The complete Leica press release confirming the “strategic cooperation” between Leica, Panasonic and Sigma has leaked ahead of today’s official announcement. The (Google translated) press release (original in German here) doesn’t say what cameras or lenses might be announced, just that the three companies are working together to release full frame & APS-C cameras and lenses using the Leica L mount.
A quote from Sigma CEO, Kazuto Yamaki, does confirm, though, that Sigma is planning to release cameras based on the Leica L mount and not just lenses. So we may yet see that full frame Foveon.
L-Mount Alliance: Strategic cooperation between Leica Camera, Panasonic and Sigma
One day before the official launch of the Photokina 2018 announced the Leica Camera AG, Panasonic and Sigma entered into a strategic partnership during the company’s press conference. The “L-Mount Alliance” represents a hitherto unprecedented way of working together and will be particularly appreciated by the customers of the three companies will be of great use. It allows Panasonic and Sigma the from Leica developed L-mount standard for their own developments and so too offer cameras and optics with this lens mount. By the common efforts of the three partners, the alliance is instrumental to the importance of the L-mount standards for contribute to the world of photography.
System cameras are extremely versatile due to their many interchangeable components flexible use and can be individually configured according to requirements. The bayonet is the most important interface, since the lens of the picture performance and thus at the final image quality has part. Through the strategic partnership between Leica, Panasonic and Sigma can in the future, customers will be able to access a larger selection of cameras and lenses without getting lost to be committed to individual manufacturers as before, because they use propriety bayonets.
Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and majority shareholder, Leica Camera AG: “Photographers is a large selection for their chosen camera system extremely important. Especially in getting stronger growing market for mirrorless system cameras prevails an ever greater variety of different requirements of the users. In order to meet these requirements in the short term, we decided to work together with renowned partners from the photographic industry. With Panasonic, we have many years of partnership and trusting cooperation and her expertise in electronics is undisputed. Sigma is also a respected company which has established itself particularly in the field of optical development and with its innovative products perfect complement to our existing L-Mount portfolio. We are convinced that Together with our partners, we create mutual and sustainable growth for all our products can realize. ”
Mr. Tetsuro Homma, Senior Managing Executive Officer, Panasonic Corporation: “The Focus of Panasonic always wanted to revolutionize the camera market and make life easier for photographers, more advanced and enjoyable. Our long-standing partnership with Leica has numerous powerful and high-quality digital cameras are produced by using the leading optical technology from Leica with Panasonic’s digital technologies. This partnership has it enables us to drive the development of excellent digital photography products. The L-Mount’s alliance with Leica and Sigma is a prime example of our traction collaboration. This alliance of strong companies will make the future of the photography industry fundamental change. As a market challenger we always have the slogan ‘Changing Photography’ driving innovation to meet the high expectations of professional photographers. Our partnership with Leica and Sigma will open up additional business opportunities for our companies but above all, it will continue to give our customers great pleasure in photography. ”
Mr.Kazuto Yamaki, Chief Executive Officer, SIGMA Corporation: “With the evolution of cameras towards digital and mirrorless, the requirements of users and systems have changed as well. There is currently an almost overwhelming choice of different systems, which, however, mainly in the areas expandability and flexibility does not yet cover all the needs of users. SIGMA joins this alliance in order to develop mirrorless cameras, which benefit from the short flange. Because Sigma the development of high-quality and innovative high-performance products is the goal strongly advance both the implementation and extensibility of our camera system significantly increase the benefits for our customers. Leica is a great company and has for more than 100 years, authoritative influence has taken on photography, and Panasonic is at a loss its proven developments market leader in many different areas. Together with SIGMA’s High-quality, powerful and unique products make the L-mount an extreme attractive system for potential users. ”
About the L-mount
The L-Mount was developed by Leica Camera under the proviso of providing customers a future-proof, flexible, robust and precise bayonet, but no matter how demanding photographic requirements. After its original launch in 2014 in the Leica T, the L-Mount has been continuously developed by Leica Camera and its partners, resulting in a improved and quasi-new L-Mount technology.
For a wide variety of usable product variety, the diameter of the L-mount was dimensioned 51.6 millimeters, that he is not only for full-frame cameras, but also with APS-C sensor is suitable. The small amount of padding of only 20 millimeters allows a small amount distance between the optics and the sensor, which makes it possible to design objectives that are much more compact – the is particularly helpful for developments in the wide-angle range. For even the heaviest loads to be able to resist and customers maximum security with many years of intensive use too guarantee, camera bayonets are made of wear-resistant stainless steel and with four flange segments made, which prevents jamming and ensures a particularly firm and flat fit of the lens. The standardized L-Mount contact strip ensures smooth communication between the devices electronic components in lens and camera, including the possibility of firmware updates for lenses to respond to technical developments and so the full power also to be able to secure in the future.
Currently, the Leica SL system uses the full format and the APS system with the camera models Leica CL, TL2 and TL the lens connector. All optics of the different systems can do this without Restrictions and without adapters on all cameras are operated here is already one of the Many benefits that customers have through the unified bayonet. In the near future, both the Leica CameraAG, as well as Panasonic and Sigma announce further products that are consistent Standard use.
– Leica Press Release (Original in German)
As I said, it doesn’t say exactly what gear will be announced today, or by whom. Leica may not even announce anything for this system right away, instead choosing to focus on the S3 medium format camera for now. Sigma, too, might also not announce anything for this system today, although we’ll probably hear some news on the 28mm f/1.4, 40mm f/1.4, 70-200mm f/2.8, 56mm f/1.4 and 60-600mm lenses.
Panasonic will almost certainly announce at least one camera, possibly two, along with some lenses. Although the other two companies could still surprise us with something today.
We’ll be covering the news coming out of Photokina during today’s press briefing, so we’ll keep you posted as information is released.