Leica Camera AG and Panasonic sign a strategic comprehensive collaboration agreement and launch L2 Technology
posted Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 1:50 PM EDT
Leica Camera AG and Panasonic have signed a comprehensive strategic collaboration agreement to develop L² Technology (L squared Technology), which symbolically fuses the two "L" of Leica and LUMIX. All marketing activities going forward will incorporate the new branding.
Panasonic and Leica have a long history of cooperation. The companies have worked together since August 2000 when the two signed a cooperation agreement for lenses of digital, audio-visual equipment. The next year, the agreement expanded to include the digital camera sector. Since then, Panasonic and Leica have continued to work together, including in 2018 when Panasonic and Leica joined with Sigma to form the L-Mount Alliance.
Leica and Panasonic write, "L2 Technology will unify the strengths of two brands, Leica and LUMIX, be a symbol of the collaboration by combining the technologies and know-how of the two companies in the fields of new camera and lens products and next generation software, and create technologies and solutions that deliver new value in the new era." The collaboration will allow Leica and Panasonic to capitalize on their respective strengths, including Leica's optical and imaging technology and Panasonic's video and digital technology that "have been cultivated over many years in the camera and imaging market."
Through this collaboration, Leica and Panasonic will jointly invest in new technologies to be incorporated into each other's Leica and LUMIX products to further improve their capabilities and performance. Moving forward, all Leica and LUMIX products will utilize "L2 Technology."
"With the arrival of an era in which photos and videos are shared globally in real-time, cameras are required to have capability to create more impressive and breathtaking expression. I have always been impressed by the high picture quality and the picture-making philosophy that Leica has developed over its long history. I am very pleased and excited to continue working with Leica to develop technology that will enable people around the world to share their emotions," said Akira Toyoshima, CEO of Panasonic Entertainment & Communication Co., Ltd.
"We have been working with Panasonic for many years in a spirit of partnership and trust, and their extensive expertise is undisputed. The combination of our competencies in L2 Technology is another milestone in the partnership and proves that the best way to meet today's challenges in the camera market is not to segment and specialize, but to deepen capabilities in order to jointly create solutions for the future," said Matthias Harsch, CEO of Leica Camera AG.
We had the chance to speak with a Panasonic representative following today's announcement for further clarity about what the collaboration means for Panasonic moving forward. The first important distinction to make is that the new collaborative agreement is different from the L-Mount Alliance. Leica essentially licensed its mount to other companies, like Panasonic and Sigma, to further enhance compatibility across products. Today's agreement is not a licensing agreement, but rather a joint development agreement.
Panasonic and Leica will continue to operate as independent companies – there's no merger – but they will each bring their respective strengths to the table and work closely with each other to develop new products and technologies. It's not clear what the first tangible result of the agreement will be, but there will be joint products moving forward. The products could include Micro Four Thirds or full-frame products, but we've been told that Panasonic's camcorder products are not part of the agreement. Future products will be branded by each company. Neither company is speaking about whether there's any investment in each other, and R&D will continue in each other's departments in Japan and Germany.