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Old Sep 23, 2004, 10:37 PM   #11
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The reason brand name matters, is because when you get use to a certain product that performs a certain way, sooner or later you are gonna decide to stick with it cause you like it, or try something else to see whats out there or in hopes of getting something better.
Some companies have gotten reputations for setting the bar, and maintaining the bar in excellence in what they do.
Have you ever heard five different companies claim to make the best of the same type of product at the same time? A lot of times this is because they are the best at one particular aspect of that product. Some products go for value, some for the absolute best feature available on the market, others for more features than any other unit, others still for merely being consistant in the quality of their design for the last 20 years or so and don't even bother to try to compete with the others.
When you know what appeals to you, you decide who it is that offers it. Anyone with half a brain and a little patience will research the reputation of that product by professional and user reviews. There are people who literally buy every new product with a product line that a company puts out. These people know what to expect and what to recommend about these products based of their long experience with them. That is why the brand loyalty matters.

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Old Sep 23, 2004, 11:04 PM   #12
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NickTrop wrote:
So, is it really a Leica on the Panasonic? Is it really a Zeiss on the Sony cameras?
That depends how to look at the relationship of brand X and brand Y. Virtually all Contax and G1/G2 lenses are marked as Carl Zeiss T* lenses but manufactured by Kyocera. Are they Zeiss lenses? Currently, except for F5, D2H and D100 that are made in Japan, other lower end Nikon products (e.g., D70) are made in Thailand, Indonisia and China. Are these products not Nikon? Leica also repackaged some Minolta lenses and sold them as Leica lenses in the 70's and 80's. Are these Minolta lenses or Leica lenses? Moreover, many components of Ford and GM cars are made in China and most components of Dell computers are made in Taiwan. ARe Ford, GM and Dell not US products? So, the key is not where the components are made but the quality of the products. Cheapest Leica M- and R- lenses have price tags near or above $1,000. But, for lower end products such as the FZ series must maintain a low enough cost, and, as a result, they have to be manufactured somewhere else rather than in Germany. But, if a lens is branded as a Leica lens, its qualityshould be up to the level that Leica expected. Of course, don't expect the Leica lens of a FZ-10 can be as good as a Leica M- or R- lens. However, it is hard to beat the FZ-10 35-420mm F2.8 lenes. Only recently the Minolta can come up with a Z3 with focal range 35-420; however, it is not a constant aperture F2.8 lens. So, that is Leica!

1. This camera really has a >true< "Leica lens"? Does a "Leica lens" mean it HAS to come out of a Leica factory and shipped to Panasonic for assembly?
NO.The best Zeiss T* lenses are being made by Kycera. Do you think they are not Zeiss lenses? As long as Panasonic's production lines can match Leica's QC standard for the consumer products, it IS a Leica.

2. Does this "burst your bubble" with respect to the lens on your camera, Panasonic, and Leica?
Frankly speaking, I don't care. I only care about the quality of the lens.

3. Is this a dishonest, deceptive marketing practice on the part of the large japanese consumer electronics companies to garner the necessary name recognition for their product to compete against the Nikons and Canons?
So, what is the honest way? As mentioned above, D70 is made in Thailand's Nikon factory. Is D70 a Nikon product? Zeiss Contax T* lenses are made in Kyvera factories. Are these T* lenses not Zeiss lenses? Keep in mind that many best Nikon lenses such as the AFD 50mm F1.8 are made in China. SO, why don't you look at the issue from the quality perspective rather than sticking to the lens plague?



Nikon Coolpix 950/990/995/2500/4500/5700 and Panasonic FZ-10 User Guides
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 11:04 PM   #13
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I have had my FZ20 for a couple weeks now. And let me tell you... This lense is by far the best i've seen or herd of in any camera under $1,000.00, and even better than some of the higher priced camera's.

I don't know who actually manufactured them, or who set the guidlines. And frankly it does not matter...

This camera is top notch. I went through 3 digital cameras before getting this one, and it would take a major break through in a new camera to convince me to consider anything else.

This lense is in a legue of it's own no matter who made it.

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Old Sep 24, 2004, 7:05 AM   #14
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bobc - no question there! I agree fully. Not in the market for a new cam now but when I am, if the market stays the same, I'm going with the Panasonic line. Best value out there, fantastic optics, no question. Great cams, 100% happy with mine.

However, what I am saying is that the Leica name means something. The Leica (and Zeiss) brand are like the "Rolex" of lenses. Let's face it, this camera got your attention due to the Leica name on the lens.

One assumes - or is lead to believe, that these lenses were designed by Leica, roll off the Leica assembly line, and are bolted onto the Lumix. This article states otherwise. If it is accurate, and Leica only had partial input into its design, and (frankly) ambiguious input into QC procedures at the Pana plant, which smells like so much marketing spin to me, and Leica has NO legal, finaicial, or managerial control, and Panasonic is paying Leica to use their name then it's not a Leica lens in my mind, and the practice the two companies are engaging is a a legal but none-the-less deceptive marketing practice.

