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Leica offers V-Lux40 20X 14MP compact superzoom

By dpreview staff on May 10, 2012 at 19:00 GMT

Leica has released the V-Lux40, a 14MP, 20X compact superzoom camera. It is the second V-Lux model to feature GPS and appears to very closely resemble the Panasonic DMX-TZ30/ZS20. This gives it a 24-480mm equivalent zoom range and 14.1MP output (from a 15.3MP CMOS sensor). It also means it's capable of capturing 1080 video. The camera also features the highest-res screen in the Leica range - a 460k dot 3.0" LCD. Unlike the similar Panasonic, the Leica V-Lux 40 includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Premier Elements 10.

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Press Release:


Solms, Germany (May 10, 2012) - Leica Camera AG presents the V-Lux 40, a new addition to Leica’s digital compact camera portfolio. Incorporating numerous new features in comparison with its predecessor, the Leica V-Lux 30, this latest model offers greater performance of its 15.3-megapixel (effective 14.1 MP), 1/2.33" CMOS sensor and a Leica DC Vario-Elmar 4.3–86 mm f/3.3–6.4 ASPH. lens with a zoom range now extended to 20×. As a result of the broadened range of focal lengths, now equivalent to 24 to 480 mm in 35-mm format, the Leica V-Lux 40 is a much more versatile camera. In addition, the LCD touch screen ensures the fast and simple handling of the camera. Its compact design, comprehensive functions and additional features, such as an integrated GPS module or video recording in full HD quality, make the V-Lux 40 the ideal companion for capturing lasting memories whether traveling the world or enjoying time with family at home.  

The Leica V-Lux 40’s new 15.3-megapixel (effective 14.1 MP), 1/2.33" CMOS image sensor guarantees outstanding picture quality in all situations. It enables a higher dynamic range as well as particularly low-noise images at sensitivities up to ISO 3200. In comparison to its predecessor, the Leica V-Lux 40 now offers significantly improved image quality, even in low light.  Additionally, an autofocus speed of 0.1 seconds enables even faster focusing on moving subjects.

The enormous range of focal lengths covered by the V-Lux 40’s Leica DC Vario-Elmar 4.3–86 mm f/3.3–6.4 ASPH. zoom lens (equivalent to 24 to 480 millimeters in 35-mm format) makes it ideal for almost all photographic situations. For expansive landscapes, finely detailed macro studies at short distances or for shots of distant objects with its super-telephoto setting, this Leica lens with high-precision aspherical lenses and an image stabilizer delivers outstanding results for all still images and video recordings.

The Leica V-Lux 40 offers a comprehensive range of camera functions. Users can choose from a diverse selection of creative imaging options, from a continuous shooting rate of ten frames per second at full resolution and 60 frames per second in high-speed mode, to creative modes with effects like miniature, panorama and retro.
Ideal for capturing video, the Leica V-Lux 40’s entire 20× zoom range is available during recording. In addition, an integrated stereo microphone with an electronic wind noise filter guarantees a crystal-clear soundtrack. Videos can now also be saved in Internet-friendly MP4 format and uploaded directly to social media or mobile devices, for example, without any need for conversion.

An integrated GPS module completes the list of features and functions offered by the V-Lux 40, allowing users to save the geographical coordinates and local time of every shot captured in the Exif data of the image files.* In addition, the camera can display the sightseeing highlights of the immediate neighborhood (1,000,000 so-called ‘points of interest’). A DVD included in the package contains maps of important cities and regions. After transfer to an SD memory card, these can be uploaded to the camera and used for orientation in unfamiliar places. Photos can be stored in the maps as thumbnail images.

