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Leitz Joins the L-Mount Alliance – What Does That Imply for Filmmakers?

Leitz Joins the L-Mount Alliance – What Does That Mean for Filmmakers?

German cinema lens producer Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH is the primary firm to affix the lens mount alliance because the unique three founding members.

Think about if Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland added a fourth member to The Police. The well-known trio of Leica, Panasonic and SIGMA is now a four-piece band.

What is going to this imply for the business transferring ahead? Let’s take a more in-depth look to seek out out!

What’s the L-Mount Alliance?

In 2018, Leica Digicam AG, Panasonic and SIGMA banded collectively to help the L-mount customary, designed by Leica for mirrorless cameras, like their SL line.

Panasonic already had a thriving enterprise relationship with Leica on the time, manufacturing Leica-branded micro 4 thirds mount lenses for his or her extraordinarily profitable Lumix GH sequence.

Leica SL Picture Credit score: Leica Digicam

Beforehand recognized primarily as a funds lens producer, SIGMA’s membership rounded out the alliance, capitalizing on the corporate’s pictures heritage and the rising recognition of its Artwork and Cine zooms and primes amongst indie filmmakers.

What makes the L-mount particular is its vast diameter (51.6mm) and its shallow flange depth (20mm). These options meant the L-Mount Alliance might hop on the full-frame tidal wave selecting up steam in cinematography circles, whereas additionally remaining extremely adaptable, in order to not alienate the indie crowd keen on classic lenses comparable to Leica R and Contax Zeiss.

Lumix first launched the S1 and S1H, then later the S5 and extra lately the BS1H L-mount cameras. Nicely-received amongst indie filmmakers, who deserted Sony in the course of the prolonged lull between the A7SII and A7SIII, the Lumix S sequence additionally garnered the stamp of approval from a Hollywood stalwart. The S1H turned the primary mirrorless and L-mount digicam to be Nextflix-approved for seize of 4K originals.

Leitz cinema lens on Panasonic Lumix S1H Picture Credit score: Panasonic

The Leica SL and SL2, in addition to the SIGMA fp (try our Lab take a look at right here), represented each area of interest and considerably quirky mirrorless choices respectively to bolster the L-Mount Alliance. The Leica mystique nonetheless burns robust within the hearts of road, portrait and panorama photographers alike, and the SL line seeks to remodel the model’s old skool appeal into the digital age.

Alternatively, the SIGMA fp has struggled to realize traction, maybe because of its lack of logarithmic image profile, a minimal buy-in for a seat on the excessive rollers desk.

So what’s the massive deal?

From the intertwined histories of Leica Digicam AG and Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH, some would possibly conclude Leitz was the pure fourth band member within the L-Mount Alliance all alongside. At its core, although, Leitz is a cinema lens producer, and the corporate wouldn’t be saddling as much as the alliance except it envisions a pot of gold on the finish of the rainbow.

Leitz sensed a drastic sea change, and altered route to keep away from the Bermuda Triangle, that vortex the place as soon as lofty manufacturers have sunk because of complacency. Decided to not be a part of the likes of Kodak and Blockbuster on the scrap heap of film historical past, Leitz charted a brand new course into the unknown, as a substitute of resting on its famed laurels.

iPhone 13 Professional Promo Picture Credit score: Apple

Should you’ve seen the iPhone 13 Professional launch movies, precisely what I’m speaking about. Jason Momoa prancing round in awe with a Leitz-lensed RED will solely shift so many models. With its iPhone, ProRes RAW, Plus streaming service, Last Minimize Professional, and many others., Apple is shaping as much as be to the film business what Napster was to the music enterprise. Specifically, an existential risk to the previous guard.

From the corporate that nearly single-handedly erased compact discs from our collective reminiscence with the iPod and iTunes, solely to itself be supplanted by the likes of Spotify, Apple–and extra broadly the inexorable, transformative democratization of the business–must be taken critically.

