The Leica D-Lux 5 in 2017
by Nathan Chapman
It was a weekend away in NYC 2010. I stepped into a small camera store and asked if they had the Leica D-Lux 5 in stock (Now just the D-Lux). When they said they had one I bought it. After stepping out onto the street and shooting a few photos, I quickly learned that there was some magic going on with this little camera.
There’s a setting called “Dynamic Black and White” and the images are so perfectly that. Dynamic. The raw images have a yellow cast to them which must be why the black and white JPEGs pop the way they do SOOC. But after a brief love affair with the camera, I let it sit for many years while I bought more “legit” cameras. My Leica M9, M7, Hasselblad, Nikon, etc took more effort and I enjoyed the challenge of not using a point-and-shoot.
But fast forward to a few weeks ago…
I was packing for a trip to play some shows in Deadwood, SD for the annual songwriter’s festival. I really wanted to make sure I shot the performances, the landscape and the amazing historic town. But I was not in the mood to bring a “rig” so I grabbed the D-Lux5 out of the junk drawer, cleaned off some glue gunk, made sure it still worked, and threw it in my suitcase. When I got home, I was really blown away with how everything edited up. I had some of the best images I’d shot all year. Maybe I’m a 7 years better photographer. Maybe I’ve officially gotten past being obsessed with the gear. But based on the images I got this camera is one to revisit. If you mark time with the advances of digital technology it a million years old. But if you want a camera you can fit in your pocket that captures great wide-angle black and white images this camera is timeless.
About me: I’m a 3 time Grammy Award-winning record producer and songwriter from Nashville, TN. I’ve been doing photography since I was 12 years old. I’m a massive fan of Steve Huff’s site and have learned tons here.
The magic with that camera was/is the CCD sensor.
Really interesting comments on the little Leica D-LUX 5. Bought one some years back but put it aside for other stuff, but never really satisfied with what I’d got (Fuji, Canon). Then, couple of weeks ago started using it again. Yippee, don’t think I’ll ever need another. The clarity is outstanding with beautiful rendition. Now thinking about the 109 version, with its wonderful EVF, but wondering if the results would be as good because it has a slightly different lens. Can anyone help on this.
This is a fantastically beautiful set of images. I’m a huge fan of B&W photography and every photo in this set is wonderfully captured. Kudos to you and and thank you for sharing.
Thank you Mike!
Well Steve loves monochrome setting of his Oly Pen F.
I still use my D-LUXs; I have all of them from 1 to 6.
These images are beautiful and really have something about them that I cant quite describe – did you process them as RAW files ? If so with what ?
I love your work on your website it is truly excellent.
This made me re-read Steve’s 2010 review of this little camera.
Steves images in that review also have a special quality that I cant put my finger on.
It must be a great lens.
The Lumix ‘cousins’ also have a dynamic Monochrome setting which I find produces really lovely out of camera monochrome JPEGS.
Thanks so much for sharing.
These are all JPEGs out of the camera with a little tweak here and there. Maybe add a bit more contrast and crop if needed. All were shot Raw+JPEG just in case.
The Leica D-Lux 5 is a rebranded Panasonic Lumix LX5 – or is it the other way round? Anyhow, it is a fantastic camera. I own the LX3, and I still use it from time to time for its amazing dynamic b&w mode.
Yes it is a Panasonic LX5, made by Panasonic for Leica with a Leica shell and Leica firmware.
I couldn’t agree more. Of all my gear, (two APS-C bodies, various zooms and fixed lenses etc.), my little Lumix LX-100 still blows me away at times.
Maybe it’s the Leica lenses?
Great photos, especially Rushmore.
I just sold my D-Lux 109 , wonderful camera with dynamic black as well. I agree the black and white it produces is special
I still get the same enjoyment and superb results out of my D-Lux 4! So it was really good to see what you are doing with your slightly younger model. (By the way “just the D-Lux” doesn’t refer to your 5 or my 4 but to the D-Lux Type 109 with its four-thirds sensor.)
Nice photos. And a good idea to revisit this little camera.
Great photos Nathan! I checked out your website, you have a very impressive body of work. The D-Lux 5 was the first Leica I owned, and got one for my Mom as well – as it was the perfect point & shoot for her. I moved on the an M9, but still love the images I captured with the D-Lux 5. Thanks for sharing.
Fantastic post and amazing photos. Love the Mt Rushmore image, but this whole set is awesome. Thanks for posting and I’ll be checking out your website and instagram.