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Leica V-Lux 5 Review

Leica V-Lux 5 Review - The V-Lux 5 is an ultra zoom bridge camera, with 16x optical zoom, and 4K video recording, find out how this camera performs.

|  Leica V-Lux 5 in Compact Cameras
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Leica V Lux5 (1)

Quick Verdict

The Leica V-Lux 5 offers a great 16x optical zoom lens, a comfortable, easy to use camera body, with easy to access controls, and a high resolution electronic viewfinder with a good magnification ratio of 0.74x. The Leica V-Lux 5 is a very competent ultra-zoom camera, delivering both high quality images, as well as excellent 4K video quality. The Leica design and the famous red dot make this more expensive compared to the Panasonic version of the camera, and if you want to save money you can do so by going for the Panasonic version. However, if you want to stand out, with the Leica Red Dot, then the Leica V-Lux 5 is definitely cheaper than a Leica M digital rangefinder. 

+ Pros

  • Leica 16x optical zoom lens
  • High-quality electronic viewfinder (EVF)
  • 4K video quality impresses
  • Customisable function buttons
  • 3cm macro focus
  • USB charging

- Cons

  • More expensive than the FZ1000 II
  • Doesn't feature USB Type-C
  • Purple fringing 


Leica V Lux5 (2)

The Leica V-Lux 5 is an ultra zoom bridge camera with a 16x zoom (25-400mm) lens and a Leica price-tag of £1050. It's a high-end version of the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II with an updated design and, of course, the famous Leica red-dot on the front.


Leica V-Lux 5 Features

Leica V Lux5 (4)

The Leica V-Lux 5, offers the same features, specifications, and controls as the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II, but with an updated design and styling, as well as the famous Leica logo. It could be a good travel option for those who need plenty of zoom but aren't too fussed about carrying a suitcase full of lenses. 

With its 20 megapixel, 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor and the 25-400mm equivalent (f/2.8-4.0) lens, image quality is promising and low light performance should be good, too. Talking of low light, ISO speeds range from ISO80 to 25000 and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) is built-in. The camera lens can focus as close as 3cm, allowing for close-up macro shots. The camera has P, A, S, M shooting modes, giving you full manual controls, as well as raw recording.

Other standout features on the Leica V-Lux 5 include the promise of 90-millisecond autofocus speeds, 12 frames per second continuous shooting. 4K video recording is possible, with frame rates of 24, 25 or 30fps, and there's a microphone socket on the side. You can also use 4K Photo to shoot at 30fps, and choose which images to keep afterwards. There's also the option to use Post-Focus and change the focus point after you've taken the image, or you can use Focus-stacking to produce an image with more in focus. 

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has 2.36MPs and OLED technology to assist you in image composition. Plus, contrast ratio and colour depth have been improved from previous models without affecting battery life and there's a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, with a 1.24m dot resolution.

For those who want to share images straight from the camera with their social media followers, the Leica V-Lux 5 is the first in the V-Lux range to be compatible with the Leica FOTOS App which you can download for iOS or Android smartphones, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in. Plus, the Leica V-Lux 5 uses a USB charger to power the battery; as your smartphone devices do.  

Leica V Lux5 (3)

Key Features

  • 20MP 1inch BSI CMOS Sensor
  • 16x optical zoom, DC Vario-Elmarit 25-400mm f/2.8-4.0 lens
  • Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
  • 3inch vari-angle touch screen with 1.24MP dots
  • High-resolution OLED EVF display with 0.74x magnification and eye sensor
  • Burst mode up to 12fps
  • ISO80 to ISO25000
  • 4K video and 4K photo burst mode
  • Bluetooth and WiFi for FOTOS App
  • USB charging
  • JPEG and RAW files
  • Autofocus speed of approx. 90 milliseconds
  • Focus stacking and Post Focus

Leica V-Lux 5 Handling

Leica V Lux5 (6)

Handling - The Leica V-Lux 5 has the same layout of controls and buttons as the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II, however there have been some subtle design changes, including flatter buttons, as well as an updated AF switch on the rear. There are numerous customisable function (Fn) buttons on the camera, and you can also customise on-screen function buttons. 

