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Leica D-Lux 6 Review

We test the premium compact camera from Leica, the D-Lux 6 with a bright f/1.4 lens, manual controls and RAW shooting.

| Leica D-LUX 6 in Compact Cameras

Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Leica D-LUX 6 Large

The Leica D-Lux 6 is Leica's version of the Panasonic Lumix LX7, and as such the specifications and features are identical, however there are some subtle design changes that make the D-Lux 6 a more disceet compact camera, as well as a different package in the box, including Lightroom 4 as well as a longer 3 year warranty. Due to the similarities, this review is based on the LX7 review.

The D-Lux 6 is Leica's update to the serious compact camera, the Leica D-Lux 5, and updates the camera with a new ultra bright f/1.4 3.8x Leica optical zoom lens with O.I.S, manual aperture ring around the lens, ND filter, RAW shooting and manual control. It is available in black for £599.00.

Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Leica D-LUX 6 Large

Leica D-Lux 6 Features

The D-Lux 6 has a 1/1.7 inch, 10.1 megapixel MOS sensor designed to produce high resolution images with stunning clarity as well as a wide dynamic range. To keep noise to a minimum there is Intelligent Noise Reduction and Multi-process Noise Reduction systems. The lens is a Leica DC Vario-Summilix f/1.4, which has 3.8x optical zoom, a 35mm equivalent of 24-90mm. To minimise ghosting and flare the lens has a Nano Surface Coating.

The D-Lux 6 has full manual controls as well as a range of scene modes and intelligent auto. To control the light there is an aperture ring, internal ND filter, focus lever and rear dial. The Creative Control mode offers 16 artistic effects, there is also the option to record using Time Lapse Shot.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD in 60p (NTSC) / 50p (PAL) in AVCHD Progressive format. There is stereo sound and you can also use the optical zoom during recording. The D-Lux 6 lets you record high-speed videos at 120 fps.
Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Leica D-LUX 6 Large

Key Features

  • 10.1 megapixel MOS sensor
  • 3.8x optical zoom, f/1.4-2.3 lens (35mm equiv: 24-90mm)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
  • 3.0 inch TFT LCD screen (920K dots)
  • Full manual controls - aperture ring, internal ND filter and focus lever
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 80-6400
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • 11fps full resolution continuous shooting
  • Creative control with 16 artistic effects
  • Versatile shooting functions including time lapse shot
  • Available in black
Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Leica D-LUX 6 Large

Leica D-Lux 6 Handling

Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Leica D-LUX 6 Large

The D-Lux 6 doesn't feature a grip on the front of the camera, instead an optional grip is available. A lens cap can be attached with the lens strap loop to make sure you don't lose it. The camera also comes with a high quality neck strap that helps add additional quality to the camera. A customisable function button can be found on the back 4-way d-pad, a control dial as well as an ND / focus switch. On top of the lens surround is an aspect ratio switch, and on the left of the focus switch letting you choose between AF / AF+Macro or Manual.

The D-Lux 6 comes with a built in dual-axis electronic level, as well as an updated Leica styled menu system. The menu is clear and has a wealth of options. The camera provides a Q. Menu button giving quick access to common settings overlaid on the rear screen. The screen is bright and clear, although a little difficult to see in really bright conditions. There is the option to purchase an electronic viewfinder if preferred.

Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Leica D-LUX 6 Large

Battery life is rated at 330 shots according to CIPA standards, during testing we managed more than this and the battery was still going strong. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.

Shutter Response   <0.05 seconds
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.25 seconds
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 seconds
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.3 seconds
Shot to Shot (without flash)   0.8 seconds
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.3 seconds
Burst shooting - 2 fps   2.1 fps
Burst shooting - 5 fps   5 fps
Burst shooting - 11 fps   11 fps
Burst shooting - 40 fps   40 fps
Burst shooting - 60 fps   60 fps
Flash burst   1.3 fps

Continuous shooting is certainly impressive offering 11 fps continuous shooting at full resolution, or 5 fps continuous shooting with C-AF. You can shoot at 40 and 60 fps, with file size restricited to 5 and 2.5 megapixels respectively, in JPEG format. The camera shoots RAW at 11fps and will take 12 shots before writing to card, although it does take a while to record the photos to the card.

Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Leica D-LUX 6 Large

Leica D-Lux 6 Performance

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 6 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The D-Lux 6 takes pictures with excellent colour reproduction, with portrait shots having excellent skin tones, with just the slightest hint of red-eye when shooting with the flash. The HDR mode does an excellent job of retaining detail in the shadows.

Leica D-LUX 6 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images are packed with detail throughout when shooting at both ends of the lens. Purple fringing is kept to a minimum. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, with an impressive, well detailed macro shot possible.

Leica D-LUX 6 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Images at ISO 80 and 100 are free of noise, with only a little extra appearing when you shoot at ISO 200, 400 and 800. A little softening appears at ISO 1600, with ISO 3200 showing the first real signs of a loss in image quality, but images are still fairly sharp. At ISO 6400 images are very soft and look like they've been smudged. At the highest setting of ISO 12800, images are extremely noisy, but file size is limited to 3 megapixels.

