Panasonic has been busy on the lens front, announcing five new lenses. Of these only one is brand new, with the other four being updates to existing designs: 12-35mm f/2.8, 35-100mm f/2.8, 45-200mm f/4-5.6 and 100-300mm f/4-5.6.

First up is the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Asph OIS – a lens we saw under glass at Photokina 2016 as a design concept. It has a really useful 24-120mm equivalent zoom range in a barrel that’s only slightly larger than the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8, and almost exactly the same size as the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8. It seems likely to become a firm favourite of Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds users alike, many of whom will have fond memories of Olympus’s Zuiko Digital 12-60mm f/2.8-4 for its Four Thirds DSLRs.

 

Panasonic's new 12-60mm f/2.8-4 is almost exactly the same size as the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 (left)

Panasonic’s new 12-60mm f/2.8-4 is almost exactly the same size as the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 (left)

With a metal-barrelled splash, dust and freeze proof design, this Leica-branded 12-60mm f/2.8-4 is not to be confused with the cheaper Lumix G 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS that Panasonic introduced last year. Alongside its faster maximum aperture, the new optic incorporates a linear AF motor that operates at 240fps for fast, silent focusing, and its optical image stabilisation is fully compatible with the Dual IS 2 system found in the GH5 and G80. Physical AF/MF and OIS switches are placed on the side of the barrel, which is always better than having to delve into menus to change these functions. The lens also includes a raft of features optimised for 4K video recording, including a continuously adjustable aperture diaphragm, and will cost £879.99. Panasonic says it intends to make 8-18mm f/2.8-4 and 50-200mm f/2.8-4 zooms with similar features, which we’d expect to appear during the course of 2017.

See also:

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 review: hands-on first impressions

Panasonic Lumix DC-GX800 review: hands-on first impressions

All three of these lenses are weather resistant and extend on zooming

Panasonic also has revised four more of its Micro Four Thirds lenses. Its premium 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS and 35-100mm f/2.8 OIS zooms have been updated to gain full compatibility with the Dual IS 2 system, alongside finer autofocus and aperture control for 4K video work. They’ll sport a new matte black finish too, in place of the dark grey of their predecessors. The new versions will go on sale in March for £879.99 and £969.99 respectively.

Meanwhile, the popular Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 OIS is treated to the same revisions, complemented by up-rated autofocus and image stabilisation, and the addition of dust and splash proofing, for a price of £569.99. These updates promise to make it an even better choice for sports and wildlife photography. Finally, the previously discontinued Lumix G Vario45-200mm f/4-5.6 OIS will be re-introduced with all the same uprated features as the 100-300mm, for £379.99. Both of these telezooms are due to be available in February.

Press release:

Panasonic announces interchangeable lens and firmware updates for its LUMIX G range of compact system cameras

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 II Power O.I.S.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 II Power O.I.S.

The new lenses and firmware offer higher performance and mobility

Panasonic has today announced the new LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0 lens, the renewal of four LUMIX G lenses and a firmware update for its LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm / F4.0-6.3 lens. The announcements offer LUMIX G users higher performance and mobility when capturing unmissable moments.

LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0

Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0

Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0

The new LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. (35 mm camera equivalent: 24-120 mm; 5x zoom range), a new standard length zoom digital interchangeable lens, is the first lens to be introduced from Panasonic’s LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT F2.8-4.0 series. It fully covers a variety of daily shooting situations, from dynamic landscapes to portraits even in low-lit situations or providing a beautiful defocus effect by taking advantage of the F2.8-4.0 high-speed performance.

In addition to the wide aperture, the POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) effectively compensates for blurring, making it easy to shoot – even in dim lighting. The lens works with the Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer)[1], 5-axis Dual I.S.[2], and 5-axis Dual I.S. 2[3] system when mounted on an applicable Panasonic LUMIX G camera.

Notably, the new lens excels in video recording performance. In addition to the silent operation achieved by the inner focus drive system, the micro-step drive system in the aperture control section helps the camera to smoothly catch up to brightness changes when zooming or panning. The optical design achieves exceptional barycentric stability to minimise image shifts during zooming.

The new lens boasts a rugged, dust and splash-proof design and is even freeze-proof down to -10℃, to withstand professional use under harsh conditions.Yet, the lens is very compact, allowing easy carrying for photographers and videographers.

The LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT F2.8-4.0 series line-up will expand with additional lenses. An 8-18mm (16-36mm, 35mm camera equivalent) wide zoom lens and 50-200mm (100-400mm, 35mm camera equivalent) telephoto zoom lens are currently under development.

The renewal of four LUMIX G lenses for higher performance and image quality

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 II Power O.I.S.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 II Power O.I.S.

Panasonic is renewing four LUMIX G digital interchangeable lenses to achieve increased performance and mobility:

  1. LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm / F2.8 II ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
  2. LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm / F2.8 II / POWER O.I.S.
  3. LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm / F4.0-5.6 II / POWER O.I.S.
  4. LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 II / POWER O.I.S.

All of these new lenses comply with the advanced functions of the latest LUMIX G digital cameras, now supporting POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer)[4], 5-axis Dual I.S.[5], and 5-axis Dual I.S. 2[6] when mounted on a Panasonic LUMIX G camera.

The LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm / F4.0-5.6 II and LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 II now comply with the sensor drive at maximum 240 fps to take full advantage of cameras with high-speed, high-precision Contrast AF. The AF tracking performance in zooming has also been improved thanks to high-speed frame analysis for focus control.

These two lenses now also boast dust and splash-proof durability. A total of nine lenses in the full LUMIX G lens line-up now feature a rugged design to withstand use under tough conditions.

LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm / F4.0-6.3 firmware update

 Panasonic has released firmware Ver.1.1 for the LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm / F4.0-6.3 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. lens, making it compatible with the latest image stabilising function 5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.

5-axis Dual I.S. 2 is effective when the lenses are used with the LUMIX GH5 or G80 cameras. Combining an O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer, 2-axis) and B.I.S. (Body Image Stabilizer, 5-axis), it compensates for larger movements which were conventionally uncontrollable, boasting even more powerful and effective blurring suppression. 5-axis Dual I.S. 2 works for both photo and video recording, including 4K video.

The new firmware will be available at the LUMIX Customer Support website in February 2017: http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/

To keep up to date with the latest news, follow LumixUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

[1] Complies with the LUMIX GX8

[2] Complies with the LUMIX GX80

[3] Complies with the LUMIX GH5 and G80

[4] Complies with the LUMIX GX8

[5] Complies with the LUMIX GX80

[6] Complies with the LUMIX GH5 and G80