Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-30
The Leica Digilux 3 and the Olympus E-30 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and November 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 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 Digilux 3 and the Olympus E-30? 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 Digilux 3 and the Olympus E-30 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side 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 Olympus E-30 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. Moreover, the E-30 is markedly heavier (16 percent) than the Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the E-30 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||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 M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||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.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-30 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the Digilux 3, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.
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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-30 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the Digilux 3. This megapixels advantage translates into a 29 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-30 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). However, it should be noted that the E-30 is much more recent (by 2 years and 1 month) than the Digilux 3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-30 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-30 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 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 Olympus E-30 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|2.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|7.||Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|8.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|9.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|10.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|11.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|14.||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.|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The Digilux 3 and the E-30 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the E-30 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the Digilux 3 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-30 has a higher magnification (0.51x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica Digilux 3 and Olympus E-30 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/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 M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-600||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|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.|
One feature that differentiates the E-30 and the Digilux 3 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-30 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the Digilux 3 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The E-30 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the Digilux 3 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Digilux 3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-30 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-30 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Digilux 3 only has one slot.
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 Olympus E-30 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.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica M8||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-600||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the Digilux 3 and the E-30 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Leica and Olympus. Further information on the features and operation of the Digilux 3 and E-30 can be found, respectively, in the Leica Digilux 3 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-30 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica Digilux 3 or the Olympus E-30 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica Digilux 3:
- More compact: Is smaller (146x87mm vs 142x108mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 95g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2006).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-30:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 29%.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.51x vs 0.47x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the Digilux 3 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-30 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 Digilux 3 and the Olympus E-30 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 E-30. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||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 M8||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 100D vs Olympus E-30
- Canon G1 X vs Leica Digilux 3
- Fujifilm X30 vs Leica Digilux 3
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Leica SL
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony A7 III
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony HX350
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony RX1
- Olympus E-30 vs Panasonic S1R
- Olympus E-30 vs Sony A7 III
- Olympus E-30 vs Sony HX80
- Olympus E-30 vs Sony RX0 II
- Olympus E-30 vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-30
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||Olympus E-30|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2006||November 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 1,499||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus E-30|
|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||7.4 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3136 x 2352 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||530|
|Screen Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus E-30|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||207k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus E-30|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus E-30|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Olympus E-30|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
146 x 87 x 77 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
142 x 108 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.3 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||606 g (21.4 oz)||701 g (24.7 oz)|
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