PMA 2006: Leica and Panasonic have today announced the first Leica Four Thirds System lens, which also becomes the first Leica Interchangeable Lens with Optical Image Stabilization. The Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50 mm F2.8-F3.5 ASPH lens provides an equivelant field of view of 28-100 mm on a 35 mm camera with a maximum aperture of F2.8 at wide angle and F3.5 at telephoto. It also features Optical Image Stabilization (a first on a Four Thirds System lens) and a mechanical aperture ring (another first). Overall this looks to be a very impressive high quality lens which will match the newly announced Panasonic DMC-L1 digital SLR very nicely.

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Press Release:

World's First Leica Interchangeable Lens with Optical Image Stabilization System Designed Exclusively for Digital SLR Cameras

LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 ASPH Lens

Leica Camera AG and Panasonic are pleased to announce the development of a new interchangeable lens based on the Four Thirds standard. Featuring a focal length from 14mm to 50mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm to 100mm), the new LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 lens is the first interchangeable lens from Leica developed exclusively for digital SLR cameras. The “D” signifies that it is designed for the new digital system.

The partnership between Leica and Panasonic has resulted in rigorous quality standards for the development and manufacturing of this interchangeable lens, so that the technology and expertise of Leica Camera and Panasonic will be integrated at their highest levels. Both Panasonic and Leica Camera AG are confident that the results of their cooperative efforts will be successful and highly evaluated by customers.

The LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT lens comprises 16 elements in 12 groups, including two aspherical lenses. It provides high definition image rendering that conveys even the finest details and nuances. It minimizes distortion and peripheral vignetting at the wide end.  And to draw the best optical performance out of this compact lens, a large-diameter aspherical glass molded lens is also incorporated. With the LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT, users can now experience the unique performance of Leica optical technology in the world of digital photography.

For use in Panasonic's LUMIX cameras, the LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 ASPH lens incorporates MEGA O.I.S. Developed entirely by Panasonic, this advanced optical image stabilization system makes it possible – without using a tripod – to capture clear, beautiful images even in macro shooting or low-lit situations, giving users more shooting flexibility. And to assure precise control over the MEGA O.I.S., the Venus Engine is integrated into the lens unit. Together with the full-time Live View function, these two important features make the DMC-L1 (also being introduced) a digital SLR camera that offers an entirely new kind of photographic experience.

To improve operating ease, there is an aperture ring in addition to the focus ring and zoom ring, giving users more intuitive aperture adjustment. Another distinctive L1 feature is the shutter speed dial on the camera body. Thanks to features like these, the L1 offers a more comfortable and enjoyable shooting experience than conventional digital SLR cameras.

The LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 ASPH is not simply a standard interchangeable lens for digital SLR cameras, but rather an exclusive one with features such as MEGA O.I.S. and an aperture ring.

Leica Camera AG and Panasonic affirm their commitment to developing innovative, high-performance lenses that meet the latest demands in today's evolving digital era.

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