Leica variants of Panasonic’s large-sensor, fixed-zoom cameras debut at Photokina


posted Monday, September 22, 2014 at 4:08 PM EST


As we continue to dig our way out from under the last of the camera announcements from the Photokina tradeshow, we've just published our previews of the Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) and Leica V-Lux (Typ 114). These two fixed-lens cameras are the first in the D-Lux and V-Lux series to move to Leica's somewhat clumsy new naming schema which aims to emphasize the series name over the individual camera model, but that's far from the only reason they're interesting.

Leica's D-Lux and V-Lux model lines have long consisted of rebadged, fixed-zoom cameras from partner company Panasonic, with modest tweaks to the physical styling, firmware and software bundle. Until now, though, no D-Lux or V-Lux camera has borne a sensor as large as these. The V-Lux is based around Panasonic's 1"-type sensor, a size also used by the Sony Cyber-shot RX100-series, the Canon G7X, Nikon's 1-series compact system cameras, and the Samsung NX Mini. The new D-Lux, meanwhile, is based around a 4/3"-type sensor. That should mean better image quality in low-light and at high sensitivities, as well as better prospects for depth-of-field blur than with Leica's earlier small-sensor, fixed-zoom compacts.

The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109).

For our money, the Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is the most interesting of the new pair, because it comes very much hot on the heels of the Panasonic version, which was announced just days earlier. Typically, Leica's variants have shown up well after those from Panasonic have already hit the market, but this time around it will be just a short month between the release of the Panasonic LX100 -- on which this camera is based -- and the Leica equivalent. Yes, there's likely still going to be a big price advantage for the Panasonic, but if that red dot and the inclusion of Adobe Lightroom in the product bundle sway you towards spending the extra for Leica's first large-sensor, fixed-zoom compact, you won't have to wait too long to do so. You can find all the details in our Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) preview.

The Leica V-Lux (Typ 114).

The Leica V-Lux (Typ 114), meanwhile, is more par for the course in this respect. The camera on which it is based is the Panasonic FZ1000, which has been available since late July, but the Leica equivalent won't ship until this October. When it does, though, it will offer the same heady mix of a relatively large image sensor and bright, long-zoom lens as in that camera, putting it head-to-head with the Sony RX10. (And in the process, making Leica only the third entry in the fast-expanding large-sensor, long-zoom camera market. Read more on this model in our Leica V-Lux (Typ 114) preview.