My few days with the very fun Leica C Camera by Steve Huff

My few days with the very fun Leica C Camera

By Steve Huff

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A couple of months back I had the opportunity to try out the Leica C for a few days. Usually, I am not a BIG fan of small P&S cameras as they always lack something in regards to image quality. For me, I would normally rather take out a camera that is slightly larger as there are many that will give me much better performance, then again, sometimes we want to go SMALL, and the Leica C is a very attractive came that also happens to perform very well for a small and tiny P&S. It even has an integrated EVF (though not to the level of the Sony RX100 III, which my review IS coming soon).

The Leica C is basically a Panasonic LF1 with a new facelift and design on the outer shell. The Leica has some snazzy accessories available for it as well where the Panasonic is sort of “plain jane” when it comes to appearances. If you want to stick out in a crowd and say “look at my beautiful camera” the Leica would be the one to get over the Panasonic, which to my eye is sort of plain and dull looking. We all know that the looks of a camera do not make the images, YOU DO and the cameras guts, or internals, is what pumps out the files for you. IN that regard, the two cameras are the same. Period.

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The LF1 comes in at $319. A very good price for this camera as I found it to be quick, stealthy, quiet and with very nice image quality for a small sensor P&S camera/

The Leica C comes in at $699, NEARLY $400 MORE. So what do you get for that $400? For starters you get Adobe Lightroom software, a better warranty and the Leica design. For some, this is worth it as many “want” a Leica. While not a “real” Leica, it does have the red dot which tells everyone else who has no clue about the details, that yes, this is a Leica.

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The good thing is that it does look like a Leica camera, and if that inspires you to get out and shoot more, then yes, it could be worth it. Just remember though that the Panasonic is $380 less, and is in reality, the same camera besides for the outer design.

With that out-of-the-way, this is not going to be a “review” but my thoughts on the camera after a few days of real world use while on vacation a while back.

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The Leica C is beautiful to look at and hold. It is small but felt nice in my hand. I found it to be quick, snappy, and with a nice menu layout. The EVF was a but on the almost too small side but would do in a pinch. For 90% of shots I used the LCD. The LCD does not swivel, so that was one thing I missed but for a small P&S, this was a little firecracker and while not up to the level of the $798 Sony RX100 III, it had its moments.

I enjoyed shooting this camera in high contrast B&W, which is where it did really well for OOC images. I also found the OOC JPEGS to be crisp with great color. Probably my 2nd fave P&S camera ever, next to the new Sony RX100 III which is the smarter buy at about $100 more, but then again, the Sony doesn’t have the red dot!

Below are a few images I snapped with the Leica C. I had fun with it, and for me that is key. If I can have fun with a camera instead of having frustration, then it goes on my list of “must think about” cameras. The Leica C is not a low light type of camera but it is an every day, take everywhere camera.

You can buy it from Ken Hansen, PopFlash, The Pro Shop, B&H Photo or Amazon! It also comes in a cool dark black or a nice white. There are also deals to be had and you should not have to pay retail on this guy. For example, Amazon has them for $590 right now, using Prime. 

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18 Comments

  1. Help, pls. Twice now I have taken numerous shots w my Leica C and then they don’t seem to “be on” the camera. When I download w the wifi to iPhone only about the first 10 appear. I have not gotten any card/memory full notification, the camera seemed to take these numerous photos, battery is fully charged. Where are these photos going??? Any assistance greatly appreciated!

  2. Steve i have a question about this camera…I bought it & love it. When I look at my shots I took using its Creative Control feature, the effects are lost once the file goes to iPhoto or LR. Where can I develop these as they were shot? It’s like the programs “auto-correct” the special effect out. I’ve changed every setting I know in LR.
    Maybe this isn’t the right place to ask but if you can help I’d so appreciate
    Angela

  3. Hi Im a Ricoh grd 3 user, and wondering where this leica comes in the scale of things. Any ideas?

    Thanks Steve love the blogs, better than all the other rubbish review sites out there, When ever I look at getting a camera I always look to see if you have had it through your hands.

    Cheers
    Graham

  4. Steve, you forgot ‘macro shot’ and testing its super zoom capabilities using this small Leica, also I wonder which one has better IQ, Dlux6 or Leica C? thanks

    • That is because this was not a review and I only shot with it/had it for a couple of days. I had the images sitting here for a while and was not going to write anything since I did not get to review it, but figured I would at least write something about it.AS far as best IQ between what you mention, probably the D-Lux 6 but they are close.

    • It has a fantastic zoom macro mode and the night scene mode is also very good for higher ISO shots. 4 custom settings is helpful too (C1 and C2a,b,c).

  5. What happened to the Leica T? There has been no word on it at all since the initial review. Safe to say its a flop?

    • The T is selling well, sold out at most places that I have seen (BH, Amazon, etc). It is a fantastic camera, and in no way a flop, at all. It’s quite popular and I know more than a few who sold their M’s to keep the T.

      • Thanks for the update.. I have been wondering because I haven’t heard anything about it but theres really no where to ask about it. I really wanted to go for the T but the older sensor technology combined with the Leica price tag made it impossible to justify for me. Was looking for something compact that I could shoot concert photos and other low light stuff and unfortunately the T just wasn’t it. Hoping it does well enough that they will come out with another body with a newer sensor for better low light performance.

  6. Until the RX100mkIII came out, this (and the LF1) was the only *truly* pocketable camera with an EVF. The quality of images is decent and the 200mm-equivalent focal length on the long end is great!

    It doesn’t replace my rangefinder but I can carry it with me all the time…got one for me and my wife. 🙂

  7. Thanks, Steve. I’ve had these images up full screen and the quality is amazing – looks every bit as good as my D-Lux 4, which continues to delight me. But if I decide to get Lightroom, perhaps I’d better take the camera, too!

  8. Hi Steve. I bought the C for my wife a few months ago and she/we love it. The colors are just stunning and it’s really easy to operate. We’ve also used the video to capture our new puppy and it’s just great.
    Overall, the camera won’t replace my M240 but it’s small enough to carry all the time, has great ergonomics, and the images are super.
    Bottom line: I’m very happy with this baby!! 🙂
    Cheers,
    Bob

    • I have the LF1 and it is a great little P & S. Image quality is just good enough (ie; pretty good or as good as most other 1/17″ sensor compacts) but Panasonic have always had slightly sickly colours as in some of Steve’s images. Certainly would not take the Leica version over the Sony RX100iii (although including Lightroom sweetens the deal).

  9. Steve, surely you should rebrand your comments as Carl Zeiss and Sony for $100 more than a Panasonic with a red dot on it! Oh and clearly a worthy deserving reli’ with a degree or two and lots of fun deserves a mention (Brandon maybe you can fill in the gaps!). Love the blogs.

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