Customer Reviews: Leica D-LUX5 10.1 MP Compact Digital Camera with Super-Fast f/2.0 Lens, 3.8x Zoom Lens, 3" LCD Display, O.I.S. Image Stabilization (Titanium Special Edition)
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on December 24, 2010
I don't have a lot of camera words to use to describe how much I like this camera, because I am an early amateur, but I really like this camera. It takes wonderful depth shots as a default -- just beautiful separation of different lighting situations in the same room or space, and the 16:9 option makes you feel like you're in the room when you look at the photo. I love the feel of it, and the precision and simplicity in the design. I bought it and then after playing with it and reading Steve Huff's review ([...]) and reading Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5 (apparently the same camera in terms of functionality), and then playing with it some more, I decided to keep it. I look forward to learning more about the camera and how to achieve different things with it. Also, I am impressed by the video -- it's a nice quality, if you don't count the remnants of light that hover in lines above candles now and then. And I like that it comes bundled with Adobe Lightroom. This camera excels in low-light conditions. It's expensive, but charming and very successful and unique in how light is interpreted.
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on October 1, 2011
This is a fantastic camera. full manual control and shutter lag is reasonable for a compact camera.
i have been able to get great shallow DOF at 24mm f/2.0 AND at 90mm f/3.3 and the pictures are extremely sharp - like a true leica.
I bought this camera to take with me on my overseas trip to NY at the end of the year, in place of my D90 with 24-70 2.8 and 35 1.8G and have been really impressed with the capabilities of the camera in terms of image quality. build quality is also fabulous, as is the retro-chic styling of the camera.

to be fair, i do not like that minimum aperture is limited to f/8.0 and the manual settings wheel is a little stiff, and a little small, making quickly setting manual aperture and shutter speeds a little slow. i also don't like that i had to shell out an extra $300 for an EVF, and the EVF resolution is quite low (but that is a different product, so i should make that review elsewhere). manual focus is strange - it is done by using the manual settings dial and a small picture-in-picture window appears on screen and you can see what is in focus in more detail. it is really hard to do and SLOW, but i cannot see why you would ever need it - AF is quite fast and accurate, no need for AF assist lamp.

my camera is permanently set to dynamic black and white film; shots taken with this setting look AMAZING.
if you do buy this camera, you will not be disappointed, it takes FANTASTIC shots - all of my friends with their D7000, D700, 5DII etc are all very impressed with that i have been able to do with this little one, and one friend has placed an order for one himself as well. The shots have that leica feel to them, if your skills are good enough to capture them, which cannot be replicated by anything from nikon/canon... something warm and yet dark at the same time? something special.

in short, a gorgeous compact LEICA camera with brilliant image quality, full manual control and that leica feel which we all want to harvest in our shots. fabulous.
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on May 6, 2011
I searched for a long time in order to find an easy to carry alternative for My Nikon D700. Leica D-Lux 5 did a great job there. The picture quality and low light performance is way above the pocket cameras. The manual adjustments and fine tuning is not as easy as multi dial SLRS but this one fits in my pocket. I get to travel a lot for business trips. On several occasion I came across great scenes and wished my camera was with me (which was practically impossible considering the size and weight of Nikon). Now I enjoy travelling light and getting excellent pictures in raw format. I highly recommend it to travellers.
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on September 26, 2011
I bought this camera about 2 months ago... and i'm just lovin it more with time. Great Leica lens with unmatched picture quality from any of it's close competitors (even to quite similar one's like the Panny LX5). The D-Lux 5 comes packed with Manual controls and plenty of pre-configured shooting modes (portraits, babies, landscapes day/night...). I read it somewhere in the reviews that the menu configuration is some how cheap and not up to the level- which I certainly don't agree with for two reasons: 1- it's simple and intuitive and you get used to it in few days of operation. 2- I see it more as a German type oriented software with no complication in design; after all the Leica appears vintage and the menu style should complement the looks. Size and weight are important features of the D-lux 5 to consider, if you're willing to carry it with you on travels.

I am not a professional photographer, but I did compare it with my friend's Panny LX5 and to Canon's 550D dSLR. I tried shooting starry sky mode (moon and stars) which I consider challenging because of "low light" situation and the picture exposure and saturation was superior to the shots taken by the other 2 cams. Now, I am quite positive that the Leica lens with the internal processor are far superior together than most, if not any other similar product. And yes it's a bit more pricey but if you can afford it you should get it!

On another note,the major downside (in my personal opinion)is that Leica didn't release much gears and accessories for the product although its Panasonic sibling has (i.e. wide angle/macro lenses). These lenses can only maximize the utility and enjoyment of the D-Lux 5. However, you can use the Panny lenses as they fit both cams.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a high-end product characterized with superior picture quality and portability!
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on April 30, 2011
I deleted my 1st review since I now have two D Lux 5's for comparison. Each camera was slightly different from the other. The disparities were two and this is when both cameras were set to factory settings. The LCD display was brighter on one camera and the flash was also more powerful on this camera (camera 1). The flash output can be adjusted and the LCD display has three settings, but camera 1's LCD display is brighter no matter what the setting. When the flash is set to zero on both cameras the output difference is significant. Batteries were swapped between cameras but the results remained the same.

