*February 26, 2006 - *Along with the Lumix DMC-L1, their first DLSR, Panasonic today announced the LEICA D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 ASPH lens, a 4/3 lens jointly developed with Leica Camera AG. According to a Panasonic press release, this lens is the first from Leica exclusively developed for DSLRs—but also notable is the lens’ incorporation of Panasonic’s MEGA O.I.S., their optical image stabilization system, along with Panasonic’s Venus Engine. It also sports an aperture ring in addition to a zoom ring.
The optically stabilized lens is comprised of 16 elements in 12 groups with two aspherical lenses. The press release states that the lens "minimizes distortion and peripheral vignetting at the wide end" though it does not specify how. The release also states that the 4/3 lens "provides high definition image rendering that conveys even the finest details and nuances," but it’s safe to infer that this is because of Leica quality and the addition of Panasonic’s MEGA O.I.S.
Panasonic has not yet offered information on pricing or availability.