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Leica announces V-Lux 4 superzoom with F2.8 lens

By dpreview staff on Sep 17, 2012 at 19:02 GMT
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Photokina 2012: Leica has revealed the V-Lux 4 - a 24X superzoom with an impressive constant F2.8 lens and high-resolution electronic viewfinder. That fast lens means that it should be easier to capture high-quality images at the full extent of the zoom, without having to use high ISO settings. It also has a 1.3m dot equivalent electronic viewfinder and a 460k dot, 3" articulated screen. The V-Lux 4 can also shoot at 12 frames per second and can capture 1080p video at 60fps or 720p at up to 120fps.

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Press Release:


Solms, Germany (September 17, 2012) - Leica Camera presents the Leica V-Lux 4, a digital compact camera that unites a high-performance lens, outstanding imaging quality and superior speed in a compact format. With its wide range of video functions and an impressive list of features, as well as its enormous versatility and very low weight, the new model is an serious alternative to comparable SLR systems. The V-Lux 4 is ideal for shooting landscapes, architecture, sport, travel, portraits or wildlife.

The Leica V-Lux 4 features a newly designed Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.5–108 mm f/2.8 ASPH. 24-fold super-telephoto zoom lens with an enormous range of focal lengths equivalent to 25–600 mm in 35 mm format, ideal for all photographic situations. The constant maximum aperture of f2.8 throughout the entire zoom range distinguishes it from other cameras in this particular class. These features also make it possible to capture pin-sharp images at greater distances even under unfavorable lighting conditions. Its high speed and integrated optical image stabilizer allow the use of shorter shutter speeds that ensure fewer shots with camera shake when shooting handheld. In combination with longer focal lengths, the large initial aperture of f2.8 allows a high degree of creative freedom for experimentation with planes of focus and depth of field.

A maximum ISO sensitivity of 6400 and a new 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor ensure outstanding imaging results in all photographic situations, including unfavorable lighting conditions. Still pictures and video recordings captured by the V-Lux 4 are characterized by high dynamic range and natural, perfectly saturated colors. The camera delivers up to 12 frames per second at full resolution and captures even fast-moving subjects in richly-detailed and pin-sharp focus. The autofocus of the Leica V-Lux 4 reacts to changes within the image frame in less than a tenth of a second and makes it possible to reliably capture fast-moving subjects, making it ideal for sport photography and for shooting continuous sequences.

The new Leica V-Lux 4 features an extensive range of video functions, such as full HD video in AVCHD format with 1920 × 1080 pixels and 60 full frames per second. The entire 24-fold zoom range is available during video recording, while an integrated stereo microphone with an electronic wind noise filter guarantees a crystal-clear soundtrack. Video data can be saved in Internet-compatible MP4 format and can be uploaded to social media or mobile devices without any need for conversion.

A reliable aid for assessing subject framing and exposure settings, the new electronic viewfinder of the V-Lux 4 has a resolution of 1.4 megapixels and a 100% field of view. The new zoom function is particularly convenient, making it possible to magnify the subject. The viewfinder features dioptre correction and is a very attractive and practical alternative to assessing images on the camera monitor screen, particularly when shooting in bright light.

The 3" LCD display with 460,000 pixel resolution delivers an extremely bright, clear view and is a reliable aid to photographers in the precise composition and assessment of images. As a further aid to creative photography, the monitor screen can be freely rotated in almost any direction and lets users shoot from even the most unusual angles. Whether shooting stills or video from above their head or down close to the ground, photographers always have complete control of image assessment.

Its compact size and light weight allows for extremely easy handling of the Leica V-Lux 4 and its integrated handgrip keeps it steady at all times, even when shooting one-handed. All of its controls are clearly laid out and simple to use, such as video recording, which can be started quickly and easily at the touch of a button on the top deck of the camera.

The Leica V-Lux 4 is supplied complete with the professional still picture and video processing software Adobe® Photoshop Lightroom® 4. It will be available from Leica dealers, including the Leica Store Washington DC, beginning in November 2012.

