Nov 042011

 Revisiting the Panasonic 20 1.7 on the Olympus E-P3

By Steve Huff

Almost two years ago I reviewed the amazing little Panasonic 20 1.7 lens for Micro 4/3 mount on an Olympus E-P2. I LOVED it then and today I love it just the same. This is one of those lenses that if you own a Micro 4/3 camera and have never shelled out the $350 or so for this lens then it should be a crime! Yes, this lens is THAT good and well worth the cost. Even though Panasonic released the new 25 1.4 recently (which I have been patiently waiting for) this little 20mm pancake is still worth owning due to its small size and fantastic performance. The fact that it gives you a 40mm equivalent on your M4/3 camera almost makes shooting something like an E-P3 similar to shooting an old Leica CL (well, besides this is not film, nor manual focus).

on the E-P3

The fact is that this lens can seem to do no wrong. Between this, the SUPER GOOD 12mm and the new 45 my E-P3 has been a happy camera, and I have to be honest. Some of the images I have seen from this combo recently make me realize that the M4/3 format is capable of sooooo much more than many may think. Also makes me realize that my E-P3 has also really done no wrong! It gets the exposure right every time. The color is delicious right from the camera. The AF is super fast. The touch screen on this camera is much more than a gimmick. The images are pretty sharp right out of the camera. No mush or softness at all. Hmmm. Imagine if this had a slightly larger sensor! It never will though as Micro 4/3 is a set size… but if it did, it would be even better.

So today, almost two years later I can still HIGHLY recommend this lens if you own a micro 4/3 camera. If you do own a M4/3 camera and DO NOT own this then BUY IT NOW. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. 

I will admit that I sold my original copy a while ago and just recently “re-discovered” this lens. This time it will find a permanent spot in my collection, even if I do end up with the new Pan/Leica 25 1.4 as well. It’s small, it’s light, it’s sharp, it provides some decent bokeh, it renders light nicely and it’s a knockout. It even focuses quite a bit faster on the E-P3 than it ever has though it is not as fast as the new Oly lenses.

I will now leave you with some recent snap shots I took with this lens on the E-P3.

Using the light from his phone, I set the E-P3 to ISO 1600, the lens to 1.7 and took this shot. When you click the image and view the larger version you can see just how sharp it is, even at 1600 (noise reduction was turned off, and this is a JPEG)

At 1.7 and ISO 1600 the lens performs well on the E-P3. This was shot in darkness with the light source being a candle. Higher ISO is easily possible with Micro 4/3. 

The color I get out of this lens is usually on the cooler side but I like it. The blues and greens are rendered differently with this lens than say the Olympus 17.

Wide open at 1.7 the lens is plenty sharp and gives a bit of shallow death of field as well

Haircut time – Alien Skin conversion…

1.7 – JPEG – Even wide open and from a JPEG there is plenty of sharpness and detail.

Using the flash of the E-P3 – for the 1st time ever :) – I think these girls were dancing to the “Electric JUGGaloo”

If you click on the image below you will see how sharp this lens can be wide open… Almost LL (Leica Like)!

at f/8…

My favorite local brewery in Phoenix – Sun Up

Up close and wide open – This will give you sharp detail at the focus point and the max amount of blur in the background. 

Shot this in the Diorama mode of the E-P3

Just a shot to test color and bokeh…

and a selfie in the car…

Jan 182010

The Panasonic 20 1.7 Lens Review for Micro 4/3 – I am back again with another lens review and this time it is one that I have had some real fun shooting for the past 3+ weeks on a daily basis. This review should be simple, right? Possibly the simplest I have ever written. Why you ask? Well, mainly because this lens is just a 20 mm 1.7 prime lens with a fast aperture. Nothing fancy, no features, and what I am going to write about is my time shooting with it on a daily basis. I am also going to share the images I snapped along the way. No scientific testing to be found here besides a crop or two.

You will notice I shot this lens on the Olympus E-P2 and not the Panasonic GF1 which is where this lens is usually mounted. The Panasonic 20 1.7 comes in kit form with the Panny GF1 and damn, it sure is a hell of a kit lens. That is one of the areas where Panasonic has Olympus beat. The kit lens. Both their 20 1.7 and 14-45 beat Olympus’s 17 2.8 and 14-42 Kit lenses but it is pretty cool that you can mount the Panny lenses on the Oly bodies and vice versa. Continue reading »

Jan 072010


Was out today in the bitter cold and stopped by my Mother’s house to see how she was doing. I had my M9 with one of Leicas most affordable lenses, the 35 Summarit 2.5 lens attached. This little lens may not be as fast as a 35 Summilux, or as perfect as a 35 Summicron but it has some special qualities and I have seen them in the few shots I snapped today with it. It is as sharp as you could want wide open and the size is tiny. With it’s metal screw in hood (like the 24 summilux style) it makes for a perfect all around lens for the M9 if cost is a concern. About $1600 this is the lowest priced NEW 35 you can get from Leica for your M. From what I have seen it is well worth it. I’ll have a review in a few weeks. BTW, I got this one from Ken Hansen.

My wife was with me today and she had her Olympus E-P2 with the new Panasonic 20 1.7 attached so I took a shot of my Mother with each one just to see how the $399 Panny would look next to the Leica. Wow, the Panny is a great lens for the money as well. For $400 you get a fast 1.7 20mm which translates to a 40mm on the Micro 4/3 cameras. So, between a 35 and 50 the 40 focal length is quite useful as an everyday lens. I think this lens will stay on her E-P2 as a lens cap. I will also have a review of this lens in a few weeks! I bought the Panasonic and it came from B&H Photo.

The photos? Oh yea, here they are. First the Leica M9/35 Summarit shot wide open at 2.5, NO PP: Continue reading »

Jan 012010

IN STOCK ALERT! This hard to find in stock MUST OWN lens for any Panasonic GF1 or Olympus E-P1/E-P2 shooter is now in stock at B&H photo for $399.95. Get one while you can! It’s a hot lens and will allow you to shoot in low light as well as give you some cool shallow DOF on your M4/3 cameras! CLICK HERE to go to the B&H page where it shows in stock as of 01/01/10 at 9am! I just ordered mine!


It also appears the Panasonic/Leica 45 F2.8 MACRO Elmarit is also in stock! If I had the cash I would buy this lens right now. It looks like a killer lens for the m4/3 system and I have seen some beautiful results from it. I hope to review one soon, but as of now, 01/01/2010 it shows IN STOCK at B&H PHOTO! CLICK HERE to check it out!



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