A rebranded version of the Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 model, the new Leica C-Lux travel-zoom digital compact camera is a little more affordable option than its predecessor.
The Leica C-Lux is equipped with a 15x zoom lens (equivalent to 24-360 in 35mm format), a 20-megapixel sensor, a maximum ISO sensitivity of 25,600, a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, an integrated electronic viewfinder, 10fps continuous shooting, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to record 4K video. Other features include continuous shooting at 10 frames per second. Light Gold and Midnight Blue are the two color options for the £875/$1050 Leica C-Lux that are now available.
Leica C-Lux Build Quality
The new Leica C-Lux compact camera is very closely (and obviously) patterned after Panasonic’s TZ-series travel zooms. However, in place of Panasonic’s TZ-series travel zooms, the C-Lux features covetable red branding and the knowledge that it was assembled by hand. This is a quality snapshot model, as you might think, and it is ideally appropriate for those holiday getaways. It is also suitable for any other time when you don’t want to tote along that DSLR or compact system camera.
It should come as no surprise that a Leica occupies a position at the top of the premium market segment for pocketable cameras (as suggested by the inclusion of the word “Lux” in its name). The new C-Lux can be purchased in the UK for the price of £875, which is somewhat more than the almost similar TZ200 model sold by Panasonic, which can be bought for around £730. Neither option is a cheap one.
Leica C-Lux Image Quality
The Fine JPEG option at 20 megapixels was used to capture each sample photograph included in this study. This setting results in an image that is around 7 megabytes in size on average.
The Leica C-Lux has a one-inch sensor, as opposed to the average 1/2.3-inch chip previously found in the vast majority of point-and-shoot cameras (which were far more affordable). This should provide a significant improvement to the camera’s image quality. Although the images are detailed, well-defined, and rich in color when viewed at the more comprehensive and mid ranges of the zoom, as with most pocket zooms, the detail starts to appear less strongly defined when viewed at the telephoto end of the zoom. When the JPEGs are examined, they lack contrast as well as clarity.
Thankfully, we also can shoot in Raw, allowing us to capture the most incredible amount of detail possible. As we mentioned in the main body of the review, simultaneously shooting in both of these file formats doesn’t appear to impact the camera’s performance in any significant way negatively.
However, taking portraits at the ultra-wide 24mm setting can occasionally result in somewhat elongated facial features; as a result, we discovered that we wanted/needed to zoom in just a little bit closer to the subject.
Leica C-Lux Specs
|Body type||Large sensor compact|
|Max resolution||5472 x 3648|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||20 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||21 megapixels|
|Sensor size||1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)|
|ISO||Auto, 125-12800 (expands to 80-25600)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||80|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||25600|
|White balance presets||5|
|Custom white balance||Yes (4 slots)|
|Image stabilization notes||Hybrid 5-axis available in movie mode|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, standard|
|Focal length (equiv.)||24–360 mm|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Digital zoom||Yes (2X)|
|Normal focus range||50 cm (19.69″)|
|Macro focus range||5 cm (1.97″)|
|Number of focus points||49|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||60 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/2000 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)||1/16000 sec|
|Manual exposure mode||Yes|
|Flash range||6.80 m (at Auto ISO)|
|Flash modes||Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off|
|Continuous drive||10.0 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 secs, 3 shots @ 10 sec)|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)|
|Format||MPEG-4, AVCHD, H.264|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 20 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 30p / 10 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I compatible)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.2 LE|
|Remote control||Yes (via smartphone)|
|Battery description||Lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||340 g (0.75 lb / 11.99 oz)|
|Dimensions||113 x 67 x 46 mm (4.45 x 2.64 x 1.81″)|
Leica C-Lux Verdict
On paper, the C-Lux seems to have it all: it is a tiny camera with an extensive image sensor that promises excellent image quality, 15x optical zoom, and plenty of other capabilities. The problem is that you can have all of these features with the almost identical Panasonic ZS200/TZ200 but at a far more affordable price. If you feel as though you have to have the red dot praise from Leica, then the additional expenditure may just be worth it. On the other hand, if you don’t care about brand snobbery, Panasonic is the better value.