A comparison that surprised me

Two camerasMy first ever digital camera was a Canon Digital IXUS V. It boasted a 2.1 megapixel sensor, an optical view finder and a LCD screen on the back that was about the size of a postage stamp. Overall it was about as big as a packet of cigarettes and built like a brick.

I purchased it over 10 years ago and it has sat in a draw, unused, for the last few years because the battery has refused to charge. I ran across it a few weeks ago and decided to see if I could track down a new battery to bring it back to life. Surprisingly I managed to find a new battery  – thank you dc-battery.co.nz – and the camera came alive.

A comparison seemed to be in order – my rejuvenated Canon versus the Leica D-Lux 6 purchased in Hong Kong last year.

This is in no way a scientific comparison, just me playing around one afternoon at my desk. I was expecting the Leica to blitz the Canon – which it did – but in good light the antique Canon held up reasonably well – much better than I expected.

I’ve always wanted a Leica camera

LeicaI’ve been an SLR camera guy for as long as I can remember. Ever since I bought my first camera back and lens – a Ricoh KR10 with a 50mm lense – I’ve relied on the control and quality a good SLR provides. The downside of an SLR is the bulk of the camera and various lenses – my current camera bag weighs around 6kgs. There is nothing subtle about taking the camera out for the evening and nothing subtle about using it.

I’ve always wanted a compact camera that could go anywhere, which still took great pictures, and which gave me the ability to control things like depth of field and shutter speed.

I’ve also always wanted a Leica camera but have always been put off by the prices – particularly in New Zealand.

The opportunity to get both came my way when we stopped to browse at the Leica shop at Hong Kong airport. Leica’s range of compact cameras have always got good reviews and their latest mid range compact – the D-Lux 6 – has been no exception. And there sitting in the display cabinet was one calling my name.

Now the geeks among my readers will know that the D-Lux 6 is essentially the same camera as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7. There are some minor cosmetic changes – like the addition of the round red Leica logo – but the cameras are one in the same. Leica have been working with Panasonic for years, using Panasonic’s hardware but then writing their own software to control image capture and processing.

This is where the two camera’s differ and the results are impressive. In fact it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a shot taken on the Leica and a shot taken on my Nikon DSLR.

The Leica version of this camera carries a price premium but it seems worth it – for the added image quality as well as that small red circle on the front.