Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS
  • REVIEWS
  • INSPIRATION
  • COMMUNITY
  • COMPETITIONS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here


Christmas Prize Draw 2017

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Review

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Review - Reviewed, the Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) with 4K video, a large Micro Four Thirds sensor and a bright f/1.7 zoom lens.

 Add Comment

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) in Compact Cameras

Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Leica D LUX Typ109 (1)

The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is based on the Panasonic Lumix LX100, and features a large 12.8 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, a bright f/1.7 - 2.8 Leica lens equivalent to 24-75mm in 35mm terms, built in Wi-Fi, an electronic viewfinder, and 4K video recording. The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is available for around £779 and includes a 3 year warranty as well as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. 

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Features

Leica D LUX Typ109 (8)

The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) features a multi-aspect ratio Micro Four Thirds sensor, offering 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios with minimal image size lost and the same angle of view, and 1:1 format. 4:3 aspect ratio gives a 4112x3088 (12.5mp) pixel image, 3:2 aspect gives a 4272x2856 (12mp) image, 16:9 aspect gives a 4480x2520 (11mp) image, while 1:1 square format gives a 3088x3088 (10mp) image. 

The compact size of the zoom lens is possible due to a more precise manufacturing process and the lens is positioned directly in front of the sensor. With 9 aperture blades it is designed to give improved bokeh / out of focus backgrounds. Under MTF testing the lens is said to give sharpness even into the corners of the image. Focus is rapid thanks to  DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology from the Panasonic Lumix GH4.

Leica D LUX Typ109 (7)

4K (UHD) video recording gives benefits for both improved video quality as well as photo stills shooting at 30fps. FullHD video recording quality is improved, as 4K video can be downsized and give better colour and image quality. From the 4K video it is possible to take 8-megapixel images from the footage at 30fps.

The D-Lux (Typ 109) features built in highlight / shadow adjustment, as well as RAW editing in the camera, and gives 300 shot battery life. Manual controls on the camera body include an aperture ring, shutter speed dial, exposure compensation, aspect ratio switch, focus switch, plus a number of customisable function buttons. 

Key Features

  • Multi-aspect ratio 12.8mp Micro Four Thirds Sensor (16mp total pixels), 1.33inch
  • 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 Leica lens, 9 blades
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 3inch screen, 921k dot
  • EVF, 2.7m dot, near AdobeRGB colour reproduction, eye-detection
  • Aperture / Shutter control dials
  • Exposure compensation dial (+/-3)
  • Manual Focus Assist / Focus peaking
  • 4K video recording, 4K photo priority mode (30fps)
  • Wi-Fi / NFC / QR Code connectivity / Geotagging
  • 11fps continuous shooting
  • 22 filters
  • 3cm macro focus

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Handling

Leica D LUX Typ109 (5)

With numerous physical switches, controls and dials, the Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is pleasing to hold and feels good in the hand, making it enjoyable to change settings such as aperture, shutter and exposure compensation. With direct control to these settings it's easy to learn and see what changing these settings does, using either the constant preview or function button (set to preview). The camera is missing the front rubber grip from the LX100, although there is a small but effective rubber thumb grip on the rear of the camera, and an optional grip is available from Leica. The metal bodied camera feels very well built with reassuring clicks to the dials and switches.

You can use the lens ring to set the zoom position in steps from 24mm to 75mm, or use the zoom ring around the shutter release button for more precise control over the zoom position. The setting changed by the lens ring can be customised in the camera menus to alter zoom, step zoom, ISO, white balance, filter or turned off completely. 

The camera has 49 focus points along with Zebra display, focus peaking, manual focus, face and eye detection, AF tracking, pinpoint focus, and custom focus positions that can be setup. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) looks good with a quick refresh rate and high resolution of 2.7million dots (2,764K dots to be precise), with near AdobeRGB colour reproduction, and an eye-detection sensor means the camera will automatically switch to the EVF when held up to the eye. There is a rubber surround around the electronic viewfinder, along with a dioptre adjustment dial, making it comfortable for glasses wearers. 

Leica D LUX Typ109 (6)

Menus – The menus are clearly laid out and will be familiar to anyone who has used other Panasonic or Panasonic based Leica cameras. There is a built-in guide on the menu options making it easy to use the camera and change settings without having to study the manual. The Q Menu button gives quick access to common options on the rear screen, and there is access to numerous controls without having to go into the menus thanks to lots of buttons and switches on the camera. 