The new design of the Leica V-Lux 40 is dominated by classic black. Chromed elements set contrasting accents and complement the camera’s refined and timelessly elegant look. Particularly easy handling is ensured by a large, 3-inch LCD touch screen that allows users to select or set numerous functions in capture and review mode simply by touching controls displayed on the monitor screen. This oversized screen has a diagonal of 7.5 centimeters and its resolution of 460,000 pixels displays images with outstanding brilliance. As a result, the Leica V-Lux 40 is an ideal tool for reliable and precise assessment of images both during composition and after capture.

The Leica V-Lux 40 is available now from Leica dealers including the Leica Store Washington DC. The camera is supplied with an extensive software package comprised of Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 10 for still-image processing and Adobe® Premiere® Elements 10, designed especially for video processing. A strong and resilient leather case is also available as an optional extra.

* It is possible that GPS tagging may not function in the People’s Republic of China and neighboring regions. Satellite signal reception may be impossible, depending on the location. In such cases, the positioning data may be recorded inaccurately or not at all.

Leica V-Lux 40 specifications

MSRP$699 / £550 (inc VAT)
Body type
Body typeCompact
Max resolution4320 x 3240
Other resolutions4320 x 3240, 4320 x 2880, 4320 x 2432, 3648 x 2736, 3648 x 2432, 3648 x 2056, 3232 x 3232,3072 x 2048, 3072 x 2304, 3072 x 1728, 2736 x 2736, 2560 x 1920, 2560 x 1712, 2560 x 1440, 2304 x 2304, 2048 x 1536, 2048 x 1360, 1920 x 1920, 1920 x 1080, 1536 x 1536, 640 x 480, 640 x 424, 640 x 360, 480 x 480
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels14 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors15 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.33" (6.08 x 4.56 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ISOAuto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600. 3200
White balance presets4
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsFine, Standard
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • 3D: MPO
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)24–480 mm
Optical zoom20×
Maximum apertureF3.3 - F6.4
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Tracking
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusNo
Normal focus range50 cm (19.69)
Macro focus range3 cm (1.18)
Number of focus points23
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3
Screen dots460,800
Touch screenYes
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
  • Custom
  • 3D
Scene modes
  • Portrait
  • Soft Skin
  • Scenery
  • Panorama Shot
  • Sports
  • Night Portrait
  • Night Scenery
  • Hand Held Night Shot
  • HDR
  • Food
  • Baby1
  • Baby2
  • Pet
  • Sunset
  • High Sensitivity
  • Glass Through
  • Underwater
  • High Speed Video
Built-in flashYes
Flash range6.40 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow Syncro
Drive modes
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Self-timer
Continuous drive10 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±1 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (220 fps)
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC, Internal
Storage included12MB internal
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Type C)
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)210
Weight (inc. batteries)210 g (0.46 lb / 7.41 oz)
Dimensions105 x 59 x 28 mm (4.13 x 2.32 x 1.1)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo

Additional images

I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 42
By unshuttered (Aug 29, 2012)

I notice that when I am walking around NYC with the Panasonic that very few women spontaneously walk up to me and ask for my phone number. Does this happen more often if you have the Leica?

By Davestan (Oct 12, 2012)

I suspect that very few women spontaneously walk up to you and ask for your phone number...period! HaHa

By coloradodan (Aug 29, 2012)

Do any of You cheap folks know that Leica does not make the lens for Panasonic? Panasonic makes their own lens according to Leica specs. Leica takes 18 months to anneal the glass. Who knows what Panasonic does? By the way do any of You techno geeks actually take any pictures?

By systemBuilder (May 16, 2012)

Rather than whine about this, why don't you guys pay Leice (& Panasonic) some respect for cutting this deal ?? We get fantastic Leica optics on a $300 camera - that's NEVER going to happen without this deal. Leica gets to play with the firmware and offer a deluxe version of the #1 travel zoom on the planet - that's NEVER going to happen without this deal.

