Sony may have trumped the feature set for mirrorless cameras but Panasonic leverages pocketability with its new ultra compact, premium 3x zoom lenses

Written by Gary on August 26th, 2011

Sony has just announced a range of mirrorless camera products which have fantastic features but ONE MAJOR problem – the lenses are way too big for the tiny NEX cameras making handling an issue as well as pocketability.

Panasonic has just announced 2 new Micro Four Thirds lenses which bring compact size to zoom lenses – up until now, if you wanted a really compact lens for a mirrorless camera it had to be a single focallength pancake lens such as the 14mm f/2.5, 17mm f/2.8 or 20mm f/1.7.

Now Panasonic has added a new premium class of Micro Four Thirds lenses denoted Lumix X which have nano coatings for reached flare, and a high level of edge-to-edge optic quality.

In addition, they have Panasonic’s HD badge which indicates AF is near silent and the aperture is stepless for HD video.

The first two Lumix X lenses are very interesting indeed – the first is half as long as its predecessor,while the 2nd is half the weight and shorter than its predecessor, or the Sony’s new lens.

The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ POWER O.I.S. (H-PS14042) lens:

  • 28-84mm field of view in 35mm terms – very standard for most kit lenses, as is the aperture f/3.5-5.6
  • new power optical image stabilisation for improved stabilisation of large slow movements in addition to fast small movements.
  • new retractable design to make it ultra-compact and only 26.8mm long when turned off, but almost doubles when turned on (this compares to 64mm long for the older Lumix 14-42mm lens, and is also shorter than the collapsible Olympus equivalent)
  • interestingly it now has a multi-speed power zoom lever as there is no physical room for a zoom ring – and this has been designed to provide quiet, smooth zooming during HD video – so it now begs the question – will we see future camera bodies with a power zoom lever near the shutter as with camcorders?
  • Manual focusing via a manual focus lever.
  • fast AF with the latest generation cameras
  • close focus to 0.2m.
  • 4 aspherical elements and 2 ED elements for high image quality
  • 7 rounded diaphragm blades
  • internal focus
  • 37mm filter thread – doesnot rotate on focus
  • 95g
  • RRP $Us399 or you will be able to get it bundled with a GF-3 camera
  • on a GF3 or an Olympus E-PL3, this lens at last enables a 3x zoom lens on a large sensor to be easily pocketable in a jacket or carried in a purse.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm/F4.0-5.6 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. (H-PS45175):

  • 90-350mm field of view in 35mm terms with aperture f/4.0-5.6
  • power optical image stabilisation – even more effective than previous Mega OIS technology as it adds 2x more effective stabilisation of large, slow movements.
  • power zoom lever as for the 14-42mm lens, but also has a zoom ring
  • a Multi-Actuator Floating Inner Focus System to control three lens groups separately helps reduce size and almost halves the weight whilst apparently maintaining image quality!
  • weight 209g or 7.4oz
  • only 90mm long! Not bad for a lens giving 300mm reach.
  • the older 45-200mm lens is 100mm long and weighed 380g
  • the new Sony equivalent, the 55-210mm has a reach of only 315mm and at aperture f/6.3, and is 108mm long and weighs 345g (12.2oz) which is almost TWICE as heavy!
  • shutter lag 20% of the older 45-200mm OIS lens.
  • RRP $US449

If compact size is important, these two lenses will give you the lightest, most compact kit while still having great image quality and fast quiet AF, at least fot stationary subjects.



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