Leica Digilux 3 versus 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 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-30
The physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Olympus E-30 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the Digilux 3 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
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 find an overview of suitable optics 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, just select a new right or left 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 camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Leica Digilux 3»||5.7 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||-|
|Olympus E-30«||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||-|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||-|
|Canon XT« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899||-|
|Leica V-LUX 1« »||5.6 in||3.4 in||5.6 in||25.9 oz||360||n||Sep 2006||849||-|
|Leica M8« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.8 oz||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-600« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Aug 2009||449||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-510« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||-|
|Olympus E-3« »||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.9 oz||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||-|
|Olympus E-330« »||5.5 in||3.4 in||2.8 in||22.5 oz||750||n||Jan 2006||999||-|
|Olympus E-500« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.6 in||16.9 oz||750||n||Sep 2005||599||-|
|Olympus E-300« »||5.8 in||3.3 in||2.5 in||22.0 oz||750||n||Sep 2004||799||-|
|Olympus E-1« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||26.0 oz||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699||-|
|Panasonic L10« »||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599||-|
|Panasonic L1« »||5.7 in||3.4 in||2.5 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||999||-|
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.
Sensor comparison: Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-30
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 megapixel, compared with 7.4 MP of the Digilux 3. This megapixel 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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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.
|Leica Digilux 3»||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-30«||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|Canon 30D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.5||10.8||736||59|
|Canon XT« »||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||-||21.8||10.8||637||60|
|Leica V-LUX 1« »||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Leica M8« »||APS-H||10.4||3936||2630||-||21.1||11.3||663||59|
|Olympus E-620« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-600« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|Olympus E-420« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Olympus E-510« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|Olympus E-3« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|Olympus E-330« »||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-500« »||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-300« »||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-1« »||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||-||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic L10« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Panasonic L1« »||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-|
Feature comparison: Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-30
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 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. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Leica Digilux 3»||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Canon 30D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n|
|Canon XT« »||optical||n||1.8||115||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Leica V-LUX 1« »||235||n||2.0||207||swivel||n||2000||2.0||Y||Y|
|Leica M8« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||2.0||n||n|
|Olympus E-620« »||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||4000||4.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-600« »||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||4000||4.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-420« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||4000||3.5||Y||n|
|Olympus E-510« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-3« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||swivel||n||8000||5.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-330« »||optical||n||2.5||215||tilting||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Olympus E-500« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||2.5||Y||n|
|Olympus E-300« »||optical||n||1.8||134||fixed||n||4000||2.5||Y||n|
|Olympus E-1« »||optical||Y||1.8||134||fixed||n||4000||3.0||n||n|
|Panasonic L10« »||optical||n||2.5||207||swivel||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic L1« »||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
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.
Review summary: Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-30
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica Digilux 3 or the Olympus E-30 – has the upper hand? 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%.
- Easier setting verification: Has 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 swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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 (9 : 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.
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 handling 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 rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Leica Digilux 3»||-||-||-||-||-||Sep 2006||1,499||-|
|Olympus E-30«||-||71/100||4.5/5||-||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||-|
|Canon 30D« »||HiRec||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Feb 2006||1,399||-|
|Canon XT« »||80/100||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Feb 2005||899||-|
|Leica V-LUX 1« »||-||-||-||-||-||Sep 2006||849||-|
|Leica M8« »||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2006||5,499||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||rev||5/5||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-600« »||-||-||-||-||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||85/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-510« »||89/100||HiRec||3.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||-|
|Olympus E-3« »||88/100||HiRec||rev||rev||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699||-|
|Olympus E-330« »||-||Rec||rev||3.5/5||-||Jan 2006||999||-|
|Olympus E-500« »||76/100||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2005||599||-|
|Olympus E-300« »||-||Rec||rev||rev||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||-|
|Olympus E-1« »||-||Rec||rev||rev||-||Jun 2003||1,699||-|
|Panasonic L10« »||85/100||Rec||3.5/5||rev||4/5||Aug 2007||599||-|
|Panasonic L1« »||85/100||Rec||-||rev||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||-|
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. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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