Panasonic announced four converters at CES to make its Lumix G series lenses photograph subjects that are farther, closer, and wider.
The four converters increase the flexibility of the lenses--and of Panasonic's Lumix G series of Micro Four Thirds. These cameras, one of the early entrants and now strong players in the interchangeable lens camera (ILC) market, forsake SLRs' reflex mirrors for a smaller design. So far even relatively strong ILC companies like Panasonic can't match the range of lenses available to SLR leaders Canon and Nikon.
Enter the converters, which will ship sometime in 2012 for as-yet undisclosed prices.
One of the converters, the DMW-GTC1, doubles the focal length of Panasonic's 14-42mm lens (that's the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 Asph./Power O.I.S., if you want the brand name in its full glory). The sensor size in Micro Four Thirds cameras means that 42mm gives a field of view equivalent to 84mm in 35mm photography terms; the teleconverter doubles that again.
The other three converters work both on the 14-42mm lens and Pansonic's 14mm F2.5 pancake lens.
First here is the DMW-GWC1 converter that broadens 14mm to 11mm.
Next is the DMW-GMC1 macro converter for close-up photography. This decreases the close-focus distance to 14cm with the 14mm lens and to 16cm with the 14-42mm lens. However, it precludes shooting more distant subjects.
Last and most exotic is the DMW-GFC1, which gives a 120-degree fisheye view.
All the converters attach to the front of the lenses with an included adapter ring, Panasonic said.
All in all, it's a useful range of options for those who are committed to their ILC photography. It remains to be seen how well the converters perform, but it's good to see Panasonic adding to the ecosystem.