The red color issue is common to both cameras and cannot be corrected using either the auto white balance or manually setting the white balence to the correct Kelvin setting for the lighting condition. The red color is not correct even if a white sheet of paper is used to set the K1 or K2 white balance. I also changed the auto white balance manually and moved it to the more green setting. This improves the red imbalance slightly but also overstates the green so no winner here.

I photographed a ceramic sugar bowl I made years ago when my wife and I took our kids out for a arts play day (yes, my sugar bowl is really bad so I emblazed the word Help! on the lid). The predominant colors are yellow, green and rusty red. The D lux 5 sees if differently with a brighter chartruse red that over powers the yellows and turns some of them to red. The sad thing here is my Samsung Rugby II phone gets the picture color right.

For a $800.00 camera this is simply not acceptable. I don't want a camera that adds more brightness or color than I actually see. I can understand if this was just one camera with a problem, but for two cameras to have the same problems and to also not match each other in flash settings or display brightness?? To bad, I really wanted the D Lux 5 to shine. No recommendation here, just disappointment. I'm considering sending my new camera to Leica assuming they won't send me a refurb. I'll update my review if this happens.

I also don't understand all the rave reviews here. I cannot give a rave review to a camera no matter what cost I try justify. If it can't get the color right then it's not worth even $200.00 to me. Buyers...try testing the accuracy of the red colors. Two out of two cameras having the same problem is not a coincidence. Just to add....I am not a novice regarding photography. I have been taking photo's since I was 18 and always enjoyed quality photography gear going back to my Navy days with a Yashica SLR. I've owned professional Nikons, Canons, Contax G2 and many more over the past 46 years. My color perception is perfect and has been tested by the US Navy and NASA.

Follow up January 2012: I decided to send the D Lux 5 to Leica USA for a check-up. I really did not expect that they would find anything wrong with this camera as I had two samples of the D Lux 5 that shared the same problems, color and white balance. When I received the camera back from Leica I let it collect dust for weeks as I was busy shooting with another camera I recently purchased. There were a few items I needed to shoot in the macro mode so I unwrapped the "repaired" D lux 5 and set the camera up with my preferred settings using the auto white balance and then took a few macro shots. I was surprised at the quality of the photo's. The color was absolutely spot on and the subject was perfectly focused. After trying many different modes I'm really pleased with this camera. Turns out you can get two bad eggs in a row. If I would not had these problems I would have given the D lux 5 a five star rating.
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on November 17, 2011
This is a really excellent and reliable camera to carry around when you don't want to carry heavy equipment.
I have an M8 and M9 and several M lenses. Their results are great but the camera bag is so heavy that I no longer want to carry them on trips. The D-Lux 5 technically may be a compromise compared with M cameras, but it is a very excellent compromise. The D-Lux 5 produces RAW output; it can be manually adjusted for low light shooting; the resolution is really good; the low light images are amazing; and the overal image quality is superb. To my surprise, the camera functions extremely well on automatic exposure even in low light situations. In many cases, you get excellent results without bothering with manual settings.
In some ways, this camera is reminiscent of the original small Leica series with a collapsible 35mm or 50mm lens. You can actually take it with you almost anywhere. It's much easier to take pictures when you actually have a camera with you, which was, after all, Oskar Barnack's reason for designing the original Leica. With the D-Lux 5, you can carry it easily and the results are excellent.
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on July 12, 2011
The Leica D-Lux 5 Digital has exactly what I bargained for - the Summicron f2.0 lens which performs like all the Summicron lenses. It may be one of the sharper image makers too, but no aberration whatever, no flaring, toally uniform rendition at any distance and light conditions. The camera has a fairly typical and complete array of functions that is taking some time to learn. They are nicely arrayed and access through menu is friendly. Includes the RAW file format, but it's a .rwl which isn't that recognizable. Video functions are immediately accessible. The accompanying software download Abode Lightroom is not easy (it converts your .rwl to .dng or .tiff) and like the Adobe we come to know, required significant downloads within the first month, including a total replacement! A few complaints that are not deal killers: Battery life is lower than expected, compared to typical Nikon or Canon. Holding the camera steady is something of a learning curve, though to help there is an eye-viewer add-on that itself costs, like the Leica we've always known, more than just about any compact digital camera on the market. It is very recognizable as many passers by seemed to recognize the camera, even from a distance, and though this isn't a complaint it may be a warning if you don't like to attract attention. I never noticed that using the M series cameras. Images at ISO 16,800 and low light are more noise than picture.
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on March 6, 2011
I am a semi-professional photographer. Get paid occasionally, but It is at the very least a full-time hobby. And I also am finishing a B.A. in Photography. I bought this specifically as a "toss in the glovebox" camera to always have with me when I was not around any of my camera gear, and to take location scouting for various projects. Overall it is an excellent camera, with surprisingly easy controls (I'm not a gear nut so this is the only "enthusiast compact" i've ever had, but from what I can tell it is pretty awesome).

