As powerful as they’ve become, Mirrorless camera systems can’t match the versatility of a full-size DSLR. One key component we haven’t seen is a constant-aperture lens, offering a consistent large aperture size throughout the zoom range. That changed today. Panasonic’s new Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm optic packs one incredible advantage over its compact competitors — a constant f/2.8 aperture. Because of the Micro Four Thirds system’s 2x multiplication factor, this 12-35mm lens covers the same zoom range of 24-70mm glass on a full-frame camera, in a significantly smaller package. The optic consists of 14 elements in nine groups, and includes UED and UHR lenses to increase image quality and minimize distortion, along with built-in image stabilization and Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating to reduce ghosting and lens flare. It’s also splash- and dust-resistant, and features a metal mount on the rear. Panasonic has yet to release pricing in the US, but the European price tag has been estimated at €1,100 (about $1,400) — by comparison, Canon’s equivalent optic (from a specification perspective) will run you $1,600. For its part, the 12-35mm MFT lens is expected to hit stores in August. Full PR is just past the break.
Olympus has embraced the camera designs of yesteryear for several generations, from its first Micro Four Thirds models to last year’s E-P3. But now the Japanese camera maker is stepping up its retro game, announcing a brand new line of Micro Four Thirds cams. Meet the OM-D. A dramatic departure from the more modern-looking PEN cameras, this new line of mirrorless models, specifically the E-M5, in many ways duplicates the design elements of the 1970s-era OM System. The first consumer camera in that SLR lineup, the OM-10, served as clear inspiration for the slightly boxy, black or silver and black magnesium alloy digital model we have today. We were able to spend some time with the Olympus E-M5 before tonight’s announcement, and were very impressed with what we saw. Jump past the break for our impressions and an Olympus-guided video walkthrough, and thumb through the gallery below for a detailed look at the company’s answer to the Fujifilm X-Pro1.