Home L-Mount L2 Technology partnership and L-Mount Alliance: Panasonic draws the line between the...

L2 Technology partnership and L-Mount Alliance: Panasonic draws the line between the two


In a comprehensive interview with Richard Butler of DPReview, Panasonic’s director of imaging, Yosuke Yamane, drew a clear line between the L-Mount Alliance and the hitherto rather vague L2 Technology partnership between his company and Leica. He said that the Lumix S5 II is one of the first fruits of the new era of cooperation.

During the interview, Mr Yamana explained that the L-Mount Alliance, initially involving Panasonic, Leica and Sigma, aims to ensure compatibility between the companies’ products, primarily in lens design and production. On the other hand, the L2 Technology partnership between Leica and Panasonic presages a closer relationship which will see the two brands sharing resources and technology throughout the development process.

Lumix S5 II Cooperation

“These two projects are completely different, and we are promoting them on different axes,” said Mr Yamane. He went on to cite the new image processor in the Lumix S5 II as one of the first examples of the L2 Technology partnership: “The combined expertise of the two companies in image processing enables this technology to achieve high image quality performance and high-speed arithmetic processing”.

He explained that Panasonic and Leica have different expertise: “By bringing them together, pulling them into one box and mixing them up, we hope to see the benefits. For example, Leica has strengths in the expressive part, whereas Panasonic has strengths in developing devices and in manufacturing”.

He admitted that the initial L2 Technology partnership announcement had been a little vague and potentially confusing, but this was because the scope of the collaboration is still evolving: “It isn’t fixed; we will continue to update the areas where we are going to work together”.

During the interview, Mr Yamane touched on a number of significant issues, including the decision to move to phase-detection autofocus for the first time with the Lumix S5 II. After earlier misgivings about the effect of PDAF on IQ, the company is now confident that the S5 II meets Panasonic’s standards for image quality.

Market future

In relation to the future of the market, Mr Yamana said that mirrorless cameras represent three-quarters of the market, and he expects that over half of sales will consist of full-frame cameras. However, there is an increasing demand for smaller devices to cater for smartphone users seeking better image quality. To that end, Panasonic sees a continuing role for Micro Four Thirds, which has “size benefits and a shooting experience that can’t be matched by a smartphone”.

Confirming what many observers have feared, Panasonic will in future lay emphasis on video and less on stills photography: “We’re targeting the social media creator. With the expansion of things like YouTube, there are plenty of platforms for independent producers to expose their productions. There’s an expansion of the video production industry. Things that used to be done as teams are now being done by individuals”.

Read Richard Butler’s full report of his interview with Yosuke Yamane, Vice President of Panasonic’s Entertainment and Communication division and director of the company’s imaging business unit.

Lumix S5 II is in short supply

Panasonic last week disclosed that interest in the Lumix S5 II is higher than expected: “We have received orders for the LUMIX “DC-S5M2”, a full-frame single-lens camera scheduled to be released on February 16th, which greatly exceeded our expectations. It may not be delivered on the same day as the release date. In addition, customers who make reservations in the future may take some time to deliver the product after its release.”

Read more

Panasonic launches S5 II with hybrid phase-detect AF

Entering the L-Mount world without breaking the bank or your back

Panasonic, Leica and Sigma announce the L-Mount Alliance

Pansonic and Leica announce new strategic collaboration

What do you think?

What’s your view of Panasonic’s decision to emphasise video capability? Does this represent industry-wide thinking, and is it the death knell for traditional stills photography?

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  1. “scope is still evolving”… Odd to form a partnership without agreeing some kind of scope. That doesn’t mean much to me. They might as well agreed on the scope and commitment from both sides before the announcement. We already knew Panasonic and Leica cooperate on certain aspects, e.g. even Panasonic’s mft lenses.

  2. The challenge for Leica with the L2 partnership will be how to take advantage of lower development and production costs while maintaining a strong identity.

    Leica can/should keep aligning itself with “simplicity” as its identity driver. And by that I mean both the physical and software UI.

    If you want an unclear delineation then look at the Leica DL models vs the Panasonic LX models.

    For physical think of the 3 button rear controls, and the flexibly configurable top plate controls that you see on the SL and the CL in order to reduce random button count.

    For software UI think about the “Profile” as the driver for how menu items can be arranged under simple groups of preferences.

    If I were representing Leica I would want to fight very hard for those characteristics to be incorporated in future joint projects.

    I hope they will.

    • With the SL-series Leica distinguishes itself from the rest of the FF mirrorless crowd through design, build quality, minimalism and simplicity. Other than that there is truly not that much difference. For me personally however Leica has always more than anything else meant “high image quality in a small package” and I would like Leica to embrace that again as well. For me that is quintessential Leica more than anything else. The M and the Q deliver that in spades and a/o because of that they are more successful than the SL-series.

      • It’s likely because of cost that we will see greater convergence of technology. The camera market in total is not that big and individual brands will find it harder to afford exclusive technology.

        What we are more likely to see is what has happened in the car industry. Giants like Bosch, Siemens, Brembo, ZF etc. will develop technologies that car manufacturers can pay a premium to get exclusive use for a shortish period of time before released to the whole market.

        If that becomes the model for the camera industry then design becomes a key differentiator rather than the underlying technology per se. It’s how you integrate the technology and package it up to look and work like it’s exclusive to you.

        With Leica’s history it’s well positioned to be able to do that.

    • You may be right though my experiences with my original S5 suggests otherwise. It likewise was unveiled as full frame camera which was deliberately biased towards video, BUT which has also proved itself a truly exceptional stills camera as well.
      So for instance compared to my equally much loved Leica SL my little, and importantly, very much lighter S5 excels over the SL in almost every area other perhaps than for the Panasonic’s undoubtedly inferior EVF viewfinder.
      So given the new Panasonic S5 Mk 11 has been given a improved EVF and in the process has not lost anything along the way in still photography terms, BUT has gained what is claimed to be a far faster/better auto focusing system than ts predecessor then surely it too must also be a surefire stills photography winner.
      Will I be buying one?: Maybe, maybe not as the AF on my existing original S5 so far has proved quite fast and sure enough for me hence any decision about my buying a S5 Mk11 or not will hinge on how much better the later cameras EVF viewfinder might or might not prove to be


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