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Thread: the 20 or the 17

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    the 20 or the 17

    Hi

    I was handling the EP-1 and the GF-1 this weekend and it has somewhat cured me of wanting either of them. However I did really like the 17mm and thought it felt faster to focus and nicer to focus on either camera (GF or EP, my G1 was back in the car). My wife did not like the GF for its lack of grip and prefers her A540 and my G1 (in that order). She thought the EP was too heavy so there goes that idea.

    This means I can focus on just getting another lens for my G1 instead of another camera to have the camera thrown in with the cost of the lens ...

    The 17 feels a much more compact (almost toy like) affair than the Panasonic (which also negatively impressed me with what looked like a clumsy and flimsy mechanism for handling focus ... not that the Oly was much better.

    just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on why they like one over the other?

    I'm leaning towards the 17mm myself

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    My thoughts on this are impersonal and very secretive.

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    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I haven't tried either but you should decide which FOV suits your style the best. Mine would be the 17mm...but f1.7 REALLY sounds appealing.

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    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    My thoughts on this are impersonal and very secretive.
    Quite right Vivek, you wouldn't want to offend anyone by sharing them... would you?

    Cheers

    Brian

    p.s. seems a bit politically incorrect doesn't it? some folks could take offense at that

    Personally, I like the 20mm f1.7 because it doesn't need quite so aggressive distortion/CA correction and the faster aperture allows more flexibility in dof/exposure.

    If you've got the software to correct the 17mm, and you're happy to operate at f2.8 and above then it's lighter, maybe a little faster to focus on an E-P body and the 35mm EFL is perhaps a little more flexible too.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    PS I was a bit disappointed with the 20 not having IOS (which I love on my 14-45) especially considering it seemed quite fat ... also it could just be the settings on the GF-1 I was using but it didn't seem to like activating the focus zoom on AF-S after focus aquire ... maybe that's something that can be set.

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I have the 20mm and while it is a versatile little lens, there are times it isn't wide enough, especially indoors. Lack of IS isn't a problem with the Olympus E-P1.

    I think the Olympus 17mm lens is better value for money but is generally outclassed by the 20mm lens however the 20mm lens is slow to focus. Slower than the Olympus 14-42 zoom and the 17mm Olympus lens is noticably faster than that.

    This shouldn't be an issue when using the 20mm on the Panasonic camera as it pre-focuses but indoors and low light autofocus performance with the E-P1 is dissapointing.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I've disabled prefocus on my G1 - I didn't think the advantage in terms of focusing speed was worth the battery life/motor wear.

    Cheers

    Brian

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    With our small sensors we need the speed and resolution we can get. Buying a lens equivalent to a FF 35/5.6 when there is a faster option available sounds just too boring.

    To do that the slower lens would need to be much better and I haven't seen that at all, in any image. Rather the opposite. The G20/1.7 build quality could be better but it works good enough for what it is.

    Hmm. In the first sentence just exchange "we" to "I" if you so wish. This is about opinions and I can only speak for myself of course.

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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    FOV: There are times when the extra width of the 17 would be handy. However, I've quickly gotten used to the 20's FOV in urban shooting. For landscapes, I continue to use the 14-45.

    Sharpness: I found I was shooting the 17mm at f/4 or smaller to get the sharpness I wanted. The 14-45 is around f/4.5 at 17mm, and seems to be as sharp as the 17 at that aperture. I am fully confident in the 20mm sharpness at f/2 and will use it wide open on occasion.

    DOF: The 20 wins for those times when a shallow depth is desired, and the correct conditions allow for it (e.g. close focusing and/or good separation of subject from background). This is especially true when you consider my "sharpness confidence" (f/4 on the 17 and f/2 on the 20).

    Auto-focus: I don't often shoot subjects that require fast AF. That would be an important consideration if I did.

    CA: Better controlled with the 20.

    The 17 is a good little lens -- IME better than the "reviews" suggest. But the 20 suits me well.
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Brian,

    Just because there is a smiley to use, I do not have to use it.