Leica D-LUX 6 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under both our incandescent and fluorescent lights, the AWB preset copes really well. The incandescent preset has a slight orange cast in the image, there is no fluorescent preset available, this isn't a problem given the impressive AWB performance.

Leica D-Lux 6 Review: Panoramic | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Panorama | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode - Panoramas have a decent amount of detail and are really well stitched together.

Leica D-LUX 6 Other sample images

Leica D-LUX 6 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of picture styles which can be used when shooting in modes such as manual, aperture and shutter priority. The creative control modes can only be used as their own indepent modes, but you can increase or decrease the level of their affect.

Video - Below is a video shot at full 1080p HD. Quality is excellent, optical zoom is available during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page, where you will also find an example using the high-speed video mode. The camera's high-speed video mode records at 720p and 100fps.

Value For Money

The Leica D-Lux 6 is priced at £599, which is a lot of money for a serious compact camera, although included in that price is a 1 year Leica Passport Scheme (which includes accidental damage cover), 3 year warranty, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, and, if you buy from Harrison Cameras, a 32GB SanDisk memory card. Alternatives to look at include the Fujifilm FinePix X100 (£550), Sony Cyber-shot RX100 (£450), Olympus XZ-2 (£420), and for more take a look at our Top 10 Best Serious Compact Cameras.

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 6 Verdict

The Leica D-Lux 6 is a superb camera with many DSLR features packed into a compact body with a number of external controls, which produces excellent images. If you have a good budget to spend and aren't concerned by large amounts of optical zoom, but want a serious camera capable of great results, you can't go wrong, although the price will be off-putting to many. You can shoot at full resolution at 11 fps, battery life is excellent, there is low noise up to ISO 3200, and full manual controls with RAW shooting. The camera has a more subtle design than the Panasonic Lumix LX7, the prestigeous Leica red dot, as well as a a number of bundled extras.

  Leica D-Lux 6 Review:
  The Leica D-Lux 6 packs many useful features with superb image quality, although the price is high.

Leica D-Lux 6 Pros

Excellent image quality
Bright f/1.4 wide angle lens
RAW shooting
Full manual controls
1080p HD video recording
11 fps full resolution continuous shooting
Built-in electronic level
Good battery life
Low noise up to ISO 3200
Good AWB performance
3 year warranty

Leica D-Lux 6 Cons

Limited zoom range
Price makes it quite an investment
Lacks grip at the front


The Leica D-Lux 6 is available from Harrison Cameras.

Leica D-LUX 6 Specifications

Max Aperturef/1.4 - f/2.3
35mm equivalent24mm - 90mm
Optical Zoom3.8x
Image Sensor
Pixels10.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)3648
Pixels (H)2736
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor Size1/1.7 inch
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 resolution920k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest8sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting11fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS50p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)330shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery pack, battery charger, shoulder strap, USB cable, CD-ROM, hot shoe cover, screw cover, lens cap and lens cap string

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Photographs taken using the Leica D-LUX 6

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lemmy 16 2.9k United Kingdom
15 Feb 2013 11:04PM
If anyone wants a Leica GH3 or Leica G5, I have a box of stick on red dots to make the conversion.

£120 each or 2 for £200.
spr 13 United States
18 Feb 2013 3:17PM
"Due to the similarities, this review is based on the LX7 review."

I'm confused. Did you test the Leica, or not?
josa 11 25 Czech Republic
18 Feb 2013 8:05PM
@lemmy- I have NX10 Nike!!!Tongue
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 8:24PM

Quote:"Due to the similarities, this review is based on the LX7 review."

I'm confused. Did you test the Leica, or not?

Yes, we tested the Leica (all photos, video etc is from the Leica), it is just a lot of the text is the same, due to the specifications of the products being the same.
lemmy 16 2.9k United Kingdom
19 Feb 2013 9:36AM

Quote: it is just a lot of the text is the same, due to the specifications of the products being the same.

Honestly, I go into Tesco to buy a Leica and they sell me a Panasonic with a Leica label!

Next thing you know I'll go to buy a beefburger and come out with a horseburger with a beef label.

I hope ePZ has reported its findings to the Food Standards Authority - sorry CSA (Camera Standards Authority).
Paul Morgan 22 19.8k 6 England
20 Feb 2013 6:43PM
I don`t know what all the fuss is about.

Even Hasselblad had a camera that carried to different manufacturers names Smile
lemmy 16 2.9k United Kingdom
20 Feb 2013 7:27PM

Quote:Even Hasselblad had a camera that carried to different manufacturers names

Two wrongs make a right?
Paul Morgan 22 19.8k 6 England
21 Feb 2013 4:23AM
You have probably already guessed, I was talking about the xpan, but yes you are right.
6 Apr 2013 2:19PM
Great review. Concise and to the point. I used to have a d-lux 5 until a few months ago, which I missed a lot, and I just ordered a d-lux 6.
I want to get a practical case now. I looked at your cases page but I don't know what would be the best fit for the d-lux 6. Would you have a recommendation about it?

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