35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
This little pancake lens is life changing!,
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This review is from: Panasonic Lumix G H-H020 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
A few months ago I decided to purchase the Panasonic Lumix 20mm 1.7 pancake lens. I had read the countless reviews about its image quality, depth of field and portable size. When I finally ordered the lens, I realized that this little lens outshines all of those reviews!
When I first unboxed the 20mm, I was surprised by how little it was...not just its pancake body, but it weighed almost nothing. How can a lens this small live up to all of those reviews? Well, I am about three months in and I haven't taken the lens off yet...and I don't plan to. Here's why:
1) Image quality: Are there better prime lenses out there? Maybe. Can you fit them in your pants pocket and have them cost under $400? I doubt it. For the money, the 20mm is the best lens I have ever owned. The addition of this lens to my GF1 has resulted in consistently sharper photos and far fewer deleted shots.
2) Shooting in low light: With aperture wide open at 1.7, this thing is amazing. I almost totally avoid using a flash with the 20mm. I can shoot indoors, in museums, at evening parties and never have to use my flash. In my opinion, this makes the lens worth the money in itself. At a BBQ on the 4th of July, my friend had his Olympus EP-1 and the kit 14-45 lens, while I brought by GF1 and the 20mm. We decided that we would run a little informal comparison of the two setups and compare notes. For the first few hours, we were both more than satisfied with what we were shooting. Decent shots all around, as expected. But then came dusk. This was clearly the 20mm's time to shine. My friend couldn't keep up and was resorting to flash, which left him less than satisfied with his shots. He could not capture any shots of the kids running around in the backyard with sparklers or the dads trying to shoot off bottle rockets...he was left with motion blurs or incorrect focus. The 20mm had no problem at all. When the light really started to go, I raised ISO to 400 and kept on going. What a great little lens.
3)Portability: For the past several years, whenever I am preparing for a vacation, I have to run through the same routine: which lenses do I bring? How many can I fit in my bag? How many lenses do I really want to lug around? It gets old. I made the switch to micro-four thirds for this very reason. I want to take great shots with a camera that is easy to transport, that is not too bulky, and doesn't feel like carrying a sack of potatoes at the end of a long day of touring. For me, the GF1 and the 20mm is the perfect package. After making this switch and accepting that with the 20mm the zoom was located in my feet (prime lenses have no zoom), I have never looked back.
I will say that, in reality, the 20mm has made me a better photographer. Without a zoom I think more about my shot now before I take it. I think more about composition and balance in a shot. I find myself with far fewer deleted shots. Which is not to say that the 20mm is incapable of capturing those unexpected moments that often make the best photos. The 20mm is fast. Dead fast. It is more than capable of catching those amazing shots on the fly as well. I am thrilled with my Panasonic 20mm 1.7, and I am confident that you will be too.