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Panasonic launches Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS pancake

By dpreview staff on Aug 26, 2011 at 05:00 GMT

Panasonic has announced the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS collapsible power-zoom lens. The pancake zoom represents a series of firsts for Panasonic and the Micro Four Thirds system - it incorporates a lever-operated powered zoom and similarly controlled manual focus system. It is also the first lens to gain the company's 'Lumix X' branding that it will use to denotes high-end performance. The power zoom design with quiet focus and zoom motors joins the stepless aperture design to help optimize the lens for HD video shooting. The company will be pairing the lens with its diminutive DMC-GF3 camera body, or selling it separately for around $399. We've been using one of the first pre-production examples of the lens and have prepared a preview that demonstrates its behavior.

Click here to read our hands-on Pansonic LUMIX G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS preview

UPDATE - We've asked Panasonic for clarification on compatibility and have been informed "The lenses are compatible and will work with all Micro Four Thirds cameras". We have now included the updated press-release that was issued.

Jump to:

Press Release:

Panasonic announces the LUMIX GF3X, the company's smallest compact system camera with a new retractable power zoom, LUMIX G X lens

Panasonic’s New Premium LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm Lens Features a Retractable Design to Achieve Ultra-High Mobility and Stunning Photo Quality

SECAUCUS, NJ (August 26, 2011) –Panasonic today announces a newly designed and innovative LUMIX G “X” lens that retracts to help minimize its size, without compromising its focal length or image quality. Panasonic’s new premium LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ POWER O.I.S. (H-PS14042) lens, will be available with the company’s smallest and lightest compact system camera as a lens kit option in the DMC-GF3X model. With electric-powered zoom operation, the retractable Power Zoom H-PS14042 lens is extremely compact, approximately 26.8mm in length, and weighs approximately 3.35oz, offering ultra-high portability.

Panasonic’s new premium LUMIX ”X” Series of lenses, including the LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ POWER O.I.S., offers a versatile zoom range of 14-42mm (35mm camera equivalent: 28-84mm) suitable for a wide range of scenes, such as dynamic landscape to portrait. Also announced today is another LUMIX X lens, the LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm/F4.0-5.6 ASPH./POWER O.I.S.  Crystallizing Panasonic's optical technologies, the LUMIX X lenses feature superb image rendering for lifelike textures, crisp edge-to-edge contrast, a unique Nano Surface Coating to help minimize ghosts and flaring in natural settings with remarkable transparency.

“Panasonic continues to innovate in digital photography by offering advanced features in small and compact bodies, thus addressing the consumer’s need for camera equipment to be lightweight and easy to carry,” said Darin Pepple, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “With the new LUMIX X Series of premium lenses, we do not sacrifice size for quality and Panasonic still offers top-of-the-line image quality for our G Series, but in a smaller design that makes it extremely mobile.”

With the LUMIX GF3X, the camera and lens combination can achieve Light Speed AF of approximately 0.1 second – making it an extremely quick and high-performing digital camera. The LUMIX GF3X with the new 14-42 PZ lens also features POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), to make it easier to shoot clear photos even in low-lit situations. The convenient zoom lever on the lens barrel gives users a stable way to zoom.  Manual focusing is also available with a manual focus lever for even more precise control.

The LUMIX GF3, like all the LUMIX G Series of Compact System Cameras, captures high-quality photo images with real-to-life details through excellent resolution, image rendering and color reproduction. With its stunningly small compact profile, the LUMIX GF3 boasts high-speed, precise Contrast AF system and quick response times. The LUMIX GF3 is also capable of 1920 x 1080 Full High Definition video in the AVCHD format.

The LUMIX GF3X will be available in a black body and black lens or a silver body and silver lens kits options in October 2011 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $749.99. The new LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ POWER O.I.S. (H-PS14042) lens will also be available separately for an SRP of $399.99 and will be compatible the Panasonic LUMIX G Series.  For more information about Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

Additional image

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Comments

Total comments: 192
12
eddie_cam
By eddie_cam (Aug 26, 2011)

Wake up, dpreview, the specs are here:
http://www.panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/lens/g_x_vario_14_42.html
;-)

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Aug 26, 2011)

Or, indeed, here: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/panasonicx14-42_3p5-5p6/

1 upvote
EmilKoz
By EmilKoz (Aug 26, 2011)

Aren't they nuts to announce this three months after the G3?? I think they could have had the decency to wait (if the X-lenses really do have better IQ than both old kit-lenses). What a shame.

