Home L-Mount Leica and Panasonic announce new strategic collaboration

Leica and Panasonic announce new strategic collaboration

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Leica and Panasonic will work more closely in the future under the banner of “L2 Technology”. The agreement enhances Leica’s long-standing cooperation with Panasonic, which includes the Leica branding of compact cameras as well as Panasonic’s use of the Leica brand in MFT lenses and as a seal of approval on L-system Panasonic lenses.

The are no specific details on possible new products, but we can now look forward to the possibility of some exciting developments emerging in the future.

As a matter of record, here is the wording of Leica’s press release.

Press release

Embargo Date ends on: May 31st, 2022, 7.00 a.m. (BST)

Leica Camera AG and Panasonic signed strategic comprehensive collaboration agreement, and develop “L2 Technology” as symbol of the collaboration

Wetzlar, May 31, 2022. Panasonic Entertainment & Communication Corporation (Headquarters in Osaka, Japan) and Leica Camera AG (Wetzlar, Germany) announce that they have reached an agreement for a new comprehensive business alliance. Both companies agreed to increasingly bundle their core competencies and to develop new technologies and solutions resulting from this collaboration under the name of “L2 Technology” (L squared Technology) which symbolically uses the two “L” of “ Leica ” and “LUMIX ” in their marketing activities going forward.

L2 Technology will unify the strengths of Leica and LUMIX, be a symbol of the collaboration by combining the technologies and know-how of the two companies in the fields of new camera and lens products and next generation software, and create technologies and solutions that deliver new value in the new era. Through this collaboration, both companies will be able to maximize the synergies by Leica’s optical and imaging technology and Panasonic’s video and digital technology that have been cultivated over many years in the camera and imaging market, and jointly explore new creativity and expressive power. They will continue to develop innovative L2 Technology that will create a new imaging world.

Through this collaboration, the two companies will jointly invest in new technologies that can be incorporated into camera and lens products and will integrate jointly developed technologies into each other’s Leica and LUMIX products to further enhance their product capabilities. Going forward, Leica and LUMIX will utilize L2 Technology in their marketing activities in order to develop a collaborative system over the long term, which will open new possibilities for creative camera users.

“With the arrival of an era in which photos and videos are shared globally in real time, cameras are required to have capability to create more impressive and breathtaking expression. I have always been impressed by the high picture quality and the picture-making philosophy that Leica has developed over its long history. I am very pleased and excited to continue working with Leica to develop technology that will enable people around the world to share their emotions,” said Akira Toyoshima, CEO of Panasonic Entertainment & Communication Co.,Ltd.

“We have been working with Panasonic for many years in a spirit of partnership and trust, and their extensive expertise is undisputed. The combination of our competencies in L2 Technology is another milestone in the partnership and proves that the best way to meet today’s challenges in the camera market is not to segment and specialize, but to deepen capabilities in order to jointly create solutions for the future,” said Matthias Harsch, CEO of Leica Camera AG.

History of collaboration

The cooperation between Leica Camera AG and Panasonic Corporation has existed since August 2000. Initially, the companies had signed a cooperation agreement for lenses of digital, audio-visual equipment, and in 2001 the decision was made to cooperate in the digital camera sector as well. Since then, the companies have steadily expanded their technological cooperation. In 2018, together with Sigma, the “L-Mount Alliance” was founded, an unprecedented type of cooperation that enables Panasonic, Sigma and, since 2021, Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH to use the L-mount standard developed by Leica for their own developments and thus also offer cameras as well as optics with this lens mount.

About the Panasonic Group

A global leader in developing innovative technologies and solutions for wide-ranging applications in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, industry, communications, and energy sectors worldwide, the Panasonic Group switched to an operating company system on April 1, 2022 with Panasonic Holdings Corporation serving as a holding company and eight companies positioned under its umbrella. Founded in 1918, the Group is committed to enhancing the well-being of people and society and conducts its businesses based on founding principles applied to generate new value and offer sustainable solutions for today’s world. The Group reported consolidated net sales of 7,388.8 billion yen for the year ended March 31, 2022. Devoted to improving the well-being of people, the Panasonic Group is united in providing superior products and services to help you Live Your Best. To learn more about the Panasonic Group, please visit: https://holdings.panasonic/global/

About Leica Camera

Leica stands for craftsmanship, design, and experience. With over 100 years of history, the brand represents a beautiful combination of art and engineering with the future of form and functionality. Based in Wetzlar, the original birthplace of Leica, the German company is an internationally operating, premium-segment manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products. Leica’s legendary status is founded on its long tradition of excellence and supreme quality found in their cameras and lenses. Leica are committed to supporting the creation and preservation of iconic photography, past, present, and future and the artists behind them.

