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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.

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Panasonic Introduces New Micro Four Thirds Digital Interchangeable Lens

Panasonic's Premium LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm Lens Offers Exceptional Design, Achieving Increased Functionality for Spectacular Image Quality

SECAUCUS, NJ (May 21, 2012) – Today, Panasonic announced a new digital interchangeable standard zoom lens, the LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. (H-HS12035). The newest addition to the company's premium lens brand "X," which is compatible with the Panasonic LUMIX G Series and complies with the Micro Four Thirds™ system standard, this lens offers a versatile zoom range of 12-35mm (35mm camera equivalent: 24-70mm) and features constant F2.8 aperture brightness at entire zoom range. Suitable for professionals and enthusiasts capturing a wide range of scenes from dynamic landscapes to available light and studio-lit portraits, this new lens features superb image rendering for lifelike textures and crisp edge-to-edge contrast.

The LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens incorporates Panasonic's unique Nano Surface Coating technology which minimizes reflections at entire visual range (380nm-780nm), resulting in a dramatic reduction of ghosts and flare for extremely clear picture quality. The lens's newly integrated POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) effectively compensates for both small, fast movement and large, slow movement, making it easy to shoot extremely clear photos even in low-lit situations such as at night or indoors.

Boasting outstanding compactness, the LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens is approximately 73.8mm in length and 10.76oz in weight, resulting in extreme mobility. Additionally with a rubber ring on the lens mount, the new lens is designed to stand up against splash and dust making it ideal for outdoor photography enthusiasts. A highly-reliable metal mount endures longtime use.

The LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens system is comprised of 14 lenses in nine groups. The UED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) lens minimizes chromatic aberration while the UHR (Ultra High Reflective) lens realizes high descriptive performance from corner to corner. Featuring high contrast and resolution from the center to corner at entire zoom range, the new LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens has the ability to capture the details of scenery or portrait with rich perspective.

The lens' superior inner focus system provides for excellent resolution and contrast without changing the overall length from full life-size magnification to infinity. Seven blades give the aperture a rounded shape that produces an attractively smooth defocus effect in out-of-focus areas when shooting at larger aperture settings. Adopting an inner focus system driven by a stepping motor, the lens's superior design provides smooth and near silent focusing action which is ideal for both picture and video recording. When the lens is mounted on any LUMIX G Micro System camera body, users can take advantage of the high-speed, high-precisions Contrast AF (Autofocus) system.

The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. (H-HS12035) lens will be available in black starting August 2012. For more information about Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras and lenses, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.