July 13, 2015
Yes please! Who doesn’t want an upgrade? Especially when it comes to flights and hotel rooms. But how about an upgrade for your camera? We keep talking about moving beyond taking photos with our phone’s limited lens, but what about moving on from regular point-and-shoot to a “deluxe” point-and-shoot? Obviously a premium compact camera costs more, but is it worth its price tag? I took the Leica D-Lux along with me to New Zealand to capture the journey, and from the photos you see across this story, it made my trip truly unforgettable. By Adele Chan.
She’s Got The Looks
There’s no denying the Leica D-Lux looks good. Heck, any Leica looks good. But let’s focus here. The D-Lux has a sleek, matte black body with small white markers on the control ring and dials, with the name of the camera neatly etched into the top plate. It’s a clean design that exudes class and substance. And that iconic little red dot on the front makes this a covetable little thing to own.
Shot In The Dark
As expected, this Leica (like any Leica) has muscle to flex: 16.84 megapixels, ISO range of 100-25600, 4K video recording, 3.1x optical zoom lens (focal range equivalent to 24-75mm in 35mm terms), and WiFi and NFC connectivity. But the impressive part is its large Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is significantly larger than the 1-inch sensors in much of the competition; that coupled with a fast f/1.7 maximum aperture results in high-quality photos similar to what you can achieve with a DSLR. You can easily capture shallow depth of field and out-of-focus backgrounds, and good photos even in low light conditions.
The D-Lux also lets you get physical with it. An integrated electronic viewfinder, aperture ring, dedicated shutter speed dial, and back AF/AE button gives this compact a real manual camera experience. I personally dislike going through layers of menu commands on a screen to adjust a setting; it’s far more convenient when the key things i need are a click and turn away.
The 3-inch LCD screen is incredibly bright, which is needed in a place like New Zealand where the sunshine is fierce. Unfortunately it’s not touchscreen, but hopefully the next model is. What it is though, is that it is very portable, weighing just 405g with the battery and card inserted.
Talking about accessories, the leather cases from the brand are a nice-to-have, but not necessary unless you know, too much money (we hate you). I would suggest getting the Handgrip ($120); it adds a bit of bulk to the body, but that grip serves its purpose – the smooth body by itself can be slippery, and the handgrip gives much better control of the camera. The other thing to buy – and in my opinion, even more important than the Handgrip when you’re travelling – is the Auto Lens Cap ($90). This replaces your normal lens cap and it opens and closes automatically as you turn the camera on and off. You’ll NEVER have to reach for that lens cap again to remove it when you want to take a picture, and you’ll NEVER have to worry about having pockets to put that loose cap in.
The Leica D-Lux kit ($1,700) includes a hot-shoe flash, camera strap, Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®, and three years warranty.
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