Panasonic may be forging ahead with full frame mirrorless, but as proof that its Micro Four Thirds G series isn’t going anywhere, Panasonic today announced the development of the fastest constant aperture lens yet. The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 is the first lens that achieves a wide f/1.7 aperture through the full zoom range, according to the company. Panasonic announced the lens alongside the new Lumix S1R and S1, as well as the new Lumix Pro service program.
Unlike most zoom lenses that will shoot at every focal length within the zoom range, the 10-25mm lens is the equivalent of five prime lenses in one. By using only five focal lengths within that zoom range, Panasonic says the lens is able to maintain maximum image quality. The zoom will cover the 35mm equivalent of a 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, and 50mm.
While most high-end zooms hit f/2.8 and sometimes f/1.8, the upcoming Panasonic stretches that aperture even wider to an f/1.7. The director of Panasonic’s imaging business, Yosuke Yamane, says that the lens is suitable for a range of different types of images as well as video. The lens also has a compact form factor, he says.
Availability and pricing has not yet been announced.
The lens is good news for anyone worrying about the future of the smaller sensor Micro Four Thirds as full frame mirrorless sensors become available, as it shows Panasonic isn’t planning to ditch the popular G line. Panasonic says the G series will coexist alongside the new S series, with the smaller format offering more portability and speed.
Panasonic is also launching a service program for both Micro Four Thirds and the upcoming S series. Lumix Pro will offer service and support for photographers using the brand. Based on a service program previously available only in Japan, Lumix Pro offers a network of service pros that can provide rapid turnaround times, as well as a help hotline. Maintenance and lens calibration will also be part of the service. The service will also help to build long-term relationships with photographers.
Lumix Pro will be available in the U.S. and Japan in October, and is expected to launch in Europe in 2019. The service program will be open to Lumix G series owners with the GH4 or newer bodies, as well as owners of the new S series.
Panasonic’s Photokina announcements also included support for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, with the People’s Choice Award being re-named as the Lumix People’s Choice.
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