Panasonic has pulled the covers off a new premium line of lenses for its Lumix G series cameras: the X lenses. The new high-end lenses launch with two zoom models, a 14-42mm and 45-175mm.
We don’t normally cover lenses here on Pocket-lint, but these new Micro Four Thirds standard lenses caught our eye because they are powered.
The 14-42 X zoom lens is a collapsible power zoom that, when the camera is off, is almost as compact as a MFT pancake lens. When you power the camera on, the lens extends to the 14mm shooting position, thereafter being powered by the zoom toggle on the lens barrel.
Compare this lens to the standard 14-42mm kit lens (from either the Lumix or similar Olympus Pen ranges) and you’ll find the Lumix X lens is much more compact and there’s no denying the auto extending action is very cool. Panasonic tell us there is a 58 per cent reduction in size (when switched off) and a 48 per cent reduction in weight compared to the standard lens.
It is pitched as a high-quality lens, but like many zooms, it isn’t a particularly fast lens with a max aperture of F/3.5 - you might want to hang on to that pancake lens anyway…
The price, too, reflects the premium status, with Panasonic telling us that it would be available for "sub £400", which is still a hefty lump, but you do get internal focusing, which in our quick tests was both quick and silent.
If you’re arriving new to the Lumix cameras, fear not, as there will be a new kit bundle on sale, known as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GFX. Essentially, this comes with the 14-42mm X lens in place of the standard Lumix G lens. This package can be yours for "less than £600", compared to approx. £420 for the existing bundle on Amazon.co.uk.
The second X lens at launch is a 45-175mm zoom. The closest current equivalent Lumix lens is the 45-200mm and although there isn’t a huge difference in length, the new lens is much more compact.
Again it is powered, but all the zooming is internal, as is focusing, so the end of the lens doesn’t move around. Unlike the 14-42mm, this zoom doesn’t collapse, so at first glance isn’t as fun, but we found it surprisingly natural to grip the lens and operate the zoom toggle on the side.
Again, the zoom action appears to be silent and is very smooth, so we can see this being popular with those who like shooting movies on their G series Lumix.
The 45-175mm can be yours for “sub £350" which is about a £100 premium over the 45-200mm, but Panasonic is pushing the X lenses as higher quality.
Panasonic told us that the new line of lenses reflected what they’d learnt from working with Leica, claiming that the new lenses "inherit Leica DNA", with features like aspherical and ED glass elements to ensure quality, especially at the wider angles.
The new lenses will come in black or silver and will be compatible with existing Lumix G cameras after a firmware update due in November.
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