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Andrew Reid

A deeper insight into the L-mount Alliance

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Fantastic news! I was afraid the mount would die off since Leica would take ages to offer lenses for the mount. Sigma has quite a collection to choose from and pairing off the news they're official partners, the current staple of lenses Sigma has may communicate just as well as a native lens.

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Isn't it strange how lens aesthetics work!! The funnel ones remind me of a compact camera with the extending optics. It ruins the look of an LX100 when that lens pops out, small willy style.

The Nikon 35mm f1.8 Z housing happens to be exactly the diameter of the mount, and it's not a small lens. So they have fucked themselves there if they ever want to make smaller optics like Leica.

Looks like I will be keeping hold of my Leica SL for longer than expected... Even with fancy Panasonic S1R on the way, that minimalist metal body is quite something. By the way here is the smallest Nikon Z lens vs the smallest Leica SL lens... Quite a difference :) Albeit they cheated and the SL lens is APS-C... And probably made entirely by Panasonic!

1D1A9168.jpg

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"it is Leica who hold the license to invite other companies into the fold and use the mount." ... "Likewise, Leica have not invited Olympus to the fray."

Interesting Andrew. Do you mean that Leica refused to invite Olympus?

If Leica has the L-mount license, it seems that Panasonic is the heavy player in the alliance who pulls the string.

In the DP article, Sigma says "Panasonic approached us and proposed that we work on it jointly. At around that same time, Panasonic approached Leica, and finally the three companies came together – I think it was about two years ago. And then we agreed to join the L mount system and we discontinued the development of our own original mount system."

In an interview with the head of imaging at Panasonic, he also says "At the beginning of 2018, we decided to approach Leica and Sigma. Why did we choose Leica? We have a long history with this brand. Since the launch of the Lumix brand in 2001, we have been working with Leica and since 4 years we have a technical partnership. We were very involved in the development of the L-mount and naturally, we thought that if we ever decided to enter into the 24x36 segment, we should use this mount. For Sigma, we know that this brand offers quality products and a beautiful range of 24x36 optics. We are also convinced by the vision of Kazuto Yamaki, CEO of Sigma, and we have a common philosophy. It was then normal to offer this alliance to Sigma and we thought we could help improve our system. The two companies were quickly seduced by this alliance and by the synergy that it was possible to create."

Based on a previous discussions on this forum, some members noted that the choice of the L-mount was probably a marketing thing more than anything else. There are only 6 native L-lenses at the moment and they are not exactly stellar for the price. Designing a lens mount doesn't seem to be critical. If Panasonic didn't do it for the technology, they probably decide to go with Leica for the name. Leica has the license but Panasonic is the key player in this alliance because of its electronic know-how. If anything, Panasonic could do well without Leica, not the other way around.

Asked why Olympus was not part of  the L-mount alliance, the head of imaging at Panasonic said:
"Ten years ago, we made the same conclusion with Olympus on the future of DSLRs. We found them large and heavy and we wanted to create something new and much more accessible with the possibility of having an interchangeable lens system. We really had the same vision on photography. Today with 24x36 bodies, we do not really have the same vision. Our directions are different now, on the FF format anyway."

Whatever the reason is for the absence of Olympus in this partnership, wouldn't it be suicidal for Olympus enter the FF market alone in front of Canon, Nikon and the L-alliance? They would have to develop a new range of lenses by themselves and convince the customer to go invest in their isolated system (well, Pentax did it).

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8 minutes ago, OliKMIA said:

Since the launch of the Lumix brand in 2001, we have been working with Leica and since 4 years we have a technical partnership.

Yes so that is in reference to the firmware development partnership for the 4K Leica cameras - SL, CL, Q (ok that is not 4K but hardware, firmware and sensor are pretty much the same as the SL).

Quote

Asked why Olympus was not part of  the L-mount alliance, the head of imaging at Panasonic said:
Today with 24x36 bodies, we do not really have the same vision. Our directions are different now, this on format anyway."

Yeah, just sounds like Olympus wants to sell their own lenses for their full frame system and not have competition from Panasonic and Sigma undercutting them on price or bringing out very similar optics. I can't count the number of times I have nearly bought an Olympus Micro Four Thirds lens only to decide to go for the similar Panasonic one, or visa-versa!

Olympus will have to bear the added costs of developing their own mount and of course it greatly restricts the number of optics available for their system at launch, but there are upsides to this approach too.

That is if they DO enter full frame, which is far from confirmed!

9 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

The SL is dropping all the time and I sure will jump on it as soon as there are some new affordable lenses.

In manual focus it's a very good system, thanks to the detailed live-view and huge EVF, plus M-mount adapter, or others.

Leica's native SL lenses are too chunky for me. That 24-90 is nuts.

