Panasonic has its answer to the 28-300mm equiv. DSLR 'superzoom' in the form of the new Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm F3.5-5.6 Asph Mega OIS. Optically stabilized as are all the Lumix lenses, focus is quiet and swift as this is the first lens from Panasonic to utilize XS (eXtra Silent) supersonic focusing. The package has remained compact and lightweight thanks to the four aspherical elements used in its design. It is due to be available from 'around' November 2007.

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Press release:

Sales Under Way of New Leica Telephoto Zoom Lens for Digital SLR Camera

Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm F3.5-5.6 Asph. Mega OIS

Panasonic, the leading brand for which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is known, has unveiled today a new large-diameter telephoto zoom interchangeable lens designed specifically for the digital SLR camera. The new LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14-150mm/ F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ MEGA O.I.S., lens offers an exceptionally long zoom range of 14-150mm (35mm equivalent: 28-300mm) and complies with the Four Thirds System to assure wide compatibility with other camera models. It will be available in the market from around November 2007.

The First Leica D Lens with Zoom Range to 300mm
Extending the Leica D lens range, this powerful, large-diameter 10.7x telephoto zoom lens (35mm equivalent: 28-300mm) complies with the Four Thirds standard and features 15 lens elements in 11 groups, including four aspherical lenses and an ED (extra-low dispersion) lens. The new lens provides a considerably longer telephoto range than the previously released LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/ F2.8-3.5 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. lens, yet is just as compact and lightweight. This impressive downsizing is the result of incorporating four aspherical lenses in the unit. The aspherical lenses also improve optical performance by minimizing distortion, even at the 28mm wide end.

Mega O.I.S – Panasonic’s Advanced Hand-shake Correction Technology
The new lens also incorporates Mega Optical Image Stabiliser (O.I.S.), an optical image stabiliser that Panasonic considers a must-have feature in a lens with such extraordinary telephoto power. Mega O.I.S. helps avoid the blurring that can be caused by shaky hands – a problem that’s particularly severe when taking telephoto shots – so you can capture clear, beautiful zoom shots even without a tripod.

The new LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR lens is designed specifically for the digital SLR camera and meets Leica's stringent quality and performance standards. It delivers high resolution from edge to edge along with low distortion, and it offers exceptional zoom power yet is as compact as a standard zoom lens.

The First Leica D lens with Extra Silent (XS) Technology
The new lens is the first Leica D lens to incorporate Extra Silent (XS) technology, which assures quick, quiet, accurate auto focusing control. Supersonic oscillation helps assure silent, seamless operation, while the system’s high torque provides exceptional responsiveness, accuracy and focusing stability. This type of motor is ideal for the auto focusing system in a super-telephoto zoom camera.

Minimum focus distance of 50 cm over the entire zoom range
With its minimum focus distance of 50 cm even at full zoom, the new lens provides a maximum photographic magnification of 0.36x (35mm equivalent). This combines with Mega O.I.S. hand-shake correction to let you capture outstanding macro shots even at tele-end without using a tripod.

Aperture ring for easy, intuitive operation
When mounted on the Lumix DMC-L10 or DMC-L1, the new lens puts an aperture ring at your fingertips, along with the focus ring and zoom ring. This gives you the kind of easy, pleasant, intuitive operation you enjoy with a conventional film camera. The lens also supports the contrast AF system, which is newly implemented in the DMC-L10, and allows users to use new functions such as face detection.

Seven aperture blades give the aperture a rounded shape that, when shooting at larger aperture, produces an attractive smoothness in out-of-focus areas.

This combination of an extended 28-300mm shooting range, Mega O.I.S. optical image stabiliser, and an aperture ring for intuitive control makes the LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14-150mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ MEGA O.I.S. lens perfect for capturing clear, beautiful, expressive images when shooting a wide variety of subjects and in a host of conditions.

Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm specifications

Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm F3.5-5.6 Asph. Mega OIS
Lens construction Lens Construction 15 elements in 11 groups
(4 aspherical lenses and 1 ED lens)
Mount Four Thirds mount
Focal length f=14 mm to 150 mm
(35mm film camera equiv. 28 mm to 300mm)
Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) Yes
Aperture type 7 diaphragm blades / Iris diaphragm
Number of Blades 7 (Circular Aperture Diaphragm)
Maximum aperture F3.5 (wide) - F5.6 (Tele)
Minimum aperture F22
Closest focusing distance 0.50m (19.7in.) at all focal lengths
Maximum magnification Approx. 0.18x (35mm film camera equivalent: 0.36x)
Diagonal angle of view 75° [W] ~ 8.2° [T]
Filter size 72 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x length) 78.5mm x 90.4 mm (3.1 x 3.6 in.)
Weight 520 g (18.3 oz)