Leica D Lux Typ109 In Hand (3)

Wi-Fi Features - The "Leica C Image Shuttle" app is available for iOS and Android devices, based on Panasonic's Image app, and has four main options letting you set up remote shooting and view photos, setup Playback on TV, send images while recording, and send images stored on the camera. To setup the connection to the smartphone, you can use NFC if your smartphone has it or use a QR code displayed on the camera. Alternatively, manual setup is possible. The application gives you a very good level of control over the camera, and you can start and stop video recording as well as control the camera's zoom. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Leica / CIPA test results, or 350 shots without flash, which is good, although extended use of flash and Wi-Fi is likely to drain the battery more quickly

Leica D LUX Typ109 (9)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.125secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.125secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.4secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.6secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 3.6secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
12fps (80 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A

 

Focus and shutter response are both excellent, and the camera offers an impressive continuous shooting speed of 12fps when shooting JPEG images

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Photos taken with the D-Lux (Typ 109) look good with bright saturated colours and reliable exposure. The compact size means you can take it with you most places with ease, although the flash does increase the size of the camera when attached. Portrait photos taken with the provided flash show no red-eye. Dynamic range can be enhanced using the iDynamic setting, highlight / shadow controls or by shooting using the HDR mode. 

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images are sharp and detailed, particularly in the centre of the frame. Some vignetting is visible and flare can be a problem with a bright light source in the frame, but the majority of the time this wasn't an issue. Distortion is automatically corrected for in camera, which means there is very little barrel or pincushion distortion to be found in images. With the focus switch set to macro focus, you can focus on subjects 3cm away from the front of the lens at the wide-angle setting. 

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO800, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO6400 and ISO12500 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO25600 is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is very low. The results appear to have slightly less noise reduction when compared to images from the Panasonic Lumix LX100, and this has resulted in slightly sharper images. 

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs very well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a warmer result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights.

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are numerous effects available, as well as the option to adjust colour settings. 

Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/5.6 | 10.9 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/5.6 | 10.9 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are very good, and well stitched together, with a high resolution image produced.

Video - One of the headline features of this camera is 4K video recording, as there are few digital cameras currently available that can record 4K video. 4K photo mode is an optimised recording mode for extracting 4K (8 megapixel) stills from video. AVCHD or MP4 are video formats available, Full HD video can be recorded at 50p, 25p, and 24p, or 25p, and 24p for 4K video. The highest ISO setting available when recording 4K or FullHD video is ISO6400. Focus options include AFS, AFF, AFC, continuous AF (on/off). It's also possible to adjust highlight / shadow as well as colour options including contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, saturation and monochrome (with colour filters available). 

Additional video options available include iDynamic, iResolution, iZoom, Digital Zoom, Mic Level Display, Mic Level Adjust, and Wind cut. Video quality is very good with impressive levels of detail, particularly when recording 4K video. Additional example videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.

Value For Money

The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is available for £779, this includes 3 year warranty plus Adobe Lightroom, which makes it very good value for money considering the features on offer. Alternatives to consider include the following: 

Panasonic Lumix LX100, m43 sensor, f/1.7-2.8, EVF, Wi-Fi, 2yr warranty, £595
Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II, 1.5inch sensor, f/2.0-3.9, £649
Canon Powershot G7 X, 1inch sensor, f/1.8-2.8, £579
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III, 1inch sensor, f/1.8-2.8, EVF, Wi-Fi, £699
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV, 1inch sensor, f/1.8-2.8, EVF, Wi-Fi, 4K video, £800
Fujifilm X30, 1/2inch sensor, f/2.0-2.8, EVF, Wi-Fi, £479

Mirrorless alternatives, such as the Panasonic Lumix GM5 (from £449 with lens), are also an option letting you change lenses as well as choose what in-camera features you want, thanks to there being a variety of bodies available. However, you would need to invest in a variety of lenses to get the same aperture on offer on the Leica.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Verdict

The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is a Leica branded version of the Panasonic Lumix LX100, and whilst this means the camera is more expensive than the original, it also offers an extended warranty of 3 years, plus Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. There are additional accessories available, and the camera performs excellently, with the same excellent lens and sensor as the LX100. The Leica lens is the equivalent to a 24-75mm lens and features a bright f/1.7-f/2.8 aperture giving high image quality, and a large Micro Four Thirds sensor ensures that noise performance is good even at higher ISO settings. The built in electronic viewfinder is another useful feature particularly if regularly shooting outdoors in bright sunny conditions. With a number of external controls, along with a compact and stylish metal body, the Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is a pleasure to use. 

