Leica D-Lux 3 8 to 10 Megapixel

Leica D-Lux 3 8 to 10 Megapixel 

DESCRIPTION

The Leica D-Lux 3 has a 10-megapixel sensor, 16:9 format option, a big 2.8-inch LCD display, and an image-stabilized 4x f/2.8-4.9 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom lens. And for maximum control and flexibility, it has full manual controls and RAW capture capability.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-7 of 7  
[Mar 04, 2013]
jamieboy32
Intermediate

Strength:

Quality

Weakness:

Price

EXCEPTIONAL GERMAN QUALITY
The Leica D-LUX3 is a typical "retro styled" looking camera, rather plain at first but as you pick it up it shouts at you "WOW Quality”.

The at first bewildering number of modes and settings soon prove to be fantastic yet it has taken me some time to master them and yet I have had many cameras from a Kodak brownie, a Polaroid instant, 35mm‘s Zenith E, Practica LX3 then one of the most complex world famous press photographers all manual Nikon F2 Photomic camera with many lenses back in 1976! To an Olympus MJU to digital Nikons S210 then a touch screen all auto S4000 and now a D-LUX3! Even taking the same photo 10 times on this beauty shows how many dramatic differences can be seen as you can have 4 automatic modes from beginners everything auto to manual all even focusing a feature usually unheard of on a compact digital, very many auto focusing and metering areas including "spot", 15 popular scene settings etc. etc. etc., the list goes on I particularly like the soft focus portrait one that make my subjects even more beautiful.
Then there are the unique yet truly spectacular 3 picture formats of 16:9 to fill HDTV widescreen, 4:3 ratios for PC screens and classic Leica 3:2 that mimic a 35mm film camera picture as well as black & white, sepia and movie modes and RAW.

The Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens is as expected of "OUTSTANDING" picture quality making its 10M pixels CCD processor not sound as good as some of this year’s 12-14M ones but the lens quality makes up for this as most other “point and shoot” cameras have tiny 2,3 or 4 element lenses often made of inexpensive mass produced plastics, yet with this lens all 9 elements have anti reflection coatings, as you turn on the camera a compact protruding 17mm lens unit grows to an amazing 55mm. It is 6.3 to 25.2mm f2.8-4.9ASPH (equiv to 28-112mm for 35mm format) with 4 X Optical zoom to max 6.2 X digital, one minor downside point is the labelled macro setting only focuses in to about 1 foot (30cm) but accessories on EBay/Amazon can be found for true macro/wide angle or telephoto lenses as well as filters, again products not usually freely available for a compact “point and shoot” camera!
The 2.8" LCD is extremely bright and clear even in the sun! Its brightness is fully adjustable as can the amount of info displayed (up to 23 settings) another original feature is the "high angle" viewing of the screen that works a lot like a car anti-rear headlight glare mirror that bends the light down enabling you to hold the camera high above your head and yet still view what you are taking pictures or movies of i.e. in a crowd/carnival/concert. Whilst being assembled in Japan by sister company Panasonic (equiv model DMC-LX2) this gem is designed and specified by Leica in Germany,

I found information about how these lenses take 40 minutes for each element to be individually ground, polished and tested (this camera has 9 lens elements) whereas the Panasonic models use mass production techniques, as do parts and picture processing firmware for both have large differences as do the CCD qualities and manufacturing tolerances, also the D-LUX3 is 45 grams heavier again due to the noticeable extra build quality as all the parts including the body shell are not made of plastics or flimsy aluminium like other modern cameras, this is a very solid product indeed.
Even the shutter clicks with quality and all sounds and beeps can be turned down (i.e. in a church or library shh) and finally a quaint retro pop up flash with anti redeye etc. and quality German made leather case with a belt loop and a detachable shoulder strap (that makes it look like a smaller copy of the £3000 Leica M8) in classic "cognac-brown" is a must accessory.

Bad points are lack of macro, fiddly joystick manual focus (no focusing ring on the lens) and I suppose the price but one has to pay extra for such quality and as I acquired mine for a mere £150 second hand including the case it is surely the lowest entry into the world of “Leica”.
I truly adore this pocket able compact as it can go anywhere with me unlike my huge Nikon with its enormous 5fps motor drive! This D-LUX3 can do bursts of up to 5fps in still mode.

The "good things come in small packages" is an understatement this is a truly amazing simple or as complicated as you want compact digital camera in an amazing quality robust package.
Leica means the best German engineering and a special culture of the picture, exuding optical quality to transform photos into a personal creative fulfillment; I quote "every D-LUX3 picture tells its own story.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 11, 2008]
tvopdx
Intermediate

Strength:

It shoots RAW, the ultimate basis for great digital photos. It's pretty small for such a rich feature set.

