Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Olympus E-PM1
The Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) and the Olympus PEN E-PM1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and June 2011. The D-LUX Typ 109 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PM1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12.7 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) and the Olympus PEN E-PM1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Leica D-LUX Typ 109 and the Olympus E-PM1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D-LUX Typ 109 can be obtained in two different colors (black, grey), while the E-PM1 is available in six color-versions (black, silver, brown, pink, purple, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PM1 is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Leica D-LUX Typ 109. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D-LUX Typ 109 nor the E-PM1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX Typ 109 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PM1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-PM1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||118 mm||66 mm||55 mm||405 g||300||n||Sep 2014||1,195|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|3.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|5.||Fujifilm X100T||127 mm||74 mm||52 mm||440 g||330||n||Sep 2014||1,299|
|6.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|7.||Fujifilm X100S||127 mm||74 mm||54 mm||445 g||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|9.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||830 g||360||n||Sep 2014||1,349|
|10.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3. The D-LUX Typ 109 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the D-LUX Typ 109 offers a slightly higher resolution of 12.7 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-PM1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 2 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the D-LUX Typ 109 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.21μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PM1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the D-LUX Typ 109 is much more recent (by 3 years and 2 months) than the E-PM1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 12500, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PM1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D-LUX Typ 109 provides a higher video resolution than the E-PM1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D-LUX Typ 109 has an electronic viewfinder (2764k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PM1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PM1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica D-LUX Typ 109 and Olympus E-PM1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||2764||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|3.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Fujifilm X30||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm X100T||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X20||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Fujifilm X100S||2360||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|9.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||2764||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the D-LUX Typ 109 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Leica D-LUX Typ 109 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D-LUX Typ 109 and the E-PM1 write their files to SDXC cards. The D-LUX Typ 109 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-PM1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) and Olympus PEN E-PM1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X30||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X100T||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Fujifilm X100S||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the D-LUX Typ 109 offers wifi support, while the E-PM1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the D-LUX Typ 109 and the E-PM1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PM1 was replaced by the Olympus E-PM2, while the D-LUX Typ 109 was followed by the Leica D-LUX 7. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica D-LUX Typ 109 and the Olympus E-PM1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109):
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PM1 requires a separate lens.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 2 months of technical progress since the E-PM1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PM1:
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D-LUX Typ 109 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica D-LUX Typ 109 and the Olympus E-PM1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D-LUX Typ 109 or the E-PM1. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,195|
|2.||Olympus E-PM1||..||86/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|3.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Fujifilm X30||4/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|5.||Fujifilm X100T||5/5||+||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,299|
|6.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|7.||Fujifilm X100S||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|9.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Sep 2014||1,349|
|10.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|12.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|13.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Leica D-LUX Typ 109
- Canon G9 X vs Olympus E-PM1
- Canon M vs Leica D-LUX Typ 109
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Nikon 1 V2
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Nikon D3500
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Nikon D600
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Samsung NX500
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Olympus E-PM1
- Olympus E-M10 II vs Olympus E-PM1
- Olympus E-PL7 vs Olympus E-PM1
- Olympus E-PM1 vs Sony A6600
- Olympus E-PM1 vs Sony NEX-3N
Specifications: Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Olympus E-PM1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Olympus E-PM1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 1,195||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Olympus E-PM1|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.7 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4112 x 3088 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.21 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.65 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12,500 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||499|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Olympus E-PM1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Olympus E-PM1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Olympus E-PM1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Olympus E-PM1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
118 x 66 x 55 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 2.2 in)
110 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||405 g (14.3 oz)||265 g (9.3 oz)|
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