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Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony H400

The Leica Digilux 3 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and February 2014. The Digilux 3 is a DSLR, while the H400 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and a 1/2.3-inch (H400) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.9 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
Sony H400
Leica Digilux 3   Sony H400
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Four Thirds lenses 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
7.4 MP – Four Thirds sensor 19.9 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-3,200
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
2.5" LCD – 207k dots 2.5" LCD – 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 0.7 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g 130 x 95 x 122 mm, 628 g
Leica Digilux 3:
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Sony H400:
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400? 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 Sony H400 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony H400
Compare Digilux 3 versus H400 top
Comparison Digilux 3 or H400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H400 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the H400 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H400 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
2.
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
3.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
4.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
5.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
6.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
7.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849i
9.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
11.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
12.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
13.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
14.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999i
15.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499 i
16.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
17.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The H400 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.

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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. 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 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 Sony H400 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H400 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.

Leica Digilux 3 and Sony H400 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the H400 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 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 1.19μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). However, it should be noted that the H400 is much more recent (by 7 years and 5 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the H400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony H400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

Digilux 3 versus H400 MP

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 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
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none21.010.612753
2.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
3.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
4.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
5.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
6.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
7.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p18.49.5-72729
9.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
10.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none20.810.47352
11.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.710.34551
12.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.410.1-4048
13.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
14.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none20.810.48052
15.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.111.462945
16.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
17.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p19.911.252944
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The H400 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Digilux 3 does not. The highest resolution format that the H400 can use is 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the H400 has an electronic viewfinder (210k 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 Sony H400 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n2.5 / 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
2.
 
Sony H400210 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n2.0 / 207 tilting n 1/2000s 2.0/s Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Olympus E-330optical n2.5 / 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Olympus E-500optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-300optical n1.8 / 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
13.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic L1optical n2.5 / 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Sony HX400V210 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Sony H300none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8/s Y Y
17.
 
Sony H200none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The Digilux 3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereo / mono---2.0---
2.
 
Sony H400-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
4.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
6.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
7.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymono / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Olympus E-30Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-330Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-500Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-300Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic L1Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Sony HX400VYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H300-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H200-mono / mono---2.0---

It is notable that the Digilux 3 has a hotshoe, while the H400 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The H400 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the Digilux 3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the Digilux 3 from Leica. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica Digilux 3 better than the Sony H400 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • 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).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 64%.
  • 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 720/30p 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).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the Digilux 3 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 5 months of technical progress since the Digilux 3 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Digilux 3 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 11 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Digilux 3 13:11 H400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Sony H400 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Digilux 3 or the H400 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

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 (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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3............ Sep 2006 1,499i
2.
 
Sony H400..o....3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
3.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279i
4.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
5.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
6.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
7.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 1............ Sep 2006 849i
9.
 
Olympus E-30......71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Olympus E-330......+o.. Jan 2006 999i
11.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100..+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
12.
 
Olympus E-300......+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
13.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
14.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100..+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
15.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
16.
 
Sony H300..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 i
17.
 
Sony H200........3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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:
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Sony H400:
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony H400

    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 Sony H400
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date September 2006 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 1,499 USD 319
    Sensor Specs Leica Digilux 3 Sony H400
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels 19.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 5152 x 3864 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 1.19 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 70.91 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica Digilux 3 Sony H400
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica Digilux 3 Sony H400
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 0.7 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica Digilux 3 Sony H400
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Leica Digilux 3 Sony H400
    Battery Type BP-DC3 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    130 x 95 x 122 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz) 628 g (22.2 oz)
    Leica Digilux 3:
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    Sony H400:
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