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 Post subject: Leica Digilux 3 Review
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:29 am 
Well, I decided to enter the digital age earlier this month when I purchased a new Digilux 3 bundled with the Leica D 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 Vario-Elmarit lens. It is a wonderful camera and I am enjoying it very much!

You may wonder why I purchased the D3 instead of the similar Lumix L1k which costs less. For me three things convinced me to go with the red dot:
- First, the warranty on the D3 is 3 years with the first six months also covered by the Leica Passport which covers against any physical harm to the body and lens. The L1k only has a 1 year parts and 90 days labor warranty here in the US.

- Second, Leica did extra work on the firmware which results in more refined JPEGs in terms of image presentation and noise control. It is also widely believed that the D3 body and lens receive tighter quality control inspections from Leica personnel, that are resident at the Panasonic plant in Japan.

- Third, Leica is now offering (through the end of this month) a loyalty discount program worth $699 US. I also timed my purchase at a dealer that was holding a Leica Days sales event and I received another $150 discount on top.

When researching my purchase, the Camera Labs reviews of the L1k and the Leica D 14-50mm were quite instructional for me. Standard settings on both the D3 and L1k are set conservatively to allow for post processing. However, I routinely shoot JPEGs that I want ready to go without further computer manipulation and so I set the sharpness up two steps and contrast up one step with standard color saturation. The photo details come alive at this setting and the Leica lens really produces impressive files.

At the 7.5 MP offered by the Digilux 3, I honestly cannot believe the incredible amount of detail that I am seeing. It makes me wonder what really is being gained as the double digit megapixel race heads for 20. What is the cost of higher megapixels in other aspects of image quality such as noise, chromatic aberrations from lenses not up to the job and the narrowing of exposure latitude from undersized pixels?

It's funny how history will loop around on itself. 50 years ago the cutting edge consumer electronic technology of the day was transistor radios. Like today, the consumer was on the hunt for the "best" product which at the time was defined (they thought) by the number of transistors the radio offered. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Well, all these years later radio hobbyists agree that the best radios of the day (like Zenith or Sony) often had fewer transistors. Flashy high transistor count models had parts often inferior in quality that resulted in worse signal reception and reduced reliability. In some brands many of the transistors were not even hooked up to the circuit board!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
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Hi Goodbokeh, thanks for your review. As you'll have no doubt noticed while researching the L1 and Digilux 3, there were very mixed feelings about these cameras by the various reviewers.

It's certainly an unconventional product, or perhaps I should say unconventional by typical modern designs, but none-the-less I still really enjoyed my time with it - as I'm sure you gathered from my review and video tour. The Leica zoom is also a quality optic.

I was interested to read your justifications for the Leica version as I haven't tested it myself. Perhaps it could be considered a 'special edition' in terms of refinements and quality control. I still wonder though if the RAW files are identical to the Panasonic L1...

Either way, sounds like you got a great deal on it at the time of buying, and that you've tweaked it to produce the kind of JPEGs you're after.

Thanks again for your review.

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