Apart from the M8, Leica has launched three other cameras that are heavily based around three of Panasonic’s already-released models, thanks to a technology-sharing partnership between the two.

Leica is careful to point out that in relation to colour matching, contrast, and picture definition, Leica has developed its own profile to match “picture characteristics” produced by older analogue models.

The first is the Leica Digital 3, the company’s first DSLR, which looks a lot like Panasonic’s DMC-L1. It in turn owes much to Olympus’ E300, and is based around the same Four Thirds system. This means that Leica’s M-system lenses aren’t compatible with the DSLR, so Leica is bundling it with a new lens, the D 14-50mm ASPH (focal length of 28-100mm on a 35mm equivalent) with an aperture of f/2.8 to f/3.5.

The camera features integrated picture stabiliser, a 7.5MP LiveMOS sensor for real-time live photo function, dust filter in front of the sensor, and a 2.5-inch LCD display. It will be bundled with a 1GB SD card and Adobe Photoshop Elements software.

Next up is the superzoom prosumer V-LUX 1, based on Panasonic’s DMC-FZ50. It features a 10MP sensor, and is equipped with a DC Vario-Elmarit lens with an aperture of f/2.8-f/3.7, and a focal range of 35-420mm on a 35mm equivalent. The camera will come with a 512MB SD card and the same Adobe Elements software.

Finally, Leica has improved on the compact D-LUX 2 to make the D-Lux 3. Based on the LX-2, this compact is a pixel-crammer with a 10MP 16:9 ratio CCD, and features a 4x wide-angle lens that ranges from 28-112mm on a 35mm equivalent.

It integrates optical image stabiliser, comes in black or silver, features three picture formats, and has a 2.8-inch screen on the rear. Its bundled SD card only goes up to 64MB of storage.