Leica C-Lux: New compact superzoom with one-inch sensor and 24-360mm lens
Leica has dusted off another model name by introducing the C-Lux. Its predecessor, an altogether different animal with a tiny sensor, was produced between 2006 and 2009. This new C-Lux is based on the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200 which was launched in February. Highlights are a 20MP 1” sensor and an extraordinary optical zoom range of 24-360mm, way ahead of Sony’s latest direct competitor, the RX100 VI which tops out at 200mm. I believe the C-Lux/TZ200, with its 15x optical zoom, has the longest reach of any pocketable enthusiast camera.
The downside of such a long zoom is a slower lens overall. The Vario-Elmar ASPH has a range of f/3.3 to f/6.4 but Leica is banking on buyers overlooking this in return for the much greater versatility afforded by the long zoom. In fact, the tiny C-Lux almost goes as far as the V-Lux which has a range of 25-400mm but in a decidedly non-pocketable body. The V-Lux, however, benefit from a faster f/2.8-4.0 lens.
The new C-Lux boasts a 2.33 million-dot EVF and a 3in 1.24 million dot touchscreen LCD. It features UHD 4K video at 30p and 24p and an ISO range from 125 to 12,800 with expansion to 80-25,600. The body has optical stabilisation for still photography which is boosted to hybrid 5-axis in movie mode.
Maximum shutter speed is 1/2000s but this can be extended to 1/16000 when using the electronic shutter. Continuous drive offers a speed of 10 fps.
As with all Panasonic’s compacts, in-camera charging is a useful feature, but the C-Lux also comes with a battery charger — something which Sony no longer supplies.
The C-Lux weighs 340g, 39g heavier than the Sony RX100 VI and it is also slightly larger than the Sony — 66.4 x 45.2 x 111.2mm compared with 58 x 43 x 102mm. When it comes to pocketability, such statistics are of great interest and it is clear that the C-Lux will create a bigger pocket bulge. On the other hand, with that monster zoom in mind, a slightly bigger body with more grip could be a welcome improvement.
As usual, Leica tweaks the firmware and makes some undisclosed changes. But a major difference is that the C-Lux RAW files will follow Leica's standard practice of using the DNG standard rather than Panasonic's proprietary format found on the Lumix version of the camera. [Correction: We have now found out — 20 June 2018 — that the RAW output will be the same as that from the TZ200, Panasonic RWL and it is not clear whether any changes have been made to the firmware other than adding the Leica logo].
The camera will be available from mid-July at a recommended price of £875, including VAT,
Below: The C-Lux is getting the full Leica Boutique treatment with a vast range of colour-matching accessories, from pouches to cases, to straps and handbags
LEICA PRESS RELEASE
New: Leica C-Lux
The versatile compact camera with a 15x zoom, a practical touchscreen and exceptional design
Wetzlar, 15 June 2018. With the launch of the Leica C-Lux, Leica Camera AG expands its product portfolio with a versatile compact camera that unites speed, an intuitive handling concept and stylish design. Featuring a Leica DC Vario-Elmar 8.8–132 mm f/3.3–6.4 ASPH. lens and a high-performance, 20-megapixel sensor for continuous shooting at a rate of up to 10 frames per second, the Leica C-Lux adapts quickly and flexibly to every situation and effortlessly delivers high-quality pictures of subjects at any distance. Its 15-fold optical zoom with focal lengths from 24 to 360mm (35mm equivalent) offers enormous creative scope that is further expanded by 4K video recording capability. Thanks to an integrated connectivity concept, still pictures and videos can be quickly and easily shared with family and friends by a simple tap of a finger on the touchscreen display. Available in the two colours, Light Gold and Midnight Blue, the Leica C-Lux impresses not only with its precision, but also with its exceptional design and range of stylish accessories.
From the lens to the 1-inch image sensor, all components of the Leica C-Lux are precisely matched to one another and deliver brilliant pictures in RAW or JPEG format in a quality that remains equally impressive in large-format prints. With an impressive maximum ISO sensitivity of 25600, the C-Lux guarantees pictures with natural colours
and exceptional quality, especially when used for available-light photography. Thanks to its versatile zoom lens, fast autofocus and face detection, the camera also offers enormous flexibility in almost all areas of photography, and especially in spontaneous situations. The C-Lux’s fast autofocus with 49 metering points, ensures that subjects are sharply focused on in an instant, and a continuous shooting rate of 10 frames per second ensures that even the most fleeting moments will never be missed. Intuitively selectable scene modes provide valuable assistance when shooting landscapes, portraits or at night and enable users to concentrate exclusively on their subjects.
Thanks to the viewfinder’s high resolution of 2.33 megapixels, the clarity and contrast of the viewing image is outstanding at all times – even in particularly bright, ambient light. As the viewfinder covers 100% of the image field, framing of subjects is extremely precise and users have complete control of composition. The camera also offers dioptre compensation settings that allow spectacle wearers to use the viewfinder without any problems.
The 3-inch touchscreen display ensures particularly easy handling in all shooting situations. As with a smartphone, many of the camera’s functions can be controlled by simply touching the monitor screen, for instance the transfer of still pictures and videos via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The ‘Leica C-Lux’ app that supports this function can be downloaded free of charge and installed on iOS or Android devices. The display screen features a special repellent coating that prevents annoying marks and protects it against fingerprints.
The high-definition, 4K-resolution, digital video recording function expands the spectrum of features offered by the Leica C-Lux. Thanks to exceptional resolution – four-times higher than full-HD – and up to 30p & 100 Mbit in MP4 format, the C-Lux delivers all the technical prerequisites for shooting your own, personal short film. What’s more, still pictures can be extracted and saved from video footage at a resolution of up to 8 megapixels.
The compact Leica C-Lux impresses not only with its technical features, but also with elegant design and a portfolio of stylish accessories. An extensive range of accessories in matching and complementary colours is available for both versions of the camera. These include, for example, carrying straps and wrist straps for the camera in the colours taupe, blue and red. The portfolio also offers an extensive collection of premium quality camera cases, protectors and soft pouches that make the C-Lux an elegant companion for every occasion. Particularly eye-catching are the two vintage models in finely polished brown leather: a cleverly designed wrap- around vintage pouch and a vintage case with a concealed snap fastener. Also available is an outdoor bag in hardwearing, water-repellent fabric. A range of elegant cases in various styles, colours and types of cowhide completes the portfolio. Thanks to a detachable, adjustable carrying strap, two of these models can be used not only as a shoulder bag, but also as a handbag or for stowing things away in a day bag.
The Leica C-Lux will be on sale in the colour options Light Gold and Midnight Blue from mid-July 2018 at RRP £875 including VAT. The range of accessories will also be available when sales of the camera begin.