0 upvotes
CAcreeks
By CAcreeks (Aug 29, 2011)

Another thing that's nuts about Panasonic is lack of stereo audio on the GF3. The lowly Fuji F550 has it, with good sound quality even.

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Aug 26, 2011)

Might please the hell bend for going small crowd, but seems its really for Videography more than photography. The lack of speed is the primary concern for lens right now among those compact lineup and this did not mean any improvement.

I am not sure what panasonic are saying about the X branding on their lens, but such as this do not seems to me anything " Premium Graded " other than the price. It seems to me the 14+20mm combo is a lot more useful. Panasonic need to address the serious Photography need before they can get the M4/3 further. Yet more ( SLOW ) zoom is not going to help.

0 upvotes
Isaaclam
By Isaaclam (Aug 26, 2011)

Obviously, both lenses are target for filming. Hope the power zoom is resposive and quiet enough.

Persononally, I like NEX. I own a Nex5 w/16mm pan for over a year and owned an EPL2 for a few weeks. I mostly use ais and sony lenses with my NEX. I don't mind the size of the lens because I'll let XZ-1 does this job. I'm one of the happy users in the world and happy with the move for Sony, OM and Panasonic. : ) Let's wait and see the response from Nikon and Canon.

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (Aug 26, 2011)

After the perplexing lens releases from Sony (for NEX), this is indeed a lens that proves which company knows what mirorrless is really about. Small size is essential, and it is the very factor that justifies the segment's existence.

Sony didn't get it. They only seem able to release huge and awkward lenses (e.g., the 55-210 is a bad joke: 10cm in length, ugly and very slow), which makes their small bodies look like monsters. (I own a NEX, and sadly find myself without real choices in dedicated lenses)

This small Panasonic lens is an excellent idea for the segment. If the quality is good, it will change everything. About the "power zoom", yes, it's different to what we are used to, but I believe it will be easy to change our habits a bit.

Good work, Panasonic!

1 upvote
Patman888
By Patman888 (Aug 26, 2011)

I don't own any small lenses and I don't plan to. I personally think this is the worst direction by far. Going small for the sake of small and not much else. Much worse than making normal sized lens for optical reasons.

But hey, whatever floats your boat tiny. haha

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Aug 26, 2011)

sorry to disagree with you but...you'll never be able to achieve such a degree in the small lens department on NEX-series because of the registration distance. It's all about compromise...As a NEX user you should know that.

So the "huge and awkward" lenses Sony is releasing have a reason. I have a NEX-5 myself, and yes, the lenses are big compared to the body but what you want? A 70-300mm in the size of a 18-55??? Get real.

0 upvotes
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Aug 26, 2011)

So then get the 16-35 when it comes out Patman.

0 upvotes
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Aug 26, 2011)

Oops, the 12-35.

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (Aug 27, 2011)

@Patman888
Yes, I like it tiny, as it's not a boat! :) If I want a large and powerful camera, I can always use a mid-range DSLR. For mirrorless, the main raison d'etre is the size, and you know, without miniaturization you would still proudly work on a computer the size of a room. I know, some need to surround themselves with big things for reasons that may be explained psychologically, but when talking about electronics, miniaturization is the way to go. :)

@Rooru S
That's a shame, it means it was a bad design decision, and it doesn't make me feel better about the system's shortcomings. Regardless, the 55-210 is still too big, it looks like a usual DSLR telephoto zoom with the NEX adaptor at one end. What I want are lenses comparable in size with those for Samsung NX. That system is an APS-C compact as well, and both the 20-50 zoom and the 30 prime are very well designed (small size and good to very good quality).

0 upvotes
Jens_G
By Jens_G (Aug 26, 2011)

Okay, so now in addition to P&S sensors they are adding P&S lenses as well?

5 upvotes
mungozan
By mungozan (Aug 26, 2011)

Pocketable it is, but what´s so premium in f/3.5-5.6? I don´t get it. f/4 constant aperture I could understand..

