Leica Camera and Matsushita Electric Industrial announced that the companies have agreed to develop and market new digital still cameras under the Panasonic and Leica brand names.
In the design and development process, the companies will work together by integrating Leica's optical technology with the advanced digital AV (audio/video) technology of Panasonic.
In the basic agreement that was signed, the companies agreed to jointly develop and produce certain digital still cameras for the Panasonic and Leica brands, which will be presented starting this fall, and to incorporate optical lens units from Leica in certain digital still cameras marketed by Panasonic.
According to Panasonic, the new digital still cameras will be equipped to accept SD memory cards.
According to Leica CEO Hanns-Peter Cohn, Leica's strategic aim is to create 25 percent of its total turnover with jointly manufactured digital cameras within three years.
The two companies have previously collaborated on the Panasonic DV format camcorders. The Panasonic NV-MX3000, featuring the Leica Dicomar Lens unit, was introduced in August last year.
"Collaborating with Leica Camera makes good business sense for us as we pursue the highest possible picture quality for our new digital still cameras," stated Kazuo Toda, senior managing director at Matsushita Electric.