Panasonic interview with (weatherproof X lenses coming?)


Image courtesy: Quesabesde.

The Japanese website (click here for the google translation) had a small talk with Panasonic about the new X lenses. The google translation tool is doing a very bad job so I ask my japanese readers to check if the news I am reporting here are 100% correct. These are the highlights I filtered via the terrible translation:

1) Future X lenses could be weatherproof.
2) Panasonic considers the X lenses to be like the L lens series from Canon (also top high quality).
3) The best selling Micro Four Thirds lens is the 20mm f/1.7 pancake (I guess this is no surprise at all for all 43rumors readers).
4) Panasonic is still producing some Four Thirds lenses like the Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4.

As you know the first two new X lenses are already in Stock in most stores (excpet in USA where Panasonic let’s you wait months before you can find them in Stock):
Panasonic 14-42mm X search links at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Panasonic 45-175mm X search links at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

Two more X lenses will be announced in January, the 12-35mm and 35-100mm constant aperture lenses. I hope to get some details about them soon.

  • Maybe the lens announcements in January will coincide with the release of the GF7 with built in view-finder? – Since it seems the GX1 won’t have one.

  • Guest

    I guess this means the GF7 will be weatherproof! =D

    • Martin

      What GF7? GF7=GX1! Seems like we have another mythical camera.. Or do you, admin, know something more? Truth is, there has been too much confusion in GF7/GX1 rumours

      • Guest

        GX1 is be announce don the 8th of Nov, GF7 will be announced at photokina next year.

        • Martin

          How do you know that?
          But if it was the case, then the naming wouldn’t make any sense at all..

  • Bu

    Weather proof bodies with the weatherproof lenses would be great :) Just I wish they had a focus ring as well as the automated rocker button…

  • monkp

    pointless weatherproof design imo. any news about new sensor development, admin?

    • sparedog

      wtf. weatheproofing can never be pointless

      the more lenses and bodies weather proofed the better, certainly not the other way around

  • Nick Clark

    Weatherproof GF7/GH3 + weatherproof 12-35/f2.8, 35-100/f2.8 and 7-14/f4 MkII…

    Siiiiigh :)

    • One can dream Nick… One can dream.

    • MJr

      7-14/f4 MkII ?? What’s wrong with the current one ?
      Aside from the meganormous price tag.

  • Weatherproof constant aperture zooms might actually get me interested into m43 for traveling.

  • haswell

    All this talk about GF 7…Whatever happens to GF4, GF5 and GF6?

    • Don’t forget about Japan culture : they always skip #4
      make that : GF5, GF6 and GF7

      • MJr

        So everyone older than 3 is actually a year younger than they say ?

  • io

    I’ve purchased the 20mm a few weeks ago, and I’m very happy with it.

    If it is the best selling lens, Panasonic should stop releasing slow zooms, and release a few more “cheap” quality fast primes like the 20mm.

    • Yes, I totally agree.

      I recently got the Olympus 45mm. That lens is probably going to be just as popular as the 20mm. When I leave the house with just a light set of equipment, I currently take only the GF1 with the viewfinder, the 20mm attached and the 45mm in my pocket. I am also considering the Olympus 12mm as its price dropped on German Amazon by 150€ (admin has not posted this here yet, but you guys should check it out.).

      • io

        Right now, the Oly 45mm is the first one on my “wish list” :)
        But since I already have a Canon FD 50mm f1.4, I can wait.

      • Georg

        I did not see a price drop on 12mm. Still €600.

    • sparedog

      is it a loss leader lens? it sure seems to be so much sharper than most other pancakes released

  • Ad

    Weatherproof gear, that would make me very happy. Admin, you say that the forthcoming X fast zooms will be constant aperture. That’s the first time it’s mentioned I believe. No word yet on what the aperture will be?

    • Martin

      IMO f/2.8 is nearest to the reality. But f/2.5 would be nicer, no question about that..

  • Bob B.

