Gorgeous review, as ever. I couldn’t agree more with Josh’s take on this incredible lens, and his pictures make an amazing job of showing what this little gem is capable of in the right hands. It may seem small and somewhat cheap but make no mistake, this beauty punches well above its weight. I purchased mine the very same day I got my E-M10, which is probably why the 14-42mm kit lens has been locked up in a drawer since then.
I also very much agree with Josh’s conclusion:
Will the 20mm pancake be in my collection forever? Probably not. I view this lens like a ninth grade teacher: The subject is capable of teaching you fundamental skills, but may peak in its lesson-giving at some point in time. However, upon return after years away, that teacher can still remind you of the basic skills and drive home something new entirely.
This may sound odd, but I’ve actually been considering selling my 20mm pancake for a while. For all its virtues, I can’t help but feel I’ve sort of outgrown it in the past few months, and I often find myself wanting to explore different focal lengths. In particular, I’ve been wanting to switch over to the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens.
I’m going through a 35mm phase in my photography lately, which is why the lack of a truly outstanding 35mm-equivalent lens for the Micro Four Thirds system (17.5mm in MMFT terms) annoys me to no end. Sure, there’s the awesome Voigtländer 17.5mm f/0.95, but it’s manual-focus only and costs almost $1,000, so it’s not exactly an alternative to the Lumix. That leaves only the Olympus. By all accounts, it’s not as sharp as the Lumix, but it has some other redeeming qualities, not the least of which is its slightly wider focal length, much closer to the classic 35mm focal length than the Lumix.
To be honest, I’m torn between the two. On one hand, the Lumix has taught me so much that it’s already earned a place in my heart forever. Besides, its amazing size and image quality are surely still deserving of a spot in my lens collection, even if its just relegated to casual, nostalgic use in the future. On the other hand though, one must change habits to evolve as a photographer, and I keep feeling the time has come for me to move on. And the simple truth is, I need the money to fund the Olympus, so the only way I can get it right now is by selling the Lumix.
In an ideal world I would very much like to own both, but I realize it would be for sentimental reasons more than anything else.
Actually, scratch that. In an ideal world, I’d get the Voigtländer.