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Panasonic Announce Two New Power Zooms

Panasonic has announced two new lenses and a new kit for Micro Four Thirds. The new X range of lenses feature power zoom and a compact design, we spoke to Panasonic about future developments.

|  Panasonic Lumix GF3 in Interchangeable Lenses
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Panasonic Lumix GF3

Panasonic has announced three new products:

Panasonic Lumix X 14-42mm Lens, expected price <£350, see our hands on preview.
Panasonic Lumix X 45-175mm Lens, expected price <£400, see our hands on preview.
Panasonic Lumix GF3X Lens and Camera Kit, expected price <£600, have a look at our GF3 review.

The new kit will give the GF3 an ultra compact optical zoom lens, equivalent to 28 - 84mm, and the lens will be available in silver or black. The Panasonic Lumix X 45-175mm lens features internal focus and zoom, so it never extends beyond it's 90mm length.

We talked to Mr Uetmasu product developer from Panasonic Japan:

Regarding future Lumix X range lenses: There may be more lenses such as macro, more zoom, large aperture, and prime lenses in the pipeline. While we were unable to have specifics, more lenses are already in the works, and on the X lens roadmap. High quality lenses have been developed after learning Leica qualities and applying them to their own designs, and by using software correction they are able to correct any distortion caused by the more compact lenses. This will mean that the distortion will / may show on RAW images, and that Panasonic will need to update RAW support for these new lenses.

On mirrorless cameras from Panasonic: The CSC (Compact System Camera) has grown to 30% market share in Japan, and 20% market share in the UK, and they expect this to grow further. Areas where Panasonic are aware that improvements need to be made, and areas they are currently working on include: EVF response / and resolution, and also AF speed, although it is already 0.1 second for still shots, it needs to be quicker for movies especially, and in these areas, Panasonic believe they will soon resolve these issues. The Panasonic Lumix G3 is the no. 1 CSC in the UK, with 65% market share, with Panasonic currently the no. 3 in the ILC UK Market! (Based on GFK figures)

Regarding the Panasonic Lumix GH2 Firmware Hacking: A firmware update may be coming for the GH2 to add support for 25p, and additional improvements in video abilities. If there are features you want adding, contact Panasonic and let them know. They are aware of the work the "hackers" are doing and are impressed with their work, but that they (Panasonic) need to test everything / confirm there are no problems before rolling out updates. He also said that the GH3 is not due imminently, as the GH2 is still extremely popular, but that there is a high end GF series camera in the works.

Panasonic Lumix X Lens

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix GF3


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