all - of course this is a personal decision too. I look at it this way. I bought a 2 lens G1 kit brand new for about $900 US give or take in March or April. That's less than I paid for my Digital Rebel in 2003 with just a kit lens (with my old discount mind you.) There's no question to me that the G1 can outperform it as well.

    As for the lenses they are priced in line or at a fraction of what comparable lenses cost from the competition. The 14-140HD goes for about the same price as a Nikon 18-200 VR II. The Panasonic 7-14/4 is quite a bit cheaper than ultra wide angle lenses from other manufacturers who offer similar range and performance. The 20/1.7 isn't terribly expensive either and is close to what I paid for my CV 50/1.5 when you factor in the M bayonet adapter. It also autofocuses and doesn't require adapters.

    I'd say all things considered they are priced pretty fairly in regards to competition and performance.
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Certainly in Australia, the Panasonic lenses have generally been more expensive than the Olympus ones, not always better and sometimes not even available for purchase as a separate lens. Then they gave up on 4/3s entirely.

    In m4/3s, Panasonic has now thrown down the gauntlet to Olympus to see what they can do in return with their lenses. To that end, I wouldn't put down Olympus, they've shown that they can come back with a vengence and it's my guess that they're not about to accept second place in the m4/3s race.

    And don't forget, since Olympus introduced 4/3s, they've come up with many 'solutions to problems' (as noted in at least one review forum); I think that there may be more to come.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by OzRay View Post
    Certainly in Australia, the Panasonic lenses have generally been more expensive than the Olympus ones, not always better and sometimes not even available for purchase as a separate lens. Then they gave up on 4/3s entirely.

    In m4/3s, Panasonic has now thrown down the gauntlet to Olympus to see what they can do in return with their lenses. To that end, I wouldn't put down Olympus, they've shown that they can come back with a vengence and it's my guess that they're not about to accept second place in the m4/3s race.

    And don't forget, since Olympus introduced 4/3s, they've come up with many 'solutions to problems' (as noted in at least one review forum); I think that there may be more to come.

    Cheers

    Ray
    I didn't mean to make it sound as if I was putting down Olympus. I do like their color profiles although I'm not wild about their blacks and how sometimes the image isn't super crisp in shadows. Some prefer this and I imagine it's just the way they design their cameras to process because I've seen it in all of their SLR style cameras. Again to their credit I believe they make some of the best quality glass regardless of price.

    While I don't care personally for the "race car" style marketing that Panasonic chooses to place all over their cameras (everyone will know you're shooting a Lumix product) I prefer their style of image output. I imagine I will continue to reach for the Panasonic versions of the 4/3 products because of this.
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    [QUOTE]And don't forget, since Olympus introduced 4/3s, they've come up with many 'solutions to problems' (as noted in at least one review forum); I think that there may be more to come./QUOTE]

    Except for fast primes. The E-P1 and GF-1 beg for a fast small prime be mounted, the 17/2.8 is good match for the E-P1, nice focal length, but not fast.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    I didn't mean to make it sound as if I was putting down Olympus. I do like their color profiles although I'm not wild about their blacks and how sometimes the image isn't super crisp in shadows. Some prefer this and I imagine it's just the way they design their cameras to process because I've seen it in all of their SLR style cameras. Again to their credit I believe they make some of the best quality glass regardless of price.

    While I don't care personally for the "race car" style marketing that Panasonic chooses to place all over their cameras (everyone will know you're shooting a Lumix product) I prefer their style of image output. I imagine I will continue to reach for the Panasonic versions of the 4/3 products because of this.
    Everyone has a preference for image output, that goes way back to the days of film, so what's one person's cheese, is another's rotten milk. I own a Panasonic LX2 and have really liked it's image quality (JPG), but not the way it delivers RAW files (why, oh why, does it have to apply noise reduction to everything, including RAW?).

