The Faster the Lens, the Better the Camera

The Faster the Lens, the Better the Camera

Panasonic LUMIX features a lineup of digital compact cameras with fast lens - FZ200, LX7 and LF1.
Let's learn the benefit of the fast lens.

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Freeze fast-moving subjects.

A fast lens is indispensable for shooting fast-moving subjects because you need a fast shutter to freeze the motion of subjects like athletes and wild birds. A fast lens draws in a large amount of light all at once, so it is able to use a faster shutter speed than a slow lens.

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Suppress motion blurring.

A slow lens (left) results in water drops with motion blurring, while a fast lens (right) completely stops motion blurring for crisp clarity.

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Even dark scenes are sharp and clear.

Because you need to draw in a lot of light to shoot in a dark place, you have to slow down the shutter speed. When you do this, though, you have to be extra careful about hand-shake. A fast lens naturally draws in more light, so you can use a higher shutter speed to minimize hand-shake.

Suppress Hand-shake.

The reason why the shot at the left, which was taken with a slow lens, is blurry overall is that the slow shutter speed caused hand-shake. The shot at the right, which was taken with a fast lens, is crisp and clear with no visible hand-shake.

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Enjoy defocusing the background to emphasize your subject.

Everybody wants to be able to take photos with gently blurred backgrounds. This is done by narrowing the depth of field, the area within which the lens is in focus. Because the depth of field becomes deeper by closing down the aperture (using a larger F stop) and shallower by opening it (using a smaller F stop), a fast lens with a naturally small F stop produces a greater background defocusing effect.

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Taking advantage of the defocusing effect.

The large focusing range of a slow lens (left) makes it difficult to produce the kind of defocusing effect you want. A fast lens (right) lets you pinpoint the focus, so you get a beautifully defocused background.

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Bringing the joy of a fast lens to the compact camera.

Naturally, we all want to take error-free photos at night and indoors, and we sometimes want to give the background a naturally beautiful defocusing effect. While these attributes used to be restricted to top-end SLRs with extremely fast lenses, Panasonic decided to bring them to the compact camera as well. Achieving this lofty goal required Panasonic's unique capability for vertical integration – extending all the way from lens development and design to camera assembly.

The difficulty of producing a high-precision aspherical lens.

However, a variety of obstacles blocked the way. For example, the faster the lens, the larger the diameter, and the more likely that distortion – called aberration – will occur.
For use in a compact camera, this required highly precise aspherical lenses, which are single lenses that do the same work as a group of ordinary lenses, while also reducing aberration.

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Panasonic's comprehensive technology for lens production made it possible.

To resolve this problem, Panasonic developed a high-precision lens molding technology. It also created the UA3P ultrahigh accurate three-dimensional profilometer, an original product inspection technique that is now used by optical device manufacturers all over the world for developing and producing lenses. All of this set the stage for the successful production of an aspherical lens that would satisfy the rigorous standards that were required. Today, this system is capable of manufacturing lenses as thin as 0.3 mm at their thinnest location. Another challenge was that fast lenses are subject to image-quality degradation due to manufacturing errors. This was overcome by a number of advanced lens mass-production technologies, such as high-precision parts assembly.
In this way, Panasonic's comprehensive expertise, from the development to the production of both lenses and cameras, made it possible to craft a high-precision, high-quality compact camera with a delightfully fast lens.