Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Lumix G Vario 14-42mm Series II Kit Lens - Cousin To the Leica X Vario Lens?

Indulge me in a little fantasy, please. Read on.
I have decided to jump back into Micro 4/3 in a big way, with the new DMC-GX7 from Panasonic. I packed up my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and G3, sending them off to KEH for resale. Hard to see them go, but it was time. So now I'll be shooting with the new GX7, and the GX1 as my backup body. Two tiny, full-featured cameras.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
Image Source:
I happened to order the GX7 with the new Panasonic kit lens, the 14-42mm G Vario Series II. Interested to see what had changed from the last version of the cheap 14-42mm Lumix kit zoom, I was intrigued to find that they've made it smaller, and reportedly better, through the use of two aspheric elements. This rang a bell in my head.
Here's how Panasonic describes the new lens:
"Lens Construction:  9 elements in 8 groups (2 aspherical lenses)"
Intrigued, I decided to look up the new, highly-acclaimed zoom on Leica's new X Vario camera. Here's how Leica describes their lens:
"Lens Leica Vario-Elmar 18-46 mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH. (corresponds to 28-70 mm in 35 mm format),
9 lenses in 8 groups, 2 aspherical lenses."
Now, I know they're not the same lens. They're not the same focal range, but they're close. And, the Leica lens must cover the larger APS-C sensor. But, it does seem a little ironic to me that they have the same number of elements, groups, and aspheric lenses, especially since we know Panasonic and Leica collaborate at some level, as evidenced by the excellent Pana-Leica lenses (the 14-42 is not one of those, and is branded solely by Panasonic).
So, I'm going into this with the probably-unrealistic belief that my new kit zoom has some influence in design from the X Vario!