    So as you may have guessed, I'm a RAW shooter (even when I shoot sports for my newspaper) and, to that end, all I want are unadulterated RAW files. I don't care at all what the engineers factored into their JPG algorithms, I simply don't shoot JPG, at all (except with the LX2). I prefer to manipulate the final image outcome, just as I did in the darkroom days, but now I don't have to suffer the effects of photochemicals anymore.

    Panasonic have upped the ante and it's now time for Olympus to respond.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    I think Pana would kill Oly. Eventually.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    [QUOTE=rover;138494]
    And don't forget, since Olympus introduced 4/3s, they've come up with many 'solutions to problems' (as noted in at least one review forum); I think that there may be more to come./QUOTE]

    Except for fast primes. The E-P1 and GF-1 beg for a fast small prime be mounted, the 17/2.8 is good match for the E-P1, nice focal length, but not fast.
    True, but I never felt that there was a need for primes when it came to the 4/3s DSLRs, the zooms are simply excellent in their own right. But with m4/3s, I think it will be essential to produce prime lenses, if the format is to fully succeed and grow.

    Weird turnaround for me and even weirder that I've bought so many M mount lenses and relegated the standard zoom to the 'not interested' bin. Honestly, I never thought that I'd be interested in prime lenses, let alone purely manual focus lenses, until the Pen came out.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by OzRay View Post
    Everyone has a preference for image output, that goes way back to the days of film, so what's one person's cheese, is another's rotten milk. I own a Panasonic LX2 and have really liked it's image quality (JPG), but not the way it delivers RAW files (why, oh why, does it have to apply noise reduction to everything, including RAW?).

    So as you may have guessed, I'm a RAW shooter (even when I shoot sports for my newspaper) and, to that end, all I want are unadulterated RAW files. I don't care at all what the engineers factored into their JPG algorithms, I simply don't shoot JPG, at all (except with the LX2). I prefer to manipulate the final image outcome, just as I did in the darkroom days, but now I don't have to suffer the effects of photochemicals anymore.

    Panasonic have upped the ante and it's now time for Olympus to respond.

    Cheers

    Ray
    I NEVER shoot JPEG and to be honest the first Panasonic I owned personally is the G1 (unless you count the Leica D-Lux 4 variant of the LX3 too.) I don't think they do anything to those RAW files outside of lens correction info and I'm pretty sure noise reduction is only applied to JPEG where they are both concerned... Again... I never shoot JPEG though.
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I think Pana would kill Oly. Eventually.
    Unlikely. Panasonic lost their commitment to 4/3s, after the dismal failure in sales of their 4/3s gear and Leica has given up on them as well. But I do hope that they keep their commitment to m4/3s, as it's essential to keep the momentum going, and m4/3s really is a great innovation in digital photography.

    I'm not even sure that Panasonic could buy out this part of Olympus digital imaging, to give them some legs, as it has remained profitable to Olympus despite the many naysayers. Panasonics Achilles' Heel will be its ability to source lenses, even though they have done well so far in m4/3s; however, Olympus has remained true to the entire system.

    Where did I read that the only lens manufacturer that Leica was ever worried about was Olympus?

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    4/3rds is dead after the arrival of the m4/3rds. Leica probably sell ~10 new lenses a month in any region. They ought to be worried about Olympus.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    I NEVER shoot JPEG and to be honest the first Panasonic I owned personally is the G1 (unless you count the Leica D-Lux 4 variant of the LX3 too.) I don't think they do anything to those RAW files outside of lens correction info and I'm pretty sure noise reduction is only applied to JPEG where they are both concerned... Again... I never shoot JPEG though.
    OK, my mistake, I thought that you shot JPG. That said, the LX2 does use noise reduction even with RAW files and the results are complete mush. The out of camera JPG files are better than anything I can get shooting RAW. That's a real shame, as I've printed 13" x 19" prints from LX2 JPG files and often wondered how good they could have been if I could have developed clean RAW files.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I think Pana would kill Oly. Eventually.
    I don't know that to be true as their are more Olympus dedicated people than Panasonic. I think many people "look down" on Panasonic attempting to make serious cameras since they are a conglomerate (well a subsidy of one) and not a "camera company" in purist terms. I think those are the same type of people who sleep on the Sony Alpha line of DSLR's when it's clear they are putting out a quality product, more so IMO than Canon and Nikon, even if the lens lineup isn't complete yet.
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    I think those are the same type of people who sleep on the Sony Alpha line of DSLR's when it's clear they are putting out a quality product, more so IMO than Canon and Nikon, even if the lens lineup isn't complete yet.

