PANASONIC Lumix 7-14MM F/4
|A few years ago, Leica had a hard time financially. They kept their heads above water by making/designing lenses for others. There were many more Panasonic cameras sold with a Leica lens than the original Leica lenses. Worringly more. For Leica, anyway.
At the time, Panasonic wanted to have an extreme wide-angle zoom lens for their new series of Lumix micro-43 cameras. Those kinds of lenses are very difficult to design.
I could be wrong, but I imagine that a representative from Panasonic, relaxing after dinner, asked: "If we keep it a secret that you came up with the lens, would you design a 7-14mm zoom lens for us, with a length of 8 cm and a weight of 3 ounces?" The designers from Leica burst out laughing.
"We’ll pay you well for it, and you don’t have to worry too much about traces of lateral chromatic aberration, vignetting or distortion in the design. Any traces of lens errors,” confided the guy from Panasonic to the designers from Leica, "we correct with software in the camera. " Today, many camera manufacturers do that, but at the time, it was a daring choice.
This fabelhafte challenged appealed to the hearts of the Leica designers. Not only because at the time it looked like Leica had missed the boat of digital photography (which has fortunately been rectified), but mostly because this was a unique project. Entirely "out of the box", as he familiar German saying goes, designing a product that is revolutionarily new. And that’s how it happened. The Leica designers indulged themselves, with this Panasonic 7-14mm as the result.
I could be completely wrong. And I might be selling the designers from Panasonic horribly short. My apologies.