Leica D-LUX 6: First impressions

Following on from a previous post, I had the chance to visit Moscow recently and used the opportunity to get some new camera gear. I was really keen to get a good quality compact camera and was looking everywhere for a Sony RX100 ii however couldn’t get one in time. I looked at a few alternatives and settled on the Leica D-Lux 6 (knowing it is essentially just a very expensive Panasonic but ran out of time trying to find that too – there is an absence of really good camera stores where I live). I tried online for the Sony but in the end had to cancel that order as it wasn’t going to be delivered on time.

Anyway, back to the camera and my first impressions. For the price you pay, the build quality doesn’t seem that great. There is a lot of plastic and some of the dials feel a bit loose and cheap. The aperture dial feels really cheap (especially after using a Fuji X100). It’s nice to have manual switches and dials but not when they feel like they are only going to last a short time before falling apart. Some of the buttons on the rear are TINY and almost indiscernible in poor light. So, opening the box and starting to play wasn’t the ‘Leica’ experience I was hoping for. One of the parts (the string for the lens cap) was missing too. That’s not such a big deal but still disappointing.

It comes with a neck strap which feels a bit ridiculous for a small camera. I just took a wrist strap from another camera and am using that.

After my initial thoughts on the camera itself, I was starting to think I had made an expensive (for me) mistake. However, spending a bit of time taking photos and many of these concerns disappeared (quite quickly). The focussing is great (a bonus for me). There is manual, macro and auto-focus with some control over the auto-focus options. Pretty much all the settings are there for you to take full control over the camera so you can get quite serious with it but it is a fun camera to use. There are a range of ‘Creative Control’ options just like any other compact camera and some useful scene modes. ‘Handheld night shot’ is my favourite – it is brilliant. It also has a number of color modes. I have been using vivid and it really makes photos pop.

One thing that I really like is that you can do some in camera editing with the ‘creative control’ modes and still retain your original shots (something that I wished Sony had supported with their NEX).

It would take a very long post to go through all the flexibility of the camera and show samples too. Here is a selection of ‘out of the camera jpegs’, only one has had any editing and that was to do a crop. I usually shoot using raw format but really like the quality of the jpegs so shoot with both turned on.

There is one area of disappointment that I have had and that is with macro shots. I have taken a few shots of dew on leaves in the morning and something weird is happening there but I will show that in another post.

Dynamic monochrome:
I have really enjoyed taking shots in this mode. The detail in the focussed area is incredible on the original photo.
Dynamic monochrome

Here’s another shot taken in this mode. This one has been cropped.

Here’s an obligatory close up shot of a flower.

Handheld night shot:
My favourite mode

Vivid colour.

Each of these shots was really taken just playing around with the camera, not taking it too seriously. I think this is a great camera for a walkaround camera.


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