Saturday, March 12, 2011

Leica D-Lux 4: Small Sensor Camera

I've been using the Leica D-Lux 4 periodically. I have two other digital cameras that I use, a Sony NEX 5 and a Nikon D90. No question that the latter two cameras have bigger sensors and produce lovely shots. The Leica has its own character though, and I'm still drawn to it, even with its smaller sensor. The lens produces sharp photos and I find the files to be better than many smaller point & shoot cameras I've owned; especially Canon cameras. I did love the Canon G9 camera for it's ergonomics, but the files looked terrible past ISO 400. This Leica camera may not be the most enjoyable to use due to the frustrating Lens Cap issue, but I love the camera due to the files it produces. They just look nice, even with a smaller sensor. The noise is noticeable past ISO 800, but I've gotten useable files from ISO 1600; something I could never do with the three Canon p&s cameras I've owned. (Canon SD800, Canon G9, Canon S95). I think Canon has a crappy noise engine. The S95 is better than the other two I've owned, the G9 was a joy to use, though a brick, and the SD800 was pocketable and had an OV on it. (Something we don't see too much of these days as camera manufacturers skimp to save money.) 

The Leica is a solid camera, the most solid built I've used. I wish Leica changed the lens cap design with their new D-Lux 5. It was kind of a bummer when I found out the same annoying cap would be on it. It's a shame. I've owned a few Leica cameras and this one has the most fun factor though, even with the smaller sensor. Once Leica gets the X-1 firmware update out to the public, then the Nikon D90 and the Sony NEX 5 will have competition. I'm hoping they improve the AF and maybe ISO on that camera. I may buy one if they do that. I'll still keep a little D-Lux around though. 

You can keep track of my Ozzy project HERE on Flickr or HERE on ZENDOG Blog. I alos have the first 365 days of this project on 365Project Website.


  1. that is a excursive camera i like this shot.

  2. wow.. nice pic. that is a different features of this camera.

  3. Wonderful review! Very helpful indeed. I am thinking of getting a new point and shoot camera and I can't decide what to get between these two top rated cameras, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and Leica D-Lux 5. I will definitely consider your review and I hope I won't regret my purchase! Thanks! ;)

  4. Hi MB,

    THe LX5 is the same as the D-Lux 5, but cheaper. Some say the lens is different on the Leica, and the way the files are produced in camera is different, but I'm not so sure of that. What you should do is decide if you like the feel of both cameras. If you can't hold them in your hands, then look at them online. Which would you rather hold in your hands? It's also on what you're looking for in a compact camera. It's called a compact for a reason. The Canon S95 feels a lot cheaper, but it's pretty darned small and does the same as the Leica and Panasonic cameras. Plus it has a retractable lens, which is what I liked. If I didn't have the Leica, I would have chosen this first and it would have been fine. I had the Leica, and then bought this to try it out. I found it cheap in comparison in regards to build quality, but I doubt that it would have fallen apart on me. I owned a pretty cool Canon SD800IS before, and that had an optical viewfinder.

    What bothers me is now that they can put APS-C sensors in smaller cameras, what is the sense of a camera like the LX5, D-Lux series, but I've come to realize that compactness is important too. If you want something really small, get the Canon S95. If you want slightly bigger in size, get the Leica or Panasonic. If you want the best sensor, start looking at the latest cameras like the Sony NEX 5, Ricoh GXR or the Samsung. Also, Leica X-1, but as you get the better sensor, the price tag goes up, as does the size of the camera. No camera is perfect.