    I am not trying to be negative…I am just reporting the facts as I see them as I do have first hand experience with what I am saying here. I own 6 Canon L lenses. I recently took delivery of the Panasonic 45-175mm X lens, for my MFT kit. I have also reviewed it in the data base at the top of this page. I like the lens.
    Let me say in no uncertain terms (although I do like my x lens and find it to be a great asset to my “compact” MFT camera kit), that the build quality of this X lens is NOT in the realm of the high quality of any Canon L series glass that I own. The closest comparison that I personally can make would be to my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II. First of Canon lens is so sharp throughout the zoom range that I literally had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming when I first started using it. (it is AMAZINGLY sharp, especially for a zoom lens)..The construction of the Canon lens appears to be all metal to me (I am not an expert) with a waterproofing rubber “O” ring on the lens mount. When I hold this lens in my hand…I am impressed with the qualty of what I am holding. It cost $2500.
    My Panasonic X lens (as I mentioned in my review in the database) has the construction quality and feel of a child’s toy. (sorry..but that is how it feels to me). OK..I paid $450 for I was not expecting it to compare to the Canon L lens. The plastic barrel of the Panasonic is certainly not in the realm of the “engineers” plastic of my Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens barrel either, which feels impressively solid for a plastic-barrel lens, (and might I mention..I think that this Canon Macro lens is one of the sharpest lenses, bar non…. I have ever owned). Nor is there a rubber “O” ring gasket on the X lens. Although the lens mount is metal. The sharpness of the x lens is good..but it does not have a WOW factor. (no technical term, LOL).
    Also..ALL of Canon L series lenses are generally (not always), “fast glass”, ie large aperture for the given focal length . That certainly is also not the case with my 45-175mm, f/4-5.6 X lens. That would be the average f/stop of an economy zoom. It does not even have a fixed aperture like my Panasonic 7-14mm. (which is a MUCH better build lens than this X lens).
    It is silly to mention Canon L series in the same sentence as a Panasonic X Lens in my experience and I am open to see if anyone has had an X-lens experience that is different than mine.
    I am a fan of MFT and think these are great photographic devices ..but lets not mislead the readers here.
    Thanks. :-)

    • JF

      I’m not the lucky owner of Canon L serie lenses but I easily imagine that the 14-42 and 45-175 panasonic X lenses are far from Canon L serie quality…Maybe the 12-35 and 35-100 will be different ? I hope !

      • Jim

        Its going for light and small – that will enevitably feel less hard core – but could still be perfictly adequit for the job – its not like it has to double as an axel stand on weekends!

        IQ is all i care about… and speed :)

        • meh

          Discard build and feel..

          Also discard weather proofing, Image Quality and apeture range (do canon make f3.5-5.6 L lenses???)

          It is a real joke to say they are L quality, when they are so far from it.. Not to say I think they are bad lenses for what they are, but he is dreaming to say it is like the ‘L’ series, at least for what they have released so far (kit lenses)..

    • Henrik

      Let me say in no uncertain terms (…) that the build quality of this X lens is NOT in the realm of the high quality of any Canon L series glass

      I never believe any of this self-praise anyway. We’ve seen a lot of very unsubstantial claims coming from the 43 camp especially in recent months. They praised themselves into complete incredibility. More “marketing” than anything else.

      • MJr


    • Nick

      The puzzling thing about the ‘L’ comparison is that Panasonic *does* have lenses that compare with the optical and build quality of Canon L – think 7-14, 20f1.7, 25/f1.4 and 45mm Macro – but none of them are ‘X’ lenses :/

      • Bob B.

        Hey Nick…I have the Pany 7-14mm, 20mm and the 45 Macro (have my eye on the 25mm LOL!)…You have a point..and as I mentioned, the 7-14mm build quality (sharpness and contrast too, BTW), in my post as being much better than the X lens that I own. I have to say..(and I am not exactly a Canon it may appear here…no manufacturer is perfect…I think one of the best-built and sharpest lenses that I own is a Zeiss 21mm, f/2.8ZE), that I think it is pushing it a little to say that the lenses you mention are on par with the Canon L Series in build quality as they are all plastic, as far as I can see except for the lens mounts. But the quality of the plastic seems to be better on those lenses than my X lens. Also, those lenses are definitely sharper than my 45-175mm X lens. Even with all I have written …I still like my X lens. It is so small it blows me away. That compactness makes is a joy to use on a MFT camera. Fun lens.
        It has its pluses!