    Standards and tastes differ.

    Nothing remotely connected to politics at all.

    AFAIC, I could care less about Oly or Pana.

    If people take offense at what I post about gear, I am unapologetic about it as well.

    In fact, I don't even have to post anything anywhere. More time and peace for me.
    Last edited by Vivek; 30th November 2009 at 06:57.

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I think I pretty much concur with John on this. I have both lenses but find that the 20 is the one I usually have on my GF1--it seems to suit most of the needs of shooting most of the time in that FL. If I only had the 17 (which I did all summer), then that would likely be the lens of choice for the same circumstances.

    Diane
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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I concur with everyone.
    I can't be without the 20 or the 17. Right mow the 20 is teaching me how it sees.
    It's actually exciting.
    If I could only have 1, it would be the 17.

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I use the 20/1.7 more because of the speed and greater potential for shallow DOF, but I enjoy the 17 as well!
    -Amin Sabet

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I prefer the speed and field of view of the 20mm.
    It needs to be fitted with a proper metal lens hood, of course.

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    Lens Hood Question

    Hello Godfrey,

    I've been enjoying your photos and posts for a while. I've ordered a GF1/20 mm and it is supposed to arrive in a couple of weeks. I was wondering what lens hood you are using and any information I should know about how best to attatch it. I vaguely remember a post about this in the past, but I couldn't find it when I tried to search for it. Thanks!

    Tsutomu

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I don't think that these 2 lenses are direct competitors. In terms of equivalent 35mm focal lengths, one is a 34mm, and the other one is a 40mm lens. That makes quite a lot of difference.

    Then the other factor is that one is f1.7, while the other one is F2.8.

    There are different uses for each. These may be more important than even the technical differences like AF speed etc. Therefore it's quite normal to have very different user preferences.

    I use the 20mm, but sometimes wish that I would have bought the 17mm, when a wider angle is required. While for night shots the F1.7 works well.
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I dont have any of both but for me I believe as a general lens I would prefer the focal length of 17 clearly over 20mm. I have a dp2 and find the lens slightly to long as an all purpose lens, so I guess I could have the same problem with the 20mm.
    Then there is the speed and optical quality where the 20 seems to outperform the 17.
    This is not an easy decision.

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I dont have any of both but for me I believe as a general lens I would prefer the focal length of 17 clearly over 20mm. I have a dp2 and find the lens slightly to long as an all purpose lens, so I guess I could have the same problem with the 20mm.
    Then there is the speed and optical quality where the 20 seems to outperform the 17.
    This is not an easy decision.
    I do have both--but carry the 20 more. The racking focus of the 17 slightly annoys and the focus on the 20 seems faster--to me-because it doesn't rack each time--though speed of focus with these lenses is more or less irrelevant to me. But--I've decided not to sell my 17 as I do sometimes like its FOV. In the end though, the 20 probably suits me better overall--I like 40-50mm FOV on my 5D (my 2 favorite lenses are the 50 f/1.4 and 45 f/2.8 TS--when I shot with a 1.6x I shot quite a lot with a 28 and 35mm) so the 20 fits my style of shooting quite well.


    Diane

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Diane,
    Funny, I find the 17 to focus faster on the Pen.
    On the G1, they are about the same.
    1/2 a lifetime ago I would carry an M4 with a 35 Cron or Lux and a CLE with that great 40 Cron. So now with the 17 & 20, I'm right there again.

    Back to the OP, it's great to have both.
    Dazed & Confused.... shooter

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    For me the 20 is a tad wide, just as 40 was a tad wide in the old days. But better crop a little than a lot, lol.

    I think this just goes to show how personal it is - and why threads of wish lists for new lenses always end up with a hundred different wishes with regards to focal lengths, speed and other features.

