During the previous couple of months of final 12 months I purchased and shot with quite a lot of totally different cameras (Olympus OMD EM1ii, Fujifilm X-T2, Nikon D500, Leica CL, Nikon D810 and Nikon D850 and at last the Panasonic Lumix G9 with the superb Leica branded lenses). I wished to get an actual deal with on the present standing of the digital camera world.
I additionally wished to get an thought of the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing a digital camera with a smaller sensor, and particularly to know the true distinctions between µ43 and APSc. The end result of this was that I felt that the benefits of µ43 when it comes to lens measurement and dealing with outweighed the slight Image Quality benefits of APSc, however that my actual photographic house was full body cameras. As a results of this my private package settled to the Leica SL and M10 along with a Lumix G9 with two Panasonic / Leica zooms (the 12-60 Vario-Elmarit and the 100-400 Vario-Elmar).
I hadn’t shot with a compact digital camera for one thing like four years, not since I examined the Leica D-Lux and V-Lux cameras, each wonderful (and each nonetheless in the marketplace). Personally, I at all times carry a bag, and there may be at all times room for (on the very least), an M10 with a 50 lens, so neither of them discovered a everlasting place in my bag.
I used to be when Leica provided to lend me the brand new C-Lux digital camera for every week or so, particularly because it coincided with a brief journey to Crete that we had organized a while earlier than. In truth, the “midnight-blue” C-lux arrived at house the day earlier than our departure.
The digital camera I’ve been taking pictures with is ‘complete’, however I didn’t have the ultimate firmware, so there could also be some modifications in picture high quality and operation when the digital camera is launched.
Unless you’ve got very small pockets (or very tight denims) the digital camera is eminently pocketable, it is available in a reasonably tasteful ‘midnight blue’ color with a silver lens, or in gold (which I haven’t seen).
The C-Lux has a 1” 20mp back-side illuminated CMOS sensor, that is tried and examined, and might be the identical sensor as discovered within the Sony RS100 v.
There is a exceptional 24-360mm Leica DC Vario-Elmar f3.Three to f6 lens. For a digital camera this measurement, and with a sensor this massive, the C-Lux (and its sister digital camera the Panasonic TZ200) actually haven’t any competitors. Even the simply introduced (and costlier) Sony R100vi doesn’t come shut with it’s 24-200 lens.
The Electronic viewfinder has 2.Three million dots, and a 0.53x magnification, that is fairly usable, however it’s fairly small in comparison with these on the SL (or the CL).
There can also be a 3” mounted contact display screen LCD permitting entry to all of the menus, to the touch focusing and contact taking pictures, along with all of the overview options you’d count on with an excellent contact display screen.
I’ve solely had the digital camera for 1 week, and I’ve not had the amenities or need to do formal testing, I used to be attempting to ascertain whether or not it functioned sufficiently properly to be an excellent travelling companion. However, there are lots of evaluations of the C-Lux’s sister digital camera the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200 obtainable on the web, and these are just about universally beneficial.
I’m not conscious of the worldwide pricing for the digital camera, however my impression from the European worth (€970) is that this time across the premium to pay for the pink dot and the nicer styling is modest. If you issue within the elevated resale worth, then It actually begins to seem like a cut price!
The Travel Camera
Not having touched a compact digital camera for a number of years I used to be just a little fearful about utilizing it as my solely digital camera, so I purchased alongside my M10 and the Lumix G9 as companions (touring with out maintain baggage meant leaving the SL at house).
In the occasion I did shoot with the C-lux alone, I generally carried one other digital camera in my pack, however didn’t really use It. The C-Lux is just not climate sealed, and it had loads to place up with; we walked one thing like 80km within the brief time we have been there, often in temperatures up within the mid 30s centigrade. I carried the digital camera in my hand on a regular basis and not using a case, so it needed to take care of sweat and mud a lot of the time. It seems unmarked, which is a tribute to the end of the metallic high and backside plates and the standard of the ‘leather’ end on the remainder of the physique.
Not actually! The C-Lux has each conceivable perform hidden away in its menus and buttons. Both the Essential, and the not so important.
I didn’t have the handbook, so on the flight to Crete I used the handbook for the Panasonic G9 to familiarise myself with the digital camera, the menu system and choices are just about the identical, together with the autofocus choices and controls. To be honest, Panasonic have carried out a very good job steering a path by way of the minefield of contemporary digital camera design, they’ve managed to keep away from the inconceivable menu confusion of some producers, and to maintain the controls and choices smart and straightforward to make use of.
