In addition to today’s GH5 news, Panasonic have also announced several new and updated Micro 4/3 lenses. Of greatest interest to videographers will be the Leica branded 12-60mm f2.8-4.0, and the mark 2 versions of the popular 12-35mm f2.8 and 35-100mm f2.8. Also launched are second versions of the 45-200mm F4.0-5.6 II POWER O.I.S. and 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 II POWER O.I.S. All the lenses are dust, splash and frost resistant.
All the new lenses also have in-built image stabilisers that are compatible with the Dual I.S. 2 system in the GH5 and G80/85. This allows the 5-axis in-body lens stabiliser to work in tandem with the lens optical stabiliser to give even better performance.
The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 was shown at the launch of the GH5 at Photokina last year, but it was officially announced at CES in Las Vegas today. The maximum aperture isn’t constant, but it has a very useful range for video that is roughly equivalent to Canon’s 24-105mm f4.0. The big benefit is that it is much smaller and lighter. It has a nice feel with Leica style markings on the barrel.
The new 12-35mm F2.8 II ASPH. POWER O.I.S. and 35-100mm F2.8 II POWER O.I.S. now have a black finish. They also have new iris mechanisms that are supposed to give smoother aperture transitions when shooting video. One bit of good news for owners of the existing versions of the 12-35 and 35-100 is that those lenses will get a firmware update at some point to make them work with the Dual I.S. 2 system.
Less good for video is the fact that all the lenses are still fly-by-wire manual focus and there are no manual iris rings. The GH5 does however have a new option to allow smooth focus pulls between two set points, but this is not really a substitute for good manual focus.
The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 should be available in late March for around $999 US.
The other lenses should also be available in March at similar prices to the current versions, which they will eventually replace.