Leica D-LUX 5: New firmware follows in footsteps of Panasonic LX5


posted Friday, December 16, 2011 at 8:46 PM EDT

Leica's logo. Click here to visit the Leica website!Leica Camera AG has today released updated firmware for its D-LUX 5 and D-LUX 5 Titanium digital cameras, following in the footsteps of that released by partner company Panasonic for its LX5 digital camera a little over three months ago.

Firmware v2.0 for the D-LUX 5 looks to exactly mirror that for the DMC-LX5, making a number of changes to add new features and improve performance. There's a new Miniature Effect function in the D-LUX 5's My Colour mode, which adds either a horizontal or vertical graduated blur effect to images. The position around which the image is blurred can be adjusted, and the area of the unblurred area can be adjusted in three steps, much as seen in recent Panasonic cameras with this mode.

The maximum limit on manual exposure shutter speeds has been expanded greatly. Previously limited to 60 seconds, this now allows exposures with a preset length of 80, 100, 125, 160, 200, or 250 seconds. During exposure, the motion picture button acts to cancel the existing long exposure. At the same time, a High ISO Noise Reduction option has been added to the Record menu, which allows noise processing to be enabled or disabled for exposures shot at ISO 1,600 or ISO 3,200.

The D-LUX 5 now also offers Active Mode image stabilization during video capture, which takes advantage of the lower resolution of even high-def video when compared to stills, and thus allows a greater corrective effect. In addition, Leica has added a new Monitor / Viewfinder function under the setup menu, which allows fine-tuning of brightness, color, and red/blue tint for either the LCD monitor or the optional external electronic viewfinder accessory.

There are also three slight tweaks to operation that should make the D-LUX 5 a rather more pleasant camera in use. The camera now remembers the AF point size and location previously set when in spot AF mode, and will also retain an AF/AE lock across multiple shots in a series, if you don't release the shutter button after each individual shot. Finally, when using one-shot AF, the D-LUX 5 will now automatically bring up the MF Assist screen to aid with manual focus fine-tuning.

When Panasonic released the firmware for its own camera last September, it also noted that it had improved autofocus and auto white balance performance, although Leica doesn't state this. However, given that the two cameras and their firmware updates are so closely related, it seems likely that there are also improvements in these areas. More details can be found on the Leica website.