on January 15, 2011
I tired of carrying my DSLR and associated lenses, etc and decided to go to a Point and Shoot (P&S) camera. I had read a great deal and having owned a Nikon D-60 DSLR for a period of time, was concerned primarily with picture quality in going from a DSLR with large sensor to a P&S with much smaller sensor. For 3 solid months, give or take, I diligently, researched all P&S cameras as well as "mirrorless cameras" currently on the market. I went to 'handle' the cameras I was interested in (see below) and to Flickr on the internet and queried some groups regarding the cameras I was considering. I am a hobbyist when it comes to photography but, I was obsessed with getting as close to the superior photo quality of a DSLR as possible in a P&S. I finally decided on the Leica due to (what I believe to be) superior photo quality and excellent in-camera jpeg processing. I looked at the Nikon P7000...mixed but generally lower reviews within this group (I have owned a number of/and greatly respect Nikons); Panasonic LX5...which many say to be the same as the Leica (with the exception of jpeg processing); Canon G-12...which seemed ok with the exception of handling RAW production and the Canon S95...not as good in the lens department and photo processing. Both the Leica and Panasonic have a larger sensor than the rest of this group. Granted, I could have purchased any of these really good cameras, at a much lower price; but, I found the color and overall photo quality of the D Lux 5 to be best of the group I researched. I have never owned a Leica before and I while I expected it I am still shocked at the sticker price and cost of accessories. I'll not debate the pros and cons of the Panasonic LX5 versus the Leica, there is enough information in that regard published by professionals and labs, all over the internet. The warranty and the inclusion of Lightroom 3 were nice additions, to help soothe the price pain. A word about the warranty, depending on what you read the warranty goes anywhere from 2 years (what was in my box warranty) and some (see Steve Huff's excellent analysis) say 3 years. I'll admit the whole warranty process was/is confusing. I bought my camera from B&H Photo in New York and was confused when the salesman said that there was no warranty with the Leica during checkout and that I should buy an additional warranty for 2 years. Everything I had read previous to my purchase, said Leica provided a 2 year warranty and so I passed on the B&H offer, hope I am right. I am very happy with this camera. It is easy to operate, provides excellent stabilization, in-camera menus are outstanding, shoots in RAW format and is easy to carry/handle. Leica accessories are expensive though. Many of the items that fit the LX5; also, fit the Leica. The viewfinder, although with mixed reviews, is a must if you shoot in bright daylight or snowy environs. The Panasonic viewfinder is around $200.00 less than the Leica brand and supposedly fits/works the same on the D Lux 5...we'll see. My decision to buy the Leica boiled down to quality of build/pictures and reputation. Good sites to go to: stevehuffphoto.com; DPReview; CNET; bhphotovideo.com; snapshot.com; youtube and if you want to look at actual photos, taken by everyday users of the Leica D Lux 5, see the Leica groups on Flicr. Hope this helps.
on October 27, 2010
I'm very happy with this camera.
The only up side to having my D-Lux 3 stolen this past summer was that the D-Lux 5 was soon to be released. I use a camera for my work - which is mostly point-and-shoot locations stuff - but I also want the ability to take beautiful pictures when I have the time.
This camera gives me what I need.
I love the simplified menu, the rear dial, the hot shoe for my viewfinder and flash, but most of all I love the quality of the pictures I can get whether it's a quick snap-shot or a nicely composed portrait.
It's not a pro camera but it's a great camera for someone (like me) who carries a camera with them at all times looking for that great image.
Warranty is great and Light Room is a nice addition. As for concerns over the price difference between this and the Panasonic version c'mon, you spend that much for premium cable every month.
on October 23, 2010
My first Leica that is affordable. I was going back and forth between this and the Panasonic LX5 as they are essentially the same camera as I've read. I wanted something for travel and as a backup to my Canon dSLR. This is smaller than I expected which is actually great because I can fit it in my pocket!
As for price, if you think about it, the copy of Adobe Lightroom and the 3 year warranty basically means it costs about the "same" as the LX5 if not getting a better deal IMO. Yeah, I like the red dot too...and the build is really solid for this camera..and a beautiful one at that. The menu is pretty intuitive. The manual isn't all that informative.