        • sparedog

          bob b
          while i dont disagree with any of your comments, i am quite surpirsed at modern plastics. i accidently (and dont advise anyone try this lol) dropped my 20mm 1.7 from a 3 foot table onto a concrete floor, and it bounced it´s way across the room. fearing the worse i picked it up to find it s in perfect cosmetic condition, and as far as i can tell after 4 months of many photos, it´s in perfect optical condition too.

          so although plastic doesnt look or feel very nice, (and i hate the thought of something non recyclable) it might be not such a bad material after all.

          • Bob B.

            Actually …I agree with you spare dog. Like I said…my Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro…is a ($1000) plastic cylinder…and with the density and fit and finish that tube inspires confidence. My 45-175 X has a longer tube than the other Pany lenses we are talking about …and therefore the lack of structure (or type) of the plastic becomes more apparent than is would on a short lens like the 14mm, 20mm etc.
            It is more than apparent to me that the plastic type an thickness on my X nothing approaching what it is on my Canon Macro. It definitely is a lower grade of plastic and less dense…so it does not inspire confidence. LOL!… again..I still like the lens for what it is.
            I do think that quality plastics are better in many instances in all types of engineering.
            The 7-14mm seems to have a high-grade plastic.

            • MP Burke

              I too have dropped a lens about three feet onto the floor (an m-zuiko 9-18mm) and it survived without any damage. I think this illustrates a point that a lighter object may suffer less damage than a heavy one, simply because the heavier object has more potential energy.

              • Bob B.

                ..but what if it has the potential to fall apart after a while from regular use? :-)

    • > My Panasonic X lens (as I mentioned in my review in the database) has the construction quality and feel of a child’s toy.

      Those X lenses should be pretty good – if that’s the only substantial complain you have about them. (F-number is not a substantial complain because duh you have seen it written on the box before buying the lens.)

      IMO the X lenses do not need to be built like L lenses. They (the lenses) and the bodies are much smaller and much lighter, thus have to deal with much lower force if dropped or whatever. (Overall, you shouldn’t underestimate how resilient small piece of plastic could be.)

      Otherwise, IMO, what the interviewed tried to say (do not forget, we are dealing here with poor automated translation) is that Panasonic is going to manage the X lens line similarly to Canon and the L lenses. IMO it didn’t mean X is competing against L – that’s just silly – but rather that X is going to be clearly differentiated with some features from the rest of the Panasonic lenses.

      • Forbes

        Indeed, the X lenses are not going to be L quality in absolute terms. They are simply going to be like the L lenses in relative terms.

        • meh

          But Panasonic already have other non-X lenses that are substantially better quality.. So in reletive terms lenses like the 7-14 or 25/1.4 should be the ‘L’ lenses, not the compact kit zooms..

      • Bob B.

        I agree…and hopefully the price will not be anywhere near the “L” lens prices!!!

        • Katzen

          I think it really depends on whether all of the x lenses are designed with the ultra-portability in mind… Fingers crossed that at least one puts quality first.

    • Pile

      The translation is not accurate at all. For who understand the Japanese nuance, one can read the article as Panasonic did not deny the possibility of the future development of the dust and water proof lens, answering the question from the megalomaniac interviewer.

      It is obvious that they are not developing nor planning such lenses. The title (weatherproof X lenses coming?) is well exaggerated.

  • JF

    “like the L lens series from Canon”

    that sounds very good, I’m starting dreaming :D I’m just afraid by the price…

  • spong

    Stating the obvious but the logic is that if some X lenses are going to be offered weatherproofed, that means either the GX1 is weatherproof, or another forthcoming camera in this line will be. It’s likely that we would have heard by now if the GX1 is weatherproof, so assuming it isn’t the (possibly mythical) GF7 will be. Photokina is not until September next year so that’s some wait. Admin, do you think we may hear about another Panasonic camera earlier than September 2012, perhaps summer? Hope so. If the GX1 does happen to be weatherproof I will be very pleased.

