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Leica's V-LUX 20 digital camera. Photo provided by Leica Camera AG. Leica V-LUX 20: Rebranded ZS7 ships this month (UPDATED)
(Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 22:53 EDT)

German photographic icon Leica Camera AG has today announced its latest digital camera model, the Leica V-LUX 20.

As with certain of the company's past models, the Leica VLUX 20 is a fairly straightforward rebadging of a Panasonic model, the Lumix ZS7. The two cameras share a nearly identical body, with the sole differences being the removal of a silver trim piece from the ZS7's handgrip, the addition of a slight protrusion at the top of the V-LUX 20's handgrip on which to place the Leica badge, and a switch from a silver ring around the base of the lens barrel in the DMC-ZS7 to a black ring in the VLUX 20.

In terms of specifications, the story is much the same. The vast majority of the V-LUX20's specifications are identical to that of the Panasonic ZS7, with the only differences we could spot being in the movie and scene modes. The Leica V-LUX20 changes the encoding method for its high-def 1,280 x 720 pixel movie mode to the less efficient QuickTime MotionJPEG format, where the ZS7 could capture AVCHD high-def movies. (Both cameras offer only Motion JPEG compression at lower resolutions). The VLUX20 also looks to have dropped the underwater scene mode that's offered in the Panasonic ZS7, for use with that camera's optional underwater housing.

There's also a new battery model number -- the Leica BP-DC 7 -- although this is almost certainly identical in form to the Panasonic DMW-BCG10 from its close kin. We don't currently know if Leica has retained the ID Security function from Panasonic's variant of the camera and battery, nor whether the Leica and Panasonic batteries would be compatible with the other brand's cameras if this is the case. (Panasonic's ID Security function is intended to prevent use of third-party or counterfeit batteries in the company's products, although we've seen reports lately of third parties offering batteries for sale that supposedly work despite the ID Security function.)

Pricing for the Leica V-LUX 20 has not been announced in the US market, but we understand that the camera will have a pricetag of around £495 in the United Kingdom market, significantly higher than the £349 pricetag for the Panasonic ZS7 in that market. An optional extra leather case costs a further £70 in the UK. The Leica V-LUX 20 is expected to ship in the US market later this month. For more details, read our Leica V-LUX 20 preview.

15.0MB built-in memory
Leica V-LUX 20
Leica's V-LUX 20 digital camera. Photo provided by Leica Camera AG. Click for a bigger picture!
Model NumberNorth America: V-LUX 20
Dimensions4.1 x 2.4 x 1.3 in.
(103 x 62 x 33 mm)
Weight7.7 oz (218 g)
Image Capture
Sensor TypeCCD
1/2.33" (approx. 0.43 in. diagonal)
14.50 megapixels (total)
12.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Aspect Ratio4:3, 16:9
Image Dimensions4000 x 3000 (12.0 megapixels)
4176 x 2784 (11.6 megapixels)
4320 x 2432 (10.5 megapixels)
3264 x 2448 (8.0 megapixels)
3392 x 2264 (7.7 megapixels)
3552 x 2000 (7.1 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
2656 x 1768 (4.7 megapixels)
2784 x 1568 (4.4 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
2048 x 1360 (2.8 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
640 x 424 (0.3 megapixels)
640 x 360 (0.2 megapixels)
Image Quality2 levels
Image Preview / Review
LCD3.0 in. diagonal
460,800 dots (153,600 pixels)
Playback Zoom16.0x max
Lens TypeLeica DC Vario-Elmar, 10 elements in 8 groups w/ 3 aspherical surfaces
12x optical zoom
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length4.1 - 49.2mm (actual)
25 - 300mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Rangef/3.3 - 6.3 (wide) / f/4.9 - 6.3 (tele)
Focusing SystemContrast Detect: Face, AF Tracking, 11pt, 1pt HS, 1pt, Spot
Has AF assist lamp
Focusing RangeNormal: 20" - infinity (50 cm - infinity)
Macro: 1.2" - 82" (3 cm - 200 cm)
ISO SensitivityAuto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, High Sensitivity (1600 - 6400)
Shutter Speed60 - 1/2000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering ModesMulti-Field, Center Weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten, White Set
Internal FlashModes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Range: Wide: 0.6 - 5.3m; Tele: 1.0 - 3.6m at ISO Auto
Scene ModesPortrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High sensitivity, Hi-Speed Burst, Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial, Pinhole, Film Grain, High Dynamic x 3, Photo Frame, Panorama
Digital ZoomUp to 4x
Self TimerYes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie FormatQuickTime MotionJPEG with audio
Recording MediumSD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File SystemComplies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File FormatJPEG (EXIF 2.21)
VideoHigh definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherDC Input, Viera Link, Mini HDMI
Battery Type3.6v 895mAh lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary Leica BP-DC 7
Product Bundle
SoftwarePHOTOfunSTUDIO v5.1 HD Edition
Battery / Charger1 x Leica BP-DC 7 lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Tripod MountYes
Remote ControlNo
NotesBuilt-in GPS tags images with latitude and longitude. Can also display Country/Region, State/Province/County, City/Town, or Landmark, Reception frequency: 1575.42 MHz (C/A code), Geographical coordinate system: WGS84
More Photos
Leica's V-LUX 20 digital camera. Photo provided by Leica Camera AG. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 20 digital camera. Photo provided by Leica Camera AG. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 20 digital camera. Photo provided by Leica Camera AG. Click for a bigger picture!
Leica's V-LUX 20 digital camera. Photo provided by Leica Camera AG. Click for a bigger picture!