I don't see why you all are trashing Leica. I for one think that NO camera can beat the 12x Leica zoom in my ZS3 and ZS7. I am thankful that they made this deal, and that I can have a great camera (turns out to be Panasonic) at a great price!!

magneto shot
By magneto shot (May 14, 2012)

dpreview should just use "leica rebadged" instead of "leica release"

sometimes i question the mentality of such a company. On one hand they release cameras like m9, i find it a joy to use and love the experience and the results.
On the other hand, they are milking off the ignorants by selling super overrpriced noctiluxes to folks that thinks its anything out of the world.

And here we have the rebadged panny's at double the price and same sensor and lens.

By Lupti (May 13, 2012)

Well, it seems to be the mic is in a slightly better position than on the Panny where it easily can be covered by fingers. Also I like the shape better, more edgy, not with silly "curves".
But without any doubt nothing that justifies this price premium...

By l_objectif (May 13, 2012)

If this camera could shoot in RAW, I wouldn't hesitate a second! (maybe Panny version that has a more reasonable price)
In small, pocketable, cameras, Canon S100 is still the king!

By Damo83 (May 13, 2012)

Arrogance at its best. Nice use of their name to justify premium price for average camera. Injurious to their brand, if only all he world could see it.

By jadmaister2 (May 13, 2012)

this is like cables in HiFi systems. There's always someone who will pay for a more expensive one, even tho it 'sounds' (do cables 'sound'? no) better than the less expensive. Well it's sad is all. Leica are rapidly turning from THE definitive quality camera maker, to a marketing ploy for the wealthy idiot. And the hermes special addition adds amunition to my theory.
So sad.

By ManuelVilardeMacedo (May 13, 2012)

That's not fair to Supra and even Kimber Kable...:)

By snake_b (May 13, 2012)

Leica is a joke.

I await those in the Leica forum talking about the Leica experience, colors, and other aspects of these cameras, only to be shot down when informed they are Panasonics rebadged.

1 upvote
By Stollen1234 (May 14, 2012)

if you dont like leica...why wasting your time..visiting Leica forum and reading..and posting comments..just incredible...

Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (May 12, 2012)

Your choice, $269 for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 or $699 for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 with red dot from Leica.

By Stollen1234 (May 14, 2012)

the are close but not the same

By dubstylz (May 12, 2012)

This is like sticking a Porsche badge on a Beetle and selling it for double the price!

By Stollen1234 (May 14, 2012)

not exactly...

By AllanZ (Jun 12, 2012)

actually thats pretty true 1950s vw bug 1950s porsche 356 look identical, but more pricier is the porsche xD nice analogie

By mpgxsvcd (May 11, 2012)

A $700 F3.3 - F6.4 Compact Super Zoom camera. I laughed at first and then thought how sad has the Leica name become?

Holger Salvador
By Holger Salvador (May 11, 2012)

3 years ago I had the chance to compare the Leica D-LUX 5 with wit its PANASONIC sister. I couldn't understand why the price is so diffrent. The hardware is the same but the diffrence is the software, inside the camera and the programme you get for your computer (in this case Phase 1). You can make better pics with the Leica by shoting raw than with the PANASONIC. So you hade a better garantie (3 years), a much more better programm for computer and the better pics and the 3 dot was for free.
I would not buy this camera, but bredfore anybody scream take a second look!

1 upvote
By Bozze (May 11, 2012)

This camera doesn't shoot raw!

1 upvote
By dubstylz (May 12, 2012)

There is a big difference between a D-lux and a V-lux, the D-lux/panny lx5 are a bifferent breed to this over priced point n shoot

Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (May 12, 2012)

Thanks for this post. I was keep askinf the most common question to myself. At the same time thinking "There must be a differene ..." Thanks for clearify.

