Pana­sonic, Le­ica and Sigma form al­liance

Amateur Photographer - - 7days -

PHO­TOK­INA 2018 was one of the most newsworthy of re­cent years, but Pana­sonic, Le­ica and Sigma’s L-mount al­liance is ar­guably the big­gest story from the show (stop­ping it leak­ing was also a big achieve­ment). In a nut­shell, the three com­pa­nies have joined forces to pro­duce full-frame mir­ror­less cam­eras and lenses, with Pana­sonic and Sigma for­mally li­cens­ing Le­ica’s ex­ist­ing L-mount, as used by the firm’s full-frame SL and APS- C T sys­tems. This gives Pana­sonic and Sigma a short­cut into this rapidly ex­pand­ing sec­tor of the mar­ket, with­out hav­ing to de­velop an en­tirely new mount. As Pana­sonic’s Ju­nichi Kita­gawa mem­o­rably said at the press con­fer­ence, ‘ This is like rocket fuel for us, pro­pel­ling us into the high- end mir­ror­less mar­ket.’

Kita­gawa re­minded the press that Pana­sonic and Le­ica al­ready have a long-run­ning re­la­tion­ship that dates back to 2001. Broadly speak­ing, Pana­sonic con­trib­utes its ex­ten­sive know-how in elec­tron­ics, in ex­change for a slice of Le­ica’s op­ti­cal ex­per­tise. Pana­sonic has used the Le­ica name on many of its lenses, while Le­ica has for many years sold fixed-lens com­pacts that are re-work­ings of Pana­sonic Lu­mix mod­els. Sigma doesn’t have any pre- ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship with ei­ther of the other two com­pa­nies (or at least, not one that’s pub­licly known), but as the pre- em­i­nent third-party lens maker, its in­volve­ment in the new group counts as a con­sid­er­able coup. The first fruit of the al­liance is the Pana­sonic full-frame mir­ror­less Lu­mix S-series along with three lenses (see right), while Sigma re­vealed plans to pro­duce both a full-frame mir­ror­less cam­era with a Foveon sen­sor, and matched lenses based around the L mount early next year. As for Le­ica, it al­ready makes the SLR-like full-frame mir­ror­less SL (Typ 601) along with six matched lenses – a 16-35mm f/3.5- 4.5, 24-90mm f/2.8- 4, 90-280mm f/2.8- 4, 50mm f/1.4, 75mm f/2 and 90mm f/2. These will all be avail­able to use with Pana­sonic’s new cam­eras at launch.

For more see our Pho­tok­ina show re­port in AP 27 Oc­to­ber, on sale Tues­day 23 Oc­to­ber.

L to R: Sigma’s Kazuto Ya­maki, Le­ica’s Dr An­dreas Kaufmann and Pana­sonic’s Ju­nichi Kita­gawa cel­e­brate the L-mount al­liance

Pana­sonic’s Yo­suke Ya­mane with the Lu­mix S1R

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