Panasonic 20mm F1.7
I initially bought the Panasonic 20mm because I wanted a fast “all purpose” lens that could sit more or less permanently on my Panasonic GM5 when being out and about in daily life. The fact that the Panasonic 20mm was a slim pancake lens seemed perfect for me, that way I could exchange the collapsible kit lens for the 20mm and it would still fit into my pocket. The Panasonic 12-32 is not bad, it is quite good for being a kit lens, and while it is very pocketable I often prefer using primes. That’s because I find that using primes makes me work harder and thereby forces me to be more creative when trying to get the shot I want. I also have the Olympus 45mm F1.8 which is a great lens but since it protrudes quite a bit from the body it does’t fit as snug in my pocket. Anyway the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 is a fast pancake lens that has an equivalent of 40mm focal length in 35mm or full format terms. It costs about $265 and you can pick it up here at Amazon.
For anyone new to my reviews know that they are not technical of nature, for more in depth technical reviews check out dpreviews or lens tip. For my reviews I mostly share my thoughts and experiences from using the gear. I have no affiliation with any brand or retailer and have bought the gear myself.
The Panasonic 20mm is a small lens at about 63x25mm and weighs in at 100g. It feels sturdy for being such a small lens and the fly by wire focus ring feels smooth and has a nice amount of resistance. The lens unlike many of Panasonic’s lenses does not have image stabilisation, I assume that it because of it’s small stature. There is nothing much else to mention except that it takes 46mm filters and does not come with a lens hood. I got an nice JJC metal screw-in hood cheap online but I’ve rarely used it.
Ease of Use
The Panasonic 20mm is a joy to use when paired with a camera of the same small stature as itself. It fits great on my GM5 and I would guess that it does the same on any small bodied camera. The field of view was a bit novel at first me being used to the more usual 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, but I soon warmed up to it. The fast aperture makes the lens a perfect social occasion lens. When it comes to focusing it feels reasonably fast and is almost completely silent.
This little lens is indeed sharp. Even wide open it is really sharp, there is some softness in the corners but stop it down slightly and the corners crisp up good enough for me. The images produced by the Panasonic 20mm is, to my eyes, almost free from both any distortion and chromatic aberration. I believe this is accomplished by software correction, but to me that doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t diminish the image quality noticeably. It is fairly easy to throw the background out of focus for nice subject separation. And I know that bokeh is a matter of taste but I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with the bokeh this lens produces which is both creamy and smooth.
The Panasonic 20mm’s fast aperture combined with it’s size makes it a perfect everyday and social occasion lens when combined with a small body. It is versatile lens, I’ve used it for landscape, portraits and some impromptu street photography. It’s non threatening demeanour means that you can easier get those candid shots. I found that since adding this lens to my lineup… Most of my images taken with my m4/3 gear comes from this lens. I would recommend this lens along with the Olympus 45mm as two of the must have primes for an m4/3 shooter. If you decide to pick it up you can get the lens here at Amazon!