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Leica V-Lux 4


Total comments: 29
Greg Gebhardt
By Greg Gebhardt (Nov 29, 2012)

Just jealous people, trying to tell people how to spend their money! I like my FZ200 so much that I am returning it and have the Leica V-Lux 4 on the way to arrive on Friday! Why, just cause I can!!!!

1 upvote
By historianx (Nov 18, 2012)

you guys ought to hear yourselves going back and forth OCD-ing about pixels and photosites and m4/3s (which has nothing to do with this cam) blah blah on and on same old stuff it's freaking depressing. You might as well become morticians... seriously.

By Ricory (Oct 24, 2012)

Extracted from "Imaging Resource" website: "There are a fair few changes around the camera body itself." (Mostly styling changes - dial & shutter button for eg) "Another key difference is to be found in the product bundle. Where Panasonic includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.3 PE and SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.1 SE software, Leica pairs its camera with the much more widely-accepted Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4." (incl in the price). "Under the skin, it's a little more difficult to spot differences, but it's likely that at the very least, Leica has tuned the tone curve and color balance to provide the look its users demand." It's a great way to get Lightroom 4 if you don't already have it, with the few minor changes and tweaks to the software.... if you can afford the slight increase this represents, I'd say the Leica version is worth it. But maybe I'm a romantic (snob?) who just loves Leica and the fact that they invented the hand held 35mm format that we mostly use today.

What do I know
By What do I know (Sep 28, 2012)

Nice Panasonic

Rick Forum
By Rick Forum (Sep 27, 2012)

What pray-tell are any significant differences between the V-LUX 4,the V-LUX 3 and the V-LUX 2??? Thank you in advance.

max metz
By max metz (Sep 25, 2012)

If any of the Panasonic Leica's deserve the Leica badge its this one, the lens on this camera is an absolute masterpiece of Leica design and engineering. Beautiful stuff. :-)

By peevee1 (Sep 19, 2012)

Hello, Panasonic FZ200. Oops, what is done to your name?

By sorinx (Sep 18, 2012)

Excellent way to take money from suckers.
I do not understand why car manufacturers do not do the same? What about a re-branded Fiat 500 with 100000USD price?

Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 18, 2012)

I don't know about the $100K FIAT 500 in the USA, but my local Ford dealer has a $22,000 FORD TRANSIT CONNECT small cargo van with an all-electronic engine, MSRP sticker is US$107,000 on the window.

Check it out! A few Leicas casually scattered around the front passenger seat would look mighty impressive in that one, hmmm?

What do I know
By What do I know (Sep 28, 2012)

They have, it's called Ferrari...LOL

By aris14 (Sep 18, 2012)

Marketing's triumph over ignorant and snobbish people...

By MarkInSF (Sep 18, 2012)

DPR posting press releases is useful and respecatble, but this intro is presented as news (dateline included) and describes the camera's key features yet ignores the central fact that it basically just a Panasonic. A good camera, but still not made by Leica and effectively equal to a camera costing far less.

Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 18, 2012)

You are nitpicking now. IT's A LEICA -- there are some lettering ion it that clearly says so. Enjoy!

By WilliamJ (Sep 18, 2012)

"a new 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor ensure outstanding imaging results in all photographic situations, including unfavorable lighting conditions"...

True ? As this camera is based on the Panasonic FZ200 model that has been widely pointed out for its weakness in low light situations (which is desolating for me as I'd planned to buy one) how could the Leica model be better ? Is there something that we should know about a special improvement that makes the Leica camera better than its twin Panasonic camera ?

No irony inside, just a technical question.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 18, 2012)

"the Panasonic FZ200 model that has been widely pointed out for its weakness in low light situations."

No improvement over the Lumix, don't worry.

Really, when you have a 1/2.33-inch physical size CMOS sensor cluttered with more than 12 MILLION pixels/photosites, you can easily calculate the physical size in micron of an individual photosite.

The smaller the pixel, the less it can handle low light, obviously. Which is why for low light performance, you need as large of a sensor as possible and as few pixels/photosites on it as possible, all other factors being held constant.

