Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f1.7 and 20mm f1.7 II ASPH lens reviews: Has Panasonic improved its classic standard prime?

By Kevin Carter - Thursday November 07 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Best Prime for Micro Four Third mount on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 | Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II ASPH lens performance | Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II ASPH versus competition | Conclusion

Although the original was highly regarded, the range of rival offerings has increased dramatically. Olympus introduced a high-grade 17mm f1.8 model to compete directly, and Panasonic added a Leica branded 25mm f1.4 that must surely be tempting sales away from the diminutive 20mm.

Add the $999 Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 and more modest $199 Sigma 19mm f2.8 DN Art series lens to the mix (both untested at the time of posting), and it’s understandable Panasonic felt the need to refresh the 20mm.

 
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm F1.88992713
Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.45792311
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8389239
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8500227
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.07692111
Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN A Micro 4/32392111
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH4002112
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II ASPH4002011
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm F2.8 Macro4991911
Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN A Mount 43199189
Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS668179
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f2.8300157
Olympus 15mm 1:8.0 Body Cap7953
The wide-range of high quality primes is one of the many attractions of the MFT format (note all of the above lens models were measured on the Olympus OM-D E-M5)

When compared with against rivals with similar focal lengths, the new lens ranks third, surprisingly, behind the original model and the Olympus M. Zuiko 17mm f1.8 although it outperforms the latter lens in overall image sharpness.

 
Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.45792311
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8500227
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH4002112
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 II ASPH4002011
Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN A Mount 43199189
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f2.8300157
Although Panasonic claims the new 20mm adopts the same optical construction of its predecessor, we measured a very slight drop in optical performance