Panasonic took the next step in the evolution of the compact system camera kit zoom lens today with the introduction of two new power zoom lenses. As we noted when discussing this critical lens segment a few months ago, there has been a major focus on making the standard kit zoom both smaller and more suitable for video. With the new lenses, Panasonic is releasing two power zoom lenses, lenses which incorporate rocker controls which control variable speed powered optical zooming, a feature seen on most fixed-lens, small sensor cameras. This allows for smooth zooming during video. The first of the two new lenses is the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS, which uses a collapsible design like the Olympus 14-42 kit lens. The Panasonic lens is even more compact than the Olympus and is the first compact system camera kit zoom lens approaching "pancake" status. Other than the power zoom, the difference between the Panasonic lens and the Olympus is that the Panasonic lens is powered to automatically extend and retract with the power state of the camera much like the zoom lens on Panasonic small sensor cameras such as the LX5. The new lens is optimized for video by using quiet focus and zoom motors, optical image stabilization, and stepless aperture. The new 14-42mm lens will be offered in a kit with a new Lumix GF3X body with a suggested retail price of $750 for the kit and $400 for the lens. Sample images from this lens can be found here (images 2-4): Sample Images | LUMIX G™ MICRO SYSTEM | LUMIX | Digital Camera | Panasonic Global It remains unclear to what extent the new 14-42mm zoom will be compatible with existing Micro Four Thirds Cameras. According to the press release, it "will be compatible with the DMC-G3, DMC-GF3, DMC-GF2 with a firmware upgrade". However, in response to member complaints, DPReview's Andy Westlake commented "These lenses may not be *fully* compatible with the GF1, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to use them at all - the key functions seem to work fine in practice. We'll try to get further clarification from Panasonic about this". The second lens power zoom lens introduced today is the Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6 ASPH OIS. Like the 14-42mm lens, the 45-175mm lens will feature on-lens power zoom controls. However, the 45-175mm lens also controls dials for zooming and focusing. Of note, both zoom anf focus rings offer control "by wire" rather than traditional mechanically-linked control. Along with the 14-42mm zoom, this new telephoto lens carries Panasonic's new "Lumix X" designation, which indicates their new premium quality lens line. The 45-175mm lens will be available in September 2011 with a suggested retail price of $450.