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Leica V-LUX 3 Comparison Review

The Leica V-LUX 3 is a fixed lens compact camera that was revealed to the public in December 2011 and is equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. It offers a resolution of 12 megapixel.

camera

Is the Leica V-LUX 3 a good camera? The V-LUX 3 has a Camera Elo of 1539. This rating puts the V-LUX 3 below average of all superzoom compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (small sensor cameras), the V-LUX 3 also ranks below average. – Well, the Leica V-LUX 3 is more than 9 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2011.

Headline Specifications
Leica V-LUX 3
Fixed lens compact camera
25-600mm f/2.8-5.2
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/60p Video
ISO 100 - 3 200 (100 - 6 400)
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
12 shutter flaps per second
410 shots per battery charge
124 x 81 x 95 mm, 540 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Leica V-LUX 3 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.

Leica V-LUX 3 vs credit card front
V-LUX 3 versus credit card top view
V-LUX 3 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica V-LUX 3 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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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 V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
2.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
3.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
4.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
5.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429i
6.
 
Canon SX30 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 601 g 370 n Sep 2010 429i
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949i
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
9.
 
Panasonic FZ200 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Jul 2012 599i
10.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
11.
 
Panasonic FZ100 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 540 g 410 n Jul 2010 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Leica V-LUX 3 was launched in the US market at a price of $949. 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.

Leica V-LUX 3:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Leica V-LUX 3 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Leica V-LUX 3 among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design.

Leica V-LUX 3 sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 alternatives.

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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 V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
2.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
3.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
4.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
5.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
6.
 
Canon SX30 1/2.3 14.0 4320 3240720/30p........
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
9.
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
10.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
11.
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........

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

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica V-LUX 3 and comparable cameras.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
2.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX40202 n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX30202 n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.6 Y Y
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
9.
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
10.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y

The LCD screen on the Leica V-LUX 3 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD is hinged on the side and can be flipped out for odd-angle shots in both portrait and landscape orientation. Also, this fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment is often appreciated by videographers for its flexibility. Moreover, v-loggers like the design because the screen can be turned to be front-facing.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the V-LUX 3

One convenient feature of the V-LUX 3 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection 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 V-LUX 3 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 V-LUX 3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon SX40Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
6.
 
Canon SX30Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 4Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Panasonic FZ200Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

The V-LUX 3 has a zoom lens built in (4.5-108.0mm f/2.8-5.2), which, in full frame equivalent terms, provides a focal length range from 25 to 600mm. The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic that offers similar focal length and aperture specifications.

Expert reviews

While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the V-LUX 3. 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings 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]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica V-LUX 3............ Dec 2011 949i
2.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
3.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
4.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
5.
 
Canon SX40..+....4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
6.
 
Canon SX303/5+ +....3.5/54/5 Sep 2010 429i
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 4............ Sep 2012 949i
8.
 
Leica V-LUX 2............ Sep 2010 849i
9.
 
Panasonic FZ2003/5+ +..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +..76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
11.
 
Panasonic FZ100..+....4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica V-LUX 3 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the V-LUX 3.

What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the V-LUX 3?

The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the V-LUX 3?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the V-LUX 3 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

Does the Leica V-LUX 3 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

Which battery does the V-LUX 3 use?

The camera gets its power from the BP-DC9 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Leica V-LUX 3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2
    Launch Date December 2011
    Launch Price USD 949
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 000 x 3 000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3 200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6 400 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen
    V-logging Friendliness Front-flip possible
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BP-DC9 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 81 x 95 mm
    (4.9 x 3.2 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 540 g (19.0 oz)

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