Shortly after, M43 photographers discovered the "beauties" of this compact prime lens...
The 40mm-equivalent may at first appear unusual, but some discovered that; with a focal length equal to the M43 sensor's diagonal; this compact optics is in fact a 'perfect normal' lens!
This means the 20mm will produce images free of the 'perspective distortion' associated with wide angle or telephoto lenses!
Shortly after launch, this "pancake" lens became a celebrity when photo blogger Steve Huff claimed that the lowly kit lens is sharper than a Nikon 50/1.8 on a D3S!
Suddenly, this small wonder was so hot, it was hard to come by!
Even for a compact size, Panasonic managed to implement a 7 elements in 5 groups (2 aspherical lens) design.
The lens also incorporated a 7 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm to produce a pleasing bokeh.
This lens however, do not come with POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer).
The Lumix 20/1.7 "pancake" besides the even smaller Lumix 12-32 kit zoom for the GM1. It is obvious how far lens miniaturisation has gone! The much smaller and lighter 12-32 command a 24-64mm (eqv) range, this kind of optics was an impossible optical dream four years ago!
The 20/1.7 look oversized for the ultra compact Lumix GM1!
But how good is this NZD 545.00 pancake? I took it out for a spin last sunny Saturday :)
Colour from this 20mm pancake is exceptional, the renditions of different hues are accurate and clean. Contrast is high, and shadow detail is good. I cannot see any chromatic aberration, the Lumix GM1 would have corrected; in house.
Strong backlight did not seem to bother this large aperture prime, I cannot detect any flare; even though I do not have a lens hood! The last time I noticed these kind of backlight performances was with my Leica glass!
A "grab shot" with the pancake still attached to the GM1. A longer focal length would made a better composition.
Next round, our Rose Garden to test the large aperture setting of this lens...
The two pictures above were shot with the GM1, top; with the 20/1.7 at F2 and bottom, with the GM1 kit zoom set at 20mm but the aperture was a tiny 4.5... take a look at the smooth and pleasing out of focus bokeh only a large aperture lens can provide!
A large aperture lens can easily isolate your subject from a messy background!
All the shots above were taken with the 20/1.7 on my OM-D E-M5 which have the huge advantage of it's incredible 5 axes image stabilizer!
Famous Last Words...
I really like this pancake! I like it's creamy bokeh, it's accurate colour rendition; it's sharpness even when wide open.
I am not so fond of it's rather slow auto focus, but this is a 4 year old lens... and the lack of built-in image stabiliser.
I can live with this lens :)
Food For Thought...