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Leica Digilux 3 Comparison Review

The Leica Digilux 3 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in September 2006 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 7.4 megapixel.

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Is the Leica Digilux 3 a good camera? The Digilux 3 has a Camera Elo of 1354. This rating puts the Digilux 3 below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the Digilux 3 also ranks below average. – Well, the Leica Digilux 3 is more than 13 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2006.

Headline Specifications
Leica Digilux 3
Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video
ISO 100-1600
Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 207k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Leica Digilux 3 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Leica Digilux 3 vs credit card front
Digilux 3 versus credit card top view
Digilux 3 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica Digilux 3 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon 30D« » 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« » 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M8« » 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« » 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849- i Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« » 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« » 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Leica Digilux 3 was launched in the US market at a price of $1,499. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Leica Digilux 3:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Leica Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Leica Digilux 3 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Leica Digilux 3 sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M8« » APS-H 10.4 3936 2630-21.111.366359Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« » 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p----Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Panasonic L1

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the Digilux 3 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Digilux 3 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.47x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica Digilux 3 and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M8« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« »235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« »optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1

One convenient feature of the Digilux 3 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

 

Connection comparison

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 Digilux 3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M8« »Y-----2.0---Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« »Ymonomono---2.0---Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L1
 

Expert reviews

While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the Digilux 3 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Canon 30D« »+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M8« »-+ +--- Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« »----- Sep 2006 849- i Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« »-+o3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »76/100+ +--- Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« »-+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »85/100+-o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica Digilux 3 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the Digilux 3.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the Digilux 3 based on?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the Digilux 3?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Leica Digilux 3?

Leica does not publish a shutter rating for the Digilux 3. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

Does the Leica Digilux 3 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The Digilux 3's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.

Which battery does the Digilux 3 use?

The camera gets its power from the BP-DC3, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Leica Digilux 3
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2006
    Launch Price USD 1499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BP-DC3 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz)

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