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.
Would you look at that? According to PhotoRumors, that chunk of retro beauty is purportedly a full-on snap of Olympus’ new OM-D Micro Four Thirds shooter (from an Amazon Japan listing that’s since been pulled) affixed with its optional battery grip (adding what appears to be a secondary shutter button). That, or someone knows exactly what makes us go “Oooh.” The chunky ’70s stylings make us fear we’d abandon our career to go become a war photographer if one of those was placed in our hands. 43Rumors believes the unit will hold a 16.1 megapixel EDR CMOS, beefier than the 12.3 sensor inside the PEN E-PL3, but we hope this new body (however beautiful it is) doesn’t spell the end for the dinky PEN series. If that wasn’t enough, that Amazon listing we mentioned also pointed out a 1.44-megapixel electronic viewfinder, a tiltable OLED display on back and a total weight of 454 grams with its kit lens attached. We’ve got a few more shots in the gallery below, with others rocking some serious cropping, but each is more deliciously teasing than the last.
Remember that cute little Micro Four Thirds camera that Olympus unveiled in June? Well, we just got word that the PEN E-PM1 Mini will ship next month, with an equally petite $500 price tag — including a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. The company is positioning the 12.3 megapixel camera as an upgrade for point-and-shoot users, as “the easiest PEN to use,” thanks to a new, simpler user interface and 23 Scene-Select modes. Still, the E-PM1 is a very capable interchangeable lens camera (ILC), and includes a 3-inch 460k-dot LCD, 1080i HD video capture, RAW shooting and a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12,800, along with Manual, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority shooting modes. The Mini will be available in purple, pink, brown, white, silver, and black — our color of choice. Jump past the break for the full scoop from Olympus.
In case you’re still wondering if Panasonic’s mirrorless Lumix GH2 is worth your $900, we’ve rounded up a handful of reviews to provide a pointer for your next big purchase. While most reviewers agree that this Micro Four Thirds camera appears to be very similar to its predecessor, they universally praise the subtly improved ergonomics, speedy liveview autofocusing, and refined image quality, especially with its 1080p AVCHD video recording (although Digital Camera Resource Page did notice some artifacting in its clips). Noise is also a non-issue up to about ISO 800 or 1600, though it’s apparent that the 16 megapixel stills are comparatively dull and, like those from many other MFTs, aren’t quite on par with DSLRs — expect plenty of manual processing work here, as demoed by the good folks over at Digital Photography Review. All in all, the GH2 is a great kit for high quality video capturing, bundled with a pretty good still performance that requires some extra TLC afterwards — kinda ironic in a way, but hey, this isn’t a problem for lovers of video bokeh. Head over to the links below for some in-depth analysis and walk-through before you leave a small dent on your bank account.