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Pros

Excellent f/1.7-f/2.8 Leica lens
3 year warranty
External physical controls
Excellent build quality
High resolution electronic viewfinder
12fps continuous shooting
Good noise performance
Dual axis electronic level
4K video recording

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Cons

No touch screen
Some noise visible in darker areas
Lens flare can be an issue
Lacks front grip

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) offers a vast array of features with a bright zoom lens and a large sensor for excellent image quality.

 

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Specifications

ManufacturerLeica
Lens
Max Aperturef/1.7 - f/2.8
35mm equivalent24mm - 75mm
Optical Zoom3.1x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4112
Pixels (H)3088
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor SizeMicro Four Thirds
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
    Exposure Control
    Shutter speeds shortestNo Data
    Shutter speeds longestNo Data
    Bulb modeNo Data
    Exp modes
      Metering
        ISO sensitivity80 - 25600
        White balance
        • Auto
        • Manual
        • Outdoors/Daylight
        • Cloudy
        • Incandescent
        • Shade
        • Flash
        Exposure Comp+/-3
        Shooting Options
        Continuous shooting11fps
        Video
        Movie modeYes
        Video Resolution
        • 1920x1080 FullHD
        • 4K
        Video FPS30
        Stereo SoundYes
        Optical Zoom with VideoYes
        Other Features
        Image StabilisationYes
        Interface
        HDMIYes
        USBUSB 2
        Wi-FiYes
        Storage
        Card Type
        • SD
        • SDHC
        • SDXC
        File Type
        • RAW
        • JPG
        • RAW + JPG
        Power Source
        Battery TypeLi-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1025 mAh, 7.4 Wh)
        Battery Life (CIPA rating)300shots
        Box Contents
        Box ContentsDigital camera, flash (Leica CF D), battery, battery charger, USB cable, neck strap, lens cap with string, hot shoe cover, instructions, CD with instructions, guarantee card.
        Dimensions
        Weight365g
        Width117.8mm
        Height66.2mm
        Depth55mm

        View Full Product Details

        Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.

        Explore More

        Comments


        dannyr 8 46 United Kingdom
        24 Jul 2015 4:04PM
        You know like a lot of people I used to take the mick out of Leica and their overpriced rangefinders and Panasonic clones.

        But recently I am gaining a lot more respect for them, At least they are customising the Panasonic cameras now and charging a much fairer price for them. And I have to say new cameras like the Q are very sexy, although not quite yet value for money, at least they are getting there.

        Well done Leica.

        Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

        josa 5 25 Czech Republic
        24 Jul 2015 7:56PM
        Doesn't look luxurious enough...I immediately noticed badly assembled top on the body. (first photo)
        29 Jul 2015 12:26PM
        Massively overpriced, I just purchased the LX100 for my holiday, cost me 549 from Amazon and Panasonic are currently offering an extended warranty to 5 years and 100 cash back so will end up costing me 449 with a 5 year warranty, Far far better value for money for essentially the same camera.
        spick 9 1 United Kingdom
        30 Jul 2015 12:15PM
        I am 89 and learnt my photography from my Dad. With its very slightly better star rating, those of us amateurs savvy enough to have already bought into the LX100 'Panny' at virtually half the price of the D-LUX Leica, are maybe justified in feeling a little smug when reading ePhotozines' comprehensive reviews of both cameras .

        I have always hung back from buying a DSLR because of the hassle it brings with it: the 'take it or leave it at home' lens decisions; the sensor-protection needs when lens swopping; the need for adaptable lens-accommodating camera bags; choice of lenses; costs of same, etc etc.

        That Leica have stuck to the wondrous things my LX100 can do says it all: provided you are up to digging down deep into the menu screens of these really clever cameras, you can recycle your DLSR camera bag (use it as a tripod/umbrella carrying beach bag) and sell off your DSLR lenses, now, before they go seriously out of need.

        Sign In

        You must be a member to leave a comment.

        ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

        Join For Free

        Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.