Picture quality looks great, I like the different formats..I can take square pics or wide angle..
The special effects aren't as robust as the Olympus Pen, but I use graphic editing programs anyway....gets a little noisy above 1600 but again, I have noise reduction software..but for its size and convenience and the fast 2.0 lens, available light photography is great. I use this mainly as my street photography/photojournalism cam.
I would've given it 5 stars if it had a viewfinder...I really wish these companies producing these compact cameras, 4/3 cameras and the like would have a built in viewfinder..it only makes sense. Also, don't get the Dlux4 battery for this, it won't fit. I have to wait about a month before they release the ones for Dlux5 and exchange the Dlux4 battery.
But I'm happy so far and hopefully I'll be able to update to the M series someday.
on February 9, 2011
I purchased this camera a few weeks ago to try it out after hearing much about it. Quite frankly I'm not sure what the hoopla is all about -- other than it has a red dot on it. First of all I AM a photogapher. I shoot with a Nikon D700, d300, a bevy of Nikon glass, as well as medium format Mamiya film and digital. So yes, I do know what I'm talking about and this is not a casual review.
The Leica is an incredible piece of metal. I love the heft, and the feel of it. The lens is superb at F2.0. Love it. I LOVED the 1:1 ratio which gave me square images -- one of the reasons I still shoot 2/14 film on occasion. The video option was also awesome. I shot several movies in B&W which was so neat and also in the 1:1 ratio I loved it. They were crystal clear in HD.
My problem, and this could only be my problem, not yours was the image quality. I shot a total of 263 images with the little gem and was extremely disappointed in the image quality. I shot mostly at ISO 80 which is the lowest; I also chose an aperture between the F2, and F4.5 or 5.6 depending on the light. I used a tripod for many of the shots but I just couldn't get over the smudging of the noise reduction. Oh, I shot in both jpeg and raw format, which is how I shoot my D700, and D300 100% of the time.
Anyway I shot and I shot away. I had several designers I work with look at prints I made (11 x 14) and at 13 x 19 and they noticed the noise and/or the smudging. Since I shoot for stock, working with several on line sites, as well as "real" agencies I submitted a batch of images to them all. Each and every image was rejected from three online sites, and my agents due to "overall lack of focus and detail due to excessive noise reduction" (which smudged the images). Even when viewing them on screen in Lightroom at 100% they were awful. I did submit the out of camera jpegs, as well as jpegs that I processed from the raw files in LR3. Neither was accepted by anyone. Since that is pretty much my bread and butter I decided to return the camera. At $799.00 it's way overpriced (IMHO) as a piece of equipment that I can carry wherever for "the shot" when I don't have my dSLR's with me. I believe the Panasonc Lumix, which is essentially the same camera without the red dot, is $300.00 less. Even at the Panasonic's $399 or $499 price point it's still way overpriced due to the lack of resolution/sharpness even at the lowest ISO of 80. I don't get it. I played with every option in the menu's trying to get it to shoot correctly; shot the highest quality jpegs, and simultaneous raw file to no avail. At this point I'm 99.9% certain it wasn't me causing this.
If I were an amateur, and just wanted to capture atypical "I was here" shots, and videos I might be tempted. It is a gorgeous camera. But my being so nit picky about noise, grain, and image quality I just could not bring myself to keep this camera.
On a side note Amazon and J&R Music World were fabulous to deal with. Shipping was fast, return processing was fast as well and I was given my full credit as of last night.
on March 16, 2011
The Leica is an excellent point and shoot camera.
It is expensive, and hence it is not for everyone!
However, it offers a very fine quality and versatile zoom lens, which I believe is unsurpassed amongst current point and shoot cameras.
The bright f2- 3.3 lens, with a 24mm (equivalent)wide angle is ideal for travel photographs in a broad range of situations.