Weakness:

Some will be put off by the price. Sorry - it's worth every penny.

This camera takes great pictures! It is also a very very flexible camera - so you can shoot simple pics right out of the box, and with every reading of the manual and trying out a new feature, you can extend what you can do. The knob dial controls the basics, aperture, speed, program, auto, etc. The joystick let's you change deeper key settings, and adjust aperture, speed, etc on the fly. Definitely splurge on two extras - a 4GB card, and on the Leica leather case.

Customer Service

haven't had to seek any.

Similar Products Used:

Exilim from Casio - heavy digital noise and no RAW.

Fuji Finepix - enjoyed it a lot, but it was not as high quality construction and didn't shoot RAW..

Sony Cybershot - liked that with an extra case I could take it scuba diving!

Canon XTi - very fine camera & SLR - means carrying a ton of stuff around.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 28, 2007]
mlshepherd
Professional

Weakness:

resolution

his camera has never given the results I expect out of a 10 mp camera. Especially coming from a leica. I have a Canon elph 5mp that shoots circles around it for quality.
The images from the Leica are always soft due to the pixilization. The images could pass as a 4mp. I thought that it would be cool to have a small Leica digital with that size of file.
I have 3 Canon 1Ds mk 2's
2 1D mk 2's
I know this stuff and Leica didn't do their homework.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
[Oct 03, 2007]
Gary Chang
Expert

Strength:

Lens - 28mm wide angle equivalent - very sharp
2.75" LCD display is better than most
DSLR features not found on other cameras this size
Looks - Although it is not small enough to stick in you pocket, it isn't an eysore on your belt.

Weakness:

Even though it is cool, it would have been cooler if it were smaller...
Slow write-to-memory time when shooting RAW format
No optical viewfinder
Black Anodized skin scratches easily (my second one is a silver one!)
Did I mention that this camera is expensive?

Like many of the others who have reviewed this camera here, I have a Canon DSLR with pro glass, so I purchased the DLUX-3 with the idea of always having a fun point and shoot camera on my person for shooting people in restaurants and in various locations on vacation.

When I first got the camera, I took it to Italy and shot for a month with it with and came away with a feeling that it did not perform as well as I would have like in low light. Unfortunately (or not!) the camera was lost on the trip, but was insured - so I took a close look at finding a better camera for my purposes - and concluded that the DLUX-3 was still the best one to get, so I have a second one!

Convenient Size
The fact that the lens is a 28mm wide angle equivalent is a big factor - every other camera that were contenders in my efforts to replace the DLUX-3 had 35 or 36mm lenses - needing an additional wide angle converter lens - which makes their packages too big, and they don't have a custom sized case for carrying....

Sharp Lens
The sharpness of the lens was easily noticeable when comparing shots with my wife's Canon point and shoot. The noise level that I was perceiving in low light wasn't any better on any of the other cameras that I tried out - so, in a way, the lens sharpness allowed the Leica pictures to still be sharper than the other cameras after noise reduction...

Incidentally, the DLUX-3 shoots the 16:9 size at 10 megapixels, rather than cropping off the 10 megapixel 4:3 foto, so those of us who are shooting for wide screen projection won't have to work with 8 megapixel fotos with this camera.

DSLR Features
Tthe DSLR features, such as RAW format, separate metering and focussing settings and a true manual mode are truly the only path to low light shooting with this type of camera - it allows one to sacrifice whatever parameter the shooter chooses, rather than whatever feature that the camera is programmed to sacrifice. By setting the metering to a sharp point instead of averaging, I could get the most out of the little flash.

No Optical Viewfinder
Although I, too miss an optical viewfinder, the 2.75" LCD works well - even in bright sunshine. It even has a mode that makes the display viewable when your have the camera held above your head - like when you are taking a foto in a crowd.

Coolness
If you get this camera, spend the extra money to get the retro brown leather case with the Leica LOGO embossed on the lens part of the case - it looks just like you are carrying an old Leica M around!

This is an expensive camera. If you can get by that, it is a very cool gadget to carry around and use.

Similar Products Used:

Canon G9
Canon SD630
Leica VLUX-1

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
[Aug 19, 2007]
Michael J Hoffman
Expert

Strength:

excellent image quality
excellent user interface
excellent LCD

simultaneous RAW/JPEG capture allows shooting in RAW while viewing LCD image in black-and-white

no shutter lag
timeless design
compact

Weakness:

noise above ISO 400
deathly slow RAW write speed
no provision to turn off LCD
lacks viewfinder
constantly displays OIS off warning icon on LCD
GINORMOUS raw files eat up card space quickly

RAW conversion requires owner to download Camera Raw plug-in for bundled PSE4 software (at least its free to download from Adobe)

I recently purchased a Leica D-LUX 3 at Tamarkin, New York. I purchased the camera hoping for an always-available, go anywhere digital camera. I planned to use it to create RAW images that would be converted in Photoshop to black- and-white. Here are my initial impressions.

