The Leica D-Lux 5 Arrives! Review next week!

The Leica D-Lux 5 Arrives – Review TUESDAY September 28th!

Hey guys! Just got my paws on a Leica D-Lux 5! Leica sent me one to review and it arrived yesterday. I will be doing my full review on this camera by next week and have been shooting it non stop since yesterday. First impressions? Looks just like the D-Lux 4, but has some improvements in the body (scroll wheel being one of them) and the IQ has been phenomenal so far. Seems like it has been refined. For a small sensor, I am very happy with what I have been seeing. VERY HAPPY.  Many of you know my favorite compact small sensor camera ever has always been the D-Lux 4/Panasonic LX3. Will the D-Lux 5 take the crown? Find out in my upcoming review…until then, a couple of first sample snaps 🙂 Of course you can get this camera $200 cheaper and right now if you want the LX5 from Panasonic 🙂

The D-Lux 5 with all of its specs, details, and more will be in my full review next week. I will also have a video overview and plenty of images (even full size out of camera downloads). This will be a hot camera for Leica, no doubt. I WILL buy one.

I also have the EVF for the camera and its a nice addition though its not as nice as the Olympus EVF for the E-P2. I will also talk about and show the EVF in the upcoming video. Stay tuned….

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  1. …Because I feel like it and want to purchase from a small german niche company. Go on and get excited on all your rationalism! Enjoy

      • I guess it is in a way, but I like to buy my film cameras new if I can, as I like to support the companies who support me as a film shooter. Similarly I buy film brand new, not out of date stuff on eBay.

        It’s a two way street, if we want companies to make what we want them to make, we’ve got to go out and buy their stuff.

        • And do we really want Leica to sell Panasonic cams to us with a huge margin? Buying something is a positive message/feedback to the manufacturer. Do we really want to send this message?
          If they wanted to make big money, they should develop and sell a Digital CL (in contribution with Panasonic if necessary) with EVF and FF sensor, M mount, at 3-4000USD. That would be a hot seller.

          I hope they won’t sell too much D-Lux, I hope they will understand what their customers really want.

          • Without the panasonic cooperation leica would have been dead already. And the sold panaleica cameras have financed any digital m adventure. It is amazing how little understaning people have of leicas size and resources. But go on living in la la land and convince yourself how smart you are understanding the (non-existing…) difference between a leica and a panasonic digital pocket camera! Good night

    • Two extra years of warranty, and better resale value. Also, the LX5 has a grip, and the D-Lux doesn’t. Other than that, who knows? It depends on what you like to hold, and if you sell your gear years later, what the resale value would be. Either camera is lovely though, if that’s what you’re looking for. I love my D-Lux 4, and if the D-Lux 5 was a huge leap in quality, I’d get that too, but it isn’t.

  2. The Leica D-LUX 4/5 Panasonic re-badged cameras obviously have a market. Although I personally would not by one, I have been asked by a few friends about getting it. Each time I told them to get the LX and gave them all the reasons. Both occasions I’ve done so, they agreed and said they will get the LX only to find they’ve always walked out of the store the D-Lux “just cause”.

    • Also, now that there are 4/3 cameras, the IQ on them is better. Maybe not as compact, but still…

      I have the D-Lux 4 and I don’t see much of an improvement over the D-Lux 5 to make it worth my while to upgrade. I do think that if someone had to have a small compact, it should be the LX 5, D-Lux 5, a left over D-Lux 4 or the Canon S95. Either one of those would be nice. Compact being key here. Even so, there are smaller cameras, but the IQ may not be as nice, and the smallest compact may not have RAW. If that doesn’t matter…

      • Regarding the compactness of cameras with much bigger sensor, the NEX5 is 111 x 59 x 38, compared to 110 X 65 X 25 for the LX-5 (probably the same size for the D-Lux5). Now you still have to attach a lens to the Nex5, but because of the grip counting in the 38 mm thickness, adding the pancake lens adds only a bit more to that. I would rather consider the fact that you get a camera with an APSC sensor (which is already much bigger than a m4/3) displaying 3.9 MP/cm2, compared to 24 MP/cm2 for the D-Lux/LX, which is not really a compact camera. Furthermore, the GF2 (m4/3) that will be announced early in 2011 is supposed to be smaller than the NEX and already has two pancake lenses available, including the praised 20mm f1.7 (40 mm equivalent), and a lens road proposing the addition of bright wide lenses.

        It should be kept in mind that the IQ quality of the LX series is based on comparisons with point and shoot camera with a slightly smaller sensor.

        • At this point, I’d prefer, if I were now buying, a slightly bigger camera with the better IQ, than the D-Lux LX series. But since I have the D-Lux 4, I happily shoot with that. I also shoot with a Canon Sd800, which doesn’t shoot RAW, but it’s quite compact. It’s considered older technology now. I use a Canon G9, also older, but it takes nice RAW shots. The Canon S95 looks like a nice compromise for size and quality, but I read a review by someone who owns both and they like the files of the D-Lux, LX better. I think it’s a matter of what you will be willing to carry. As I get older, I want to carry smaller cameras, but not too small that I give up on quality. I still think my Olympus Stylus film camera would blow away all of the compacts! LOL!

  3. Steve, this will be a very exciting review……looking forward. Will be great a future comparison with the new Coolpix P 7000 …… Another cool intro.

  4. Steve, your site just keeps getting better and better. Are you shooting manual with the the D-Lux 5 or auto?
    Thanks and keep up the great work .