  • Yun

    35-100 X lens is the one I might want to get .
    Really hope it can match once European lens of the year 2009 / 2008 , ZuikoDigital 35-100mm F2 .
    It would be a breakthrough if it come up with aperature below F2 .

  • Jesper

    Like L lenses, in what way? If i’m not wrong, the Canon L lenses means hq lens elements, image quality and wheather sealed (some of them). They all had the same unified qulities.

    Right now the only two Panasonic X-lenses doesn’t suggest any high qulity nor wheather sealed. The problem is, if the new X-lenses are having L-lenses as examples then people should reconsider before buying the current X-lenses. Because Panasonic will have to unify the qualities of X-lenses by releasing overhauled versions…. Why not just stick with HD-lens line with these two new lenses, and keep X as a top-notch lens line.

  • nobody

    Admin, in this interview I can’t find any indication that the upcoming fast zooms will have a constant aperture. Neither a date for announcement or release.

    Do these informations, constant aperture and January announcement, come from a different source?

  • I couldn’t care less about these boring slow zooms. I don’t mind if they are “L” quality or “Z” quality, lol…because, conceptually, its clear they are not aimed at the same kind of people that needs “L” glass…They are slow, they are plastic, they are not weatherproof. That’s just bla bla.

    Now, if they come up with some serious zooms with fast aperture (the mythical 12-35 and 35-100), then I could understand those claims, and I would pay extra $$$ for a premium zoom for m43, as long as the IQ is there and the portability factor remains – otherwise why bother, just buy a canon dslr and a big chunky “L” glass and that’s it.

    • JF


    • safaridon

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but haven’t we heard this ” I couldn’t care less about these BORING slow zooms” statement enough times already? In the case of the new X 14-42 nothing could be further from the truth as most acknowledge its small design is a game changer for m4/3 and still with good IQ. The real need for faster zoom lens speed was more real 30 years ago when all we had was SLRs with manual focus lenses and the speed was needed to focus faster and accurately. However today in the digital era with LCDs and EVFs that gain up the light, cameras with much better high ISO performance and low light performance these slow zooms as you call them are much more useful then they used to be and adequate for most users especially when size and portability are important. Even in SLR days the a Canon 200mm zoom F4 was optically better IQ than a F2.8 one so faster lens does not necessarily equate with higher quality, but you can be sure bigger size, more weight, and significantly higher cost does and m4/3 is all about smaller size isn’t it?

      Yes I am all favor of small fast primes like the 20mm/f1.7 I have but I take many more pictures in often very dark conditions with my Kx with very small 50-200 F4-5.6 tele leaving my bigger teles behind. I expect the X 14-175mm with its internal focusing special lens elments and non extending lens to also be a step up from the telescoping bazooka crowd.

      • Gravityloss

        The problem is, with F3.5 to 5.6 dark zooms, you get really bad photos everywhere except

        1. outside in bright daylight or
        2. shooting something non-moving from a tripod.

        If you do something else, you get either really high noise (or even worse smears with those noise filters) or really blurry pictures with shake and ghosts. We routinely have the G2 with 14-42 and the GF1 with 20 mm with the family at family events. No contest. The 20 mm absolutely blows away the stupid kit zoom. Want to snap a picture of that four-year old cousin drawing a dragon on the whiteboard? Good luck with the lousy kit zoom. Ordinary people’s living rooms are not lit up like studios and kids *move*.

        I think the kit zoom is the single most common “why did my photos turn out crap?” technical reason in the last 30 years since zooms started appearing. Same applies with compact cameras. Their optical design sucks. Most people would be infinitely better with a bright lens with no zoom at all. AFAIK only Sigma and Leica make such cameras (maybe Ricoh) and they cost huge amounts of money.

        There’s a great business opportunity for cameras that make good photos. Oversimplified, but probably more or less so, below 5DII territory:

        good photos == fixed focal length.

    • Mr. Reeee

      I’m not a big zoom fan, but if the 12-35mm is constant f2.8 or faster, has great build quality and impressive image quality on par with Panasonic’s best (your list), I’d consider getting one for travel. The 14-140mm is good for that, but I tend not to use the long end much. Brighter wins for me.

