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Panasonic Introduces new Power Zoom Lenses, First to Carry 'Lumix X' Designation

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    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.

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    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.

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    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.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Diane B

    Diane B Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    There is a later post in that thread where Andy had gotten verification from Panasonic that they are compatible with the GF1.

    I'm not interested personally but I can see them creating even more excitement around m4/3. There are some pics and info over at rumors about a 12-35 and 35-100 for 2012. The 12-35 interests me more though I was hoping for the rumored 12-50----maybe by Oly. the 12-35 gives me same range as my 24-70L on FF (Canon) which is fine for me. Right now the only lens I'm tempted by is the 25/1.4 but these others, especially for videographers, are a good addition. Having been playing with video on the G3 (and putting together some simple videos from older GF1 clips for practice) I can see the benefit of the two announced lenses.

    Diane B
  3. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Silver pancake:


    Size comparison with 20mm:


    Note: above are from dpreview.com

    Pancake on GF3:

    Video 1

    Video 2
    • Like Like x 1
  4. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 15, 2010
    We're walking by strange paths nowadays...
  5. bobbywise

    bobbywise Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 23, 2011
    Nantes, France
    I don't think the FW update is obligatory for the DMC-GH2, DMC-G3, DMC-GF3 or DMC-GF2 -- it simply adds additional screen functions. See the text in bold at the end.

    Text below taken from The World’s First Digital Interchangeable Power Zoom Lenses | Press Release | LUMIX | Digital Camera | Panasonic Global

    Panasonic Announces the Firmware Update Program
    for DMC-GH2 / G3 / GF3 / GF2
    for Enhancing the Functions of the New Power Zoom Lenses
    Panasonic announces the new firmware update program for the digital interchangeable lens system cameras DMC-GH2, DMC-G3, DMC-GF3 and DMC-GF2 of LUMIX G Micro System.
    The firmware version 1.1 will be released to enhance the functions when the camera is used with the new power zoom lenses - LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. (H-PS14042) and LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. (H-PS45175).

    The following functions will be available with the new firmware:
    - Display of the local length
    When you zoom, the focal distance is displayed and you can confirm the zoom position.
    - Step zoom
    When you operate the zoom, the zoom will stop at positions corresponding to predetermined distances.
    - Zoom resume
    When you switch the power switch [ON], the zoom positions when you last switched [OFF] are automatically restored.
    - Selectable zoom speed
    Users can select the speed of electric-powered zooming.
    The new firmware program ver.1.1 will be available worldwide from the beginning of October at DIGITAL CAMERA LUMIX | Digital AV | Consumer Products | Support | Panasonic Global.

    The power zoom lenses can be used with DMC-GH2, DMC-G3, DMC-GF3 or DMC-GF2 if the firmware is not updated. However, Panasonic recommends all users to update it.
  6. jyap

    jyap Guest

    Good move by Panasonic

    These lenses are exactly what the public wants to see. Really using their technology to achieve something innovative like the zoom switch on the lens. Many like DSLR users who want something smaller will really like these lenses. Want manual zoom control with a twist and larger size? Then use your existing DSLR and lug that around. Want something slightly larger that a point and shoot, fits in your pocket (or at least is more mobile if you want to be more semantically correct about 'pocketability'), and has interchangeable lenses? Here, use this. I think it's a great move.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Julian, I agree with you 100%. Only curious part to me is that they would designate the new kit lens as part of their "premium" (Lumix X) line. The kit lens will be a lens that almost everyone has, adding only a small cost to the body-only price. Seems anything but premium to me :confused: .
  8. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    In my opinion both lenses are game-changers, especially the small standard-zoom changes the game completely. On a GF3 this lens makes the combination as tiny as a compact camera but with a large sensor. If its image quality is fine, I will most probably buy it.
  9. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    When I switched to m43 from P&S the most inconvinient part was using my hand to zoom. It's especially annoying during video. Also, quite frusturatingly, no FL is displayed when zooming.
  10. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I think anything they release is good news for the m43 system overall - choice is everything, probably more so when it comes to camera systems. The NEX looks like a great camera to me but, man, that lens range totally sucks.....
  11. ksn

    ksn Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 6, 2011
    With the 14-140mm at $800, I would have expected the premium 45-175 to be $1200+. Is that extra wide angle worth that much more?
  12. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The small zoom would be great as a kit lens for either the GF3 or the G3. Hopefully, the optical quality is there.
  13. A_less

    A_less New to Mu-43

    Aug 26, 2011
    Actually, I am bothered:mad:  that PANASONIC does not bother :confused: to make firmwares updates to have full fonctionality on G1, GH1, GF1, G2. I mean you can still buy these bodies new in a lot of places TODAY. It is not that those are 5 year old bodies. I think it is not fair not to support these bodies anymore from Panasonic, even if the functionalities are not a must have. I have a GF1 and some money to spend on the new 14-42 collapsible lense... but not to change body.

    If you feel like me, you can sign the online petition so that all of us can use the full possibilities of these new lenses:

    Petition G1, GF1, GH1 & G2 firmware for LUMIX G X VARIO lenses

  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Do you know which (if any) lens functionalities are not supported by all bodies? It may just be that everything works except where impossible to implement via firmware (eg, touch controls on GF1 which has no touch screen).

    Sent from my HTC Thunderbolt using Mu-43 App
  15. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    wait.. i didnt read everything... but... does that lil pancake zoom stay all stretched out whenever the camera is on anyways? if so... the small size when its closed seems silly to me.
  16. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    The m4/3 system is making great leaps and bounds these days.... how exciting to see so many new development in lenses and bodies! I believe m4/3 will ultimately become a major, if not dominant, system/format. Very exciting times for us m4/3 users.
  17. tigertiger

    tigertiger Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 30, 2011
    I'm not generally a fan of zoom lenses, but that 'pancake' zoom looks really sweet!
  18. The pancake zoom seems like a great idea to me. Every now and then I wonder if I might want to pick up something like an older Canon G10 or Panny LX3 so as to have a zoom in a compact body, but the availablity of this new 14-42 kills any of the attraction for small sensor advanced compacts for me.
  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The zoom switch and lack of any ring make the new 14-42 looks like a lens adapter or teleconverter rather than a lens unto itself!

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    • Like Like x 1
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Yes... a GF3 with this power zoom lens makes a great take-over option to the wonderful LX5.
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