    I would disagree with that assumption.

    Sony have brought out A900/850 ISO200 cams. Not a match to what CaNikon offer.

    Yeah, there isn't much of a system to speak of either. This is despite the fact that Sony is resisting offering any combicams!

  25. #25
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    4/3rds is dead after the arrival of the m4/3rds. Leica probably sell ~10 new lenses a month in any region. They ought to be worried about Olympus.
    Don't bet your crown jewels on that. My comment about Leica was something someone, who'd worked for Leica (or whose family had worked for Leica), mentioned about a discussion on who could compete on lens quality with Leica. Not overly relevant now, but interesting nonetheless.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by OzRay View Post
    Don't bet your crown jewels on that.
    I won't.

    I hope you do not either, based on:

    My comment about Leica was something someone, who'd worked for Leica (or whose family had worked for Leica), mentioned about a discussion on who could compete on lens quality with Leica.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I would disagree with that assumption.

    Sony have brought out A900/850 ISO200 cams. Not a match to what CaNikon offer.

    Yeah, there isn't much of a system to speak of either. This is despite the fact that Sony is resisting offering any combicams!
    I'm going off of what I see versus the specs alone. The base ISO isn't what's most important to me - the finished product is.

    I will say a D3X is probably the best overall DSLR on the market in 35mm because of the versatile ability to shoot low light better than anything else right now. Unless you are constantly shooting in low light I don't think you will see the benefits over a a900/850. While Sony doesn't have the lineup of either of the big two what's more important is what they do have is very good and covers most situation for most types of shooters. You mostly are only losing out on specialty lenses at this point.

    This all is just my opinion though. We all have our own personal tastes.
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  28. #28
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I won't.

    I hope you do not either, based on:

    Quote:
    My comment about Leica was something someone, who'd worked for Leica (or whose family had worked for Leica), mentioned about a discussion on who could compete on lens quality with Leica.



    If I could find the post, you might not be so dismissive. I've been betting my Crown Jewels, and earning an income, from 4/3s for over five years now. I'm not losing any confidence at the moment.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by OzRay View Post
    I've been betting my Crown Jewels, and earning an income, from 4/3s for over five years now.

    That clearly sounds dishonest. If you are earning an income from 4/3rds, I bet it has nothing to do with crown jewels (unless you consider your creativity and effort among them).

  30. #30
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I would disagree with that assumption.

    Sony have brought out A900/850 ISO200 cams. Not a match to what CaNikon offer.

    Yeah, there isn't much of a system to speak of either. This is despite the fact that Sony is resisting offering any combicams!
    If I wanted a near MF landscape, studio or similar camera, the Sony A850/900 would have to be a camera of choice; high MP and at a cost that make the likes of the D3x truly obscene. And there are enough Sony lenses to complement just about any need. This list doesn't seem that bad:

    http://www.sony.com.au/productcategory/dslr-camera-lens

    Cheers

    Ray

  31. #31
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    That clearly sounds dishonest. If you are earning an income from 4/3rds, I bet it has nothing to do with crown jewels (unless you consider your creativity and effort among them).
    I'm afraid I don't understand that comment at all. I earn an income in a domain dominated by Canon and Nikon, using what is for most an anathema as far as sport (or any professional) photography is concerned. That means I've put my reputation (as small as it is) and my ability to earn an income, on the line by using a camera system that barely anyone would use for sports and news photography. I defy the odds and keep churning out results that everyone is happy with.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Speaking of Sony, after much gear juggling this year that is exactly where I landed.

