In a recent press release, Panasonic and Leica have announced a “new comprehensive business alliance” to “increasingly bundle their core competencies and to develop new technologies and solutions.” They’re calling the partnership “L² Technology” (said as “L-squared Technology”), for the combination of the Leica and the Panasonic Lumix brands. 

A history of cooperation

Leica Camera AG and Panasonic Entertainment & Communication Corporation (yes, those are the official names) have been working together for more than 20 years. Since the early-2000s, they’ve been cooperating to develop lenses, digital cameras, and audio-visual equipment.

In 2018, along with Sigma, the two companies also formed the “L-Mount Alliance” which allowed Panasonic, Sigma, and later Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH to develop and use Leica’s L-mount for cameras and lenses. 

In short, this announcement isn’t an unsurprising development—and actually makes quite a lot of sense. 

The L² Technology announcement

From what we can see, L² Technology won’t be a new company but instead represents a strategic partnership between Panasonic and Leica. Both companies will jointly invest in new photographic imaging technologies that can be incorporated into Leica and Lumix products going forward.

“We have been working with Panasonic for many years in a spirit of partnership and trust, and their extensive expertise is undisputed,” said Matthias Harsch, the CEO of Leica. “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.” 

What this all means

It’s no secret that the camera market is in the midst of a major upheaval. The pressure from better smartphone cameras and the shift to mirrorless has created a lot of uncertainty. And, like with the transition from film to digital, not every company is going to survive—at least in its current form. 

Leica and Panasonic are betting that by continuing to collaborate rather than competing, both companies will be able to better handle whatever shape the photography market takes. There are hints of what they plan in the press release.

“With the arrival of an era in which photos and videos are shared globally in real-time, cameras are required to have the capability to create more impressive and breathtaking expression,” said Akira Toyoshima, the CEO of Panasonic. “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.”

Seemingly, the two companies want to use Leica’s imaging pedigree and Panasonic’s general, video, and digital technology experience to create more capable and connected cameras. We’re excited to see how it pans out.