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Panasonic releases new versions of four Lumix Micro Four Thirds zooms, including two 'professional' optics

Create: 01/10/2017 - 22:16
Panasonic Lumix lenses

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lenses cover from 24-600mm full-frame equivalent range
  • Focusing and aperture adjustments have been optimized for use with video
  • 'Professional' lenses have constant maximum f/2.8 aperture

Panasonic was very busy at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. In addition to announcing three cameras, including the GH5, the company also announced four lenses for the Micro Four Thirds mount.

All four lenses are zooms, with two of them being marked as “Professional.” Here’s what was announced:

  • Lumix G Vario f/4.0-5.6 100-300mm II
  • Lumix G Vario f/4.0-5.6 45-200mm II
  • Lumix G X Vario Professional f/2.8 12-35mm II ASPH.
  • Lumix G X Vario Professional f/2.8 35-100mm II ASPH.

As their names indicate, the lenses replace previous versions in the Lumix lens lineup.

Because these are for the Micro Four Thirds mount, the full-frame equivalent focal lengths are double the marked length.

Aside from “X” and “Professional” in the name, the higher-specified lenses have some other distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from the less-expensive optics.

  • A constant maximum f/2.8 aperture through the zoom range.
  • Metal barrels
  • Sealed against the elements: splash-, dust- and freeze-proof.
  • Use Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating
  • Use of aspherical elements.

Panasonic says all of the lenses should be well suited for video use, particularly 4K recordings, citing "smooth aperture changes," which should prevent abrupt shifts in exposure, as well as quiet autofocus, thanks to a high-speed linear motor. 

Pansonic’s Optical Image Stabilization is built into each of the lenses and is designed to work with Lumix camera bodies that have built-in Dual Image Stabilization 2.0.

The "X" on the front faceplate of the "Professional" lenses is to denote that it is part of Panasonic's "X series," which isn't to be confused with Fujifilm's X-series system. The two are neither physically nor electronically compatible.

The lenses are expected to begin shipping in February 2017.

► Lumix G Vario f/4.0-5.6 100-300mm II, US$649.99

This lens provides very long reach with a full-frame equivalent range of 200-600mm. It’s sealed against dust and also is splashproof, Panasonic says.

The 100-300mm zoom has 17 elements in 12 groups and includes one extra low-dispersion element. There are seven aperture blades, and it uses 67mm-thread filters.

This zoom is 2.9 x 5 inches (73.6 x 126mm) and weighs 1.1 pounds (520 grams).

► Lumix G Vario f/4.0-5.6 45-200mm II, US$449.99

With a full-frame equivalent zoom range of 90-400mm, this could be a strong candidate as an all-purpose telephoto zoom.

This lens uses 16 elements in 13 groups and includes three extra-low dispersion elements. The aperture is formed by seven blades, and the lens accepts 52mm-thread filters.

The lens is sealed against dust and is splashproof. It is 2.8 x 4 inches (70 x 100mm) and weighs 13.1 ounces (370 grams).

► Lumix G X Vario Professional f/2.8 12-35mm II ASPH., US$999.99

Think of this lens as the new “normal” – to borrow an expression. In this case, it refers to this being the new normal kit lens with a 24-70mm full-frame equivalent range.

This lens has 14 elements in nine group and includes four aspherical elements. Each lens surface receives Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating, which should help to reduce flare and ghosting while improving overall image contrast.

As mentioned, the maximum aperture remains at f/2.8 through the zoom range. There are seven aperture blades.

The lens is 2.7 x 2.9 inches (67.6 x 73.8mm) and weighs 10.8 ounces (305 grams) and uses 58mm-thread filters.

► Lumix G X Vario Professional f/2.8 35-100mm II ASPH., US$1,099.99

This is a moderate telephoto zoom with a full-frame equivalent range of 70-200mm.

The constant f/2.8 aperture lens contains 18 elements in 13 groups, which includes two extra-low dispersion elements and one “ultra” extra-low dispersion element. There are seven aperture blades.

Each lens surface receives Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating, which should help to reduce flare and ghosting while improving overall image contrast.

This lens also uses 58mm-thread filters. It is 2.7 x 3.9 inches (67.4 x 99.9mm) and weighs 12.6 ounces (357 grams).

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.