For my functions I wished to set the digital camera up in order that I might focus on making photographs reasonably than on fidgeting with controls and menus. To that finish I made quite a lot of modifications to the default setup of the digital camera.
I shot in Program mode, as a result of the sensor is comparatively small, and the lens comparatively gradual, I believed that restricted depth of discipline wasn’t actually an choice, so I’d let the digital camera work out the perfect aperture. As far as shutter pace was involved, I wasn’t certain how good the picture stabilisation can be, so, once more, it made sense to let the digital camera determine on the perfect shutter pace. For the identical cause I set the digital camera onto Auto ISO.
I modified the ring across the lens to ‘zoom’, though, to be honest, I discovered myself largely utilizing the usual ring across the shutter launch, it’s fairly fast and labored properly.
I set the rear dial to publicity compensation (identical to my M10), modifications are proven within the picture on the display screen / EVF, I at all times prefer to work this fashion.
For Autofocus I did do some experimentation. I had it set to AFS (auto-focus single). I did strive their new ‘Intelligent’ AFF mode, but it surely removes the choice of high-quality tuning focus with the dial across the lens with the shutter half pressed.
In the tip I largely used ‘face detect’; this strikes to multi-area if it will possibly’t discover a face to repair on. Used along with the touch-focus choice this labored rather well. In addition, I had the contact focus in order that it prioritised the main target level for publicity management. The contact focus is actually good and works even together with your eye to the EVF when the display screen is clean. You can elect to have it work actually – in order that the place you contact the display screen comparatively is whereabouts on the picture the main target level will go; or else ‘offset’ the place it strikes round together with your finger relative to the unique level of focus.
The digital camera has a large number of ‘scene’ modes along with 4k video. I didn’t use any of those!
Handling and Operation (and firmware replace)
Having arrange the C-Lux the best way it appeared finest I began to take footage. The digital camera simply suits in a pocket, but it surely’s so small it’s actually not a hassle to hold it in your hand on a regular basis, which is what I did. It solely went right into a pocket when negotiating a tough piece of path.
Startup time is okay for a digital camera of this class, however hardly prompt, so more often than not I left the digital camera turned on in order that it was able to go. The buttons particularly are reasonably small, so it was good to have organised the controls in order that the one factor wanted was the rear dial and the dial across the lens.
I’m a viewfinder sort of photographer and I used to be anticipating to make use of the EVF more often than not, nevertheless, in comparison with the SL it’s reasonably small (0.53x magnification) and I discovered myself more and more utilizing the rear display screen. Most of the time I used to be taking pictures in very robust daylight, and naturally this made it more durable to see both the display screen or the EVF, however in follow I discovered them adequate to compose the picture simply and taking pictures with the rear display screen the scene is laid out earlier than you so that’s all that’s wanted.
The Autofocus efficiency gave the impression to be extraordinarily good – some scenes confused it just a little, as did very low mild, however on the entire, it felt prompt and proved to be very correct. Face detection was wonderful, and when no face was obtainable it rapidly moved to multi-point focusing. The solely factor I discovered barely complicated is that in the event you had chosen some extent with the contact focus it stayed on that time reasonably than reverting to face detect (nearly definitely the right means of working however barely irritating however).
The macro mode varies minimal distance to the topic relying on the focal size chosen; from 3cm at 24mm to 1m at 180 (after which onwards to 360), that is fairly normal for a digital camera of this kind, maybe it wouldn’t be one’s first selection for taking pictures macro, but it surely does an excellent job for close-ups of flowers and bugs. AF is just a little slower in macro-mode.
Shooting with the digital camera was quick and enjoyable, and it was straightforward to take footage one handed. Fast sufficient certainly that I believe it will be fairly an excellent digital camera for avenue images (particularly for many who don’t prefer to restrict their depth of discipline).
Battery Life and Firmware Considerations
Battery life has historically been a weak level of this sort of digital camera, but it surely appears to be fairly good on the Leica C-Lux. I had a spare battery with me every single day, however I not often used it, one battery was sufficient for 200-300 pictures over an extended interval.
