Leica Digilux 3 vs V-LUX 2
The Leica Digilux 3 and the Leica V-LUX 2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2006 and September 2010. The Digilux 3 is a DSLR, while the V-LUX 2 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and a 1/2.3-inch (V-LUX 2) sensor. The Digilux 3 has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the V-LUX 2 provides 14 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 Digilux 3 and the Leica V-LUX 2? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Leica V-LUX 2 is provided 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica V-LUX 2 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the V-LUX 2 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 2 has a lens built in, whereas the Digilux 3 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 Digilux 3 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The V-LUX 2 was launched at a lower price than the Digilux 3, despite having a lens built in. 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 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Leica V-LUX 2 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the V-LUX 2 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the V-LUX 2 offers a higher resolution of 14 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the Digilux 3. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.41μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). However, it should be noted that the V-LUX 2 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the Digilux 3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the V-LUX 2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica V-LUX 2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the V-LUX 2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.6 x 16.2 inches or 54.9 x 41.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.4 x 10.8 inches or 36.6 x 27.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica Digilux 3 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica Digilux 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica V-LUX 2 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|5.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.8||11.1||501||43|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.7||11.0||430||42|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|9.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|10.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|11.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|16.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The V-LUX 2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Digilux 3 does not. The highest resolution format that the V-LUX 2 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 2 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the Digilux 3 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica Digilux 3 and Leica V-LUX 2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Digilux 3 and the V-LUX 2 write their files to SDXC 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 Digilux 3 and Leica V-LUX 2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica M8||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the Digilux 3 and the V-LUX 2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The V-LUX 2 was replaced by the Leica V-LUX 3, while the Digilux 3 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the Digilux 3 and V-LUX 2 can be found, respectively, in the Leica Digilux 3 Manual (free pdf) or the online Leica V-LUX 2 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica Digilux 3 better than the Leica V-LUX 2 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica Digilux 3:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 410) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2006).
Advantages of the Leica V-LUX 2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (14 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 207k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the Digilux 3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x80mm vs 146x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Digilux 3).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the Digilux 3 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the V-LUX 2 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Digilux 3 and the Leica V-LUX 2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Digilux 3 or the V-LUX 2. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica M8||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D X vs Leica Digilux 3
- Canon 2000D vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Canon S120 vs Leica Digilux 3
- Canon T7i vs Leica Digilux 3
- Fujifilm X-E1 vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D200
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D2X
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-P3
- Leica Q2 vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Nikon D40
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Olympus E-3
Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Leica V-LUX 2
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 Digilux 3||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||25-600mm f/2.8-5.2|
|Launch Date||September 2006||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1,499||USD 849|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||7.4 Megapixels||14 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3136 x 2352 pixels||4320 x 3240 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||1.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||49.86 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||207k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Leica V-LUX 2|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
146 x 87 x 77 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
124 x 80 x 95 mm
(4.9 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
|Camera Weight||606 g (21.4 oz)||520 g (18.3 oz)|
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