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Leica Digilux 3 vs Panasonic LX7

The Leica Digilux 3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2006 and July 2012. The Digilux 3 is a DSLR, while the LX7 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and a 1/1.7-inch (LX7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica Digilux 3 versus Panasonic LX7
Leica Digilux 3 Panasonic LX7
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Four Thirds lenses 24-90mm f/1.4-2.3
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-6,400 (80 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.5 LCD, 207k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g 111 x 68 x 46 mm, 298 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Panasonic LX7 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The LX7 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the Digilux 3 is only available in silver.

Size Leica Digilux 3 vs Panasonic LX7
Compare Digilux 3 versus LX7 top
Comparison Digilux 3 or LX7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX7 is considerably smaller (41 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the LX7 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX7 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica Digilux 3 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Panasonic LX7 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499i
 
Canon G16 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon 30D 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon XT 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899i
 
Fujifilm X10 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599i
 
Leica M8 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Leica V-LUX 1 5.6 in 3.4 in 5.6 in 25.9 oz 360 n Sep 2006 849i
 
Olympus E-30 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-330 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-500 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-300 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799i
 
Panasonic GF5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GF3 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549i
 
Panasonic LX5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499i
 
Panasonic L10 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599i
 
Panasonic L1 5.7 in 3.4 in 2.5 in 21.4 oz 750 n Feb 2006 999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 LX7 was launched at a lower price than the Digilux 3, despite having a lens built in. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic LX7 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX7 is 81 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 4.65. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3. The LX7 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.

Leica Digilux 3 and Panasonic LX7 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the LX7 offers a higher resolution of 10 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 2.05μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). However, it should be noted that the LX7 is much more recent (by 5 years and 10 months) 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.

The resolution advantage of the Panasonic LX7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the LX7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

Digilux 3 versus LX7 MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The LX7 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Digilux 3 does not. The highest resolution format that the LX7 can use is 1080/60p.

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, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX7 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the LX7 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica Digilux 3, the Panasonic LX7, and comparable cameras.

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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
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Panasonic GF5none n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF3none n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

The Panasonic LX7 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 Digilux 3 and the LX7 write their files to SDXC cards.

Connectivity 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic GF5-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF3-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L1Y-----2.0---

Both the Digilux 3 and the LX7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The LX7 was replaced by the Panasonic LX10, while the Digilux 3 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica Digilux 3 better than the Panasonic LX7 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Leica Digilux 3:

  • 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.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
  • 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).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • 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 (920k vs 207k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the Digilux 3 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm 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 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the Digilux 3 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LX7 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 9 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 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.

Digilux 3 09:13 LX7

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Panasonic LX7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Digilux 3 or the LX7 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Panasonic LX7+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
 
Fujifilm X10..76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Leica V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849i
 
Olympus E-30..71/1004.5/5..4/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
 
Panasonic GF5....4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GF382/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549i
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
 
Panasonic L185/100+..o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
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. 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:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic LX7:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Panasonic LX7

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica Digilux 3 Panasonic LX7
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses 24-90mm f/1.4-2.3
    Launch Date September 2006 July 2012
    Launch Price USD 1,499 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Leica Digilux 3 Panasonic LX7
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 7.44 x 5.58 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 41.5152 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 9.3 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 4.65x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 2.05 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 24.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 50
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 147
    Screen Specs Leica Digilux 3 Panasonic LX7
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica Digilux 3 Panasonic LX7
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica Digilux 3 Panasonic LX7
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Panasonic LX7
    Battery Type BP-DC3 DMW-BCJ13
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    111 x 68 x 46 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz) 298 g (10.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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