So, even with M4/3, the sensor is relatively small (compared to APS-C, Super 35, and full-frame), so any M43 camera's low-light performance can only get to be so good, and not much more.

By Ropo16 (Sep 19, 2012)

M4/3 is a squarer ratio than APS-C, otherwise it is a similar size to Canon APS-C. How about those 36 mega pixels crammed onto the D800?

By Shamael (Sep 22, 2012)

compare what is comparable. The 36 mpix of a D800 are on a sensor double the size of an APSC, and almost 6 times a 4/3. The equal in APSC is a 18mpix sensor, like the one in the NEX5 or 6 models. So consider the D800 to be a double NEX5 sensor.
But, packing that huge amount of pixels in such a small sensor is only possible because it is so small. If such a small pixel was on a large 24-36 sensor you would see nothing. Take a magnifying glass in the sun and create a concentrated spot and look the intensity of light, it is that amazing that heat produced burns all around it. Try the same with a very big magnifying glass and you never get the same intensity. That is why an APSC of 18 mpix can be better in handling noise than a 36 mpix FF. But, that is not the goal of a large sensor. A 6x4,5 of a medium format has hard to take more than 1200 to 1600 ISO, most are noisy at 800.

Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 18, 2012)

Same camera as Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200, but with a much lower resolution LCD screen.

So, in view of the above, Leica will probably price it only about 6.75-times as high as what the Lumix FZ200 is going for.

Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Sep 18, 2012)

But the Leica model will probably come with a nice wooden case, velvet bag and some beautifully printed certificate. Surely, that would be worth the extra $$$$, right?

And there will no doubt be those who would not mind spending heaps to flaunt their wealth as well as their intelligence buying this, as evident from the continuing releases of such cameras. In this age of fast technology paces and short life cycles of electronic products, we should be thankful that there are still some things that can capture the imagination of those who can imagine ;)

Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Sep 18, 2012)

I remember at least one review directly comparing the red dot version with the plain version of the same camera and no real IQ advantage was noted. But again, getting the red dot is all that is important. Who cares about IQ? Silly me, I should know that what makes a person happy can be so different :)

I can see some people trembling in excitement as they open a red dot box with this camera. :)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 18, 2012)

"the Leica model will probably come with a nice wooden case, velvet bag and some beautifully printed certificate. Surely, that would be worth the extra $$$$, right?"

Absolutely. When it comes to digital cameras particularly, PACKAGING and PRESENTATION is a whole lot more important than the actual camera, doncha know?

Plus, the higher the price, the more rarefied and pure the air gets for those who buy it, probably knowing full well that they are overpaying for it by a long mile.

1 upvote
By MartyG (Mar 14, 2013)

you've got a 1 in 200 chance of getting the Pan version equal to the Leica.
Then you must buy the 2 year warrantee.
Don't forget to buy the $150 Lightroom software.
And then there is the higher quality specification for the lens and sensor ... both are hand selected from the top tested ones (approx. 1 in 200 that are made).
Yeah, after adding all that up, you might save $50?
But you wouldn't get the Leica firmware which is well worth the extra money, producing the best looking JPEGs of any compact camera that I've ever seen,
Bottom line is that you get what you pay for with the Leica OR the Panasonic.
Some photographers want the better quality and like having the option.
Only you can decide if your photos are worth it or not?
Frankly, if you don't know any better, you should probably buy the cheap Panasonic version!

By LKJ (Sep 17, 2012)


Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By djorgji (Sep 17, 2012)

Nice lens. Guess panasonic will have an identical one for much cheaper.

By CVL99 (Sep 17, 2012)

Lumix DMC-FZ200?

By DStudio (Sep 17, 2012)


By steve_hoge (Sep 17, 2012)

Takes a few months to precision-fabricate those red badges.

By Camediadude (Sep 18, 2012)

LOL! Time-consuming little buggers they are to make, those badges!

By murfteri (Dec 14, 2012)

Every time a Leica product is reviewed, the whingers come out in droves. No constructive comments about the product, just derogatory drivel about badges, users and snobbery in general. Please whingers, tell us what you use before launching into your tirade against a particular product!

Total comments: 29