One of the knocks on Sony NEX is that the lenses are too large for the bodies. Much of this talk seems to come from those who haven't handled the NEX cameras. As the following images show, the first two Sony lenses are comparable in size to lenses from the smaller Micro Four Thirds format: However, the latest primes announced by Sony are drawing some criticism for their size. Here is a scaled comparison of the new Sony primes compared to selected Micro Four Thirds primes: Once again, some of the criticism is unjustified. Even with the Zeiss 24/1.8 or Sony E 50/1.8 OSS, NEX bodies will handle well and present a more compact alternative to all but the very smallest of DSLR systems (eg, Pentax K-r with 40/2.8 pancake). However, there are those who will buy into NEX looking for the most compact possible system and find the NEX lineup wanting for smaller lenses. Are such people out of luck? Does the larger APS-C sensor require significantly larger lenses than Micro 4/3 does? To an extent, the answer is "Yes". A smaller format permits the use of smaller lenses. However, as Samsung and Fuji have recently shown with their 30mm f/2 lenses, it is possible to design very good "pancake" lenses for APS-C. Likely Sony will respond to market demand and create such lenses in the future. Panasonic has presented another option by introducing the incredibly small Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS. As shown below, the new Panasonic kit lens is a pancake zoom with a collapsible construction that automatically extends when the camera powers on. Collapsed, it is the same size as the 20mm pancake lens shown in the scaled comparison above. Collapsible lenses are nothing new. Shown below is a old Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Summitar f=5cm 1:2 lens shown in collapsed state: Photo by s58y. Used under Creative Commons license. Indeed, the majority of "point-and-shoot" cameras have collapsible lenses, and several large sensor digital compacts, notably the Sigma DP1, Sigma DP2, and Leica X1, have also implemented a design very similar to the Panasonic. Among compact system cameras (CSCs), the collapsible Olympus mZD 14-42mm kit zoom (all versions) and Olympus mZD 9-18mm ultrawide zoom preceded the new Panasonic zoom. However, Panasonic is the first to bring out an extremely small collapsible zoom lens with automated extension for an interchangeable lens camera and managed at the same time to incorporate optical image stabilization. The Leica design above reminds us that there is nothing limiting the application of collapsible design to slow kit zoom lenses. Sony's next fast prime could incorporate such a design. Of course the main limitation for collapsible lens design is that the lens is extended (and therefore not as compact) during use as it is during storage. In addition, the time needed for the lens to extend in use could potentially impact one's readiness to get the shot, and there are theoretical concerns about lens long-term durability with automated collapsible designs. Collapsible lenses aren't for everyone, but they are sure to be part of the future of the Sony NEX system. They offer one route by which Sony can match some very small lenses to its very small bodies.