The digital camera comes with a plug in USB charger, however mine solely had an American plug, so I used the moveable USB charger I take with me to cost my cellphone and iPad, merely plugging within the digital camera – It appeared to recharge fairly rapidly, and the socket is a normal micro-USB sort. Easy and Convenient.
I used to be knowledgeable by Leica after I obtained the digital camera, that with the ultimate firmware it will shoot DNG recordsdata. However, I’ve now been knowledgeable that the delivery digital camera will assist the Panasonic RWL file format as an alternative (which can, after all, be supported in Lightroom and different Conversion Software).
I made a decision that, to be secure, I might shoot solely highest high quality jpg recordsdata, and would use Auto White stability. I didn’t have time to analyze the totally different jpg settings, so I simply left them as default.
I additionally prefer to tag photographs with GPS information – particularly on a visit like this. The digital camera doesn’t have GPS in-built, but it surely does have each WiFi, and low-power bluetooth. This will assist you to have the digital camera completely related to your cellphone (iOS or Android) and it is possible for you to to tag the situation data on to the recordsdata with the GPS data from the cellphone.
I’ve used this system with the Panasonic G9, and it really works extraordinarily properly. I assume that the know-how is similar on the C-Lux and that this may work even when the digital camera is in sleep mode.
I haven’t seen the perfect the digital camera can do, as I’ve been restricted to jpg recordsdata, however I did discover in one of many evaluations that the reviewer (who actually preferred the digital camera and the picture high quality) stated that the images have been adequate for any sort of internet / on display screen utility. Well, I’ve printed them out to A2+, and except you wish to look from a foot away with a loupe they’re simply high-quality . . . and that’s from jpg recordsdata.
The dynamic vary appears good, there isn’t any tendency to blow out highlights or to dam shadows. Almost the whole lot I shot was at 800 ISO or beneath, however 1600 seems good as properly.
Of course, the comparatively gradual lens is a drawback, however the picture stabilisation is great which helps to maintain the ISO down. As is regular with this sort of lens, it’s finest inside the usual vary – I might see just a little fall off at 360mm, but it surely was nonetheless completely usable.
Although I perceive that sensor know-how has come on over the previous couple of years, I used to be, frankly, reasonably startled at how good the picture high quality really is.
Leica’s earlier C-Lux choices have been type aware level and shoot cameras with small sensors and type components. Fun, however pretty restricted when it comes to picture high quality and efficiency. The sensor on the earlier C (typ 112) was 1/1.7” (7.6 x 5.7mm) whereas the sensor on the brand new digital camera is 1” (12.eight x 9.6mm), in the identical territory because the µ43 sensor within the D-Lux.
Since 2013 when the final C digital camera arrived sensor know-how (particularly for smaller sensors) has improved by leaps and bounds . Put all this along with the enhancements in AF know-how picture stabilisation and lens design and immediately you’ve got a severe contender.
I went on our strolling journey in Crete with a bag of cameras and lenses, anticipating to make use of the C-Lux a number of the time, however within the ultimate evaluation I took round 1500 pictures. . 10 or so with the iPhone X . . 20 with the M10 . . 25 with the Panasonic G9 and the remaining with the C-Lux, more often than not I used to be carrying a few kg of apparatus which I merely didn’t use!
Okay, magic doesn’t occur, and plenty of of those photographs would have been higher high quality if I’d been taking pictures with my SL or my M10; however there are photographs that I caught as a perform of the 24-360 zoom vary and wonderful AF and picture stabilisation which I merely would have missed with the “better” cameras.
With earlier Panasonic / Leica collaborations there has at all times been the argument that you need to avoid wasting cash and eschew the Leica pink dot, however with Leica’s smart pricing on the C-Lux immediately it appears that evidently the improved resale worth might be value greater than the small distinction in worth. Add to that the ‘midnight blue’ digital camera I’ve been taking pictures with is reasonably a dashing object (and the blue leather-based half case that I don’t have seems nice as properly).
The C-Lux is probably not a serious step ahead for Leica, however like most nice merchandise it appears to be greater than the sum of its elements. I might predict that it’ll discover a whole lot of associates amongst avenue photographers who zone focus with small apertures, and it actually does appear to be an awesome journey digital camera if you wish to journey mild.
On Friday I’ll have had the C-Lux for two weeks, and it will likely be time at hand it again to Leica. I haven’t owned a compact zoom digital camera for greater than 5 years, however I’m significantly contemplating shopping for the stunning little C-Lux.