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Might as well chime in here with my opinion - that's all it is afterall.
    I sold the 17mm to get the 20mm (really could not personally see keeping both) and while I do wish the 20mm was a bit wider, it generally accomplishes what I need and I LOVE the f1.7. If I did not have the kit zoom (which obviously goes to 14mm on the wide end) I would probably miss the 17mm more.
    Would LOVE the 7-14, but it just seems a bit too expensive for the amount that I will use it. (But the Oly 9-18 has my interest peaked quite a bit.)
    Steve

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I totally agree with you Jonas. Its so personal that someone asking which to buy won't get much helpful information because we each have our own biases.

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    Re: Lens Hood Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsutomu View Post
    Hello Godfrey,

    I've been enjoying your photos and posts for a while. I've ordered a GF1/20 mm and it is supposed to arrive in a couple of weeks. I was wondering what lens hood you are using and any information I should know about how best to attatch it. I vaguely remember a post about this in the past, but I couldn't find it when I tried to search for it. Thanks!

    Tsutomu
    Thank you for the compliments!

    The lens hood I recommended to a friend of mine is this one, sold by "heavystar" on Ebay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...#ht_500wt_1179

    He bought it, and it indeed fits and works perfectly. I didn't find this hood myself, btw. Another friend got one and I got the link from him/her...

    I don't own the 20/1.7 yet, I keep borrowing my friend's and liking it so I really should plunk down the cash and get one!

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    There is no such lens that is wide enough (as in the case of wide angle) or long enough (as in the case of tele photo), unfortunately. When one uses the 17 mm, there is certainly occasions that one wishes for a lens wider than 17 mm (or longer than 17). It is so personal, in terms of lens selection based on focal length, beside the functionality/characteristic of each lens.

    Today I may prefer the 17 but tomorrow I may pack the 20, even for the same type of shooting .
    Stephen Lau
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Things I don't like a lot with the G20/1.7:

    The build quality; too plastic
    Lack of features; no weather sealing, no focusing scale, no DOF scale, no aperture scale
    Optically; not critically sharp from corner to corner, the flare!
    Handling; too slow to focus manually, very much focus by wire feeling
    The AF: on the slow side, distinct noise

    OTOH, it isn't shabby at all, there is something pleasing with the rendering, the bokeh (when not everything is within the DOF that is) is decent to good, it is (relatively) fast, it is small, I use it with confidence wide open

    Much of the above is probably true about the Olympus 17mm lens as well. The thing I wonder about is the flare. If the images in general are quite nice that is lost when there are strong light sources against dark backgrounds in the image.

    I don't often check my lenses in any controlled way for flare but here I did so:
    It is not the worst result I have seen, but it is certainly not among the best either.

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    It is funny that a lot of reviews of the 20mm f/1.7 claim the lens is not badly affect by flare. Frankly, I think is fairly poor for a modern lens and certainly for the price asked, I would expect better.

    Overall I do like the lens and it is a good combination with the E-P1 despite the rather slow focus speed. Manual focus is easy on the E-P1, the focus ring is nicely damped. Yes, a focus scale and infinity stop in particular would be great, but we live in a time where production costs are kept to a mininum and it is fly by wire electric focusing.

    The thing that gets me is how come manual electric focusing is silent but AF is noisy. How did they manage that trick?

    A lens with flare (at least artistically controlled in this shot)...


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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    nice shot pete

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    That's a nice image Peter. It probably also is the best possible use of the G20/1.7 in the situation. Looking at the image I guess you are around f/2. Stopping down further makes the blobs uglier and the flare to increase.

    Here is one at f/4:

    You can see the blobs around the left street light looking worse here, and the flare from the street light in the center can be seen very clearly between the moon and the traffic light. The image is from my first day with the 20mm and what made me check it as in my previous post.

    So, we have betetr stay at around f/2 for optimal result, if possible. Of course, with the Zuiko M17/2.8 it is never possible to stay around f/2.

  29. #29
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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Wow, I wonder if there's significant sample variation?

    My 20/1.7 is plenty sharp corner to corner (and I'm used to 28 Summicron sharpness), I find the manual focus plenty fast (albeit not going from infinity focus to the minimum, but how often do you have to do that quickly?), and the build quality not that much different than any other consumer lens made out of plastic. Can't comment on AF as I always used it in manual mode on my GF1. I've found the flare to be adequately enough controlled to not want a hood.