From my perspective, there are four critical characteristics of the lens which are of great value:
1. The brightness of the lens,which is much superior to other p&s cameras, at each end of the zoom range. By the way, the digital zoom reaches to 15x;
2. The lack of distortion at wide angle focal lengths- this is a particularly good feature;
3. The very wide 24mm wide angle- very helpful for a travel camera; and
4. The very high quality of the lens- it is noticeable!
The quality of the lens, and the ability to capture pictures in a broad range of situations was a critical consideration for me in deciding to buy the Leica. With previous point and shoot cameras (most recently a Canon SD950IS), I have found the most limiting factor for travel photography has been the limitations imposed by the optics. The Leica broadens the picture taking capability significantly, but you do need to take into account that the better lens does make it a slightly larger camera. I am happy to accept this in return for the enhanced versatility afforded by the higher quality optics.
Other features I liked are:
1. The flash- much better than the Canon (which had a tendency to allow red eye, even in "minimization" mode); and
2. The ability to easily select from a broad range of aspect ratios (16:9, 4:3, 2:1 and 1:1) using a switch on the side of the lens.
The quality of construction of the camera is impressive- it feels good to use, with precise controls.
The cost may seem to be high. But, if you take a large number of pictures, I suggest you take into account the "per picture" cost as well as the value of getting good pics!! I took 14,000 pictures with my Canon over the last 3 years. By the end of that time, I suspect it was wearing out! I suspect I will take just as many with the Leica!
If you appreciate a nice compact camera which takes good pictures, I believe you are unlikely to be disappointed with the Leica.
By the way, to get an idea of the camera's capabilities, take a look at the sample pics I have uploaded and included in the product page.
on November 8, 2011
I am not a photographer and I don't intend to be - though, by all means, I admire the profession. It's just that it's not something I can place priority in the next few years at least, mostly because the learning curve is steep if you intend to be good or great (who needs another mediocre photographer?)
Having said that, I'll tell you why I bought a Leica: so that I could have the best camera possible without having to learn how to use it. I want the cam solely to accompany me on trips around the world. I love landscapes, monuments, streets. And it's simply a waste to see so much beauty in the world and be unable to capture it with some dignity. So I figured that, unable to commit myself to really learn how to do it, I could at least buy a great cam that would make the best decisions for me.
I did buy Alexander White's guide, so that I could at least learn about the potential of my Leica. So I think now I know what AP, S and MF mean. Not that I can do anything meaningful with that knowledge... Still, I did try to use what I learned here and there, when I had time to tweak a little in my first trip with it. Hmmm. WHY? Everytime I tried the results went from disastrous to acceptable. I tried to use it in P as much as possible so as to get RAW files, as I meant to learn how to deal with those. But then... well, when I put it on A the results were so amazing (though this mean no RAW) that I simply gave up to outsmart it. If in A I get a photo I love, why bother with tweaking it even more???
In the last trip I took I had many friends with huge Nikons and Canons, two were pros... and even though they had better zooms, at least in those particular travel pictures I can assure you - my Leica on A was just as good as their DSLRs most of the time. And, I swear, sometimes even better. Amazing colors! The main difference is that they were carrying more weight and a more expensive equipment than me. But for that purpose, travel pics, let me tell you... they brought their tuxedos to the beach party. So I really couldn't be happier with my camera. I have another trip coming up and I still won't know how to get anything useful out of P... but I'll use it in A and I'll have ridiculously beautiful pics, and that's exactly how I want it.
Just a word of caution: buy an extra battery. After having taken about 150 pics with RAW my battery died. That was noon in Jerusalem! I find that 150 (jpeg+RAW, little flash) is the average for a full charge. Maybe .jpgs only would conserve more energy? I don't know. Still, if you intend to travel, buy extra batteries.
So those who know little or nothing of photography... get this Leica, because it's wonderful for people like you and me: dummies who appreciate QUALITY!
on November 4, 2011
I ordered this camera back in May 2011 and immediately felt like I had made a big mistake. In the past months however, the camera has won me over to the extent that I now call it my number one. I carry it on my belt, and it goes with me everywhere I go. I initially bought it for exactly that reason. I was working with my tractor in the woods and the whole time an ermine followed me around, curious, and me with no camera.
