You’ve probably seen their name on Panasonic mu43 lenses so are Lumix lenses made by Leica? Let’s find out.
Lumix is the name of Panasonic’s camera division. But some of the Lumix lenses also have the Leica branding on them, they are usually more expensive than the Lumix branded cameras but nowhere near Leica prices, leaving many to wonder are Lumix lenses made by Leica or Panasonic.
Are Lumix lenses made by Leica?
One of Leica’s biggest business partnerships is with Panasonic. Part of the deal is Panasonic can release their version of a camera and so does Leica. When it comes to the lens themselves they are held to Leica’s quality standards but could be designed by either. There is more details about this here. In short, some lenses are designed by Panasonic while others by Leica but in any case they have to pass their standards in order to be approved.
This is not the first time this happened, pre-Panasonic, Leica had a similar partnership with Minolta for some R lenses.
Leica manufacturing and Quality control
Leica is for all intents and purposes very limited in capacity compared to giants like Sony and Panasonic. They simply do not have the manufacturing ability that these have hence the Lumix Leica partnership.
What there is to note here is Leica’s quality control. While many accuse Panasonic of simply paying for a logo as a marketing ploy and Leica selling out, the quality control is pretty strict.
The Leica Lumix lenses are generally better and sharper than the Lumix ones and a Panasonic representative once let it slip that early on the partnership was in trouble because Leica was simply too demanding in terms of quality.
So who makes these lenses?
Because Leica does not have the manufacturing ability, Lumix lenses are made by Panasonic. Leica’s role is lens designer and quality control although sometimes Panasonic might come up with the design. Exactly which ones is only known to them.
There was a similar question that popped up with some Leica R lenses. Some of them used Minolta designs, and some of them had Leica designs and they were made by Minolta and had quality control by Leica. Similarly no one knows which lens was designed by which company.
Does that mean they are not Leica lenses? The iPhone is designed in California and completely made for the most part in China and yet it is seen as an American company because they designed it and they make sure everything is exactly as they want it in terms of quality. So the same logic applies here.
So are Lumix lenses made by Leica? Because they do not have the capacity the Lumix lenses with Leica branding are made by Panasonic. However many of them have been designed by Leica and have their very high standards met, making many of them of higher quality than Lumix lenses.