For more information about Leica visit uk.leica-camera.com or follow the company on social media.


47 COMMENTS

  1. I watched the video on YouTube as well, a lot of high level words but no substance, does this mean that the next Leica will be a S-Lux (or a SL-Lux if you want)? In any case, after the TL/CL debacle a lot of things will need to happen to restore my trust in the L-mount alliance

    • I had always assumed that there was already such a strategic alliance. After all, most of the electronics in Leica cameras comes from Panasonic. But presumably this announcement means even more cooperation. I suspect both Leica and Panasonic realise that the L-mount system needs some stimulus.

  2. L2 sounds like something more than the L Alliance. There is, at least, an inference that each company will bring its strong points to the table to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. Hopefully, this will bring real innovation rather than just ‘parts engineering’. Time will tell. The camera market needs the lift of truly creative innovation right now.

    William

  3. There is a remarkable absence of content in this announcement. Is anybody in charge of this “comprehensive business alliance?” How much attention/money/talent are the companies devoting? What’s different now compared to previous collaborations? It seems quite vague to announce that you will “jointly invest” and “explore synergies” and develop technology to “create a new imaging world.” I guess they wanted to make sure people knew they were still serious.

    • That’s pretty much what i thought, too. It really seems like a declaration that they will continue to do what they already have.

      Personally I would like to see a 200-500mm Leica telephoto lens even if I might not be able to afford it. I have their 90-280 and it’s amazing. But that doesn’t require anything from Panasonic.

      Maybe they are going to explore some of Thom Hogan’s (bythom.com) ideas about making it easier to get photos from the camera to social media and photo sharing platforms. I think those are good ideas and would like to see more work done in that direction.

  4. This is one of those “Merger of Equals” type of press release with zero substance or focus to it. We don’t know where L2 will focus its activities in terms of formats. We don’t know who will lead new model development, or whether L2 will put a ring fence around certain parts of the market and create integrated development teams to bring new products to market.

    Based on Leica’s recent record on communication one can only presume that Panasonic wrote this one.

  5. This is exciting news. L mount can only get stronger and offer additional exciting options. I would not expect more detail than they have offered on a new collaboration. Leica can sure use the help on software and firmware.

    Anyway, this is great news for faster Leica product rollout.

    • is there anybody happy about positive news out there or are the negative comments going to dominate?

      • There is a lot to be positive about but it seems that the CL story has dominated discussions. If we forget the CL, we have SL which is well regarded although rather bulky for many. But the M and the Q2 are both unique and the mainstay of Leica’s business. It’s a small company and it’s products are expensive. Desiree cooperation with Panasonic could produce benefits for both companies and I remain optimistic about the future.

      • Hi Brian, I read the comments yesterday on Leica Rumors, Mirrorless Rumors, L-rumors, etc. There is literally nobody who understands what this means… Just quoting one comment that sums it all up: “Maybe it’s my not-so-good English, but I totally failed to understand what does this ACTUALLY means. And how it differs from the L mount alliance. They want to cast Sigma out? That would be a very strange decision…”.

  6. The carrot of the missing C-L2, of the failed L2 double Apsc-Ff mount. Unbelievable how Leica users keep on believing

    • Maybe we should be singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” to keep us positive.

    • Hi George, if you totally dislike Leica, why not move on instead of peeing on our joy. There is so much negativity these days. If one does not like something that brings other people happiness, why do you feel the need to chip away at their pleasure. Please reflect on this and consider moving to a Canon blog to sober them up from their happiness.

      • I believe in Leica haptics and rendering. I love Leica except for their substandard service and some less than brilliant product management intelligence but they are still the best for me. There is no perfect camera or camera company but Leica is the closest fit for me. Could I be happier? Yes, but I need to focus on the positives as I have a natural tendency to be judgmental and a perfectionist. It is never too late to grow as a person and I have a wee bit of improvement to work on 😅

      • I think that’s an over broad interpretation. There is a great deal of passion towards the heritage/history of Leica and the product, none of which is in question. What has left a sour taste and runs contrary to that passion is how Leica have handled the surmised demise of the APSC line.

        Most companies would have done a better job under similar circumstances. In other words we expect the bar for Leica’s communication to be as high as it is for products. Sadly in this instance, that’s not the case.

        • Their communication is dismal but that is the expectation if you are a long term Leica user. The Product Line Management and marketing team needs to be flushed ( the mini M comes to mind). However, in spite of their stupidity, the lens design team is brilliant which is what makes Leica unique – at least for discerning artists.
          I do not care about the history of Leica. I care about results. You may be able to pay less for similar results, but nobody achieves comparable rendering results especially in a comparable size of lens which is a challenging technical and manufacturing achievement. I cannot afford all the glass I want, but I can dream without people peeing on my hope

          • Why should poor communication be the expectation? That’s a poor excuse for shoddy work. Why should Leica owners be treated with something that is of a lower standard than the brand?

