Stop wasting light! Leica V-LUX 4 megazoom has constant f/2.8 aperture


posted Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 2:01 AM EDT


For quite a few years now, Germany's Leica Camera AG and Japan's Panasonic have had a partnership in the consumer camera market. Leica supplies its know-how regarding the lenses, while Panasonic provides the brains of the camera behind the lens. The cameras appear first under Panasonic's Lumix compact camera brand, and arrive some months later with a Leica badge and some subtle differences.

The Leica V-LUX 4 is the latest example of the tradition, providing much the same feature set as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200, but catering to photographers who prefer Leica's tweaks to the design, which are largely related to body styling, firmware, and the choice of bundled software. The hardware is essentially the same, and that includes the Leica DC Vario-Elmarit branded lens on the camera's front.

The Leica V-LUX 4 has zoom. Lots of it. Not to mention a constant f/2.8 aperture. Wow!

That's great news, because it's a heck of a lens. Despite a generous 24x optical zoom range encompassing everything from a healthy 25mm-equivalent wide angle to a man-that's-close 600mm-equivalent telephoto, it has a constant maximum aperture. And it's not a dim one, either. Regardless of focal length, you can open the lens up to f/2.8!

Leica will ship the V-LUX 4 in the US market from November 2012. Pricing hadn't been disclosed at press time. Excited by the prospect of a brand-new, constant-aperture megazoom camera with the legendary red dot on the front? Read our Leica V-LUX 4 preview!

Leica V-LUX 4
Camera Type EVF
Manufacturer North America: V-LUX 4
Dimensions 4.9 x 3.4 x 4.3 in.
(125 x 87 x 110 mm)
Weight 20.8 oz (590 g)
Planned Availability November 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type Panasonic CMOS
1/2.3" (approx. 0.43 in. diagonal)
12.80 megapixels (total)
12.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3
Image Dimensions 4000 x 3000 (12.0 megapixels)
3264 x 2448 (8.0 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
4000 x 2672 (10.7 megapixels)
3264 x 2176 (7.1 megapixels)
2560 x 1712 (4.4 megapixels)
2048 x 1360 (2.8 megapixels)
640 x 424 (0.3 megapixels)
4000 x 2248 (9.0 megapixels)
3264 x 1840 (6.0 megapixels)
2560 x 1440 (3.7 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
640 x 360 (0.2 megapixels)
Image Quality 2 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, EVF type; 0.21" Color LCD (1,312K-dots eq.), Field of View: approx. 100%, Lens 18.4x
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal, 460,000 dots
Playback Zoom 16.0
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 4.5 - 108.0mm (actual)
25 - 600mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.8 (wide/tele) - f/8.0; Multistage Iris Diaphragm
Focusing System Contrast Detect: Face / AF Tracking / Multi (23 pt) / 1 pt (Flexible / Scalable)
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing Range Normal: 12" - infinity (30 cm - infinity)
Macro: 0.4" - 4,082" (1 cm - 10,000 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, iISO, High Sensitivity (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400* (* Extended ISO)
Shutter Speed 60 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Program, Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes Intelligent Multiple, Center-Weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Flash, Incandescent, Color Temperature (2-axis adjustable), White Set 1, White Set 2
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Auto/Red- eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red- eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red- eye Reduction, Forced Off; Flash Synchro; 1st / 2nd
Range: 0.3 - 13.5m (Wide/ISO Auto), 1.0 - 13.5m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- EV
Scene Modes Scene: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Sports, Panning, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, HDR, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through, 3D photo; Creative Control: Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Star Filter, One Point Color
Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2, 10, 3 shots in 10 seconds
Movie Format AVCHD or MP4 with stereo sound with audio
Max. clip length: 4,800 seconds (1920x1080)
Movie Resolution / Frame Rate 1920x1080 @ 60p/60i/30p, 1280x720 @ 60p/30p, 640x480 @ 30p, 1280x720 @ 120p, 640x480 @ 240p
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format RAW, RAW+JPEG, JPEG (EXIF 2.3), MPO (3D)
Other Mini-HDMI, Microphone Jack
Battery Type 7.2v 1200mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary
Product Bundle
Software Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 70.0MB Internal
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control Yes, Optional wired
Waterproof No
Notes Leica-branded version of Panasonic FZ200.