Leica C-Lux 2

      Photo Review 8

      In summary

      A well-built, ultra-slim digicam that produces natural-looking pictures in most shooting conditions.Almost identical in specifications to Panasonic’s substantially cheaper DMC-FX07 model (which we reviewed last year), the new Leica C-Lux 2 has the same 7.2-megapixel imager and a similar Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 3.6x optical zoom lens, but its focal length range is marginally shorter (28-100mm vs 28-102mm). Focusing distances are the same for both cameras, as is body weight, although the C-Lux 2 is a tad longer, higher and slimmer. . . [more]

      Full review


      Almost identical in specifications to Panasonic’s substantially cheaper DMC-FX07 model (which we reviewed last year), the new Leica C-Lux 2 has the same 7.2-megapixel imager and a similar Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 3.6x optical zoom lens, but its focal length range is marginally shorter (28-100mm vs 28-102mm). Focusing distances are the same for both cameras, as is body weight, although the C-Lux 2 is a tad longer, higher and slimmer.


      Like the FX07, the C-Lux 2 has no viewfinder, so users must focus and frame shots with its 2.5-inch LCD. Other shared features include the semi-enclosed mode dial, control buttons and layout, 9-point TTL AF system and Panasonic’s Mega O.I.S. lens-shift image stabilisation system. We suspect Panasonic’s image processing system is also used in the Leica model, although performance has been tweaked to provide a more ‘European’ look to the colours and tonality of pictures.


      Exposure metering, compensation and AE bracketing are identical in both cameras, as are the colour effects, which in the C-Lux 2 are found in the Colour Mode setting on page three of the shooting menu. Seven settings are provided: Standard, Natural, Vivid, Cool, Warm, B&W and Sepia. Both cameras offer users a choice of three aspect ratios for stills and two for video clips and have the same still and video resolutions and frame rates. The scene mode settings are also identical.


      Sensitivity settings are the same in both cameras but white balance settings differ slightly. The C-Lux 2 provides an auto mode plus pre-sets for daylight, overcast sky and halogen light, along with two manual settings. In contrast, the FX07 has an auto mode plus pre-sets for daylight, cloudy, shade, halogen and a single ‘white set’ manual mode. Both cameras provide fine-tuning across a range of -1500K to +1500K in 150K steps.
      Both cameras are SDHC and MMC compatible but the C-Lux 2 comes with a 64MB SD card, whereas the FX07 has 16MB. The Panasonic camera claims slightly better power usage.

      Pictures from the test camera were sharp, with natural-looking colours and a wider than average dynamic range. Unlike the Panasonic FX07 camera we reviewed last year, the C-Lux 2 did not produce colour shifts with high ISO settings in dim lighting or with flash. Image noise was, however, visible at ISO 400 and above, although it wasn’t particularly obvious until the top (ISO 1250) setting. JPEG compression ratios were relatively high (see table below)






















      Imatest showed the C-Lux 2 to be capable of adequate (though not outstanding) resolution and showed evidence of slight centre-to-edge softening. It also revealed a decline in resolution at the top ISO setting. Lateral chromatic aberration was low enough to be negligible and we found no evidence of coloured fringing in outdoor shots.
      Colour saturation was normal at the Standard colour setting and slightly lower with the Natural setting. The Cool and Warm settings produced substantial colour shifts, which can be seen in the Imatest graphs below.
      Close-ups taken with the Macro scene mode contained plenty of detail and rich, attractive colours. Digital zoom shots were somewhat soft at 100% magnification but relatively free of compression artefacts. The auto white balance setting failed to completely remove the colour casts created by incandescent and fluorescent lighting but produced colour renditions that were easily corrected to natural colours with an Auto Levels adjustment in Photoshop. Manual white balance measurement delivered excellent results.
      It took approximately 1.5 seconds to power up the camera for shooting and shot-to-shot times averaged 1.6 seconds without flash and between 1.9 and 2.6 seconds with. Focusing was generally fast and accurate, even in relatively dim lighting and the built-in O.I.S. system proved very effective. We measured an average capture lag of 0.5 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing.
      The high-speed continuous shooting mode recorded a burst of five 2.2MB JPEGs at 0.35 second intervals, while the low-speed mode was only slightly slower (0.45 second intervals) for the same-sized burst. The ‘infinite’ burst mode recorded shots with the same resolution at 0.5 second intervals and showed no sign of slowing during a burst of 20 shots. File processing was continuous as shots were recorded.
      Movie clips were similar to those produced by the FX07 and recordings captured at 30 fps looked smooth in both the 4:3 and 16:9 formats. But clip lengths are limited to about 15 minutes and Motion JPEG macro blocks could be seen when rapid movement was photographed. The supplied software includes Adobe’s Photoshop Elements and Quicktime Movie Player.



      Colour reproduction with the Standard setting.


      Colour reproduction with the Cool setting.


      Colour reproduction with the Warm setting.






      Digital zoom


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      ISO 100


      ISO 1250





      Image sensor: 5.76 x 4.29 mm CCD with 7.38 million photosites (7.2 megapixels effective)
      Lens: Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.6-16.4mm f/2.8-5.6 (28-100mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 3.6x optical,
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Fine/Standard); Movies ““ QuickTine Motion JPEG
      Image Sizes: In 4:3 format ““ 3072 x 2304, 2560 x 1920, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480; in 3:2 format ““ 3072 x 2048, 2042 x 1360,; in 16:9 format ““ 3072 x 1728, 1920 x 1080. Video ““ 848 x 480, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 at 30 or 10 fps
      Shutter speed range: 8-1/2000 sec. Starry sky mode: 15, 30, 60 s. Video mode : 1/30 s-1/6400 s.
      Image Stabilisation: optical; 2 modes (exposure only or exposure and monitor)
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1⁄ 3 EV steps.
      Focus system/range: 3 or 5 field TTL AF; range 50 cm to infinity. Macro to 5 cm
      Exposure metering/control: Multi-field measurement; simple, Normal & Macro modes plus 20 scene pre-sets
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1250 (3200 in High Sensitivity mode)
      White balance: Auto, daylight, overcast sky, halogen light, two manual settings, fine adjustment of white balance in a range of ““1500 to +1500 K in 150 K steps (not available for automatic setting).
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, on, slow synch (with or without red-eye reduction pre-flash), flash off; range 0.6-5.0 m
      Sequence shooting:
      Storage Media: SD/SDHC/MMC cards (64 MB SD card supplied)
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 2.5-inch polycrystalline LCD (207,000 pixels)
      Power supply: BP-DC6 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (300 shots/charge CIPA Standard)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 94.9 x 51.9 x 22 mm
      Weight: approx. 132 g (without battery and card)






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