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Leica V-Lux 30
The Leica V-Lux 30 was released in May 2011 with a range of features that on paper make it appear to be an ideal travel super-zoom digital camera. The camera is Leica's version of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 with some subtle differences but costs nearly £300 more. Let's take a look to see if the Leica justifies its price of £550.
Leica V-Lux 30
The camera also has a mode dial which makes it easy to switch between the various shooting modes available which include P, S, M, A, Auto, 3D, Scene, My Scene 1 and My Scene 2. There are a wide range of scene modes available: Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby 1, Baby 2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial Photo, Pin Hole, Film Grain, High Dynamic, Photo Frame and High Speed Movie.
Ideal for those who shoot while travelling, the V-Lux 30 includes a GPS module which records the location and local time of pictures which is then stored in the images EXIF data.
Videos can be shot at full HD 1920 x 1080i AVCHD with the use of optical zoom and GPS data.
Bundled with the camera are two editing programs, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 for images and Adobe Premiere Elements 9 for videos.
Leica V-Lux 30
- 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor
- 16x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24 - 384mm)
- Intelligent zoom extends the zoom to 21x at 14 megapixel
- 3 inch touch-screen, with 460,800 pixels
- Full 1080i HD video recording
- P/S/A/M modes
- ISO 100 - 1600
- 3cm Macro mode
- Integrated GPS function
- 3D Photo shooting
Leica V-Lux 30
The V-Lux 30's menus are logical and well laid out with colour coded sections. The text is easy to read and the options are easy to understand the majority of the time. Occasionally the scene modes can take a little longer to access as they are represented with small images, but text underneath explains what the modes do. The camera has a built in touch screen, and the icons are large and easy to use, however the camera also has a good number of buttons so you don't need to use the touch screen if you don't want to.
The battery has a CIPA rating of 260 shots which should be plenty for a day of shooting. The camera is ready to take shots 2 - 3 seconds after switching on and its focusing speed is excellent. The V-Lux 30 has a range of continuous shooting modes:
- 2 fps AF-Continuous, 14 megapixels - 1.7 fps in testing
- 5 fps AF-Continuous, 14 megapixels - 3.2 fps in testing
- 10 fps AF-Single, 14 megapixels - 5.2 fps in testing
- 40 fps AF-Single, 5 megapixels - 40 fps in testing
- 60 fps AF-Single 2.5 megapixels - 60 fps in testing
- Flash burst, 3 megapixels - 1.5 fps in testing
Leica V-Lux 30
Leica V-LUX 30 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Full optical zoom | 1/320 sec | f/5.9 | 68.8 mm | ISO 100
Digital zoom | 1/125 sec | f/5.9 | 68.8 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/60 sec | f/3.3 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
There is low noise at ISO100 and ISO200. At ISO400 strong noise reduction reduces noise, but also fine detail starts to degrade. Noise becomes much more dominant at ISO800. Then at ISO1600 the noise becomes really dominant, reducing detail and colour noticeably. Above ISO1600 the camera will switch to 3 megapixels and these ISO settings can not be manually selected, instead you need to go into one of the High ISO / Sensitivity scene modes to access them. These higher ISO modes are best used for resizing on the web.
Leica V-LUX 30 ISO test images
1/8 sec | f/5.1 | 20.2 mm | ISO 100
1/15 sec | f/5.1 | 20.2 mm | ISO 200
1/30 sec | f/5.1 | 20.2 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/5.1 | 20.2 mm | ISO 800
1/125 sec | f/5.1 | 20.2 mm | ISO 1600
The following landscape images show the colour quality the V-Lux 30 is able to deliver. Portraits have pleasant skin tones and no red-eye.
Leica V-LUX 30 Scene modes
Scenery | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Scenery with building | 1/1000 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/4.8 | 14.8 mm | ISO 320
Sport | 1/500 sec | f/4.5 | 10.9 mm | ISO 200
The following images have been taken using the lens at its maximum optical zoom.
Leica V-LUX 30 Sample Photos
Zoom 2 | 1/200 sec | f/5.6 | 41.5 mm | ISO 100
Zoom 1 | 1/250 sec | f/5.9 | 68.8 mm | ISO 100
There is no white-balance preset for fluorescent lighting - as you can see below it doesn't seem to be needed as the results using auto white balance under fluorescent lighting are excellent. In fact you get better results using the auto white balance under incandescent / tungsten lighting rather than using the Tungsten preset.
Leica V-LUX 30 White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten - 1/10 sec | f/4.1 | 8.7 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset - 1/10 sec | f/4.1 | 8.7 mm | ISO 100
AWB Fluorescent - 1/4 sec | f/4.1 | 8.7 mm | ISO 100
The creative modes can make some otherwise boring shots more memorable. The camera also has a number of colour modes, including: Standard, Natural, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, Cool and Warm.
Leica V-LUX 30 Digital filters
Natural | 1/5 sec | f/5.1 | 21.7 mm | ISO 100
Sepia | 1/5 sec | f/5.1 | 21.7 mm | ISO 100
Vivid | 1/5 sec | f/5.1 | 21.7 mm | ISO 100
Warm | 1/5 sec | f/5.1 | 21.7 mm | ISO 100
Black and white | 1/5 sec | f/5.1 | 21.7 mm | ISO 100
Cool | 1/5 sec | f/5.1 | 21.7 mm | ISO 100
Video ModeThe video quality is very good recording Full HD Video up to 29min with stereo sound and the optical zoom can be used while recording.
Value For MoneyThe Leica V-Lux 30 is available for around £550. As previously mentioned, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 has a very similar specification and is available for £250. Other similar cameras to consider are the Fujifilm FinePix F550 EXR priced at £229 with RAW support, the Sony Cybershot HX9v with 16x optical zoom priced at £299, the Canon Powershot SX230 HS priced at £265, and the Casio Exilim H20G available around £215, although it features a 10x optical zoom lens instead.
Adding to the value, the camera comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 & Premiere Elements 9 which has an RRP of £117. The Leica V-Lux 30 also comes with a two-year warranty and one-year Leica UK Passport.
|The Leica V-Lux 30 has an excellent set of features, produces superb images and comes highly recommended despite its high price.|
Leica V-Lux 30 Pros16x optical zoom lens starting at 24mm wide
Good design and build quality
High speed shooting
High quality video with optical zoom
Built in optical image stabilisation
Great macro performance
Excellent auto white balance
Built in GPS
Leica V-Lux 30 Cons"Intelligent zoom" is just another name for digital zoom
Strong noise reduction reduces detail at ISO400+
GPS use drains battery life
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Leica V-LUX 30 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.3 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 384mm|
|CCD pixels||14.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.33 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.08mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.56mm|
|Screen resolution||460,800 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 1600|
|Video FPS||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||BP-DC 7|
|Box Contents||Camera, battery charger (Leica BC-DC 7), lithium-ion battery (Leica BP-DC 7), carrying strap, AV cable, USB cable, Software DVDs, CD with long instructions (PDF), printed short instruction manuals, touch pen, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Adobe Premiere Ele|