REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
PanasonicLumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens
 
4.7

(based on 523 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (398)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (119)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

99%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Lightweight (441)
  • Consistent output (286)
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (281)
  • Nice bokeh (267)
  • Easily interchangeable (263)

Cons

  • Slow focus (70)
  • Tough to attach (13)
  • Pricey / poor value (10)
  • Weak casing (9)
  • Poor in low light (6)

Best Uses

  • Low light (425)
  • Night photography (274)
  • Landscape/scenery (253)
  • Weddings (124)
  • Video (117)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (265), Casual photographer (98), Semi-pro photographer (90), Pro photographer (43), Photography student (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (439), Yes (9)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Believe the hype

I am a hobbyist, and a big fan of prime lenses with wide apertures, because I enjoy using a narrow DOF for my artistic experiments. I became interested in this lens based on...Read complete review

I am a hobbyist, and a big fan of prime lenses with wide apertures, because I enjoy using a narrow DOF for my artistic experiments. I became interested in this lens based on reviews and example photos - but it didn't seem to be in stock anywhere, which may account for it's cult-like following.

I finally found it in stock at B&H and purchased one immediately. I have used it exclusively ever since, on my Olympus E-PL1 - even though I have a variety of other lenses and cameras. The pancake form factor and the incredible performance make it a joy to use...Now I am not a pro and the micro 4/3 format is still very new...but I absolutely love this lens and if I had to make a choice I'd keep this one and sell all the rest.

It has great performance in low light, and can really get that closeup, narrow DOF that I admire. Plus, the form factor makes it unobtrusive in public - almost as small as a compact camera but with stunning output. I am glad I believed the hype about this lens - I'm really happy with it.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Didn't Quite Love It

You hardly ever see overwhelming consensus about any product. But it's clear from consumer reviews, scientific reviews, professional reviews, and online forums that everybody loves the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. It seems...Read complete review

You hardly ever see overwhelming consensus about any product. But it's clear from consumer reviews, scientific reviews, professional reviews, and online forums that everybody loves the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. It seems to be the desert island lens of the Micro Four Thirds system.

And that's why I bought it. I had the Panasonic 14mm, which I've always loved, and wanted a faster walk-around lens with a little narrower field of view. It seemed like a no-brainer, since the 20mm is reputed to be the must-have lens.

It is pretty nice, optically. Sharp images throughout the frame, a good low-light performer, a useful normal 40mm-equivalent field of view, decent control over depth-of-field. But, there were three factors that kept me from falling in love with the 20mm. Those are:

(1) Autofocus performance is lackluster. This is a common criticism of the Panasonic 20mm, and I knew about it going in. But it really started to bother me, given the autofocus speed of other lenses, particularly the 14mm. I'd miss shots of my kids, shots that the 14mm could always nail.

It started to feel like a huge burden to have the 20mm mounted to my camera. In good light, the AF was fairly fast, but in low light--the kind of light you're buying the f/1.7 for in the first place--it chokes. It hunts. Sometimes it gives up and just goes back and forth forever.

This is, apparently, inherent to the focusing mechanism, which transports the entire lens assembly back and forth, so it's not something that can be corrected with a different body or a firmware update. That's my understanding, anyway.

(2) High-ISO banding. This is discussed endlessly on forums. What causes it? Does it even exist? Is it the fault of the camera or the lens? Well, it definitely exists on Olympus cameras with the new sensor (those being OM-D, E-PL5, and E-PM2). At ISO 1600 and up, in dark parts of the frame, horizontal bands of alternating light and dark regions make photos entirely unusable. It's not something that you need to pixel-peep for, it's out there like the stripes on Old Glory.

This won't be a problem with other cameras, so if you've got a Panasonic body, or an older PEN, no worries. Olympus has acknowledged the issue, but I couldn't hold my breath for a fix. It might be the camera, and it might be the lens, and it might be some weird confluence of factors that make it nobody's fault at all.

If you have one of these Olympus bodies, you know that ISO 1600 is a perfectly usable ISO, so it's a disappointing situation. This issue by itself doesn't disqualify the 20mm as a good lens, but it does sort of move it out of the "must have" category, because you'll need to work around this.

(3) It's bad at video. Probably related to point 1, but a barrier by itself, the 20mm autofocus hunts like crazy when used for video. Video tends to renew its focus quite often because subjects move around, and the 20mm just can't keep up. Perhaps AF data comes out of the camera faster than the 20mm's motor can move the lens, and the lens and camera kind of miss each other. I don't know. And while all this hunting is going on, it's making a noise loud enough to be noticed in your audio track. I don't shoot loads of video, but it's nice to be able to do it occasionally. The 20mm is simply not a video lens.

So there it is, probably the only negative review of the Pansonic 20mm that you'll ever read. I'm vastly outnumbered, so I'm sure you, dear reader, will think the lens is terrific. And in many ways, it is. It's possible that its time has passed without anything obviously replacing it.