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Aug 26, 2011)

why are they making off-spec lenses? the purpose of a standard lens mount is full compatibility. braking this, they might as well use a different lens mount. stupid.

1 upvote
mattmtl
By mattmtl (Aug 26, 2011)

Apparently it does work on all m43 bodies, but has some features that only work on the most recent Panasonic bodies.

You could look at it this way: these new lenses may comply with the standard, but also have added features for owners of the latest bodies. So does that really make them off-spec? Or is it just Panasonic doing its thing and differentiating itself from Olympus, as it does with OIS for example (another feature that isn't part of the standard per se).

I'm not thrilled about the less than complete backward compatibility, but it's not the end of the world. It's less annoying than Panasonic and Olympus adopting different accessory ports, or each taking a different path for IS, or each having a slightly different approach to software correction. (Clearly a lot of room for Panasonic and Olympus to go their own way while still complying with the standard.)

0 upvotes
KACTET
By KACTET (Aug 26, 2011)

These lenses are NOT compatible with GF1. This is just stupid.

5 upvotes
Eric MORAND
By Eric MORAND (Aug 26, 2011)

Yep, that's stupid. Right now, this is E-P3 and nothing else if you want to use this lens and have great manual controls...

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Aug 26, 2011)

These lenses may not be fully compatible with the GF1, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to use them at all - the key functions seem to work fine in practice. We'll try to get further clarification from Panasonic about this.

1 upvote
Cipher
By Cipher (Aug 26, 2011)

I bought my GF1 which is using the M4/3 standard...so somehow Panasonic didn't follow the standard for this lens????

2 upvotes
Tormenborba
By Tormenborba (Aug 26, 2011)

thats why i am waiting for a canon,
at least they are not like sony, olympus and panasonic,
make 2 cameras and
change system,
make 2 cameras and
change system,
make 2 cameras and
change system...

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Aug 26, 2011)

The lens will work fine with the GF1, just a few features (probably stuff like the step-less aperture) won't work.

0 upvotes
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Aug 26, 2011)

The GF1's firmware will be updated to work 100% with this camera.

0 upvotes
David Fell
By David Fell (Aug 26, 2011)

All products have a lifecycle and when the GF1 was developed there is only so much future proofing you can do, and I suspect the benefits of this lens would not be realised on that camera apart from the collapsable bit of course. The GF1 has had a good run too in camera life terms. As GF1 owner (all-be-it a very late arrival, GF2/3 not for me) I wish I'd waited a bit longer but I've been sitting on the fence since the L1! Anyway, most people need a legitimate excuse to upgrade and hope that the next generation GF series will have the capabilities of the GF1 with the G3 sensor - fingers crossed eh? :-)

1 upvote
jhoff80
By jhoff80 (Aug 26, 2011)

Wow, I might be selling my 20mm and buying this for my E-PL2.

Yes, the Olympus kit lens retracts, but it does stick out pretty far still, making it difficult to put in a jacket pocket. I love the 20mm for its low-light performance, but otherwise a zoom lens is much more useful for me. I would just sell the Olympus kit lens to get this, but I don't think I'd get much money on that sale. :D

Or maybe just buy this and keep the 20mm too, depending on the funding available when this comes out. ;)

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Aug 26, 2011)

I'd still keep the 20mm as it's likely to still be sharper and offers considerably better low light shooting.

0 upvotes
jhoff80
By jhoff80 (Aug 26, 2011)

Yeah, I know it's a better lens, but at the same time, with it being a prime, it limits me so much that I rarely use it except for night shots indoors.

0 upvotes
h00ligan
By h00ligan (Aug 26, 2011)

So...the people that kicked off the market with the gf1, who reject the consumerization and are more than soccer moms.... Bsically get the shaft.

One more reason to move to Olympus or even Sony , panasonic can keep their in lens is and consumer mind set, I'll be moving on for my small camera needs.

3 upvotes
Steve Ives
By Steve Ives (Aug 26, 2011)

Not sure what you mean? If by 'consumer mindset' you're referring to the power zoom, then I think that this is a feature often requested for serious video use.

