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Leica Camera Announces the L-Mount Alliance with Panasonic and Sigma

- 6 years ago

Earlier today in a boomy conference hall during Photokina 2018 press briefings, we learned that Leica Camera has forged an alliance with both Panasonic and Sigma Imaging: the L-Mount Alliance

L-Mount Alliance

As we’ve witnessed more new mounts being launched over the past few weeks, another revelation shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, really. Unless that is, of course, a collaboration between some of the biggest names in photo and video, bringing a new system to market and promising ‘unparalleled possibilities’ in image making for the future. 

The L-Mount Alliance has been unveiled as a strategic cooperation between Leica Camera, Panasonic and Sigma at Leica’s press conference, which took place ahead of tomorrow’s exhibition opening it’s doors to the great and good of the imaging world.

The trio has promised that the new partnership will benefit customers of all three partners, allowing Panasonic and Sigma to adopt the [Leica developed] L-Mount and offering both cameras and lenses utilising the mount. 

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG and majority shareholder, told PhotoBite: “For photographers, the ability to choose from a wide range of lenses for their system of preference is extremely important. Especially in the strongly growing market of mirrorless system cameras, users seek increasingly greater product diversity to fulfil a wide range of different photographic needs. We have therefore decided to work together with prominent partners in the photographic segment as an immediate response to these needs. Our long-established partnership with Panasonic is a collaboration based on mutual trust, and the company’s expertise in the area of electronics is unquestioned. Sigma is also a highly respected company that has become firmly established especially in the areas of optical design and lens manufacturing and is able to perfectly complement our existing portfolio of L-Mount products. We are convinced that we and our partners can realise mutual and sustainable growth for all our products.”

The L-Mount is suitable for use with both full-frame cameras and also with cameras housing an APS-C sensor. The short register of just 20mm allows for a close distance between the lens and the sensor, which, in turn, enables considerably more compact construction. This is particularly helpful for expansions in the wide-angle lens area. The camera bayonets are made from wear-resistant stainless steel and with four flange segments that prevent canting to ensure secure and precise lens attachment. The standardised L-Mount contact strip ensures slick communication between the electronic components of the lens and the camera, including the possibility of installing future firmware updates for lenses to react to technological advances and exploit the full performance potential of the lens. The lens mount is currently used in the Leica SL full-frame camera system and the Leica CL, TL2 and TL APS-C camera models. All lenses made for the various different systems can be used on all cameras without adapters and without any functional limitations – this illustrates only one of the numerous benefits the common bayonet brings for customers. In the near future, not only Leica Camera AG, but also Panasonic and Sigma will be announcing further products that use the common standard.

Mr. Tetsuro Homma, Senior Managing Executive Officer, Panasonic Corporation, stated: “Panasonic has always focused on revolutionising the camera sector to make the lives of photo enthusiasts easier, more sophisticated and more enjoyable. Our longstanding partnership with Leica has brought many high-performance and high-quality digital cameras to the market; fusing Leica’s superior optical technology with Panasonic’s digital technologies. Our partnership has enabled us to accelerate the development of excellent digital camera products, and the L-Mount alliance with Leica and Sigma is a great example of such acceleration. This is an alliance of growing players, which will make a fundamental difference to the future of the imaging industry. We have always been a challenger, bringing innovation to the industry under the slogan of “Changing Photography” to meet the high expectations of professionals. Our partnership with Leica and Sigma will create additional business opportunities for our businesses, but more importantly will advance our customers’ joy of photography.” 

L-Mount Alliance

The bayonet element of the new L-Mount is the most important interface because the lens makes a decisive contribution to imaging performance and to the quality of the final results. Ultimately, this new partnership between Leica, Panasonic and Sigma, means that their customers will be able to choose from a much broader range of cameras and lenses without having to limit themselves to a specific brand, as all three brands will share the same proprietary bayonet mount.

Mr. Kazuto Yamaki, Chief Executive Officer, SIGMA Corporation, said: “As cameras evolved into digital and mirrorless, requirements from users and systems introduced by each brand diversified. Currently, there are overwhelming choices for users, but in terms of extensibility and possibility, the system which truly meets user’s needs is not yet available. SIGMA is joining this alliance to develop mirrorless cameras benefiting from a short flange back. As SIGMA strives to develop high performance, high quality and innovative products, this alliance will strengthen the level of completion and the extensibility of our camera system and provide greater user benefits. Leica is a magnificent company that has been contributing to photographic cultures for more than 100 years, and Panasonic is leading the industry by developing reliable technologies across various fields. Together with SIGMA’s unique, high performance and high-quality products, the L-Mount will evolve as an extremely attractive system for users.”

The L-Mount

The L-Mount was developed by Leica Camera to provide customers with a future-proof, flexible, robust and precise bayonet mount that would fulfil even the most demanding photographic needs. Since its initial appearance in 2014 within the Leica T, development of the L-Mount has continued by Leica as well as by its strategic partners, significantly advancing L-Mount technology.

More news coming – stay tuned

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Read Leica Camera Announces the L-Mount Alliance with Panasonic and Sigma

Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.