I like it. I have photographed some test scenes both avaialble light, and at night with the on-board flash to closely simulate the types of scenes that I'd photograph with my 10D and accessories.

The image quality of the D-LUX 3 is very nice for a small sensor camera. Available daylight shots at ISO 200 impart a just barely perceptible noise that for me is a non-issue. In theses situations you'd need a rediculously close viewing distance with a magnifier to see the image noise on a 9-by-16 inch inkjet black-and-white print. It is noisier than the images from my 10D, but not noticably so. The night scenes shot with the on-board flash at ISO 400 give up about 1.5 to 2.5 stops when compared to my 10D in the area of image noise, but this may have almost as much to do with the weak digicam on- board flash as with the sensor. Night images at ISO 400 have about the same amount of noise as night images on the 10D shot anywhere from ISO 800 to ISO 1600. I don't think that's bad considering the two cameras are intended for vastly different usage. Night images with flash out of the D-LUX 3 at ISO 400 have a noise very similar to the grain pattern of a well-exposed TMZ print exposed around ISO 1600. The night images look good, if you don't mind tightly structured noise/grain. I'm very happy with the 9-by-16's I've been able to produce for both day and night images from the D-LUX 3.

The D-LUX 3 has a straightforward user interface. Just a brief consultation with the manual will get you where you need to be to use the camera effectively. Those experiencing the D-LUX 3 as their first digital camera may have a slightly longer learning curve due to disparities in technologies, but this would be true of any digital camera. The huge LCD is very nice. My main interest is shooting RAW to create black-and-white prints. Here, the D-LUX 3 excels. It allows the photographer to shoot in RAW while at the same time recording and displaying to the LCD a JPG image in black-and-white. Sure, its not fine-tuned black-and-white, but the LCD preview and recorded image give the photographer a decent working knowledge of the relationship of black-and- white shadows and highlights. Time between RAW image exposures takes forever; it is deathly slow in this regard. However, shutter lag (the time between acheiving focus and tripping the shutter) is nearly non-existant. Once focus is achieved the exposure is made quickly. The D-LUX 3 is much better in this regard than I expected for it to be. I really enjoy using the D-LUX 3.

The design of the D-Lux 3 is simple and uncluttered. Controls for those used to working with a digital camera is intuitive. The look of the camera - for those of you who are interested in this sort of thing - is spartanly elegant. Its definitely in the tradition of Leica's simplicity of design, but it reminds me even more of a what a digital Contax T3 might have been.

The D-LUX 3 is not perfect. The RAW write time is excessive. There should be an accessory shoe for a more powerful flash and/or and auxiliary viewfinder. I plan to super glue a silver CV 28/35 mini-finder to the top of mine (a D-LUX 3 "Panda"). Interestingly, the height of the 35 framelines combined with the width of the 28 framelines closely replicate the 16:9 image aspect ratio recorded by the D-LUX 3 sensor. There is no way to turn off the LCD, and that would be useful for those like me who want to rig up an optical viewfinder (though the original manufactured design of the camera would make this feature useless). Also, when the optical image stabilization function is disabled, you get a contant glowing red icon on the LCD to let you know that its off. I hate that. When its on, there is no icon so I set mine to mode 2 which only employs the OIS at the time of exposure and not constantly for the LCD preview. The constantly-displayed OIS off icon is the only thing I truly despise about the D-LUX 3.

Overall, the D-LUX 3 has exceeded every reasonable expectation I had of its ability to record high quality RAW images with a short (read non-existant) shutter lag time. The time between RAW exposures due to slow write time does not bother me, but I've included it here as it may be a deal breaker for some. The OIS off red hand icon constantly displayed on the LCD is just plain annoying. I knew prior to purchasing the camera about my other listed misgivings. The real value of the D-LUX 3 is the images that such a tiny camera is able to produce. If you are on the fence about this one as I was, I say go for it. The quality of the D-LUX 3 will exceed your expectations.

