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Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Leica: EVF-based V-LUX 1 unveiled
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 15, 2006 - 00:00 EDT)

Based on Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FZ50, the Leica V-LUX 1 couples a ten megapixel imager with a Leica-branded 12x optical zoom lens with MEGA O.I.S. image stabilisation.

The lens yields effective focal lengths from 35 - 420mm - a moderate wide angle to a useful telephoto. ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 1600, with the option to extend this to ISO 3200 in high sensitivity mode. Images can be previewed or reviewed on a 2.0" LCD display with a better than average resolution of 207,000 pixels. For those who prefer to hold the camera to their eye, the V-LUX 1 has a 0.44" color electronic viewfinder with 235,000 pixels.

Focusing in the Leica VLUX 1 is catered for with a 1, 3, or 9-point autofocus function with AF assist lamp. Exposure modes include sixteen scene modes, such as two unusual "Baby" modes that allow you to program a date of birth in each, and then have your images tagged with your children's current ages at the time a photo is taken. Exposure variables in the V-LUX 1 are determined using an intelligent multiple, center-weighted or spot metering system, and users can tweak the exposure with +/-2.0EV of exposure compensation, in 1/3EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 60 seconds - quite a bit longer than is common on many digicams - and the V-LUX 1 offers automatic or manual white balance control with five presets, and two custom white balance modes - letting you save white balance measurements for common situations for later recall. The Leica V-LUX 1 also includes a built-in five mode flash, with a range of up to seven meters at wide angle or 5.3 meters at telephoto, plus a hot shoe for external flash strobes.

The Leica V-LUX1 offers a higher than average movie resolution of 848 x 480 pixels, as well as lower-resolution 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixel options - all of which use the QuickTime MotionJPEG format common on most digicams. The V-LUX 1 draws power from a proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack, and records images on Secure Digital or MultiMedia cards, with a whopping 512MB Secure Digital card in the product bundle - other manufacturers could learn a thing or two from Leica about including a card that's actually useful to their customers. In addition, the VLUX1 supports the new SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) standard, which extends the maximum capacity to a theoretical 32GB (4GB cards being the largest available at the time of this writing, although 8GB cards should be available in the last quarter of 2006), with sustained transfer rates of up to six megabytes per second. There's also both USB2.0 Full (low) Speed computer connectivity - much slower than the High Speed connections on many cameras these days - and an NTSC / PAL switcheable video output to show your images on a TV, with the necessary cables included. Adobe Photoshop Elements rounds out the product bundle.

The Leica V-LUX 1 is priced at $800, some $150 above pricing for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-Z50.

Leica V-LUX 1
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type EVF
Manufacturer Leica
Model Number V-LUX 1
Dimensions 5.5 x 3.4 x 5.6"
140.8 x 85.5 x 142.0mm
Weight 735.0 g
25.7 oz
Planned Price $800.00
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/1.8" CCD
10.40 megapixels (total)
10.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 16:9
Image Dimensions 3648 x 2736 (10.0 megapixels)
3600 x 2400 (8.6 megapixels)
3584 x 2016 (7.2 megapixels)
3248 x 2160 (7.0 megapixels)
3072 x 1728 (5.3 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
2560 x 1712 (4.4 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
2048 x 1360 (2.8 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 2.0 frames per second for 3 frames
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, 0.44" Color EVF (235K Pixels)
100% field of view
LCD 2.0", 207,000 pixels
100% field of view
Playback Zoom 16.0x max
Lens
Lens Type LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT
12x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 7.4 - 88.8mm (actual)
35 - 420mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range Wide: F2.8 - F11; Tele:F3.7 - F11
Focusing System 1-point, 1-point high speed, 3-point high speed, 9-point, Spot with AF assist lamp
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing Range Normal: 12" - infinity (30 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.0" - infinity (5.0 cm - infinity)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200* (high sensitivity mode)
Shutter Speed 60 - 1/2000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes Intelligent Multiple, Center Weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, Flash, White Set 1, White Set 2, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced Off
Range: Wide: 0.3 - 7.0m; Tele: 0.3 - 5.2m
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Creative
Scene Modes Portrait, Sports, Night Scenery, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Self Portrait, Food, High Sensitivity, Baby1, Baby2, Soft Skin, Candle, Starry Sky, Scenery
Digital Zoom 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format QuickTime Motion JPEG with audio
848x480 and 640x480
Max. frame-rate: 30 frames per second
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC, SDHC
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format CCD-RAW, Raw, JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 Full (LOW) Speed
Other DC In
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary
Product Bundle
Software Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 (PC) / 3.0 (Mac), Quicktime Movie Player
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 512.0MB Secure Digital Card
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
More Photos
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 1 digital camera. Courtesy of Leica, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Original Source Press Release:

Universal and high-performance: LEICA V-LUX1 compact digital camera with extreme focal length range for ambitious photographers

Leica Camera is introducing the new LEICA V-LUX 1 at Photokina in Cologne (September 26, 2006 to October 1, 2006). The LEICA V-LUX 1 is a digital compact camera which combines high-performance optics and outstanding picture quality in a compact camera body. The camera offers 10 million pixels and a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 1:2.8-3.7/35-420 mm ASPH lens, thus commanding universal capability for the small picture system. From spacious landscape shots, filigree macro close-up shots through to photos of far distant objects in super telephoto mode, the lens with its 12 times zoom creates outstanding picture results in all photographic situations. The integral picture stabilizer gives the user additional protection against camera shake, even under difficult lighting conditions. The LEICA V-LUX 1 has a tilting 2.0” TFT display for optimum picture checking. Thus the photographer is assured of secure control even in difficult situations for photography and gains additional possibilities for picture composition by means of unusual camera perspectives. A variety of manual settings, including a diverse subject program for many photographic situations, round out the creative composition possibilities of the LEICA V-LUX 1.

“The LEICA V-LUX 1 is a real all-rounder for every photographic situation. The camera combines the best features of two different digital camera systems: the capabilities of a mirror reflex camera with the handy size of a compact camera. This makes the LEICA V-LUX 1 a compact all-in-one solution, which loses nothing in picture quality comparison with a digital mirror reflex camera and is superior to it in handiness. The large range of focal lengths offered by the LEICA V-LUX 1 means that complicated lens changing is eliminated. The camera is thus both flexible and quickly ready for use, the risk of dirt of the sensor is avoided and the scope of photographic equipment is concentrated into a compact and light-weight digital camera“ says Marius Eschweiler, Product Manager for digital compact cameras at Leica Camera.

The high-performance LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 1:2.8-3.7/35-420 mm ASPH zoom lens comprises 14 lenses in 10 groups. With a maximum aperture of 2.8 and the particularly large range of focal lengths, the LEICA V-LUX 1 offers versatile picture composition possibilities for brilliant photos with true-to-life colors. The focussing and zoom ring on the lens is easy to use and permits concentration to be devoted to the subject. The optics are individually matched to the camera sensor. Together with the electronics and the software they enable pictures with natural color reproduction, excellent sharpness and high brilliance. In relation to color matching, contrast and picture definition, Leica Camera has developed its own profile. This is oriented to the picture characteristics that are well known to Leica System Camera customers from their use in combination with professional film materials and specialist development laboratories.

The 2.0“ large camera display of the LEICA V-LUX 1 has a resolution of 207,000 pixels, enabling it to generate an exceptionally brilliant picture, allowing the photographer to make a reliable and exact assessment of the picture composition both when taking the photo and when reviewing it. An additional feature for checking the picture in particularly difficult situations – such as when photographing above your head – is the tiltable TFT display, which can be set to almost any angle. In addition, it creates further possibilities for picture composition by unusual camera perspectives, such as a worm’s-eye view. To reduce the load on the rechargeable battery, the display can also be switched to a darker low-energy mode, without having to sacrifice the outstanding picture quality.

Further security for a successful picture is derived from the integral protection against camera shake (O.I.S.), which can be switched on and off at any time. This reliably protects against camera shake in all photographic situations, since small movements of the hand are systematically compensated. Whether at twilight, during indoor shots, for snapshots or in zoom operation – the result is always a sharp picture without the need for a tripod.

The picture signal processor used in the LEICA V-LUX 1 ensures quick picture signal processing and saving within the camera. This allows the LEICA V-LUX 1 to be used quickly, reliably and spontaneously at any moment. The LEICA V-LUX 1 with its wide range of technical features is ideally suited to photographing the world of nature. In super-tele mode its magnification is equivalent to 10 power binoculars. The optical picture stabilization gives shake-free pictures of the natural world even in poor lighting and extreme conditions. This combined with the quick response time of the shutter are just what are required for a spontaneous picture. The camera is thus an ideal addition to the equipment of naturalists and birdwatchers.

The LEICA V-LUX 1 is supplied with a 512 MB SD card, a battery charger, a powerful rechargeable battery and a comprehensive software package (Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 (PC)/3.0 (Mac), Quicktime Movie Player). Further accessories available include a mains adapter (for direct power supply to the camera from the mains), a spare rechargeable battery and two types of high-quality camera case. The sporty Cordura case is particularly hard-wearing, while the newly developed neoprene case is both practical and purpose-designed. Both camera cases securely protect the products against damage.

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