Reviewed by 523 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

Back to top

Previous | Next »

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Shallow Lens With Shallow Depth of Field

By Traveling Photographer

from Delphi, IN

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Lightweight
  • Nice Bokeh

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Macro Photography
    • Night Photography
    • Sports/Action
    • Video
    • Weddings/Events
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

    I use this bright and compact lens any time I'm trying to get a shot indoors, inside a restaurant, when a subject is moving erratically, and anytime I need to blur the background. When mounted to my Panasonic GF2 the combo is small enough to stay extremely portable while offering beautiful pictures in conditions point-and-shooters could only dream of. Fast auto-focus and smooth manual focus. No issues after more than a year of use.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    Share this reviewHelp Icon

     
    5.0

    Handy fast lens

    By rsb

    from Baltimore

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Lightweight
    • Low Light
    • Small

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Photography

      Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

      A great walk around lens and fast for interiors

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this reviewHelp Icon

       
      4.0

      Great lens

      By SpicyWonton

      from Seattle

      About Me Casual Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

      Very good go around lens

      Share this reviewHelp Icon

       
      5.0

      Sharp as a tack

      By Happyeyeball

      from Westchester NY

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fast
      • Lightweight
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Sharp

      Cons

      • Slow Focus

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Street
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

      Small, light and razor sharp. Focus is a little slow (relative to other lenses, even my kit zoom), but that's not a problem for me - not enough to drop a rating star. Nice to have a fast lens as well - images are great even wide open. I see no reason to pay $ more for the version II. So it has a metal "finish." The mounts are the same as are the internals.I use it on my Olympus E-PL5 and I'm grateful that 4/3rds is universal!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this reviewHelp Icon

       
      4.0

      Excelent

      By alejoprieto

      from Bogota, Colombia

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Durable
      • Lightweight
      • Nice Bokeh

      Cons

      • Slow Focus

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light

      Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

      Nice lens with fast aperture. I use it with a hacked Lumix GH2 and the video image is awesome. The cons, the autofocus is noisy for audio capture even with my Zomm H1 in DIY suspension.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this reviewHelp Icon

       
      5.0

      Nice Compact Lens

      By Shane

      from Virginia

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Easily Interchangeable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Lightweight

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

          Compact. Great for portability and everyday use. Nice sharp lens.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this reviewHelp Icon

           
          5.0

          Excelent lens

          By Swede

          from Falun. Sweden

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Lightweight
          • Rugged

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light

            Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

            Very good fixed lens for night and indoor photos. With this lens the camera also is very easy to carry.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this reviewHelp Icon

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Good lens!

            By TL2Bass

            from Los Angeles, CA

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easily Interchangeable
            • Excellent in low light
            • Lightweight

            Cons

            • Slow Focus

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Night Photography

            Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

            I've only had this lens a short while but I absolutely love its performance in low light. I am a professional music producer/audio engineer and needed a fast lens to capture images in dim to non-existant studio light. The majority of my artists like to record with the lights dimmed considerably and sometimes with only candles lit. So capturing them during a session from the control room has been difficult. Not anymore. I was using the 14mm 2.5 pancake as well as a Canon 50mm 1.8 (fantastic plastic) and this thing just flat out kills in low light! In all fairness, the Canon is great, too. But I needed a wider lens for capturing whole ensembles and bands. Image quality is great and the 1.7 allows me to capture expressive shots in an environment that's difficult for slower lenses and where a flash is out of the question.

            Only 4 stars because for video, there is too much hunting while trying to focus. In and out... in and out.. in and out. Lame. This is where the 14mm pancake excels over the 20mm. In fact, using the 20mm for video has been a frustrating mess... to the point where I have nothing but out of focus moments captured amidst a few frames of usable material. Totally weak.

            Share this reviewHelp Icon

             
            5.0

            This is exactly what I was looking for.

            By Jim

            from Los Angeles

            About Me Casual Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Durable
            • Easily Interchangeable
            • Lightweight

            Cons

            • Weak Casing

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Night Photography
            • Video
            • Wildlife Photos

            Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

            low lighting. light weight and extremely compact.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this reviewHelp Icon

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            See for Yourself!

            By Golden Hour

            from Charlotte, NC

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Pros

            • Consistent Output
            • Easily Interchangeable
            • Lightweight

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Night Photography

              Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

              Instead of me raving about this lens like everyone else has, look at the footage I shot. I knew this film would be almost all night shots. I also knew I was going to be shooting inside the car at night. I need something wide and fast. I got both with this lens. I was not planning on using it as much as I did, but it ended up being my go to lens during the whole shoot.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this reviewHelp Icon

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Awesome lens, awesome buy!

              By Sharon

              from Houston, TX

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Lightweight
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

              • Poor in Low Light

              Best Uses

              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Macro Photography

              Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

              I have been thinking about buying this lens for at least 2 years. I finally bought it for my Disney trip. Best decision ever! It works perfectly for my e-p1. I thought my e-p1 is outdated before this lens, but I was wrong! All I need is an awesome lens, and for sure this is the one!

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this reviewHelp Icon

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great lens!

