Castle in the Snow

panasonic lumix GF1 20mm f1.7 pancake lens

Some shots of Kenilworth castle. Multi-image panoramic stitches taken with a Panasonic GF1 + 20mm f1.7 pancake lens.

For the last two days I have been out with just two lenses. LUMIX G 20mm / F1.7 ASPH. and Leica DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. Yesterday used on a Panasonic GF1 and the day before on an Olympus E-P2.

panasonic lumix GF1 20mm f1.7 pancake lens

Several things have become clear.

Firstly I really like these two lens outfits. The lightness and simplicity is a real bonus, despite the fact that I did on several occasions think I'd lost one. I carry the extra lens in a small shoulder bag & its so light, I don't notice it. Having spent so many years carrying 2 or 3 extra lenses in a "conventional" camera bag, which I certainly did notice, its a refreshing change.

Secondly these two lenses are really quite excellent. I have written about them both, at some length before, but its worth repeating just how good they are. Sharp, with excellent performance at all apertures.

Thirdly, and somewhat more contentious, I have come to the conclusion that Olympus must be using a slightly stronger AA (Anti-Aliasing) filter on their m4/3 cameras. I have been noticing marginally softer images coming off both the E-P1 and now the E-P2. There's very little in this, but it is noticeable. I've been wary about jumping to conclusions about this, but the last two days of shooting have definitely confirmed to me that on my cameras and with my lenses there is a small, but observable difference between the two cameras.
Its less noticeable with the 45mm, but shows up with the 20mm f1.7, 14-140 and 7-14 zooms. It was interesting when Olympus announced the E-P1L. They indicated that they had made the AA filter slightly weaker. I was interested in this & looked at the samples on dpreview. However I couldn't see any great improvement over my Panasonic cameras. Some Olympus users though have commented that they can see a difference, with a marginal increase in sharpness.

My experiences of Olympus cameras in the past have indicated that they do like a fairly strong AA filter. I had a E-420 for a while and the files from that were distinctly soft. The difference between the Panasonic and Olympus m4/3 cameras is a little surprising, considering that it is basically the same sensor. They also get very similar results in tests, which is why I was reluctant to draw any definite conclusions until now.

However, its not going to affect my use of the cameras. A very slight increase in the amount of sharpening I apply eliminates the difference. Its a similar situation with colour balance. I prefer the Panasonic approach in terms of colour rendition, but again this is marginal and I always do a fair amount of colour "tweaking" anyway.

I should say, in conclusion, that I really like the Olympus in terms of handling. Going back to the GF1's EVF yesterday made me realise just how good the Olympus version is. I also love the "feel" of the E-P2 and enjoy working with it enormously.

panasonic lumix GF1 20mm f1.7 pancake lens

panasonic lumix GF1 20mm f1.7 pancake lens
Words - D
Images - D & A