Leica Digilux 3 Review

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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Leica Digilux 3
Resolution: 7.50 Megapixels
Sensor size: 4/3
(17.3mm x 13.0mm)
Kit Lens: 3.57x zoom
(28-100mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Optical / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 1600
Extended ISO: 100 - 1600
Shutter: 1/4000 - 60 sec
Max Aperture: 2.8 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.7 x 3.4 x 3.1 in.
(146 x 87 x 80 mm)
Weight: 18.7 oz (530 g)
MSRP: $2,500
Availability: TBD
Manufacturer: Leica
Full specs: Leica Digilux 3 specifications

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Four Thirds 4/3
size sensor
image of Leica Digilux 3
Front side of Leica Digilux 3 digital camera Front side of Leica Digilux 3 digital camera Front side of Leica Digilux 3 digital camera Front side of Leica Digilux 3 digital camera Front side of Leica Digilux 3 digital camera

Based on Panasonic's Lumix DMC-L1, the Leica Digilux 3 is the company's first digital SLR offering, compatible with Olympus' Four Thirds lens mount standard. The Digilux 3 is quite an interesting SLR with a traditional - perhaps retro - styling aesthetic that the company says is the work of Berlin designer Professor Achim Heine. It is based around the same 7.5 effective megapixel Live MOS image sensor that first debuted in Olympus' EVOLT E-330 digital SLR, along with the mirror box unit from that camera (which combines a quick-return mirror, viewfinder, and AE sensor). Olympus' Supersonic Wave Filter is also included, making the Digilux 3 the second non-Olympus branded camera to include the feature which ensures dust will not be bothering L1 users.

The Digilux 3 has a shutter speed dial on the top of the body, and a bundled Leica 14-50mm lens offers rings to control aperture, focus and lens zoom. As with the EVOLT E-330 and DMC-L1, the Digilux 3 offers a Live View function that allows images to be framed using the LCD display, regardless of whether you're focusing automatically or manually. In addition, you can use the LCD display as a handy confirmation of focus via an enlarged view when focusing manually. The Digilux 3 offers a 2.5" LCD display with 207,000 pixels, at the high end of what's available on digital SLRs at the current time.

One other feature worthy of note is that the Digilux 3 offers a Secure Digital card slot, and is compatible with the FAT32 file system - meaning that Secure Digital cards larger than 2GB will be able to be supported. In addition, the Leica Digilux 3 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.

The Digilux 3 has a shooting speed of three frames per second for 6 Raw or unlimited JPEG frames. Focusing uses 3-point phase difference detection, and ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 - 1600. Shutter speeds range from 60 - 1/4000 second, plus bulb exposures to eight minutes. Metering choices are multi, center-weighted or spot, with the multi mode offering 49 segments when using the optical viewfinder, and 256 segments in live view mode. Connectivity includes both USB 2.0 High Speed plus NTSC / PAL video.

The Leica Digilux 3 is priced at $2500, with the price including a LEICA D VARIO–ELMARIT 2.8-3.5 / 14 - 50 mm mm ASPH lens equivalent to 28 - 100 on a 35mm camera. By way of comparison, Panasonic's variant sells with the same lens for $2000.


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