I was fascinated by the Leica C-Lux, which I thought was the best a compatible camera could achieve in terms of details and DSLR-like colour reproduction. Now, I have got my hands on the Leica D-Lux 7, which is aimed at a more sophisticated compact camera user. So if the C-Lux was for those who wanted a good entry level camera, I would look at the D-Lux as what an advanced camera user would pick up if he wants to shift to a compact.
Leica D-Lux 7 Review
Leica D-Lux 7 specifications: 17MP sensor | 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 shooting aspect ratios | f/1.7–2.8 aperture | 10.9 – 34 mm focal length | 2.76 million pixel electronic viewfinder | 3-inch touchscreen display | 4K video recording @30fps | 4x zoom | Wi-Fi connectivity | Optical Image stabilization
Leica D-Lux 7 price in India: Rs 94,300
The Leica D-Lux 7 is a compact camera that looks like a Leica from every angle. And it is not just about the red dot. The magnesium alloy chassis, the aperture ring, the snap-in flash all scream German design. The camera is very easy to hold and operate. Everything is a finger stretch away. However, it does take some time to find your way around the settings. There is a lot to take in… the aperture ring, the toggle to change the aspect ration, the dial for shutter speed, another for exposure and a 3-inch LCD that does all of this digitally too.
The camera has a unique front cover that mechanically opens up as you switch it on. It takes a second or two for the process to get over, and the cover to split into a four clover-like flap. All very stylish, and practical. You will never lose a lens cover with this camera. There is the option to add a flash, which the C-Lux did not offer. I used one during the review period, but I am not the sort of person to click pictures with flash.
The one thing that intrigued me the most about the many buttons on the camera was the smaller 4K button on top. And this is one of the USPs of the camera, a full 4K photo mode which burst. However, you need a card that is up to the task, you it is better to switch this option off.
The camera has a 17MP four-thirds MOS sensor. The mega pixel number should not bother you, because the picture quality is way above what that number might suggest to you. After the initial fumbling with the camera, my real experience started on Republic Day when I was on my roof with my son to see if we could catch the fighter jets on the way back to their base. Even without the burst mode, or an extra zoom, the camera could capture some clean shots of the Sukhois.
But this is not what the D-Lux 7 is meant for. This is more a camera that captures life as it is. A camera for the street, a camera for the family, a camera for the night. And these are the areas where the D-Lux 7 excels in. Capture a dove mid-flight as you focus on a rickshaw puller in Kolkata. Finding the shadows of friends sipping on tea a cold winter evening. Silently capturing a morning walker burst into a laughter routine.
But this camera is also about great video, that too in 4K. And the way video has been built into this camera, it is not an additional functionality, but a core element. The switch is easy and natural.
The D-Lux 7 has another unique feature, the post focus mode. A photo shot in this mode can be adjusted later, like you do with the portrait mode in the new iPhones. As you shoot in this mode, the camera captures more than one frame and with different focus points, letting you tweak it later on. Though I did not have the right software to attempt this, the feature is a great addition to the camera.
There were some frustrating aspects with the camera too. I struggled through the entire review period to connect the camera to the Leica Fotos app to transfer pictures, both via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This seems to be an issue with the review unit, but something I still need to flag. In fact, it was when this function failed to work that I realised I had to retrieve and old laptop to transfer the images in the card. Maybe a software update is on the way.
Overall, for people like me, who stopped lugging around a large camera in favour of the smartphone, the Leica D-Lux 7 offers the options of a portable camera that is not going to be a pain to carry around, but is still as good as DSLR in output. At the end of the day, we have to agree that there is still a lot a smartphone can’t do in terms of photography and that is where the D-Lux 7 can step in.