updated 07:40 am EDT, Fri August 26, 2011
Panasonic G X retractable lenses, GF3X kit show
Panasonic addressed one of the most common complaints of mirrorless interchangeable lenses, the mismatch in size between the body and lenses, with a new set of Lumix lenses and a new camera bundle. The Lumix G X 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 is just over an inch long, as thick as some pancake lenses, but still has the same fast focusing, stabilization, and optics as the original Micro Four Thirds kit lens. Instead of the traditional zoom ring, it has a motorized lever to reach its 3X range.
A second lens, the 45-175mm f4-5.6, is considered one of the smallest telephotos of its kind. It carries its own zoom motor along with the stabilization and lets users control the zoom with a side-mounted rocker as well as through a ring. The addition is a potential boon to recording video by allowing for smoother zooming where manual control would be too inconsistent.
The first camera to fully support the new 14-42mm lens will be the GF3X, an updated bundle for the GF3 that includes the new lens without changing features. It will be available with a black body and black lens, or a silver body and a silver lens, in October for $750.
Panasonic expects the G X 14-42mm lens to be available separately for $400. Using it fully on a camera will require firmware updates, however, and will initially support the GF2, original GF3, and G3. It's not clear if or how well the extra-compact lens will work on Micro Four Thirds cameras from Olympus. The 45-175mm lens won't have the same requirements and is due in September for $450.