Customer Service

not yet needed

Similar Products Used:

Panasonic Lumix FZ7

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 30, 2007]
RainerKal
Expert

Strength:

- overall optical quality
- RAW data format availability in a compact size
- 16:9 aspect is great for panoramic landscapes and travel photography
- full range of automatic and manual settings
- clear menus, simple operation
- long battery life (the battery lasts always longer than my 2 GB memory card !)
- sturdy metal case with great classic "retro" design
- the original, even more "retro" looking real leather case (50's, solid protection for the camera)

Weakness:

- lens shows some visible distortion at wide angle (ok that's the compromise for the small size)
- at higher ISO ratings, more noise than my DSLR (ok that's another compromise for the small size)
- the rotary mode adjustment knob (P, S, A, L) operation is too lightweight, it easily changes its position
- power up time might be shorter, also I would like if the lens would return automatically to it's last setting (to my knowledge, no digital camera offers that feature so far)
- no optical viewfinder, there are situations where the (otherwise excellent!) LCD screen is hard to be seen
- limited effectiveness of the optical stabilizer ( there are better one's)
- the flash (as always with these small cameras)

This is my "take everywhere toy" camera that I am using if I do not want to carry my heavy DSLR and medium format equipment!. I like excellent picture quality - and the Leica delivers it, shooting in raw format at low to medium sensitivites, with some careful manual adjustments during shooting, and some postprocessing using Adobe Camera Raw. So, this is a compact camera for the serious photographer (a role, which in analog times the fully-manual Rollei 35 served for me). A lot of fun and quality in a relatively small package - so I rate it 5 stars.
If you can afford the price, highly recommended !

Customer Service

not needed so far

Similar Products Used:

various Canon Digital IXUS cameras
Sony T7

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 25, 2007]
ppurpura
Professional

Strength:

This camera has a lot going for it, namely:

1.) 10.6 megapixel resolution
2.) 16:9, 4:3, and 3;2 aspect ratio settings
3.) 4x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom
4.) Zone focus metering
5.) Continuous auto focus
6.) Custom white balance
7.) Raw file capability
8.) Exposure Compensation
9.) Flash Compensation
10.) Auto Bracketing
11.) Image stabilization (2 settings)
12.) Macro capability
13.) The traditional “P”, “S”, “A”, and “M” mode settings
14.) Several other settings designed to do point-and-shoot shots easily and quickly.

The camera does not have a view finder, but it does have a large viewing screen. The controls are placed well and can be accessed quickly and easily. The choice of three aspect ratio settings is a plus. The 16:9 setting really lends itself to landscape shots.

Leica is known for its quality optics and the lens in this camera is no exception. The camera features a zoom lens that is equivalent to a 28-112 mm f/2.8-4.9 on a full frame 35mm camera. Okay, so it’s not the fastest lens in the world, but then again we are talking about a point-and-shoot camera that it easy to carry. If you want the constant aperture f/2.8 lens then you will have use your favorite DSLR. The lens focuses fast and the images are quite sharp. Some reviews have stated that the images made with this camera can be soft. I respectfully disagree. If the camera is held properly or used with a tripod at slower shutter speeds, the images are quite sharp. The camera will even indicate if it detects camera shake.

Weakness:

Some may consider this camera a little high-priced at $600 retail, but then again, it is a Leica.

The menus take could be more intuitive and I found some of the camera features only by accident. However, there is something to be said about men (especially professional photographers) reading directions, i.e., we don’t. I have now read the manual to the point to where it is now worn. Sorry guys!

If you are an inexperienced shooter or you don’t want to set the camera manually (like I do) you can put the camera in “Auto” mode, or set the mode dial to “P”, “S”, or “A”, start shooting and get good results. But if you want to take advantage of all the camera’s features, you will have to read the manual.

High resolution cameras with small sensors are prone to digital noise at higher ISOs and this camera is no exception. Digital noise is pronounced at ISO 800, and is even more so at ISO 1600. However, the camera does have a “Starry Sky” setting that does a credible job of night photography. It even has a “Fireworks” setting for photographing fireworks.

Simply stated, this is a FUN camera. I was looking a camera that I could carry around with me when I was not shooting professionally and this camera was recommended to me by the professionals at Pro Camera. It was a good choice.

Being a photojournalist, I like to always carry a camera around with me, but hauling around a full sized digital SLR (DSLR) all the time can get tiring. So this is the camera I carry when I am not using my Fuji S3 DSLR.
Can you take professional quality images with this camera? Yes. Will it replace a full featured digital SLR? No. But will a full featured DSLR fit nicely in your pocket? Definitely not!

Bottom line: This is the camera that can take professional quality images within the constraints of a 28-112 mm variable aperture lens. Like I said, this is a FUN camera, such as one that you take on a vacation or spending a day the amusement park. Have you ever tried skiing down a mountain carrying a full sized DSLR with a 28-75 f/2.8 zoom lens? I have and it is not easy, especially getting on the lift. Next season, I will just put this camera in my ski jacket pocket.

Customer Service

None needed as of this writing.

Similar Products Used:

Not similar, but I shoot professionally with a Fuji S2 and Fuji S3 digital SLR cameras.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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