Now I can draw the camera in a flash and snap a photo whenever I see a good opportunity. I can't even quess how many more photos I shoot with this than I shot with my 40d, and more photos mean more excellent photos. I've surprised moose, antelope, deer, big horn sheep, eagles, hawks, herons, and more, but never saw the ermine again.
What I like:
Size, quality of image, quality of video, raw file capability, quality of view screen, did I say size?
What I don't like:
No reasonable filter option. I think this is really bad design. You can get an after market tube that looks for all the world like a sewer pipe with a window, but that defeats the point of having a small camera. Someday I will damage my lens -- $800 down the drain. Apart from this, I would give 5 stars.
In closing, my photography has changed a lot with this camera. In the past, I always took photography too seriously. If it wasn't a great shot, I didn't take it. . . . and when I was with others, I participated but never documented. That has changed. Now when I am with a group, I am the one doing the documenting.
. . . for what it is worth.
on January 9, 2011
I own several Sony products, including the Alpha 350 DSLR and the DSC-WX1. My workflow is mostly architectural documentation and the occasional art shot. But what I do shoot has to be presentation quality. I got sick of blown out images and flat looking pictures that just didn't look that good. I think the metering was lousy. I spent my time retouching everything. After reading countless reviews I ponied up for this D Lux-5. Woah. The quality of the image is crystal clear, rich and beautiful, all on the snapshot mode using RAW. Controls and menus are average to easy to use, build quality very good. I like the HD video quality too, although I have to run it through the Handbrake converter for Mac Mp4 files. Such a difference and worth the money for sure. If you want to take stunning DSLR quality snapshots on the go, then this camera is for you. The wide angle lens is a stunner as well, especially in the video mode. I'll leave the technical reviews and Lumix shootouts for the others, but I'm going Leica from now on.
on December 27, 2010
Many folks on the Panasonic and Leica internet fora have discussed the prices of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 and the Leica D-LUX 5. The discussion usually centers on noting that the two cameras are essentially identical. No question about it; both cameras share the same electronics and lens. So why buy the Leica?
First, you're getting a longer warranty--two years for the D-LUX 5.
Second, the Leica camera comes with a registration code for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, an excellent post-processing, DAM and workflow program that alone has sold for $299 at the highest price (though recently on sale for a substantial reduction). The LUMIX comes with SilkyPix Developer Studio SE, a program that I find to be a little difficult to warm up to, though it does a credible job.
Third, and this is the best part for me: The D-LUX 5 is a Leica. It has a shape and build and finish that to me are elegant, minimalist and simply beautiful...more so than the Panasonic version. I own the LX5W and the LUMIX is a beautiful camera in white. But the D-LUX 5--a gift I bought for my wife--strikes me as being the better overall bargain and just a superb piece of craftsmanship. And yes, I do like the "red dot".
Some will note that the Panasonic LUMIX has a grip for your right hand and the Leica does not. A very high quality third-party grip is available for the Leica (Google Richard Franiec) at a very modest price and I highly recommend it.
In the end, what appears to be an unjustified higher price seems to me to be a well-justified expense. After all, remember what the auctioneer said: "The more you pay for it, the more it's worth"!
on May 31, 2012
I have always wanted a Leica because I have looked at sample images taken from Leica cameras and I have fallen in love with the way they appear. It is a tough obstacle to jump across having the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 as an option as it is roughly half the cost of the Leica. Both cameras are comprised of the same inner parts, however the body on the Leica is very refined and simple and reflects a elegant style. The firmware on the Leica is improved over the Panasonic and produces sharper images. The camera is GREAT. However soon after the purchase, it did not seem like a "camera purchase", it instead felt that I joined a community for photography. You get a free download of the newest version of Adobe Lightroom and you become a member of the Leica Owners section. The photos, when shot in RAW, will provide all the materials you will need to edit them to art museum quality. The battery life is above sufficient. When shooting without the flash, in RAW, I was able to shoot around 500 photos. The controls are easy to get use to, and the menu will seem quirky to navigate at first but it easily sinks in. I have a Canon 30D and the difference in picture quality is minimal. Overall This is a great camera and I would highly recommend it.