The new Leica V-Lux 5 is a super-zoom camera with a 1-inch sensor with 20 megapixels. Additionally, it has a 16x optical zoom lens that has an equivalent focal range of 25-400mm with maximum apertures that vary from f/2.8-4.
Other important features include a 2.36-megapixel OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.74x magnification, a touch-sensitive LCD screen, high-speed autofocusing, continuous burst shooting at a rate of 12 frames per second, 4K/30p video recording, 4K photo modes, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity through the use of the Leica FOTOS app. Since the previous generation, a new feature called Zoom Compose Assist has been included to assist while shooting with longer focal lengths, and the layout of the buttons has been altered.
Leica V-Lux 5 Body & Control
Because of its price tag, which, while not inexpensive at £1,050, is nonetheless one of the cheaper routes to owning a Leica-badged camera, and partly because the standard-issue bridge model layout and design make for more intuitive handling than we’re used to from this manufacturer, Leica is pitching the V Lux 5 as the ideal camera for “all” photographers. This is partial because its price tag is one of the cheaper routes to owning a Leica-badged camera.
We’d make that idea even better by developing a camera that’s adaptable to a wide variety of shooting conditions and doesn’t require you to change the lens that’s attached to it (since you can’t do that here) or move forward or backward to get your subject to fill the frame. To put it succinctly, the selling feature is its adaptability.
When held in the palm, the V-Lux 5 has a comfortable and reassuring feeling. Its plastic (yet not overly plastic-y feeling) frame, as opposed to Leica’s more usual metal, build, suggests a deliberately budget-conscious approach this time around – and, more obviously, another collaboration with Panasonic, whose own original Lumix FZ1000 and its more recent Mark II successor this most closely resembles in terms of core lens and sensor specification. The Leica X-U is available in black and silver.
As is customary, we are required to pay a premium for the Leica brand name; specifically, around $280 more compared to the comparable model offered by the electronics manufacturer at the time of this writing. Having said all of the above, it appears that the Leica V Lux 5 has been properly constructed, to the point that it wouldn’t break apart with only a few accidental hits.
Leica V-Lux 5 Image Quality
The colors are as vibrant as we would anticipate seeing from a Panasonic camera—oops, I meant a Leica camera. Detail, too, is on par with what we’d expect a bridge camera to deliver. This means that, while it’s perfectly acceptable, it’s not quite a match for what we’d expect a compact system camera or DSLR in this price range to deliver. However, it is on par with what we’d expect a bridge camera to deliver.
Neither of those choices could provide the same focal range or lens “poke” as this camera at the same budget, so we will need to anticipate some sacrifices.
In terms of ISO performance, here the combination of a large lens, a decent maximum aperture, and a large sensor has come up trumps, providing a surprisingly good showing as we dial upwards through the range. It is only at the top two settings, including the maximum ISO 25000 equivalent, that we see an obvious degradation in the image when viewing it on screen. This is because the combination of a large lens, a decent maximum aperture, and a large sensor has come up trump
This indicates that the V-Lux 5 is excellent at providing the goods, whether we are talking about day or night, as long as a stable surface is given. What we are paying for in this situation is versatility in the capturing of images.
In a nutshell, the Leica V-Lux 5 delivers superior performance to that of a point-and-shoot compact camera or an average smartphone. Still, it cannot compete with the capabilities of a compact system camera or the results obtained with a DSLR that can be purchased for a comparable price.
However, if you want a camera that is simpler to hold and quicker to get the hang of than what Leica is accustomed to delivering, then you may want to consider making some sacrifices in this area. The camera in question has a broader lens reach than most Leicas, and its handling is more convenient.
Leica V-Lux 5 Noise
The V-Lux 5 features 10 different sensitivity levels, ranging from ISO 80 to ISO 25000, all of which are accessible at full resolution. These may be chosen in increments of 1EV or 1/3EV, and the user can also set the maximum value that Auto ISO will utilize.
Leica V-Lux 5 Night Mode
When the Handheld Night Shot mode is engaged on the V-Lux 5, the camera can rapidly take many exposures of a night scene and combine them into a single image that has improved clarity and decreased noise.
Considering they are often photographed at ISO 3200, the final images have an appealingly bright and detailed appearance. Alternatively, you may change the mode of your camera to shutter priority and take pictures with a slow shutter speed and a low ISO sensitivity; however, this will require a tripod.
Leica V-Lux 5 Specs
|Body type||SLR-like (bridge)|
|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, 80-12500 (expands to 25000)|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||25000|
|White balance presets||5|
|Custom white balance||Yes (4 slots)|
|Focal length (equiv.)||24–400 mm|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Normal focus range||30 cm (11.81″)|
|Macro focus range||3 cm (1.18″)|
|Number of focus points||49|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||60 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)||1/16000 sec|
|Manual exposure mode||Yes|
|Subject / scene modes||Yes|
|Flash range||13.50 m (with Auto ISO)|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash modes||Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, auto w/slow sync and redeye reduction, on, off|
|Continuous drive||12.0 fps|
|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)|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 28 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 20 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC card|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro HDMI)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (via smartphone)|
|Battery description||BP-DC12 lithium-ion battery and charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||812 g (1.79 lb / 28.64 oz)|
|Dimensions||137 x 97 x 132 mm (5.39 x 3.82 x 5.2″)|
Leica V-Lux 5 Conclusion
Although it is not a “pure” Leica in that it shares so much with a more mass-produced Panasonic model that costs almost £300 less, the Leica V-Lux 5 is one of the more affordable ways to own a Leica camera. It is also one of the more accessible ways to own a Leica camera.
We do receive the coveted red Leica insignia on the front, as well as lenses that are branded with the Leica name.
Image quality, while not up there with the best of what compact system cameras or DSLRs can currently offer, is nonetheless pretty decent in terms of both the colors and definition delivered, with the Leica V Lux 5 being capable of better results than expected in challenging conditions, such as low light or even night time shooting. Image quality, while not up there with the best of what compact system cameras or DSLRs can currently offer, is nonetheless pretty decent in terms of both the colors and definition delivered (as long as the camera is resting on a steady surface).
The maximum aperture of f/2.8, which does not appear to be all that impressive on paper, fortunately, seems to deliver in practice. At the same time, the broad lens range, which reaches from a 35mm equivalent ultra-wide angle of 25mm up to 400mm at the telephoto end, is very useful, as it eliminates the need to shuffle forward or back to achieve the framing you were going for. It is much simpler to zoom in rapidly to accomplish that “catch” that you would have otherwise missed.
Since we can shoot 4K video and 20-megapixel stills and do so with a sensor that is larger than average, the “one camera fits all” approach that we have taken here may very well be sufficient for the majority of photographers.