Above: Heads of Sigma, Leica and Panasonic as the news is announced
Today, Leica, Panasonic and Sigma have announced the L-mount alliance for mirrorless cameras at Photokina 2018.
As part of an effort to make their respective offerings more competitive against the dominant market players, all three firms will be developing products for the Leica L-mount, allowing photographers to mix and match cameras and lenses at will.
The Leica L-mount first debuted in 2014 along with the announcement of the Leica T. Since then it has been used in the Leica SL full-frame system, as well as the Leica CL, TL and TL2 cameras. Its short distance of 20mm between lens mount and sensor allows for construction of extremely compact lenses.
Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG and majority shareholder, said, ‘... in the strongly growing market for 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.’
Leica is well known for producing high-quality but extremely expensive cameras and lenses. It’s likely that this move is seen as a way to introduce less affluent users to the Leica ecosystem, while also allowing Panasonic and Sigma to benefit from the well-regarded Leica stamp of quality. Panasonic also has a history of co-operating with Leica, as many Micro Four Thirds lenses compatible with its Lumix cameras bear the Leica name.
Tetsuro Homma, Senior Managing Executive Officer of Panasonic Corporation, said, ‘This is an alliance of growing players, which will make a fundamental difference to the future of the imaging industry.’
Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki also commented on the announcement, saying he expects the alliance to ‘... strengthen the level of completion and the extensibility of [Sigma’s] camera system and provide greater user benefits.’
Sigma has stated that it will be expanding its existing lines to the L-mount, including the high-quality Art range of lenses. Panasonic has revealed that its new full-frame Lumix S1R and Lumix S full-frame cameras will carry the L-mount.
See also: Best Panasonic cameras in 2019
Keep an eye on our Photokina 2018 news round-up as we bring you all the latest developments from the show.