      The next lenses on my list are the Voigtländer 75mm f1.8 and Nikon 105mm f2.8 AI-s macro.

      As far as weatherproofing goes, I seriously doubt we see ANY M4/3 body with it. M4/3 is really a high-end consumer grade system, with small size and weight as key selling factors. Weatherproofing would make the entire system bigger, heavier, clumsier. If you doubt that, look at the hulking E5 vs. Oly’s other 4/3 bodies. If I were forced to buy a beastly E5-ish M4/3 body for weatherproofing, I might as well jump to a D700/D800 and be done with it.

      Besides, what would Panasonic do, re-release their best lenses with weatherproofing? Yeah, right.

      • avds

        I hear Nikon’s AI-S lenses are *much* harder to manual focus due to shorter focus ring travel, versus their AI precursors, though I don’t have first hand experience with either. You might want to check that out.

  • Jojo

    The 14-42 looks a good useful lens, but the idea that these first two X lenses are the equivalent of Canon L lenses is absurd. I really hope it means the coming fast zooms are going to be outstanding.

  • I don’t think the larger lenses will be constant aperture. No way. They will be 2.8-3.5 at best.

  • > 1) Future X lenses could be weatherproof.
    > 2) Panasonic considers the X lenses to be like the L lens series from Canon (also top high quality).

    That seals it then: GX1 is a weatherproof GF1 remake.

    • spong

      I’d like to think so but Panasonic might be producing another camera which is weatherproofed to be launched at a later date. Only guessing though.

      • Yes. This can be only guess at the moment.

        But considering that GF3 is pretty recent, I do not think one should expect entry level m43 from Panny soon.

        Thus GX1 has to be the pro oriented camera (as in: second camera for a pro/enthusiasts). And the word on weather sealing they have dropped would be the logical thing how to differentiate the GX and the GF line.

        Otherwise, with such rapid release cycle, I do not think that Panny would try to make the GX1 perfect: some features they might delay to the GX2.

        Also, at least to me, that also suggests that GH3 might be weather sealed. Having video centric X lenses with weather sealing – but high-end non-weather-sealed body would be pretty silly gap.

        Weather sealing might be just the thing Panny could use to split their camera bodies in two: G and GF non weather sealed, GX and GH weather sealed. That would make a lot of sense to me. (Weather sealing in GH3 would also give them an edge against NEX-7.)

        • Emol

          Agree. That line up would make sense. And gx1 should of course offer something more than a new name.

  • Sean Nelson

    My Japanese is a bit spotty, but what I’m seeing in the original article is:

    – Panasonic has specifications that an X lens must meet, much in the same way that Canon has specification that an “L” lens must meet. (They’re NOT saying that “X” lenses meet the same specifications as “L” lenses, just that the “X” mark is an indication that the lens has certain characteristics).

    – Weather- or dust-proofing is not one of the specifications that an X lens must meet. But that doesn’t prevent them from coming out with a weather- or dust-proof product in the future (but they’re NOT saying that future “X” lenses will be weather- or dust-proof).

    • EddyKilowatt

      Wish they’d let us in on the secret of what the ‘X’ series is supposed to represent. Basic marketing and all… just sayin’.

      Right now ‘X’ is all over the place, and consumers are like the fabled blind men trying to identify an elephant after touching one part of it.

  • Emol

    I was really thinking about selling my m43 gear to get a rain-proof system. Also I would like a significant sensor upgrade from the g2. Now, should I wait for Panasonic?

    Anyway, looks like Panasonic going in right direction. With weatherproof, electronic shutter, changeble sensors, wireless flash, fasti and smallish,,,, ;P

  • Miroslav

    “Two more X lenses will be announced in January, the 12-35mm and 35-100mm constant aperture lenses.”

    Excellent news! Didn’t expect them that soon. OTOH, “constant aperture” probably means they’ll be F2.8 :( .

  • Mike

    ADMIN…. could you clarify a few things on the GX1 GF7/Pro/whatever.

    From your sources, is the GX1 the same camera as the rumored GF7/PRO?

    If it isn’t have your heard anything regarding the GF7/PRO?