Also I think it needs more film profile choices. There's only one :) And I prefer the M9's colour science, from that Kodak CCD. The SL is a bit squeaky clean and modern, and it needs that Leica 2008 colour mode, plus a M typ240 mode, so we have the choice of modern or a more film-style look, which Leica did THE BEST out of anyone with the older M cameras.

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2 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Yeah, just sounds like Olympus wants to sell their own lenses for their full frame system and not have competition from Panasonic and Sigma undercutting them on price or bringing out very similar optics. I can't count the number of times I have nearly bought an Olympus Micro Four Thirds lens only to decide to go for the similar Panasonic one, or visa-versa!

Olympus will have to bear the added costs of developing their own mount and of course it greatly restricts the number of optics available for their system at launch, but there are upsides to this approach too.

That is if they DO enter full frame, which is far from confirmed!

Yes, far from confirmed but I think that would be a strange decision to tackle this market alone when there is some consolidation and alliance going on. As you said, they would have to pay for the R&D with a narrow market and convince customers to pick a system with limited optics. We'll see.

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11 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

In manual focus it's a very good system, thanks to the detailed live-view and huge EVF, plus M-mount adapter, or others.

The EVF is pretty amazing and makes it really viable for manual focusing.

I'll tell you how good the weather sealing is later tonight.......

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On 10/15/2018 at 5:48 PM, BTM_Pix said:

The EVF is pretty amazing and makes it really viable for manual focusing.

I'll tell you how good the weather sealing is later tonight.......

How did your football go with the Leica SL EVF? :) I am curious to see some shots if you can publish any.

Hopefully the dreadful Spanish weather did not interfere!?

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8 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

How did your football go with the Leica SL EVF? :) I am curious to see some shots if you can publish any.

Hopefully the dreadful Spanish weather did not interfere!?

The weather got a bit biblical to be honest!

 I haven't really got any long glass for it so I used it mainly for GV stuff of the stadium and preliminaries (including the moody shot of the soaked flags on the terrace as it looked like it was going to be called off at one point!). It worked really well in this role as the M lenses are so small that you can have quite a range of them in your pockets without having to haul too much gear round.

In game, I used it for a few shots that were close enough to my position (both with the cheap 135mm f2.8 from the haggling at FotoMeyer ;) ) and the manual focusing was fine although the peaking is a bit conservative at times. 

Roll on the new AF lenses from Sigma.

ESPvENG_LEICASL.thumb.jpg.12bd07e20adb03d4d9c9a08892a2fcec.jpg

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On 10/16/2018 at 3:55 AM, Andrew Reid said:

With Fujifilm a key partner with Panasonic on sensors, could Leica license L-mount to Fuji so they can make use of a full frame organic sensor in an X-T3-style body? I’d say the alliance would be even stronger with Fuji involved and it would be another camera for which Fuji, Sigma, Leica and Panasonic could sell lenses.


This strikes me as very unlikely. 

Fujifilm is making an unusual bet that no one else is making (thus Fujifilm will win big if this comes to pass! As they're the only one playing who is taking this angle with their tactic. Pentax used to be with their APS-C DSLRs and Pentax 645D/645Z. But Pentax hasn't successfully entered the mirrorless market, and even their DSLR range didn't stay APS-C):

  1. Full frame will die. 
  2. And we'll be left with only two systems: Digital Medium Format for high quality and professionals, and a smaller format (such as APS-C, or perhaps... MFT? So in a way, the MFT players are kinda making the same bet... sort of) which can take advantage of the appeal of smaller size/weight/price. 


Is this a reasonable bet to assume Full Frame will die and Digital Medium Format will die? Most camera brands don't seem to think so, at least not anywhere near soon whatsoever. 

However maybe it will happen? Bigger sensors keep on becoming more and more affordable, and more and more advanced. 

Well, Full Frame doesn't have to die for Fujifilm's tactic to succeed. They just need Medium Format sensors to come down far enough in price to be a strong competitor to Full Frame options, as I believe that is Fujifilm's long term goal.

To attack full frame from above (much better quality) and below (much smaller size/price/weight). Thus why would they ever want to join the full frame arms race themselves? Fufifilm can smartly "win" the Full Frame war by side stepping the war entirely! And by out flanking the competition on both sides. 

Panasonic has taken a slightly different but also somewhat similar bet: offer two options, one for quality (full frame) and another for compact size/weight/price (MFT). 

Olympus would be wise to either follow Panasonic's path and join L mount, or leap to the other extreme and making the same bet as Fujifilm has done in attacking Full Frame from above (here is a wild thought, convince Pentax to join them in a new mirrorless mount for medium format??? As Pentax has the digital medium format experience.). Also, Olympus could just stick with focusing on MFT exclusively, and do the very best possible they can with MFT. After all, not every brand has to be everything to everyone in all niches. Nothing wrong with focusing exclusively in one area, especially if Panasonic gets distracted with L mount then there might be more opportunities for Olympus to offer products in areas in MFT where Panasonic drops the ball. 

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