Steve

0 upvotes
h00ligan
By h00ligan (Aug 26, 2011)

No, I was referring to the dumbing down of the gf line and the fact they have yet to make a proper successor to the gf 1. There have been negligible sensor performance increases in three years, they have dumbed down the gf line, and now they are fragmenting lenses out of standard within mft. Clearly panasonic doesn't give a damn about photographers, only point and shoot upgraders.

0 upvotes
the-bunker
By the-bunker (Aug 26, 2011)

If you want Pro equipment buy a Nikon D3 or Canon 5D MkII & a bunch of leica lenses + converters. Shoot manual, and don't forget to pack a tripod, etc.
Panasonic's strategy is now clearly Technology first, seconded by quality. It's what the "public" want (ie: it sells well)
Having said that, they may resurrect a "pro" style range of cameras in the future, but they will be more expensive like the Nex7.

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Aug 26, 2011)

hOOligan - You are missing the point that this lens gives GF owners more choice and Panasonic must give damn because the 20mm/F1.7 is a brilliant lens in anyones language. Of course, a more varied selection of samples will be the judge of the new lens.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Aug 26, 2011)

The lens will work fine with the GF1 (as clarified by Panasonic), just a few features (probably stuff like the step-less aperture) won't work.

0 upvotes
A_less
By A_less (Aug 29, 2011)

FEATURES NOT SUPPORTED FOR G1, GF1, GH1, G2 (Source: panasonic.net/avc/lumix/popup/pressrelease/x_lens.html at the bottom).

- Display of the local length
When you zoom, the focal distance is displayed and you can confirm the zoom position.

- Step zoom
When you operate the zoom, the zoom will stop at positions corresponding to predetermined distances.

- Zoom resume
When you switch the power switch [ON], the zoom positions when you last switched [OFF] are automatically restored.

- Selectable zoom speed
Users can select the speed of electric-powered zooming.

I think Panasonic should make firmwares available to all, not only new buyers. We can not change body every year.

If you agree, you can sign the petition:
www.ipetitions.com/petition/gf1gh1_lumixgx/

Lenses on Panasonic site:
panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/lens/g_x_vario_1...
panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/lens/g_x_vario_4...
Originally posted at 5:16AM, 26 August 2011 PDT (permalink | edit)

0 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Aug 26, 2011)

What about G3? Won't they put it on the G3? And why not?

1 upvote
m43er
By m43er (Aug 26, 2011)

Wondering about that too. Why no bundle with G3? Battery life will get sucked out too fast?

I hope they don't make me buy body and lens separately which will invariably cost a lot more. Or maybe that's the whole idea.

0 upvotes
the-bunker
By the-bunker (Aug 26, 2011)

Maybe they will - it's all about the most desirable package for selling. The GF3 + x14-42 combo is a match made in heaven for compactness, but I think we need an X equivalent of the 14-140 to partner the G3.
Perhaps that is in the pipeline (I wish) for the GH3, ie: G3 size body & smaller 14-140mm lens.
Now that Panasonic have achieved an MFT replacement for the compact (GF3 + x14-42), surely the bridge camera is the next target...

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Aug 26, 2011)

onlooket - The answer to your question is obvious - to deliver the most compact overall package which is what M4/3 is all about - for me anyway.

0 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Aug 26, 2011)

rocklobster, I understand why they would put it on GF3. I am wondering why they wouldn't on G3. It is a very compact camera as well, and it would definitely benefit from the compactness of this lens. Besides, if this is the premium kit lens, why only on a lower-grade camera, while the higher-grade retains the cheaper kit lens? The MSRP on this lens standalone would make a customer replacement of the standard kit lens with this one ridiculously expensive and would undermine the G3's price competitiveness.

0 upvotes
leafinsectman
By leafinsectman (Aug 26, 2011)

Bravo Panasonic! Nice work! If the image quality is good then I might be getting this plus the 45-175 and replacing my 14-140.

0 upvotes
memox
By memox (Aug 26, 2011)

Panasonic really leads the m43/mirrosless platform. I hope Sony's aggressive model launch and Nikon and maybe Canon's market demand on grooving mirrorless market would only make everything better for Panasonic and for us ;)

0 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Aug 26, 2011)

FINALY a zoom lens that actually fits the size of the body. Let's see whether folks will start to complain about the f/3.5-f/5.6 :)

Kudos to Olympus. Let's hope for a decent optical performance.

