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I want this camera, Leica: C-LUX 2

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There was a time when to own a Leica meant that you lived among the upper echelons of photographers, condescending from great heights to associate with mere mortals who used ‘other’ cameras.

Such is the legend that is Leica.

While the legend remains, owning a Leica these days is much simpler. Nonetheless, the reasons for owning one remain the same. Quite simply, Leica is quality. The Leica C-Lux 2 is proof of that.

This compact, 7.2 megapixel digital camera fits so neatly into your hands that it is an absolute pleasure to hold and to use. It is a very well designed and well built camera however, and no corners have been cut in making this little Leica feel like a Leica should.

The C-Lux 2 has few external controls, keeping the operation simple for basic picture taking. The power button, zoom lever, mode dial, four-way jog controller are all external controls, keeping the settings you rarely need to concern yourself with in the menu. In keeping with the camera’s compactness they have even done away with a viewfinder. Rather, it has a very large screen and in bright conditions you can increase the screen’s brightness by 40 percent, making it easier to compose your pictures. It fires up very quickly too, meaning that you don’t miss those special moments.

The C-Lux 2 also has a 3.7x optical zoom with a very good image stabiliser for those low light photographs that are only ever ruined by flash. For those situations, you can even set the camera as high as 3200 ISO. The 7.2 megapixel resolution combined with the legendary Leica optics mean incredibly sharp, high resolution images with excellent colour and detail. Movies can also be taken in either 640 x 480 SD (4:3) or 848 x 480 HD (16:9) resolution at 30 fps.

There is a range of accessories available for the C-Lux 2 that make it even more interesting. Leica have three beautiful leather cases available for this high class little camera – cognac, brown black. You can even attach your C-Lux 2 to a Digiscope, making it possible to photograph birdlife at the 35mm equivalent of 1000mm telephoto!

A Glorified Panasonic?

For decades, Leica have combined their talents with other camera manufacturers to combine technologies and manufacturing methods. They make no bones about the fact that they are still doing that.

Anyone who knows their cameras would point to the Panasonic DMC-FX07 and accuse it of being the same camera. That Leica and Panasonic are working together is no secret, and the specifications between the cameras are almost identical.

So why buy the Leica? There is very good reason, the most important being that which is important to you – the image quality. All Leica digital cameras have proprietary firmware settings within the camera that suit the more educated and advanced photographer, making this an automatic benefit for even your family photographs.

The colour and contrast performance is more biased toward a “European” standard, which has always been more subtle than Japanese colour and contrast standards. This is true certainly of the Panasonic and the Leica and side by side image comparisons bear this out. It is the same as using professional film for your family snaps. This firmware cannot be installed on the Panasonic versions.

Also, unlike the Panasonic, the Leica C-Lux-2 does not automatically choose 800 ISO under low light conditions. This means that the Leica maintains less noise in your available light photography, remembering that the camera has an excellent image stabiliser to compensate for those slow shutter speeds. Also, the Leica digital cameras keep your “Flash Off” settings even after the camera is switched off and on again. The Panasonic defaults to “Auto Flash” when under the same conditions and always has to be reset if you prefer to shoot without flash.

Another distinct advantage to buying the Leica is that all Leica digital cameras are supplied with Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 with an update available for Vista. The Macintosh versions are also packed with the camera. This is not the case with the Panasonic cameras. Adobe PhotoShop Elements is a comprehensive image editing suite that is used by enthusiasts and professionals alike.

In keeping with Leica’s commitment to quality, the C-Lux 2 has a full two year warranty, as against the Panasonic which is limited to twelve months.

Then, and forgive us mentioning it, there is the simple thing about owning a Leica. That badge has ‘legendary’ stamped all over it. The look and feel of a Leica is unique to that name. You’ll know what we mean when you get the feel of one in your own hands.

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Written by Roberto

January 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Electronics

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