By BJL (May 13, 2012)

Because Leica has more expertise in digicam software than Panasonic? I do not buy it. By the way, for $700 I would want the option of raw (lacking in this camera), and with raw, the in-camera processing software is irrelevant: people would use Lightroom, Photoshop or such.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
Holger Salvador
By Holger Salvador (May 15, 2012)

no the software is not from Leica but from Phase one, in case of the D-LUX 4. with the D-LUX 5 you will get Lightroom included.
And the software inside is not irrelevant if shooting raw, you can compare a D-LUX 4 to it's sister PAN and even by shooting raw you get better pics from the Leica. One weak point by Leica is the procesing to jpg. If you want to shoot jpg look better elsewhere.
I am not a Leica junkie, just wanted explain why there is a price diffrence, and by taking a close look one can see it. Of course, if you have already good software for pics it is useless for you.

By JonB1975 (May 11, 2012)

Why, oh why can't they put this screen in their own (non-Panny) cameras?

By jwilkinson (May 11, 2012)

As in the past my money will go to Panasonic and keep saving for a real Leica

By ric63 (May 11, 2012)

Badgeneering at it's BEST.
Buy 2 Panasonics keep one, give one as a gift.
Nothing wrong with a Panasonic branded cam in your hand.
Get the same IQ and make someone else happy in the process.
PLAIN and SIMPLE rip off!

By derfla1949 (May 11, 2012)

How dirt cheap the red dot has become!
I feel this is a catastrophic mistake in brand strategy.

By zodiacfml (May 11, 2012)

This one has better screen than the X2....Amazing.

1 upvote
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (May 11, 2012)

I'm wondering if anyone will pay high price to buy a Panasonic made "Leica" camera.
For me, I am willing to pay a Leica made "Leica" camera but not a Leica made outside Germany.

By Skipper494 (May 11, 2012)

I guess that the inference is that Leica cherry pick the best lenses. I certainly wouldn't buy either, due to no uncompressed files and no viewfinder.

iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (May 11, 2012)

I've seen products sharing the same basic structure but having different finishing and exterior, and I've seen products being marketed under different brands for different regions but at a similar price (or pos-launched under a cheaper brand name); but two identical products being marketed in the same place with huge difference in price is too odd for me to understand. I think there are a lot of people in Germany who doesn't know Panasonic or Panasonic cameras are not marketed in many places there, or at least the (similar) camera department is not marketed. I don't know. Too weird. There is a trick there.

By ds2002 (May 11, 2012)

Panasonic is well-known as a camera maker here in Germany. You can get them in all electronic markets, more easily than a Leica. Probably there are still enough customers that do not know that there are identical Leica and Panasonic cameras.

1 upvote
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (May 11, 2012)

Well then, it seems to me the 'show-off' and 'because it's a "loud"' name from Maloy and your last sentence may explain it all.

unknown member
By (unknown member) (May 11, 2012)

What idiot pays MORE for a Panasonic camera?

By Gesture (May 11, 2012)

Leica. Zeiss. Contax. Schneider. Voigtlander. Rodenstock. et al Canon. Nikon. Mamiya. Pentax. Olympus. Konica. Minolta. et al. All great names in photography. This is where I lose respect for Leica, as they pretend these are Leica cameras. Better to celebrate the partnership.

By mugupo (May 11, 2012)

zs20 has been drop close to $100 from the retail price. It didn't get good review as previous model. Most complain that this camera didn't do well in image quality while has a lot of feature.

By MoebiusKlein (May 10, 2012)

very similar... only four grams plus the Leica.

In previous versions of Panasonic, Leica made the same, there are an agreement between both companies for this...I give my optics you give me the other technologies...

By pixel_colorado (May 10, 2012)

Are there really idiots in the world that would actually purchase a high-price Panasonic clone?

Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (May 10, 2012)

Hey, they DID copy my Panasonic DMX-ZS20! Is that legal? Anyone know where I buy some red Leica stick-'em-on dots? That red dot would look very cool on my white pany.

By EssexAsh (May 10, 2012)

"and appears to very closely resemble the Panasonic DMX-TZ30/ZS20"

or in the real world "a direct copy with a red badge"

By ybizzle (May 10, 2012)


Total comments: 42