      • That’s not a good invitation Brian. Criticism is a healthy exercise. If anything told about with respect is seen as peeing and chipping really you have a too short perspective

        • Criticism is a healthy exercise until there is zero percent water in the glass At that point, you are at the wrong meeting. I am an engineer that is naturally looking to fix things but if the patient is dead I realize I need to find a better fit. If I did not own and love my Leica equipment I would not consider it based on your exaggerated viewpoint.
          I have a long perspective, I am 68, and been in photography since the 70s and have shot Medium format film in the good old days when photography took real competence in technology. However, your comment on “how unbelievable Leica users keep on believing “ was over the top insulting to at least me. I LOVE Leica rendering and Leica HAPTICS. I believe in Leica since the 1980z. My wife supports my hobby only because she can see the magic difference. Every time I have strayed from Leica, Hasselblad X1D system, I have returned to the siren call of Leica at great expense.
          So do not insult me about my perspective or experience. I love Leica but I do think they could use much better product management and communication. However, I and a lot of people, have no option for a better product to achieve our passion for photography. So to increase my joy, I will ignore your future comments that do not add any value to my day.

          • Again…you’re not understanding the criticism. This is not about the product or engineering, it’s about poor communication and how that doesn’t match the high standards of the product.

          • Hi Brian, curious what drove you away from the Hasselblad, in my book image quality and haptics are actually better than Leica… and about rendering, the 80mm is one of the best lenses I ever shot, if Leica sold it it would probably cost $14K… it is obviously not a perfect system, slow, poor AF, overheating, limited lens availability, not the best platform for adopting lenses, etc.

    • Hi Le Chef, I am totally unhappy with Leica communication AND product management but people tend to over pee on Leica. I am getting over the equivalent of post traumatic stress and have little patience for people who cannot focus on the positives.
      Leica delivers the best overall solution for me on rendering and haptics. However, some people totally pee on my happiness ( how can anyone believe in Leica) and that is so extremely exaggerated that i must comment. Get Serious! There are a lot of “stupid” Leica devotees like me that enjoy our images but I agree Leica marketing and PLM leaves a lot to be desired.

      • And I agree. If they can focus on delivering great product the communication will be secondary.

  7. I’m not in the wrong meeting. You’re in the wrong discourse. Believe in what you want and let people comment. Nothing about glasses and deaths: just L2. After a few Leicas that’s what I realized. Perhaps you should measure your words.

  8. No mention of Sigma?
    At least this stops me thinking that Leica were withdrawing to the M and Q lines. Frankly Panasonic are well overdue a refresh of their L-mount range.
    I’ll try to optimistic and hope for full frame L-mount version of the GX-8, now that I would pay good money for.
    All the best, Mark

    • Hi, Panasonic have been releasing a number of lenses including positive reviews of f/1.8 lenses. They are quite active…

  9. About good communication and engaging your customers, Fuji announced the X-H2S yesterday, they also announced two new lenses and they provided an updated roadmap. Clear communication as it should be in my opinion, very useful information for (potential) Fuji customers, Fuji does not try to hide either that a 40MP X-H2 is coming later this year, you can make your own choice between the X-H2S and the X-H2, you can decide to wait till the X-T5 shows up, etc etc.

  10. I’m with Brian on this one.
    I suspect the communication thing is partially fostering a boutique mystique and part because of company size. When resources are limited, much future product depends heavily on current sales. To commit to a product rollout and then have current products ‘flop’ (TL/CL?) cuts into one’s (small) financial resources which kills off the announced future product rollout and annoys a lot of customers. In other words, being vague gives a manufacturer a lot of wiggle room at the expense of being perceived as having lousy communications. Pick your poison.
    As Brian pointed out, the optics are impressive- and that’s the hook. It’s a tradeoff.

    • I suspect the communication approach borrows heavily from the Keystone Cops, rather than a conscious decision to create mystique. The myth that you need a large budget to communicate effectively is false: you just need smart inventive people with a clear brief.

