How Versatile is the Panasonic 20mm lens on the Olympus E-P1 micro 4/3 system?

As I discussed in my previous post, I am considering moving to the micro 4/3 system for my primary camera system, and I’m still pondering that choice.  At the moment I am concentrating on how well the Olympus E-P1 camera will work for me in Ireland.  I am also considering getting the new Olympus 14 – 150mm lens to use while walking about and then using the Panasonic 20mm lens while inside buildings or during the evenings.  I really love that 20mm lens.

This morning I decided to really test the 20mm lens under conditions that aren’t ideally suited for photography.  It is very overcast, with a bit of moisture in the air, and snow on the ground.  Other than for the snow (and trees) it might be representative of dreary days in Ireland.  To test it out under field conditions, I decided to see how well it would do as a replacement for a wider lens.  In other words, what if I had it on the camera when presented with a wide view that really required a much wider lens?  To check out an alternative, I took a panorama by taking 4 pictures of my backyard and then stitched them together using the Olympus software.  As you can see below, the Olympus software did well at stitching them together.

You can click on the picture to see a larger image.

My next test was to go in the opposite direction.  What if all I had with me was the 20mm lens and I needed to zoom in on the scene.  The picture below is the original picture which consists of the right hand section of the above view … all that I would normally get with the 20mm lens.

You can click on the picture to see a larger image.

I then did a “digital zoom” on the picture by cropping down to just a small portion in the center of the above picture.  You can see the results below.

You can click on the picture to see a larger image.

It’s pretty good for use in my blog or for the usual slide shows that I make.  When using the panorama function and the cropping function, I have a wide range of latitude with just the excellent, very small, Panasonic 20mm lens.

I now feel a lot more comfortable about walking around with my E-P1 camera with just the Panasonic 20mm lens on it since it is good enough for making panoramas or for cropping to frame in on just a small section of the picture.  Does it negate the need for a zoom lens?  No, but it is a reasonable substitute when I only wish to carry a small, lightweight camera.

I’m still thinking about ordering the Olympus 14 – 150mm zoom lens and then repeating the above test with the 20mm lens under brighter conditions and comparing the results to what I can get with the 14 – 150mm lens.  Given the cost of the 14 – 150mm lens along with the above results, I might just go with the 20mm lens … now that would really make a small lightweight system.  If the results continue to please me I will be on my way to just using a micro 4/3 camera and carrying a lot less weight around.

One comment

  1. slpmartin

    I’m very impressed with how you evaluated the lens and the creating similar conditions as you might find in Ireland…what a excellent strategy for determing which camera and lens to take…kudos on this one.