We love Micro Four Thirds cameras. We use them almost daily. But as nifty as high quality interchangeable lenses are, the big eye on a small body can be awkward. Not anymore. The Lumix's newest lens retracts like magic.
Available as a $US750 set (badged the Lumix GF3X) paired with the stellar GF3, the 14-42 mm Lumix G X Vario lens looks like your typical fixed pancake lens -- it's flat. Which is great if you're interested in stowing it away. But inside that pancake is a full, electronically controlled zoom lens, that telescopes outwards with a shift of a built-in tab. The re-positioned zoom and focus controls might take some getting used to, but putting a zoom lens in a slim body is a game changer: Micro Four Thirds just left its awkward stage.
And this isn't just a convenience add-on -- Panasonic's billing the X series as its highest quality offering, with a proprietary anti-glare coating, built-in image stabilisation, and a build quality that surpasses Leica's certification process. There's also a big brother in the line—a fully extended 45-175 mm zoom lens that doesn't retract, but has the same terrific, snappy optics as the little guy.
Both lenses look and feel grand, and operate tremendously quick. As mentioned, adjusting focus and zoom with a different part of your hand takes some adjustment, but I liked it quite a bit. You may not. The tiny retractable version -- easily the coolest lens I've seen in some time -- will be available paired with a GF3 for $US750 in October, or $US400 on its own. The 45-175 mm version will cost $US450 this September. Both, of course, are interchangeable with other compatible Micro Four Thirds lenses.
SECAUCUS, NJ (August 26, 2011) — Panasonic today announces a newly designed and innovative LUMIX G "X" lens that retracts to help minimize its size, without compromising its focal length or image quality. Panasonic's new premium LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm/F3.5- 5.6 ASPH./ POWER O.I.S. (H-PS14042) lens, will be available with the company's smallest and lightest compact system camera as a lens kit option in the DMC-GF3X model. With electric-powered zoom operation, the retractable Power Zoom H-PS14042 lens is extremely compact, approximately 26.8mm in length, and weighs approximately 3.35oz, offering ultra-high portability.
Panasonic's new premium LUMIX "X" Series of lenses, including the LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ POWER O.I.S., offers a versatile zoom range of 14-42mm (35mm camera equivalent: 28-84mm) suitable for a wide range of scenes, such as dynamic landscape to portrait. Also announced today is another LUMIX X lens, the LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm/F4.0-5.6 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. Crystallizing Panasonic's optical technologies, the LUMIX X lenses feature superb image rendering for lifelike textures, crisp edge-to-edge contrast, a unique Nano Surface Coating to help minimize ghosts and flaring in natural settings with remarkable transparency.
"Panasonic continues to innovate in digital photography by offering advanced features in small and compact bodies, thus addressing the consumer's need for camera equipment to be lightweight and easy to carry," said Darin Pepple, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic
Consumer Electronics Company. "With the new LUMIX X Series of premium lenses, we do not sacrifice size for quality and Panasonic still offers top-of-the-line image quality for our G Series, but in a smaller design that makes it extremely mobile."
With the LUMIX GF3X, the camera and lens combination can achieve Light Speed AF of approximately 0.1 second — making it an extremely quick and high-performing digital camera.
The LUMIX GF3X with the new 14-42 PZ lens also features POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabiliser), to make it easier to shoot clear photos even in low-lit situations. The convenient zoom lever on the lens barrel gives users a stable way to zoom. Manual focusing is also available with a manual focus lever for even more precise control.
The LUMIX GF3, like all the LUMIX G Series of Compact System Cameras, captures high-quality photo images with real-to-life details through excellent resolution, image rendering and colour reproduction. With its stunningly small compact profile, the LUMIX GF3 boasts high-speed, precise Contrast AF system and quick response times. The LUMIX GF3 is also capable of 1920 x 1080 Full High Definition video in the AVCHD format.
The LUMIX GF3X will be available in a black body and black lens or a silver body and silver lens kits options in October 2011 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $US749.99. The new
LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ POWER O.I.S. (H-PS14042) lens will also be available separately for an SRP of $US399.99 and will be compatible with the DMC-G3, DMC-
GF3, DMC-GF2 with a firmware upgrade. For more information about Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.