It is a practice that is intended to leverage the Leica name to give Pana some street cred - and catch the attention of camera buyers. "True" Rolexes do not cost $200, nor do "true" Leica lenses.

What Leica and Pana are engaging in (...and Sony/Zeiss) is legal but, in my mind, an unethical and deceptive marketing practice...

...regardless of the quality of the lens.

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Old Sep 24, 2004, 7:56 AM   #15
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Tough question.The writer states the lens is made by Panasonicaccording to a Panasonic spokesman.The real question here is who actually makes the glass, not who makes the lens. Panasonic could only be assembling the glass intothe lens. Heck, for all we know, the glasscould be Lieca, Panasonic,Joe's glass shop, or someone else.

I work in engineering for anOEM equipment manufacturer. We subcontract many parts and tell customers these parts are in the machine. We cannot manufacture everything to the level of expertise these subcontractor's do. They are specialists.

Did Panasonic tool up a factory to make glass? Did they write the software to handle the pictures (venus engine written by Matsushita). I bet they assemble parts made outside and concentrate on their knowledge of manufacturing and electronics.

Whatever way it is done, I like my FZ10!
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Old Sep 24, 2004, 9:31 AM   #16
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The way I see it, Leica would not be letting their name be used, REGARDLESS of how much theyre being paid, if they didn't want to "take credit" for it.

I agree also with the assessment that there is an entire lens assembly that gets made at panasonic, of which certain components, at least according to this thread, are Leica.

My two cents,


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Old Sep 24, 2004, 10:21 AM   #17
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Leica doesn't mind putting their name on the Digilux 2, which is made entirely by Panasonic and taking credit for the camera.
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Old Sep 24, 2004, 11:03 AM   #18
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This topic has been discussed before either here or on the Panasonic forum at DPReview but I haven't been able to find the thread to reference here.

Regardless, I would suggest that you read the five page interview with Ralf Coenen, COO, Leica Camera AG describing the Leica/Panasonic relationship at:


(which is linked from the Lumix page at the Panasonic Global website).

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Old Sep 24, 2004, 3:33 PM   #19
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That says it all.

This thread is clear...

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Old Sep 24, 2004, 8:59 PM   #20
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Actually , bobc - with all due respect, and I apologies if this sound arrogant, if you take the time to read this lengthy post, you will agree with ME that it's not really a Leica lens, and this is a case of deception on the part of the manufacturers Leica and Panasonic...

Having read the Leica COO interview, to the contrary, it confrims what I'm saying, this is NOT a Leica lens! Listen carefully to what Leica's COO, Ralph Coenen, is saying (or more importantly - NOT saying)!

How does the ->collaboration<- process go?
1. In developing Leica lenses for LUMIX cameras, engineers from the two companies get together right at the optical design stage. Their collaboration continues through the product design, prototype production, and verification stages. In other words, we keep working together until we achieve specifications we're all satisfied with...

2. By passion, I mean total dedication to seeing the ->development process<- all the way through to completion.
When ->developing<- a lens, for example, it's important to spend as much time as you need in the ->design<- and verification processes...
__________________________________________________ ______

It is NOT a true Leica lens:

1. Note - Ralph Coenen, Leica COO, quoted from the article never says Leica actually produces any part of the Lumix's lens - including the glass(!) If they did, I'm sure it would have been mentioned in >Panasonic's "PR" site< (ahem)

2. The lens is manufactured part for part, soley at Panasonic's Yamagata factory in Japan.

And, most importantly...

3. Leica is not responsible in any way, shape or form after >collaborating< with Panasonic engineers in the design stage!!!
a. Leica does not manage the production of the lens
b. Leica does not finance the production runs, and has no financial stake
c. They are NEVER >legally< the owners of the lens at any point!

4. This is a licensing deal - pure and simple. And, it's a pretty deceptive one at that. The Lumix cameras - their quality not withstanding, drew attention due to the Leica name on the lens. That's why you bought it, that's why I bought it.
This is what differenciates the Leica arragement with Panasonic from the Contax line of Zeiss lenses and the Nikon D70 arrangements which are standard subcontract arrangements. In these cases, cited by other posters, the manufacturer, literally, legally, HAS OWNERSHIP of the product they put their name on, regardless of who the OEM is!


Note Leica's COO's slip here in quote #2, (emphasis mine...)"Panasonic develops tele-photo" He doesn't say... "Leica develops..."
What kind of digital camera do you envision creating in the future?
->Panasonic<- develops unique tele-zoom lenses, but Leica is interested in wide-angle lenses as well.


You might laugh at the Panasonic customers who pay a premium for the Digilux 2 for the honor of displaying the "Leica" brand on their camera, when (we all know) IT'S A PANASONIC.

However, by the same logic, aren't you being duped by thinking you got an "unbelievable bargain" by getting a $300-$500 camera with a "LEICA" - when, likewise, IT'S A PANASONIC?

... the defense, again, rests.

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