UPDATED 2010-04-22 11:08ET: We've now received pricing information from Leica for the US market. The V-LUX 20 will cost US$699, and the leather case will be priced at $175. By comparison, Panasonic's ZS& has an SRP price of $399.95.

Original Source Press Release:


The universal compact camera for outstanding pictures – from wide to telephoto

Solms, Germany (April 20, 2010) - Leica Camera AG presents a new, 12.1 megapixel digital compact camera: the LEICA V-LUX 20. Equipped with a high performance DC-VARIO ELMAR lens, innovative GPS tagging, optional HD movie recording and various automated functions, the V-LUX 20 is a truly universal camera, capable of capturing all moments of life.

The V-LUX 20’s LEICA DC-VARIO-ELMAR 4.1–49.2 mm f/3.3–4.9 ASPH. zoom lens offers a range of focal lengths of 25–300 mm in 35-mm format, making it the ideal camera for almost any photographic environment. Whether shooting expansive landscapes, finely detailed macro studies at short distances or shots of distant objects with a super-telephoto setting, its 12x zoom captures them all in images of breathtaking quality. Integrated image stabilization helps photographers in every shooting situation and also prevents fuzzy pictures caused by camera shake or difficult lighting conditions.

“High-performance optics, compact size and simple, intuitive handling: these are the trademarks of the V-LUX 20. It is the ideal tool for effortless photography and can be utilized by the whole family – for everyday shooting, special occasions or when traveling,” says Peter Kruschewski, Product Manager Digital Compact Cameras at Leica Camera AG. “At the same time, the manual setting options of the V-LUX 20 offer more ambitious photographers absolute creative control over their pictures.”

The LEICA V-LUX 20 is characterized by clear lines, ergonomic design and evidently positioned controls. Its straightforward handling is further enhanced by a whole range of automatic functions. For the more knowledgeable photographer, manual setting options for shutter speed and aperture provide all the creative freedom necessary for image control. A selector dial on the top deck of the camera allows fast and simple selection of a wide range of settings.

The generously dimensioned, three-inch monitor of the V-LUX 20 has a large 3 inch TFT display with a resolution of 460,000 pixels, offering an extremely bright and sharp view. It is a reliable and precise tool for the assessment of image composition and framing before shooting, as well as for quality control of captured shots.

As the first Leica digital camera to feature GPS tagging, the Leica V-LUX 20 allows photographers to record not only the geographical coordinates of the location in the Exif data of the image files, but also the local time for every shot. An extremely useful aid for archiving pictures, the GPS tagging function prevents all travelers from ever forgetting where their pictures were taken. All images posted on social networks, image portals and map sites such as Google Maps or Google Earth reveal exactly when and where they were shot.* When abroad, the V-LUX 20 can also display local sights and interesting places. This feature offers a total of 500,000 so-called ‘points of interest’ in 73 different countries.

In addition to featuring GPS tagging, the V-LUX 20 is equipped with a movie function that enables the recording of moving pictures in HD quality. Together with the camera’s zoom function, smart automatic features such as face recognition, automatic scene modes and smart exposure are all available in movie mode, making the V-LUX 20 a superior movie-maker in a compact format.

The LEICA V-LUX 20 will be available at specialized Leica dealers from the end of April 2010. Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 is one of the standard features provided with V-LUX 20. A matching brown calfskin case for the camera is available as an optional accessory.

For additional information, please visit us.leica-camera.com.

* It is possible that GPS tagging may not function in the People’s Republic of China and neighbouring regions. Satellite signal reception may be impossible, depending on the location. In such cases, the positioning data may be recorded inaccurately or not at all.

About Leica Camera:
Leica represents a union of craftsmanship, technology and experience. It is at once an extension of art, knowledge and philosophy, providing a state-of-the-art optical experience in a precision, hand-made photographic instrument. Leica Camera has a simple mission: to provide users with an incomparable experience, an instrument that defines an unsurpassed heritage and sets a standard of excellence for the industry to meet.

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