Newark, NJ—Panasonic, Sigma and Leica AG jointly announced a strategic partnership. The L-Mount Alliance is a collaboration to particularly benefit the customers of the three partners. The alliance enables Panasonic and Sigma to utilize the L-mount standard developed by Leica for their own developments. As a result, they can offer both cameras and lenses utilizing this lens mount.
Due to their numerous interchangeable components, system cameras are extremely versatile. They can be individually configured for a wide range of photographic needs. The bayonet is the most important interface. This is because the lens makes a decisive contribution to imaging performance as well as the quality of the final results.
Now, because of the strategic partnership between Panasonic, Sigma and Leica, customers can choose from a much wider selection of cameras and lenses without having to limit themselves to a particular brand. All three brands will share the same proprietary bayonet mount.
“As cameras evolved into digital and mirrorless, requirements from users and systems introduced by each brand diversified,” stated Kazuto Yamaki, CEO, Sigma. “Currently, there are overwhelming choices for users. But in terms of extensibility and possibility, the system that truly meets users’ 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.”
Tetsuro Homma, senior executive officer and president of Appliances Company, Panasonic Corporation added: “Panasonic has always focused on revolutionizing 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. They fuse Leica’s superior optical technology with Panasonic’s digital technologies.
“Moreover, our partnership has enabled us to accelerate the development of excellent digital camera products. The L-Mount Alliance with Leica and Sigma is a great example of such acceleration. This is an alliance of strong 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.”
The L Mount
The L mount was developed by Leica Camera to provide its customers with a future-proof, flexible, robust and precise bayonet mount. Since its initial appearance in 2014 within the Leica T, development of the mount was continued by Leica as well as by its partners, leading to improvements.
To ensure maximum product diversity, the diameter of 51.6mm was chosen. This makes the L mount suitable for use not only with full-frame cameras but also on cameras with APS-C sensors. The short register of 20mm enables a short distance between the lens and the sensor. This in turn enables more compact construction, which is particularly helpful when developing wide-angle lenses.
In addition, to guarantee customers reliability for years of use, the camera bayonets are manufactured from wear-resistant stainless steel. Furthermore, four flange segments prevent canting to ensure a secure, precisely positioned lens attachment. Also, the standardized L-mount contact strip provides communication between the electronic components of the lens and the camera. This includes the possibility of installing firmware updates for lenses to keep up with technological advances.
The L-Mount Alliance
The lens mount is currently used in the Leica SL full-frame camera system. It is also used by Leica CL, TL2 and TL APS-C cameras, without adapters and functional limitations. In the near future, the three members of the L-Mount Alliance will announce further products that use the common standard.
“For photographers, the ability to choose from a wide range of lenses for their system of preference is extremely important,” said Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG. “Especially in the strongly growing market for mirrorless system cameras, users seek increasingly greater product diversity to fulfill 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. The company’s expertise in the area of electronics is unquestioned.
“Sigma is also a highly respected company. It has become firmly established especially in the areas of optical design and lens manufacturing. It is also able to perfectly complement our existing portfolio of L-mount products. We are convinced that we and our partners can realize mutual and sustainable growth for all our products.”