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 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.
Full manual controls - aperture ring, internal ND filter and focus lever
Full 1080p HD video recording
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 Handling
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.
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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Burst shooting - 2 fps
Burst shooting - 5 fps
Burst shooting - 11 fps
Burst shooting - 40 fps
Burst shooting - 60 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 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.
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.
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.
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
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