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Leica D-Lux 4 - Leica D-Lux 4

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

The D-Lux 4 has all of the features that make the LX3 so good. Foremost among these is its superb f/2.0 – f/2.8 wide-angle lens, a 2.5x zoom equivalent to 24-60mm. This lens is Leica's major contribution to the success of the design. While some might find the limited zoom range to be restrictive, the fast maximum aperture gives the camera outstanding low light ability at all zoom settings, while the sheer optical quality gives the D-Lux 4 serious photographic credentials.

Other features include full manual exposure control, with a minimum aperture of f/8.0 and shutter speeds from one minute to 1/2000th of a second. It has a full range of metering options including spot, centre-weighted, multi-zone and face priority, and sensitivity settings up to 3200 ISO. Like the LX3 it has multiple AF modes, including tracking AF, multi-zone auto, as well as wide, medium and centre-spot single-zone AF. Naturally is also has manual focus.

One very unusual feature is the range of aspect ratios available, selected by a slider switch on the top of the lens barrel. Like the LX3 the D-Lux 4 has a large 11.3MP sensor, but different areas of the sensor are used in different aspect ratio settings giving it greater than usual image resolution at non-standard settings. In 4:3 aspect ratio the full 10-megapixel resolution is used, but it only drops half a megapixel to 9.5MP when switched to the 3:2 setting (the same ratio as 35mm film). It can also shoot in 16:9 format at 9MP.

The D-Lux 4 also has the same HD video recording mode as the LX3, shooting in 1280 x 720 resolution at 24 frames per second with mono audio. Clips are limited to 10 minutes in HD mode, and the optical zoom cannot be used while recording.

Lee Moorhouse

February 6, 2010, 9:54 pm

I bought the LX3 Dec' 08 and it has been fantastic. It was a toss up between the LX3 and the Canon G10, but thanks to the reviews on TR, I picked the better camera. I didn't realise Panasonic had stopped making the LX3, can you still buy lenses/barrels/filters etc?

ilovethemonkeyhead

February 6, 2010, 10:44 pm

loving the spot the difference competition on the last page ;D





the colour seem a little icy on the lx3, when compared to the dx 4 (i refuse to say "deluxe") - is that normal, or just the settings where the lx3 has been used and calibrated a little more?

kelsci

February 7, 2010, 2:44 pm

I looked at the two photos from the LX3 and the DX 4. IMHO the pic from the Panasonic looked sharper. Colors etc. looked the same.

Cliff Smith

February 7, 2010, 9:12 pm

ilovethemonkeyhead - Both cameras are virtually new, having each taken only a few hundred shots. For the test shots both were set on aperture priority at f/5.6 and 100 ISO. The Leica's meter set a shutter speed of 1/125th, while the LX3 set 1/100th.





If you open both images in a photo editor and flick between them, the Leica does seem to have a slightly warmer tone, although that could just be down to variations in auto white balance. The file sizes are slightly different too, with the LX3 producing a slightly larger file.

Ivan

February 8, 2010, 2:51 am

There are at least four reasons to explain the premium price compared to the LX3. One: you'll get more for a Leica when you decide to re-sell your D-Lux4. Two: Leica has a reputation of offering much better (and longer) technical support compared to Panasonic. Three: the software that comes with the camera is better/more expensive. Four: You get 2 years of warranty (compared to 1 for the LX3).


FWIW, I 'm a very happy LX3 owner.

Kevin Allen

May 7, 2010, 7:16 pm

The software that comes with the camera - Capture One 4 - is very good but Leica have just e-mailed me to say it is not compatible with Windows 7.





As I bought the camera last week and run Windows 7 I am less than happy.





Apparently Capture One 5 is compatible with Windows 7 and can be had for 299 euro or $399.

iggle_piggle

March 16, 2013, 11:24 am

You pay a lot for the little red leica badge.

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