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.
|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 100-1600||ISO 80-6400 (80-12800)|
|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 charge||330 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.
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.
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.
|Leica Digilux 3»||5.7 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||Leica Digilux 3|
|Panasonic LX7«||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Jul 2012||499||Panasonic LX7|
|Canon G16« »||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899||Canon XT|
|Fujifilm X10« »||4.6 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||12.3 oz||270||n||Sep 2011||599||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica M8« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.8 oz||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||Leica M8|
|Leica V-LUX 1« »||5.6 in||3.4 in||5.6 in||25.9 oz||360||n||Sep 2006||849||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Olympus E-30« »||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-330« »||5.5 in||3.4 in||2.8 in||22.5 oz||750||n||Jan 2006||999||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-500« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.6 in||16.9 oz||750||n||Sep 2005||599||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-300« »||5.8 in||3.3 in||2.5 in||22.0 oz||750||n||Sep 2004||799||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic GF5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GF3« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic LX5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10« »||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599||Panasonic L10|
|Panasonic L1« »||5.7 in||3.4 in||2.5 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||999||Panasonic L1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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.
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.
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 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica Digilux 3 are 15.7 x 11.8 inch or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inch or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inch 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.
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.
|Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Leica Digilux 3|
|Panasonic LX7||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||20.7||11.7||147||50||Panasonic LX7|
|Canon G16||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54||Canon G16|
|Canon 30D||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||none||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||none||21.8||10.8||637||60||Canon XT|
|Fujifilm X10||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.5||11.3||245||50||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica M8||APS-H||10.4||3936||2630||none||21.1||11.3||663||59||Leica M8|
|Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic LX5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.6||10.8||132||41||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55||Panasonic L10|
|Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Panasonic L1|
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.
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.
|Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica Digilux 3|
|Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Panasonic LX7|
|Canon G16||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon G16|
|Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT||optical||n||1.8||115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon XT|
|Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm X10|
|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-30||optical||Y||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-30|
|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 GF5||none||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Panasonic LX5|
|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|
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.
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.
|Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX7|
|Canon G16||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon G16|
|Canon 30D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XT|
|Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica M8||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M8|
|Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Olympus E-30||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-330||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-500||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-300||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-300|
|Panasonic GF5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF5|
|Panasonic GF3||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic GF3|
|Panasonic LX5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L10|
|Panasonic L1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L1|
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Leica Digilux 3
- Canon Rebel vs Leica Digilux 3
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Leica S2
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D3
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-PM1
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Sigma fp
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony NEX-3
- Nikon D3000 vs Panasonic LX7
- Nikon P7800 vs Panasonic LX7
- Panasonic GX1 vs Panasonic LX7
- Panasonic LX7 vs Pentax Q
- Panasonic LX7 vs Sony H300
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 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 1499||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Panasonic LX7|
|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|
|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||100-1600 ISO||80-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80-12800 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%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||207k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Panasonic LX7|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer 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|
|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 Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
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)|
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