Leica and Panasonic Extend Partnership

Today Leica has announced that they've agreed to extend and deepen their strategic and technological partnership with Panasonic. The agreement includes the extension of the license agreement to use the Leica trademarks on Panasonic products and sell digital compact cameras with Leica lenses. The length of this extension is five years, from October 2014 to September 2019. What this basically means is that the two companies will be able in the future to develop more high-quality digital cameras. Read more below for details!

New Leica Mirrorless in April?

This should perhaps come as no surprise, as we earlier reported on a potential Leica T (Type 701) camera, as well as rumblings that Panasonic and Leica to Bolster Partnership. The previous rumor for PhotoPlus Expo was a bit of a disappointment as the end result was the New Leica D-Lux 6 Black/Silver Edition camera. However, we have it on good authority that something more substantial will be coming out, likely in the April 2014 timeframe (though potentially as late as Photokina in September) - and will be a Leica-Panasonic collaboration. Most likely an APS-C based X-style camera with interchangeable lenses. It will most certainly not be m4/3. Read more below and stay tuned as we keep you updated on developments!

Panasonic and Leica to Bolster Partnership?

Could we see more Leica-branded Panasonic cameras in the future? Panasonic Corp. is considering bolstering its business partnership with Leica Camera AG and supplying the German camera maker with high-end digital cameras, as it looks to shore up its flagging digital camera business, sources close to the matter said Wednesday. As many of you may know, Panasonic makes several models for Leica, which they "re-brand." A good recent example of this is the Leica C (Type 112) which is a Panasonic LF1 underneath - given the Light-gold and Dark-red Leica treatment.

Paying More for the Leica Name

In the article "Paying More for the Leica Name" the New York Times once again brings up the notion of Leica as a luxury brand, status symbol and a product with a premium price (sound familiar?). All they're missing is a celebrity connection. This time, the focus of their ire is the new Leica C (Type 112) and how it compares to the similar Panasonic LF1 upon which it's based. To be fair, they mention the fact that the camera comes with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 (which retails for $140 USD) and brings the difference in price between it and the Panasonic LF1 down from $200 to about $60. The Leica C also comes with a two year warranty and custom firmware. The Leica C is available in Light-gold and Dark-red now. Read more below for video.

Leica Seeking Out Younger Customers

China News/ECN is reporting that "Leica Seeks Out Younger Customers" - you may recall that Leica just opened its fifth Chinese store in Beijing on September 9th, unveiling its new compact digital camera Leica C Type 112 with built-in WiFi, and even a new app for iOS/Android called Image Shuttle. It is suggested that this camera is the new gateway to Leica - "We want to attract young people to use Leica by launching the economic Leica C. After they use it, they will go to other Leica products," said Sunil Kaul (Managing Director of Leica Camera Asia Pacific).

New Leica C (Type 112) Camera Specs

Looks like Leica's releasing the upcoming C (Type 112) in mid-September at a list price of $699, which includes Photoshop Lightroom 5. It is based on the similar Panasonic LF1 with a design by Audi Design - and will be available in Light-gold and Dark-red (pre-order at B&H). If you're in the neighborhood, Leica Store LA has one on-hand to check out. If not, check out this review for a good sense of what to expect. Read more below for additional images, specifications and press release.