I am sure that NEX will follow at some point. I mean - I hope.

2 upvotes
Chez Wimpy
By Chez Wimpy (Aug 26, 2011)

> Let's see whether folks will start to complain about the f/3.5-f/5.6 :)

I see you haven't been following the threads on the m43 forum...

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (Aug 26, 2011)

Chez, that's a truly sad sight. People looking at a piece of engineering that has just changed the mirrorless as we knew it - yet they complain about secondary things. Worse, some even say they want larger lenses.

Sony now must release a compact standard zoom too - or it would face ever increasing amount of bad press. 'cause even Sammy was smart enough to release compact 20-50mm zoom.

1 upvote
tkpenalty
By tkpenalty (Aug 26, 2011)

This is awesome. Now there is really a raison d'etre for the GF3. This would make the GF3 smaller than a lot of compacts and at the same time significantly better IQ wise.

I'd assume that this uses a similar formula as the current 14-42 so I don't think they've compromised on the lens optically.

2 upvotes
Lindrake
By Lindrake (Aug 26, 2011)

Agreed. This makes me want to buy the GF3X now. Large sensor, small compact zoom lens. Good combo

0 upvotes
CarlPH
By CarlPH (Aug 26, 2011)

Already saw this in a rumor site, I guess its true. Hopefully this brings down the cost of the standard 4/3ds kit lenses because right now i think their too overpriced for their worth. (just like other 4/3rd lenses)

Congrats to Panasonic's engineers for making this

0 upvotes
ntsan
By ntsan (Aug 26, 2011)

This is what I call pocket-able! unlike NEX's humongously huge zoom lens

1 upvote
Jens_G
By Jens_G (Aug 26, 2011)

Let's see how the IQ, the DR, and the lowlight performace compares...
Otherwise you might as well compare a point and shoot to the NEX and declare that it is better.

2 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Aug 26, 2011)

The DR?
Are you just repeating terms you have seen to sound clever and snarky?

0 upvotes
Roberts_J
By Roberts_J (Aug 26, 2011)

@ Jens_G
What is the lens influence on DR?! And on lowlight performance (besides maximum aperture that is known already)?!?!

0 upvotes
Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul
By Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul (Aug 26, 2011)

I think Jeans_G mean sensor, not lens.

0 upvotes
RuNZ
By RuNZ (Aug 26, 2011)

Nex has better DR and lowlight performance. Of course it isn't the lens, but you can't put a nex lens on a mft, or this lens on a nex. So you might as well include the performance of the system you have to use it with. Either way, kudos to them for making such a compact zoom, I hope sony follows suit rather than lying back drinking wine and talking about their superior DR.

3 upvotes
Joele
By Joele (Aug 26, 2011)

@Jens_G

Well I assume you mean the high ISO performance and DR of the camera system (u4/3) not the lens LOL..

Now comparing u4/3 to point & shoot just shows you to be a bit of a troll, there is FAR FAR more difference between u4/3 and a point a shoot sensor than there is between NEX and u4/3...

All systems have compromises for many the lens size and selection of u4/3 (and IBIS of Olympus u4/3) is far more important than the incremental DR and high ISO improvement of NEX.. TO be honest NEX seems a bit crazy to me, I have a lot of lenses and having lenses as big as DSLR lenses (or almost) defeats the whole purpose of getting a compact mirrorless camera (YMMV of course)..

0 upvotes
Simon Lupton
By Simon Lupton (Aug 26, 2011)

Not fully compatible with the GF-1 ? That’s the deal breaker for me – bye bye Panny, Hello Oly 12mm & 45mm……..

0 upvotes
dukeblue91
By dukeblue91 (Aug 26, 2011)

I'm sorry but this is nothing really new and ground breaking as I have seen this idea before and it failed miserably when Minolta brought out the XI line of lenses.

Granted these are much smaller though.
I think I will pass on these lenses for now.

0 upvotes
Mark Roberts
By Mark Roberts (Aug 26, 2011)

All of the micro-4/3 lenses I've seen will reset the focus when the camera awakes from sleep or powered off and on again. Anyone know if the 'manual' focus on this lens is retained at power on/off?
This is critical for time-lapse...

0 upvotes
Total comments: 192
12