    • Thanks man! I have been shooting in Aperture Priority mode. Love the new wheel on the back that makes it easy to change aperture. Also, IQ seems improved over the 4 as does high ISO. Lens has a longer reach and the camera feels really good. The EVF – Im not so hot on it as it is very low res and small but the images coming out of the camera are nice, and it is very versatile as well with its Macro capabilities. SO far, so good.

  5. I must say that I was about to buy a LX5 (because I have a GF1 and the EVF fits on the LX5) but changed my mind after borrowing a LX3 from a friend. I took pictures with the GF1 and the LX3 and was blown away by the difference in IQ. I guess it should have been expected because of the big difference in sensor size. However, I read so many good things about the LX3 or D-Lux4, and now the LX5-D-Lux5, that it was the best thing since sliced bread, that it convinced me that I could use one as a second body (I have a D90 but do not use it anymore). After comparing the same pictures taken with the GF1 and LX3, I was afraid that I might take interesting pictures with the LX3 and regret that I did not have taken them with the GF1 instead. Considering the difference in size between the two camera, I decided that it was worth carrying the GF1 and have really much better pictures.

    • I had the same thoughts. The IQ of the two sensors is obvious. So I’m keeping my lovely GF1 (along my M9 even if I admit that I use my Pany more often)…

    • I also have the D90 and I still use it. It produces some beautiful files. I’ve compared them the my M8.2 files and you can’t tell the difference until higher ISOs. The IQ is equal. At higher ISO, the D90 kills the Leica. The only difference I see is that the Leica’s lenses produce a certain “look” as opposed to some of my Nikon lenses. Once I put the 50mm f/1.8 lens on it though, it’s hard to see a difference. The D-Lux 4 produces some lovely files, but if you were to zoom in on them, they get noisy for sure. I do love the look of the files up until a certain size. I think they’d be fine up to either 8X10 or 11X14. I love the wide angle lens on it, and the different size ratios, especially the square 1:1 ratio. It’s a fun little camera, but can’t compete, (which it shouldn’t), against a M8.2, M9, 4/3 system, Nikon or Canon D-SLR. For what it is, it’s pretty good though. But, I think it’s time has past now that there are better cameras with better IQ out there. It’s almost like going back in technology. Still, some people will love it for what it is and could care less about IQ, RAW, or JPEG, and just want to take family pics.

      • Your comments make me reconsider the use of the D90. I realize that the main reason why I stopped using it was the bulky 18-200 zoom. However, I bought the 20 mm f2.8 and use it on the D90 as a walk around camera for street photos. The pics are really better than with my GF1, but I am willing to sacrifice a bit of IQ for the portability of the GF1. I also like the fact that I look less visible in the street with the GF1. As I mentioned, I tried the LX3 but was not happy with the quality and decided that m4/3 was my limit.

        • Yeah, it’s all a matter of what you are willing to carry that day. Sometimes I carry the D90. I like carrying smaller cameras as I am older though. If I need the better IQ, I carry a Leica or D90. If I am just having fun, I carry the P&S. It’s always a compromise.

  6. Is the EVF part of the camera considering it’s already pretty expensive for a point and shoot? If not, is it true that this thing is the EVF we already know from the GF1? Is the Leica one more expensive even? Are they interchangeable maybe?

    Thanks in advance.

  7. Am still amazed about the reaction and following a rebadged and shamelessly overpriced Panasonic small sensor camera causes among adults. This one, definitely is not worth its
    price. Kind of reminds me to the Fiat 500 Ferrari Edition, which some kids might hope will work as a chicks magnet.

    • Which makes me wonder… what kind of chicks would these be, being attracted to a Fiat with Ferrari badges? I think the driver/buyer has more chances of being pulled over by police for speeding than pulling with the opposite sex.

      So: what attracts people to buy the D-Lux 5 over the Panasonic original..? I really want to know.

      I have never read or heard any explanation what the actual firmware differences are between these two camera types. And surely no one would pay such a premium just for a longer warranty and a piece of Adobe software not better than all the other branded software CD-ROMs we all throw in the bin when we’re buying any new camera.

        • I’ve read you get Lightroom 3, but that may be a mix up with the X1. If you do get LR, that’s not too bad, as it’s an expensive bit of software and pretty good.

          • Sure, but LR is more than just a RAW converter, it’s great for post processing, organisation etc. I really quite like it as an app, and a copy with the D-LUX would definitely sway me over the Panasonic equivalent.

  8. Hi Steve,

    if possible, please write a little bit about portraiture and bokeh with the D-Lux5.
    I’ve got a X1 and i’m thinking about to compliment it with a D-Lux.

    Thanks, matt.

    p.s.: love your website. it’s always my happy start in the day.

    • With a small sensor, such as the one in the D-Lux5, it is impossible to blur the background of an object, unless it is very close to you.

      Basically, you can see that without actually using the camera, since it all depends on elementary optics: The “circle of confusion” for this sensor size is about c=0.006mm. The “hyperhocal distance” is about H=f^2/(N*c), where N is the F-stop number (i.e. N=2), and f is the focal length, i.e. f=5.1mm in the D-Lux5. So, the hyperfocal distance is about H=2.16m.

      What this means is that even with the lens wide open, everything beyond 2.16m is in focus, no matter where you are actually focusing. So, in order to take for example the portrait of a person so that, say, the face is in focus, and the background is blown out, the background would have to be at a distance of about 1m away from you. This would make for a rather uncomfortable portrait shot… 🙂

      Hope that helps.

  9. Had my LX5 for a bit now – it is awesome, fast, and the lens is really really good. IMHO the Panasonic wins due to the little grippy thing. Makes it much easier for my big paws to hold onto.


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