Value – 7/10
Features – 9/10
Design – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Usability – 9/10
Total score: 8.4/10
Verdict: Not quite value for money, but it’s still an amazing compact camera
Leica, an industry darling, has come up with a new proposition for budding photographers and enthusiasts, and it is in the form of the Leica D-Lux (Typ 109). This compact point-and-shoot may look like it’s a run of the mill consumer camera, but as the saying goes: anything essential is invisible to the eyes.
Under The Hood
Micro Four Thirds (4/3” or MFT) camera systems gained its popularity within the last few years, setting the tone for prosumer cameras in the market. The Leica D-Lux is truly a powerhouse in its category with its generous 16.8 megapixels (effective 12.8 megapixels) 4/3” MOS sensor.
And like many MFT cameras, it doesn’t not necessarily mean a more affordable alternative to DSLRs. The price of the D-Lux is comparable to a mid-range DSLR in the market, but at a smaller footprint.
The built itself is what one would expect from a Leica: beautiful form with an immense attention to details. Despite being able to perfectly cradle the camera with my two hands, the weight of the D-Lux is quite substantial at 405g with battery. To give you a better idea, most consumer point-and-shoot cameras weigh less than 200g.
Eyes of the Beholder
According to Leica, the D-Lux has one of the fastest lenses in its compact camera range. The Leica DC Vario-Summilux 10.9–34 mm f/1.7–2.8 ASPH lens is an all-rounder. From taking wide-angle landscapes to tight macros, this particular lens doesn’t fall short on performance.
Unlike most compact cameras, the D-Lux comes with a range of functions that truly makes it more prosumer than anything else. You can toggled between Auto and Manual at the click of a button right below the shutter button.
The possibilities are endless in the Manual mode. The top of the camera has a shutter speed and exposure compensation dials, and on the lens, there is an aperture ring for quick adjustments. Even when using the live viewfinder, which has an eye sensor, any adjustments can be seen on the display. No more fumbling around while trying to capture the perfect moment.
While the D-Lux takes crisp and sharp coloured photographs,the number of creative control modes offered in one small package is quite impressive. I personally enjoyed the multi-monochrome modes. You have four different types of monochrome modes to choose from, with the rough monochrome being my favourite among the bunch. The effects reminds me of a black and white photographs taken using film.
In low light situations, I did notice that despite my best efforts there is a significant amount of noise. I found that setting the ISO to either ISO1600 or ISO3200 provided a balance between noise and detail. If you’re looking to reduce the noise further, Leica includes a Leica CF D external flash in the box.
Surprisingly, the D-Lux offers an extended ISO of 25600. I personally have no use for such a high ISO sensitivity which seems to produce high levels of noise and loss of details….unless of course you’re going for that excessive grunge film grain effect.
Social Media Ready
Aside from taking beautiful photographs effortlessly, the D-Lux is a camera that is certainly keeping up with the times. On the lens itself, users can toggle between the different aspect ratios, with the 1:1 option being its latest addition to the function. Talk about being Instagram ready.
If that’s not enough, the camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology, allowing users to seamlessly connect the D-Lux to your smartphone. That said, you’d need to use Leica’s proprietary app – the Image Shuttle – to be able to control the camera remotely. Additionally, you can transfer images to your smartphone, making it easy for you to share your content with all your social media followers.
There has been much talk about how the Leica D-Lux is a branded doppelgänger of the ever-popular Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100. Spec wise, they are both comparatively similar except that the latter is a smidgen lighter and has a rubberised grip on the body. In fact, the LX100 has one extra function – AF Touch – as compared to the D-Lux.
If you’re on a budget, we all know which one will win the price war. That said, if you want a camera with brand heritage and excellent customer aftersales service, the Leica D-Lux is the one for you.
Written by Nur Atifi