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2011.08.26

Today, Panasonic unveiled its new lineup of high-quality lenses for Micro Four-Thirds with the introduction of two unique lenses. The new Lumix G X family features the first digital-only Power-Zoom lenses, in the form of the Vario PZ 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS and Vario PZ 45-175mm F/4-5.6 ASPH OIS.

A power-zoom lens is one where the zoom mechanism is controlled by a motor rather than a mechanical link. This makes zooming much smoother which is very important while shooting video as long as zooming is quiet enough to avoid adding noise to the sound-track. The general compromise is that power-zoom lenses are less precise and slower than mechanical lenses.

Panasonic worked hard on making their new lenses fast and quiet. They also equipped these lenses with a continuously variable aperture to make them highly suitable for video capture. Both these lenses use power from the camera body and have variable-speed controls over zoom and focus, which is also fly-by-wire. The PZ 45-175mm,  being longer, adds  zooms and focus rings as well. The PZ 14-42 with its very compact body becomes the lightest of all Micro Four-Thirds zoom and is almost as small as the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 prime.

One of the major emphasis of Panasonic Lumix SLDs being HD video recording capabilities, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is usually bundled with the Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm F/4-5.8 HD lens. This being a larger and more expensive lens,  more compact models are sold with standard lenses, until now.

Panasonic is now bundling the new Vario PZ 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 lens with the Lumix DMC-GF3 in a bundled called GF3X shown here:

Panasonic GF3X

The GF3X bundle is scheduled to be available in October for $799 CDN and the PZ 14-42mm will be available on the same date for $449 CDN. The PZ 45-175mm will be available starting September for $549 CDN.

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