The subsequent Spielberg is on the market, she’s 9 years previous, and he or she’s taking pictures on a smartphone rivaling the image high quality of lots of the legendary director’s big-budget flicks.

New children on the block

Whereas many people fantasize about taking pictures on an Alexa LF with Leitz cine primes, Leitz astutely acknowledges the rising tsunami that dangers sweeping away the business institution. For instance, Bo Burnham’s Inside on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s Folklore on Disney Plus had been shot on the Lumix S1H.

Atomos and Blackmagic have sat up and brought discover, supporting the Lumix S sequence and the SIGMA fp with ProRes RAW and BRAW workflows. By becoming a member of the L-Mount Alliance, Leitz is signaling the storied firm which started within the nineteenth century desires to be round to have a good time its two hundredth birthday.

Panasonic S1H
Panasonic S1H. Picture credit score: CineD

What’s over the horizon?

Whereas becoming a member of the L-Mount Alliance reveals Leitz soberly foresees the proverbial floodgates opening, the truth is business transformation won’t occur in a single day, fairly in phases. Within the close to future, many unbiased filmmakers will proceed to shoot on full-frame mirrorless cameras, not smartphones. Clearly, Leitz desires to revenue from the full-frame mirrorless pattern to stay related transferring ahead.

Panasonic Lumix BS1H Picture Credit score: Panasonic

However lenses want cameras like tires want wheels. Even with the latest introduction of the BS1H, which is certain to realize Netflix approval like its beefier older sibling, the present steady of L-Mount cameras stays comparatively modest as is.

It’s not apparent the present line-up of L-mount cameras could be sufficient motivation for Leitz to throw in with the alliance, investing its status and assets into a typical that has but to realize widespread adoption within the business. Which begs the query, does Leitz know greater than we do concerning the L-mount’s future? In that case, what does their membership within the L-Mount Alliance portend for the business within the close to time period?

Panasonic Varicam LT with Leica cine lens Picture Credit score: Panasonic

For starters, Panasonic’s Tremendous 35 Varicam and EVA1 4K cinema cameras are in dire want of a refresh to stay aggressive. Can we learn from Leitz becoming a member of the alliance {that a} full-frame L-Mount geared up 6-8K Varicam or EVA2 is across the nook? It will make good sense.

Leitz is a premium cinema lens producer in any case, not precisely a cut price model inside attain of most indie shooters gravitating towards the extra budget-friendly prosumer Lumix S sequence. Certainly, Panasonic’s cinema enterprise won’t abandon the PL mount anytime quickly, however it will be logical for them to supply an L-mount choice, as a substitute of EF as they did beforehand with the LT and EVA1.

SIGMA fp L Accessories
SIGMA fp. Picture credit score: CineD

SIGMA is certain to have a brand new L-mount digicam up its sleeve as effectively. The fp was a marvel, solely narrowly lacking its meant market. The small measurement, CDNG uncooked recording and ensuing picture high quality had been nothing in need of gorgeous. Piling on to these options exterior ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW recording, the one lacking ingredient for a recipe for fulfillment is improved dynamic vary.

Zeiss Otus Picture Credit score: Cine D

Equally believable, it will not be stunning if Leitz had been to introduce new compact or hybrid lenses focusing on the sub $10K cinema digicam market, much like the Zeiss CP3, Otus or Milvus. The $10-20K cinema digicam market has evaporated for all however holdouts Canon. Focusing downstream would make sense for Leitz, since at present the value of a single cinema lens dwarfs the price of even the costliest L-mount digicam accessible at this time.

With laudable mirrorless cameras and spectacular lenses, Leica, Panasonic and SIGMA have supplied compelling causes for filmmakers to hitch their wagons to the L-mount practice. However now with Leitz including its gravitas to the combination, the L-Mount Alliance looks like a extra severe contender within the cinema area.


So what are your ideas about Ernst Leitz Wetzlar becoming a member of the L-Mount Alliance? Do you assume it’s a harbinger of fine issues to come back for the up and coming alliance and its burgeoning lens customary? Tell us within the feedback under.

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