              By lyssjj

              from Poland, OH

              About Me Casual Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Lightweight

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Landscape/Scenery

                Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                I purchased this lens to replace the kit lens that came with my Olympus Pen E-PL1. I'm fairly new to the world of photography beyond point and shoot, so my photography skills are fairly rudimentary, but even I couldn't screw up the pictures taken with this lens. They were so sharp and clear that by using it, I look more skilled than I am (at least to non-photographers). The pancake size is so convenient to carry when traveling and hiking. Very pleased with my purchase!

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this reviewHelp Icon

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                A must have lens for the Panasonic AF100

                By Wizard Sounder

                from West Coast USA

                About Me Pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Indoors/Low Light
                    • Night Photography
                    • Video
                    • Weddings/Events

                    Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                    A fast lens for video on the AF100 or AF100a. Once you own it, you can't do without. Great price, good quality, and great for the GH2 and GH3 also as the B camera.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this reviewHelp Icon

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    great lens very clear

                    By tomtecat

                    from duluth, mn

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Consistent Output
                    • Durable
                    • Easily Interchangeable
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                    • Lightweight
                    • Nice Bokeh
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Indoors/Low Light
                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Night Photography
                      • Video

                      Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                      using it with a GX1... the lens is fabulous - clear!

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this reviewHelp Icon

                      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      My "go-to" lens.

                      By Wes

                      from Boone, IA

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Durable
                      • Easily Interchangeable
                      • Lightweight
                      • Nice Bokeh

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Landscape/Scenery
                        • Video

                        Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                        This is my favorite lens for the price range. Although great for wide-angle, it has excellent depth of field down to 2-3 feet. I use this with my Panasonic Lumix GH3, and the picture is brilliant. Excellent for video including weekend warriors for weddings, etc. or the short film/indie features. I highly recommend this camera. I would recommend also getting another lens that can go macro for even closer-ups that this can't get.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this reviewHelp Icon

                        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        The 75% Rule

                        By keeponkeepinon

                        from Silicon Valley, CA

                        About Me Casual Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Consistent Output
                        • Durable
                        • Easily Interchangeable
                        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                        • Lightweight
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Rugged
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                        • Lens cap

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Macro Photography
                        • Night Photography

                        Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                        I recently upgraded to the GX1 from the LX5 and S95. I am a "casual enthusiast" who is trying to break into the world of interchangeable lenses and decided to get the 20mm 1.7 along with the 14-45mm. The 20mm lens is special because it's a normal wide that gives a little bit more than the 50mm FF that most people see. The lens has character and does something special to the pictures due to its really nice bokeh, crisp image quality, and corner to corner sharpness. The vignetting is also very low. Add this to the 1-inch depth, and now there's a must have lens, for low light and more, for 75% of the masses like myself who want to make sure they get the right equipment to grow with.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this reviewHelp Icon

                        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Works great for my travel camera

                        By Kevin the Branigan

                        from Toronto, ON

                        Verified Buyer

                        Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                        It's small, which is what I was looking for.

                        Share this reviewHelp Icon

                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        A must have

                        By igo

                        from San Diego , CA

                        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Consistent Output
                        • Durable
                        • Easily Interchangeable
                        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                        • Lightweight
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Rugged
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Night Photography

                          Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                          The Lumix 20mm F 1.7 is a must have - even though many argue that the 25mm 1.4 is a tad better - but it is also much longer and also more money - what I love about this lens is how slim it is. I mostly use it on my Olympus OMD-5 - a good combination.
                          Pretty sharp and pretty fast - and nice bokeh - well built as most of the Panasonic lenses are.
                          So even if you went with the 25mm 1.4 I would alos add this lens in the basket as it is so slim and 40mm is perfect for street shooting - I find 50mm sometimes not that practical for street shooting.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this reviewHelp Icon

                          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Love it!

                          By Pastrernak

                          from Portland, OR

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Durable
                          • Easily Interchangeable
                          • Lightweight
                          • Nice Bokeh
                          • Rugged
                          • Strong Construction

                          Cons

                          • Slow Focus

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Macro Photography
                          • Night Photography
                          • Sports/Action
                          • Video
                          • Weddings/Events

                          Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                          This lens is small, sharp and fast. And dig the shallow depth of field. Auto-focus does not preform well in low-light. And AF could also be a little faster and a little less noisy. But these are not issues for me in my studio. I use this lens with a GH2 for video recording purposes. And I generally use studio lights and an independent audio recording equipment when I shoot.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this reviewHelp Icon

                          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          4.0

                          Fast lens, slow focus

                          By Chris

                          from Auburn, AL

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Size

                          Cons

                          • Slow Focus

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light

                          Comments about Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens:

                          I love this compact lens. I've been dying to have a fast lens like this. Image quality is great, build quality is great.

                          I do think the autofocus is significantly slower than my basic 14-42 on my GX1. Would have been perfect except for the focus.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this reviewHelp Icon

                          Displaying reviews 1-20

                          Back to top

                          Previous | Next »