I paid just over $500 on eBay for it. The $799 price tag is pretty steep for any camera of this type, and since all the other reviews say that the Panasonic camera this is a rebrand of has the same image quality/controls, then I'd just buy that, unless you can find a detail on the Leica version. Having the Leica version is nice because it inspires more confidence when I meet with someone who is paying me money to take pictures and sees me whip out a point 'n' shoot at a location.... more so than the generic looking, generic named panasonic. I also found a non-leica leather case on eBay that is an absolute MUST for this camera. Felt lined, two-piece, it looks incredible for about $50 shipped.

The photo quality is impressive, especially from RAW (I have never seen a reason to shoot jpeg out of any camera... why cheat yourself out of editing headroom). I've done some serious "damn it i framed way too wide" cropping, I mean like taken the middle third or quarter of the image, and the images are still sharp enough to use at least in web page form, large file size. Don't get too hung up on megapixels. 12 is more than enough for most things. I print up to 24-36" on the long side, and I've made 12mp look great even at poster size. So don't talk yourself into spending an extra grand on a camera with 16-18-20+ megapixels just because you get buyer's fever. My 18mp Canon EOS 7D makes moderately sharper prints at those massive sizes, but I have printed an image from my D-Lux 5 almost that size, and I doubt anyone but me could tell they were from different cameras, and then only because they were deep focus landscapes where everything was in focus. It really doesn't matter what resolution your photo is if it has thin DOF and most of the photo is blurry anyway.

The little aperture/shutter speed adjust dial by your thumb is small, but works great considering it is almost invisible. in Aperture Priority just rotate the dial to adjust aperture just like an SLR (ditto with shutter speed in S-mode). Press the little dial in (like a button), and you have quick access to exposure comp. ISO and white balance functions are quick access.

The rear LCD looks pretty good, but these days all of them look pretty good. Not worth mentioning more.

Focusing is about as fast as any newer point-n-shoot, which is about average I guess. It is disappointing if you are used to DSLR optical autofocus. Contrast detect AF just plain sucks, and even when camera manufacturers try to improve on it, they can only make is suck slightly less. That's just the rule of the game at today's current tech level. The F/2 lens gives pretty good moderately shallow DOF considering the size of the sensor, with decent bokeh. Some of the best you will see without seeking gear that is designed for good bokeh and short DOF (I.e. full frame sensor camera, LEICA R glass, etc)

Besides the high retail price, the SINGLE issue i have with this camera, is that if I turn it on with the lens cap on, It just keeps asking to remove the cap. It doesn't look like you can just go into playback mode to quick browse through the images. You have to take the cap off, which I think is a waste of time. Why not have a simple menu item to change this, because I can't be the only one who turns their camera on to look at the pictures frequently (or to show an image to someone else). It is a pet peeve, but I judge my gear pretty harshly if it interrupts the pace I work at (especially if i pay over $500 for a damn tiny camera only to have it bug me to remove the lens cap when I don't even want to take a picture)

So I gave it FOUR out of FIVE stars for a combination of the high price, and for the lens cap annoyance. Other than that, i LOVE this camera. I find myself always taking it out of the case and handling it when i'm at rest and I have the camera with me.
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on March 12, 2011
Another semi-professional shooter here. My primary camera is a D700 and I had a Canon S90 for about a year but always hated the controls of the camera. A co-worker recommended the X1 but that's more than I wanted to spend, so the Leica D-Lux 5 was a good compromise. Sold the copy of Lightroom to a co-worker(yes, Adobe supports this) and purchased an auto lens cover and leather case from an auction site and a grip from an independent seller. I carry this camera in my purse at all times. Took it to Hawaii (left the D700 at home) and just love the shots. The camera is so easy to use, and even the JPGs clean up nicely in Lightroom. The wide angle format is a lot of fun, and I use the scene modes quite a bit more than I expected (love the FILM mode especially). Save your $$ and buy the Panasonic battery and viewfinder if you want more accessories.
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on November 15, 2011
Bought this camera to compliment my Canon 5D for travel or social events when I do not want to carry the Canon. Absolutely love this camera. Pictures are better than any other point and shoot I've ever used. Compared to my wife's Canon G10, pictures are sharper and noise is significantly less pronounced at high ISO. Granted my 5D is a bit dated now, but it's still pro quality full frame DSLR and better than 80% of all DSLR's out there. But the Leica's auto focus is significantly quicker to lock than my 5D with the 24-70 F2.8 L lens. Auto focus performance is comparable when I've got one of the prime L lenses on. Don't mistake this review though, the D-Lux 5 will never hold a candle to the pics I get from my 5D. But for most everyday shooting, the D-Lux 5 is a beast.

Main reason why the pics from the D-Lux 5 is so much better is the sensor size. It's fairly large compared to most point and shoots. This is also why it gets much less noise at higher ISO compared other point and shoots.

I know I could have bought the Panasonic, but this is also the perfect camera to pick up your first Leica like I did. It's a Leica that is affordable enough, takes great pics for the class, and has versatility in focal range for normal shooting.
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