Panasonic and Leica have formed a new collaboration called L² (L squared) that will see them jointly develop cameras, lenses and imaging technology, they announced. Both companies are already part of the L-Mount mirrorless alliance (along with Sigma and Leitz) and Panasonic has loaned its camera tech to Leica. However, the new partnership goes deeper, as they'll use "jointly developed technologies" in their respective lens and camera products, while the L² branding will feature in future marketing activities.
"Through this collaboration, the two companies will jointly invest in new technologies that can be incorporated into camera and lens products, and will incorporate jointly developed technologies into each other's Leica and Lumix products to further enhance their product capabilities," the press release states. "Going forward, Leica and Lumix will utilize L² Technology, which will open up new possibilities for creative camera users, in their marketing activities in order to develop a collaborative system over the long term."
Panasonic told Engadget that the partnership will apply not just to full-frame L-Mount cameras, but also to Micro Four Thirds models. Hopefully, that means we'll see Leica-branded lenses with fully compatible image stabilization and AF across camera lineups.
There's no word on when we'll see the fruit of this collaboration. It does make some sense, though, as Panasonic tends to get overshadowed by Canon, Sony and Nikon, despite producing good cameras — especially for video. Meanwhile, Leica has a sterling reputation for lens quality, but gets far less respect for its mirrorless cameras because they're mostly rebadged, overpriced Panasonic models. By collaborating, Panasonic could gain some prestige off Leica's iconic reputation and lens quality, while Leica will get access to Panasonic's technological chops.