The camera has an updated texture on the rubber grip on the camera, and the grip gives a good area for you to hold the camera, with ample rubber on the front, as well as the rear. 

The rubber surround, around the electronic viewfinder (EVF) gives a soft, and comfortable area for your eye, and the eye-detection sensor means the camera will automatically switch between the rear screen and the EVF. The EVF has a high resolution, of 2360K dots, and this provides a clear and detailed view of the scene. With a magnification of 0.74x the view is of a good size, and in bright sunny conditions it can be very pleasing to use the EVF instead of the rear screen. There's also dioptre correction.

Despite the plastic construction, the camera feels well built, and solid. The focal lengths are clearly marked on the top of the (plastic) lens barrel. The control ring around the lens, as well as the exterior of the lens are made of metal.

There are a number of different focus modes, including single, continuous, and manual focus. You can set the focus point using the touch screen, or use the 4-way controller. There is face and eye-detection which works well, and AF tracking is available. 

Leica V Lux5 (8)

Menus - The menus are almost identical to the Panasonic menus, however, the colour scheme has been updated. There's a "MyMenu" section where you can add you favourite settings, so that you can get to them more quickly. The Q.Menu button on the back gives quick access to common settings on the rear screen so that you don't need to go into the menus. You can use the touch-screen to navigate the menus. 

The bottom of the camera features a locking battery compartment, and the SD memory card compartment is also here.

Leica V Lux5 (9)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 400 shots according to Leica / CIPA test results, which is good. The camera now also supports USB charging, using a MicroUSB cable, unfortunately it's not been updated to USB Type C. The battery used is the same as the FZ1000 / FZ1000 II, so if you want a spare battery, you'll be able to shop around for the best price.

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Photographs taken using the Leica V-Lux 5

Costa de Adeje, TenerifeMystical ImageLyme Park FollyDon't look at me...Gannet defending nest from SeagullPair of Gannets at BemptonGannets at Bempton Cliffs

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pablophotographer 9 1.9k 407
1 Aug 2019 12:20AM
Leica made in China?
You make me wonder where the Panasonic cousin is made...

I find the USB charging option a convenient solution. My replacement battery is coming through the post.

Take a note of the serial number and save it. Mine (in the Panasonic cousin) got erased by time.

steveb127 3 1 United Kingdom
6 Aug 2019 4:11PM
Will we be saying a 'con' of no usb-c in the review of every camera which doesn't have one, or were you just looking to pick holes ?
6 Aug 2019 11:05PM
Micro USB charging is compatible with my other Panasonics, my Android phone and my Kindles. Why on earth would I want to add an incompatible cable?
joshwa Plus
10 927 1 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2019 8:39AM

USB-C cables can be inserted both ways up (therefore easier to connect), is generally more solid than MicroUSB, is generally quicker (USB3 rather than USB2), and MicroUSB is being used by less and less in new devices.

steveb127 3 1 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2019 11:37AM
@ Joshwa - yes USB-C can be inserted either way, as to being more solid, pure conjecture, there's no peer reviewed data on that - but back to my original question - Will we be saying a 'con' of no usb-c in the review of every camera which doesn't have one, or were you just looking to pick holes ? You should not cherry pick the comments you are willing to respond to.
joshwa Plus
10 927 1 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2019 12:48PM

Quote:@ Joshwa - yes USB-C can be inserted either way, as to being more solid, pure conjecture, there's no peer reviewed data on that - but back to my original question - Will we be saying a 'con' of no usb-c in the review of every camera which doesn't have one, or were you just looking to pick holes ? You should not cherry pick the comments you are willing to respond to.

Yes we may put it as a con for all future reviews, although considering most new cameras are now using USB-C, we may not need to. (Depending if there are not an excessive number of other negatives).

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