    On an unrelated note, have you heard any rumors at all re the GH3?


  • safaridon

    Considering the fact that Panasonic also produces the top rated small TS subersible compact this would be a logical move to make.

    A recent GF3 review noted that even the entry GF3 with 14mm lens was infact better protected from the elements than previous models even though Panasonic was not advertizing it as such. Pany would not make such a move as they may well do with new models until it had also weatherproofed some of its lenses. It apparently would not take much modification to weatherproof a GF1 like camera so maybe Pany is keeping this secret for a last minute surprise for the GX1 or GX7?

  • K


    1. The statement “to be like the L lens series from Canon” is NOT form Panasonic men, it is only the interviewer’s exemplification.

    2. They said “We want to continue releasing Leica branded (m4/3) lenses with focal length which can be imagine from “Leica”.”

  • Narretz

    Weatherproof lenses?
    Panasonic is confusing. They can’t get the successor of the GF1 right and talk about that? Maybe the GH3 is weatherproof. Or they add maybe another model.
    What I wondered regarding the GX1 is if they actually had a model with internal EVF, upgraded specs etc. but figured it would not be able to compete with NEX without major reworking. So they stripped a lot of stuff to make it less expensive and called this GX1, while they are still working on another camera with improved specs – maybe reworked from the ground up.
    Side note: I believe the name GF-7 was an internal name for a GF style camera to compete with the NEX-7. I think that makes the most sense.

  • Narretz

    Photo rumors made this very confusing post about the GX1:

    They say it has been announced to the press, and it has 12MP. Surely they just want to add to the confusion.

  • pdc

    On Photorumors this morning:
    Today the Panasonic GX1 was announced to the press only. The new camera will have 12mp, high ISO of 12800, it will look like the GF1 but with grip, very fast AF (0.09 sec), touch screen. Two different colors will be available: black and silver.

    • Joe

      The heck, now its back down to 12mp?

    • Renato S.

      I also read that.

      Everything is so confusing that it’s like two different things, two cameras? I could be but I don’t think so.

      Anyway I wished the 12MP could be true, if it’s a new sensor it could mean better low light performance, etc.

  • Jerry

    I am not bashing Panasonic because I absolutely LOVE the 20mm f/1.7 and the 25mm f/1.4 lenses for the m4/3 mount. However, the comments about the “X” lenses being the Panasonic equivalent of Canon “L” lenses is just strange (or perhaps just stupid).

    There is absolutely nothing about the first two “X” lenses that says “quality.” In fact, the first two X lenses boarder or rubbish. I know Panasonic can make great lenses and I hope the upcoming X-branded fast zooms are indeed equivalent to Canon L glass, but Panasonic certainly started off on the WRONG foot with its first two X lenses.

    • Matsuoka

      The first 2 “X” lens are what the average consumers want the most: Compact standard zoom and relatively small tele lens..

    • Mr. Reeee

      The X lenses seem to be targeting the GF3 crowd, small, kawaii and good enough. Small size and low weight are the key factors.

      Personally, I’d love to see a mirrorless NIKONOS type of system, with 3 or 4 great lenses, like the the 7-14. But that ain’t a-gonna happen NO time soon. ;-)

  • stonebat must have been drinking too much kool aid.

  • Renato S.

    it only makes sense to have a weather proof lens if you produce a weather proof camera, so…

    will they make it?

    • Berneck


  • Berneck

    If the 12-35 is 2.8 or faster, I am all over it!!! All they need is something to directly compete with the NEX-7 (E-P3 or GF1 type with viewfinder) and they will be back ahead of the pack!!!!

    • Johnny Holiday

      Same here, if the 12-35mm is at least 2.8 it’s a no brainer and my 20mm 1.7 could be taking a long break!

  • come on pana


    • nobody

      your caps lock is activated

    • come on pana

      Chamber: 20mm (LUMIX G 20mm F1.7 ASPH.), Such as single-focus lens and has so far out in the LUMIX G-Series will also come in a single focus X

      AM I CRAZY ?

      • come on pana

        up… please admin respond me about it a 20mm coming in x lense?

        • come on pana


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