    While the lack of distance scale and depth of field scale bothered me at first I now wonder where they'd go and how useful it would actually be to cram them into that 7mm between the focus ring and the lens mount.

    Now what I want is a pancake 14 or 12 to compliment it. F1.7 would be amazing, but 2.8 would be perfectly acceptable.

    That combo might actually lead me to retire my M8 and kick the Leica addiction. (gasp)

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    matmcdermott: I don't know what "plenty sharp" really means. What I see is that whatever aperture you use the lens can't match/outresolve/fully utilize the sensor corner to corner, or even border to border.

    I guess they could have made the lens 10mm longer or so to get plenty of space for the distance scale, a better focusing mechanism and an aperture ring. Why this pancake mania?

    Anyone: Re-reading my own posts I can understand some may think I don't like the 20/1.7. Well, I do, and it is the lens I have mounted to the camera when leaving home and most often also when getting back.

    If one gets bothered by the flare or not is very much depending on the situation, and probably just as much on personal taste and expectations. The images posted above don't show any nice flare in my opinion. Here is another image showing what the G20/1.7 is capable of also under less than ideal circumstances. It was taken one of the first days, handheld so critical focusing can't be expected, wide open:


    Above; uncropped


    Above: center crop


    Above: Obviously the upper right corner looking at the spotlight

    and

    Above: Right border

    As i said, it is not shabby at all and I clearly prefer this 20mm to the Olympus 17mm version.

    /Jonas

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
    That's a nice image Peter. It probably also is the best possible use of the G20/1.7 in the situation. Looking at the image I guess you are around f/2. Stopping down further makes the blobs uglier and the flare to increase.
    Yes, it was f/2.2 for 1 second and I bumped up the ISO to 800 as well.

    Normally I would be shooting that sort of scene at f/4 to f/5.6 (or even more to get really good star diffraction from the lights) and ISO200 for up to 20s but there were 2 issues there. I wanted to capture the kids on the bikes (they should have been home at that time of night) and the wind was absoultely terrible. I was surprised it came out as sharp as it did.

    Cheers

    Peter

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    My choice was the 20, I have shot lots with it at F2.0 or F2.5 and really like the result.
    I think it's a personal thing but I find the focal lengths of the 17 and 20 too close for them to be that different.
    Now where is that 12mm prime
    This image is with the 20 at F2.2 in LR3

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Well, that might be a stretch in thinking there's little difference between the 2.
    From 40 to 34 is a big difference and then going further to a 28, those 6mm really show how much.
    You may not be attuned to the change in fov but it's a marked difference.
    That being said, both lenses are very good and each has it's place.
    I can't see, for myself, being without either one.

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    I don't have either but I do prefer the 20 (which I'll be buying as soon as price drops) over the 17 for a couple of reasons. One, from the samples I've seen from both lenses, the 20 performs slightly better in terms of color rendition and resolution but most importantly, my preference is driven by speed. I can get the wide angle with the kit 14-45mm (granted, it's a slower and bigger lens but not by much and it performs well), but not the speed for low light situations nor the DoF, which I get with the 20mm.
    Tullio

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    Re: the 20 or the 17

    Personally, even the 20f1.7 is too wide for me on my G1/GH1. I have played with the 7-14 and I definitely have no use for it for my shooting style. I had to educate myself to shoot with the 20 and it took me awhile to feel comfortable with the FOV of the lens. Among all the lenses I have, I find out that the Minolta M-Rokkor 40f2 is just about perfect for ME as a 'standard' lens on my G1/GH1, with my 20 as the wide angle backup. So, lens choice is highly subjective and personal. I still have to try some of my favorite Canon EOS lenses (i.e. 35f1.4, 85f1.2 & 135f2) with my G1/GH1 yet. I did use my GH1 with my Canon 70-200f2.8 at wide open and liked it a lot, as long as I could use a tripod for support.
    Last edited by slau; 5th December 2009 at 10:54.
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