    Sold Nikon D700 and all the lenses you would expect
    Sold M8 and most lenses

    Bought Sony A900 24-70, 70-300, 135, 24-105 (minolta tiny and quite good), Sigma 12-24
    Bought full m4/3 kit (actually too much now I need to sell some stuff own all bodies/all lenses)

    I'm very happy with my current set up.

    What do I wish for? The simplicity of the M8 in a micro 4/3 system. The X1 gets the first part right but I can't help feel like a GF1 and 20mm lens for most instances with the added flexibility to use other lenses has it trumped.
    Last edited by Terry; 26th September 2009 at 03:50.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by OzRay View Post
    I earn an income in a domain dominated by Canon and Nikon, using what is for most an anathema as far as sport (or any professional) photography is concerned.

    Are you a photographer or just an Olympus user? No photography is dominated by Canon or Nikon. Perhaps some areas are "dominated" by photographers who use those brands.

    Hope that clarifies.

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by OzRay View Post
    If I wanted a near MF landscape, studio or similar camera, the Sony A850/900 would have to be a camera of choice; high MP and at a cost that make the likes of the D3x truly obscene.

    I will wait for the A800 that would show up in a few months and would make the prices of the A900/850 look obscene.

    ..and I do not need a manual focus camera for landscape or studio in a Sony.

  35. #35
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Speaking of Sony, after much gear juggling this year that is exactly where I landed.

    Sold Nikon D700 and all the lenses you would expect
    Sold M8 and most lenses

    Bought Sony A900 24-70, 70-300, 135, 24-105 (minolta tiny and quite good), Sigma 12-24
    Bought full m4/3 kit (actually too much now I need to sell some stuff own all bodies/all lenses)

    I'm very happy with my current set up.

    What do I wish for? The simplicity of the M8 in a micro 4/3 system. The X1 gets the first part right but I can't help feel like a GF1 and 20mm lens for most instances with the added flexibility to use other lenses has it trumped. l
    Simplicity is good. The G1 is a great camera for what I do. The 14-45 pretty much lives on my G1 and I use the D-Lux 4 for wider shots. I rarely use the 45-200 to be honest now which led me to my current reality - I was thinking about adding a GF1 to compliment my G1 but in reality I'm happy with the G1 as is and a M9 would be a better fit for what I like to do. I could almost sell the G1 except those cases where I wouldn't want to have several thousand dollars of equipment on me and when I do want the occasional long shot.
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
    http://www.iiinelsonimages.com

  36. #36
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Are you a photographer or just an Olympus user? No photography is dominated by Canon or Nikon. Perhaps some areas are "dominated" by photographers who use those brands.

    Hope that clarifies.
    Sports photography is dominated by Canon/Nikon, no ifs, no buts. Canon was supreme until the advent of the D3, whereupon Nikon started to make major inroads into what was once nothing but Canon territory (thanks also to the initial dismal quality of the 1DMkIII - nothing new when it comes to Canon).

    I came into sports photography more by happenstance, when I was already an Olympus user (long story), but I remained with Olympus initially and after realising that the big two really didn't offer me much more, I've remained with Olympus ever since.

    The one major thing that has kept me with Olympus are the lenses. Only recently has Nikon released lenses equal to the Olympus 7-14mm and 14-35mm and no one, no one, offers a lens like the 90-250mm. If Nikon brought out a lens equal to the 90-250mm f2.8, I'd possibly (only possibly) sell my Olympus gear and buy Nikon.

    However, I'd never buy Canon, I just don't want to become a pr*ck like just about every Canon sports photographer I've ever encountered on the field (that's another story).

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Ray,

    Shoot with what you like and how you like it.

    AFAIK, there is no extra $ or a badge because one uses brand X or Y or Z.

  38. #38
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    Re: Review of 20mm f1.7 lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Ray,

    Shoot with what you like and how you like it.

    AFAIK, there is no extra $ or a badge because one uses brand X or Y or Z.
    I use exactly what I want to use, not what others think I should use. And so far, the only opinons that count are those of my news and sports editors.

    Cheers

    Ray

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