Leica D-Lux 7 rounds off a week of pleasant surprises
This week has brought a positive Leicucopia of delights. Yesterday the latest M digital, the M10-D dropped onto my desk. And today it's the turn of the D-Lux 7. I've borrowed it to use in Germany over the next five days, having decided to travel light and not schlepp the M10-D and a bunch of lenses. I’ll save the -D for closer acquaintance next week.
As I pointed out when the D-Lux 7 launched on Tuesday, its appearance is quite extraordinary. Somehow, Leica’s designers have managed to turn the rather unprepossessing Panasonic LX100 Mark II into a delightful classic retro Leica. As with the M10-D, I am sure old Oskar would have approved of this one.
In the metal and plastic, the -7 is even more gorgeous than the stock product shots promised. Despite the resolve of many not to upgrade from the late D-Lux, I can hear muttering in the ranks. The silver anodised finish turns the new camera into something extraordinary and very desirable.
When you get down to it, though, this new camera’s body is virtually identical to that of the old D-Lux. But by anodising the deep top plate in silver, Leica has managed to produce a radically different-looking camera. Unfortunately, the very smooth body, sans grip, is carried over from the previous model. It needs something to stop the fingers skidding around on the front of the camera, as much for the tactile feel as for extra stability — which is not necessary with this camera.
While the mini grip on the Panasonic doesn’t look great, I can’t help thinking that the D-Lux 7, a stick-on grip (similar to that sold by Sony for the RX100 at a cost of £12) would suffice. However, I shall be trying out the Leica handgrip to see if that makes handling better.
We all know that the D-Lux 109, with its slightly cropped 4/3 sensor and that fantastic fast zoom, was a star performer. The 7 brings improvements — a larger 17MP sensor, new processor, faster AF and improved low-light performance, not to mention improved video performance — but the sharp f/1.7-2.8, 24-75mm Vario-Summilux remains, for which we will all be thankful. It is perhaps the best fixed-zoom of its type, achieving superb results from a very small package.
I had intended to travel light this trip to Germany since it mostly work-related and I won't have time for much photography. But the D-Lux 7 will now fit the bill admirably. Although I had previously decided to take just the Leica X2 rather than carrying any heavier gear, I am delighted to have the Seven because it makes an ideal travel companion.
I shall be back later next week. In the meantime, I have handed over to two contributors. On Monday, Tom Brennan — a new face on Macfilos — takes us on a trip through the Australian desert. Tuesday and it’s time for the second part of Dave Seargeant’s trek along the North Yorkshire Cinder Track.