  11. Possibly.
    But in decades of consulting (electronics) I’ve seen this many times, where each product is essentially betting the farm. If it doesn’t pan out, there’s always the hope one can save the day with a lower cost development option. If one announces something and then very publicly changes their mind, that’s bad. The public is not very forgiving with learning curves.
    Of course, there’s no Leica financial data (that I’m aware of), so maybe assuming Leica has minimal resources is naive.
    I do know that electronic development (processors, data links, displays) is horrendously expensive. L2 probably passes off electronics to Panasonic, and optics to Leica. We see that with the Leica and whoever the phone ‘partnership’ was with.
    Leica bodies are cnc machined parts as opposed to molded plastic, magnesium, etc. Machining a chunk of metal is more expensive per piece, but FAR, far less expensive and more flexible than making and debugging molds. After all, one CNC machine can then make any of your products with a programming change. It’s marketing’s job to promote a machined block as adding value.
    Regardless of the internal motivations, I like the final product, and vote with my money.
    I just wish the SL2 had an articulating display; I’m tired of laying on my belly for those low shots. Devotion to craft, I suppose. But it’s usually muddy… Maybe L2 can grant my wish?

  12. Disclaimer: I have no wish on peeing anyone’s happiness.

    In case of Leica, maybe this is their way of communication? Causing confusion and keep people guessing what might come next?
    Another view could be that Leica just do not care what customers think, poor communication, customer service etc.
    I must say that I was scratching my head and wondered what L2 technology is, then realised it is Leica and Lumix hence L2 😂
    I believe that this alliance will probably bring smaller sized FF EVF bodies that can use M lenses and possibly L lenses with autofocus too… Who knows….

  13. Perhaps, after all the critique dies down we might expect a full frame “Leica/Panasonic” on the lines of the S5 — a full frame CL? but with better design, better resolution EVF and handling than the S5 at present

    • Would likely take at last 2 years to produce the prototype … plus another 12 months testing and setting up production / marketing … so release date would depend on when design commenced

    • IMHO it is unlikely to happen before 2024, 2023 will be all about the Q3, perhaps 2024 or 2025, I also believe an S5 body is the best that can be expected, I don’t see Leica produce the M-sized or Q-sized L-mount body a lot of people are hoping for…

      • You also have to ask what a Q sized L mount camera would do to SL2/S sales, unless that camera gets a significant boost in terms of technology.

          • That would be financial suicide unless it was the next generation M.

          • Hi Mike, you would not be able to charge $9K for such a camera,
            and in general Leica does not like to challenge the M internally… my guess would be that moving forward the SL will become smaller (but not M/Q size) and more (but not exclusively) focused on video (hence the L2 alliance and tighter integration with Panasonic) and that there will be a new mirrorless medium format camera for ultimate image quality that will replace the S (and kind of the current SL as well), probably with a new mount as well. Leica moves slowly though, so perhaps 3-5 years from now…

  14. Here’s my two cents. Leica’s specialisation is in lenses and I read that the SL lenses can resolve to 100MP. With autofocus, stabilisation and high quality build – to be the best – they are very large and heavy. So the SL bodies were built large and heavy to balance them. I read that the SL3 may have a 100MP sensor, which confirms my thoughts on Leica’s product development strategy – following the lens

    But where do they go from here. How large a market is there for these expensive behemoths? The market for M or Q cameras, with smaller size and weight, looks healthy. How does Leica generate income from people who want Leica quality zooms but with smaller bodies (like me)? Go elsewhere for the bodies? I wonder what Leica needs and wants out of the L2 relationship? Only the software?

    • The problem is not so much the weight and size of the SL2. It’s the weight and size of the lenses. If you must have too optical quality and build then you have to pay for it through your wallet and your muscles. Today, for instance, I decided to take out the SL-2 and 24-90 Vario Elmarit. But when I got it in the bag I realised I would have regret lugging that beast around London. So I replaced the 24-90 with Panasonics underrated 20-60 which is a featherweight by comparison. In the end, thought, I would probably have been happier with the M11 and Summaron or 35mm Summicron.

      Increasingly, I am finding heavy cameras and lenses at odds with my ageing muscles.

      • The problem for me is the combination of the body and the lenses. I carried the SL and the 24-90 everywhere for about 2 years and then I gave up… it is just too heavy for me for walkaround and travel… I still have a use case for it, but size and weight is definitely stopping me from acquiring a more extensive kit and using the camera all the time…. The cinelens approach that Leica has taken (same size, dimensions, look etc for every lens) also did not help for the 35mm which for an f2 lens is ridiculously big and heavy… I am not sure where Leica goes from here, the fact that the lenses are so heavy is another reason for me to believe that Leica will not make an M-sized L-mount body, but rather a S5-sized one…

        • Currently I have no L primes other than the Sigma 45mm that came as a gift when I bought the S5 and 20-60. The reason is not so much cost as weight. I would love a couple of high-performance primes. I am tempted to settle for Sigma Contemporary lenses as a compromise. Especially with the S5, they are a light option.

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