Panasonic is introducing two lenses under its new X range, which "doesn't rely on our relationship with Leica", according to Barney Sykes, Lumix G product manager at Panasonic UK.
Leica and Panasonic have collaborated on the production of compact cameras and lenses since 2001. But, this time, Panasonic has used digital technology to create two new lenses that take less space then their optical equivalents - a 45-175mm power zoom lens and a 14-42mm model. "Leica has very strict standards when making lenses," says Sykes. "For the X line, we're using digital technology to get the same quality [in a more compact product]. This would not have conformed to Leica's standard."
The Lumix G X Vario PZ 14- 42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH/Power O.I.S. lens weighs 95g and is composed of nine glass elements in eight groups. The lens is retractable, bringing its length to only 26.8mm when closed, claims Panasonic. It uses an integrated optical image stabiliser and is claimed to achieve autofocus in 0.1s.
The Lumix G X Vario PZ 45- 175mm/F4.0-5.6 ASPH/Power O.I.S. model features two ED lenses, to suppress chromatic aberration, as well as Panasonic's Nanon Surface Coating technology to minimise reflection. It's also the first lens to use the Multi-Actuator Floating Inner Focus System, which controls three lens groups separately, allowing for a downsizing of the lens' size and weight, according to Panasonic.
However, Panasonic is quick to point out that the new range doesn't mean the end of its relationship with Leica. "We're still working together and we'll continue to introduce new Leica lenses," says Sykes. "Our Micro Four Thirds cameras have very small bodies, but the lens has been a fundamental barrier to get a much smaller kit. The Lumix G X lenses can achieve this and we're working on expanding the line-up quickly."
The 45-175mm lens will be released in September retailing at £400, while the 14-42mm will be available from October at £350. Panasonic will also introduce a new kit version of its Lumix GF3 camera with the 14-42mm lens, which will retail at £600.
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