The Leica D-Lux is the latest point-and-shoot, pocket-sized digital camera from Leica.  It is actually a rebranded Panasonic DMC-LX100 in Leica’s own aesthetic design.

Leica-D-Lux box

Leica-D-Lux box

The first thing I noticed was the Audi design on the box.  It explains why although the Panasonic LX100 and the Leica D-Lux are same in technology, the outer design is not.  Audi has already made a successful attempt in making the Leica T. Holding the D-Lux in hand, you can feel the tininesss of the body. Compare with the Panasonic sibling, the D-Lux body is cleaner and elegant.  However, without the grip like that on the Panasonic LX100, you may feel a bit uncomfortable after holding it for a long time.

Holding the Leica D-Lux in hand

Holding the Leica D-Lux in hand

The lens of this tiny camera is Leica DC Vario-Summilux 10.9– 34 mm f/1.7–2.8/ASPH., 35 mm camera equivalent: 24 – 75 mm, which is sufficient for many occasions including street photography and travel. The maximum aperture is also at f/1.7, slightly smaller than the larger aperture f/1.4 of the previous D-Lux 6, which is quite insignificant. The autofocus works fast in most cases with a small green rectangle indicates in focus on the screen.

The Leica D-Lux in action

The Leica D-Lux in action

The lens extends outward no matter at 24mm or 75mm.  This looks a bit ugly in my own opinion.  I am a big fan of using the lens hood. At this moment I have no idea of this but obviously it won’t fit too good either. One thing I appreciate is the aperture ring at the front which resembles the normal Leica M lenses.

Lens cap

Lens cap

Instead of mounting a hood, you may think of using a protection filter.  The size is 43mm. It really depends on whether you really need the filter for protection.  In normal circumstance, I truly believe a third-class optic on a first-class lens makes the image worse than you think. A protection filter cannot replace the role of a lens hood.

The format selector

The format selector

Another tool on the lens barrel is the image format selector.  You can select 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1.  The Leica D-Lux is capable of capturing 4K video.  I have no time to test it further. However the 16:9 is a format known for taking video. A deciated movie button is located at the rear for convenience.  I have no trouble pressing it to activate video capturing though it is a bit too small.

The EVF and other buttons

The EVF and other buttons

The rear monitor serves as a viewfinder in general.  A small EVF is located on the left and activated immediately when you are seeing the subject through it.  If you a Leica M user, you will feel the resolution of the EVF is too inferior, in no way matching the optical rangefinder. To me, so far only the EVF of Sony (such as A7) is the most impressive.

SD card and battery compartment

SD card and battery compartment

The battery and SD card compartment is located at the bottom and the hot shoe thread is placed next to it.  Some reviewers mention that if you mount the camera on a tripod, you may have trouble loading the battery. I personally think this is an irrelevant comment. Unless you are taking night photography, there is little worry for holding it firmly in your hand to take a decent shot.

The external flash

The external flash

There is a small external flash included in the box.  You can imagine this is not really poweful enough, maximum distance is 8.5m in wide angle mode. Anyway, this is a solution better than no flash at all and I don’t really expect too much from it.  With this external flash, you have to think about a sensible way to carry it together with the body. Do you really need a carrying case?

The Leica M and D-Lux

The Leica M and D-Lux

All in all, the D-Lux is a capable camera.  It is small and light and a pleasure to travel with it.  The only thing you need to worry perhaps is a spare battery. Of course I have not fully explored the potential of it including the 4K video, the WiFi or NFC file transfer.  I have managed to produce a short video in this quick impression test and I let you judge it by yourself:

Featured image: On the bus.  Leica D-Lux

 

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