Pre-Photokina 2006: The third new camera from Leica is the the DIGILUX 3 (essentially a Panasonic DMC-L1). The company's first integrated digital SLR represents something of a departure as it uses the Four Thirds system rather than Leica's own reflex lens mount. This camera obviously comes as a kit with the LEICA D 14 - 50 mm ASPH (F2.8 - F3.5) lens with built-in optical image stabilization. (While this camera is based on the DMC-L1 it has had image processing adjustments as defined by Leica).

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The digital system camera with traditional operating concept for individualists

Leica Camera AG, Solms is exhibiting the new LEICA DIGILUX 3 at photokina in Cologne  (26th September to 1st October 2006).  The LEICA DIGILUX 3 is the first purely digital Leica mirror reflex system camera with exchangeable lenses, thereby opening up a third variety of free-standing camera system under the Leica name.  As the first model of the new Leica D system, the LEICA DIGILUX 3 is fitted with a bayonet lens to the FourThirds Standard, the open systems standard for digital mirror reflex cameras.  Together with the high-performance LEICA D VARIO–ELMARIT 2.8-3.5/14-50 mm ASPH exchangeable lens with a focal length range of 28 to 100 millimetres for the small picture system, this offers the photographer many possibilities for composition of individual pictures.

An integral picture stabiliser gives the user additional protection against camera shake, even under difficult lighting conditions.  In the design and operating concept the LEICA DIGILUX 3 continues the concept of the Leica Digilux series: modern digital technology and an analog operating concept are combined in a classic camera body.  The Berlin designer Professor Achim Heine is responsible for the clear modular design of the digital camera.  Traditional operating elements such as an exposure ring on the camera and manual setting rings for aperture, zoom and focussing at the lens allow the LEICA DIGILUX 3 to be operated like an analog camera model, thus granting the creative freedom to work in the style of traditional photography.

“The LEICA DIGILUX 3 sets a new standard in the digital mirror reflex camera segment: traditional operating controls and highly modern technical equipment are united with classical values such as precision, outstanding picture quality and a clear formal language; offering in addition the creative freedom of a digital system camera.  This makes it the ideal tool for demanding reportage photography“ says Marius Eschweiler, Product Manager for digital compact cameras at Leica Camera AG.

The LEICA D VARIO–ELMARIT 2.8-3.5/14-50mm ASPH exchangeable lens comprises 16 lenses including three aspherical lenses in twelve groups.  The maximum aperture of 2.8 and the large focal length range from 28 to 100 millimetres in small picture format impose hardly any restrictions on the possibilities for photographic composition.  The high-performance optics give impressive reproduction of even the finest details and nuances, with minimal distortion and vignetting even at the shortest focal lengths.  Further security for a successful picture is derived from the integral protection against camera shake (O.I.S.), which can be switched on and off at any time.  This reliably protects against camera shake in all photographic situations, since small movements of the hand are systematically compensated.  Whether at twilight, during indoor shots, for snapshots or in zoom operation – the result is always a sharp picture without the need for a tripod.
“With the LEICA D VARIO–ELMARIT 2.8-3.5/14-50mm ASPH, a wider target group of digital photographers can profit from the unique performance level of Leica lens technology.  The combination of the most modern digital technology such as optical picture stabilisation and a quick and precise auto-focus with the well-known outstanding Leica reproduction performance is almost revolutionary” says Marius Eschweiler.

The LEICA DIGILUX 3 is equipped with a 7.5 megapixel LiveMOS sensor for a real-time live photo function, outstanding picture quality and energy-saving operating system. To protect the camera with its exchangeable lenses against the dreaded dirt on the image sensor due to penetration of dirt and dust particles, it is fitted with an ultrasonic protective filter in front of the sensor. The picture signal processor of the LEICA DIGILUX 3 is also improved compared to the preceding model.  The interaction of new sensor technology and the new picture signal processor ensure even faster image processing and storage within the camera, which is less of a drain on the rechargeable battery.  Thus the LEICA DIGILUX 3 is quick and reliable in use, even in spontaneous moments.

In relation to colour matching, contrast and picture definition, Leica Camera AG has developed its own profile.  This is oriented to the picture characteristics that are well known to Leica System Camera customers from their use in combination with professional film materials and specialist development laboratories.

The large 2.5“ camera display of the LEICA DIGILUX 3 has a resolution of 207,000 pixels, enabling it to generate an exceptionally brilliant picture, allowing the photographer to make a reliable and exact assessment of the picture composition both when taking the photo and when reviewing it.

The LEICA DIGILUX 3 is characterised by its clear and concentrated design.  The straight-line layout and paring down to the essentials show the camera’s typical Leica lineage from the classic Leica viewfinder camera.  The LEICA DIGILUX 3 offers clear functions and is intuitive and secure in use, thanks to its simple operating concept.

The LEICA DIGILUX 3 is supplied with a 1 GB SD card, a mains battery charger, a powerful rechargeable battery and a comprehensive software package (Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 (PC)/3.0 (Mac), Quicktime Movie Player ).  Further accessories available include a spare rechargeable battery, a sporty and particularly hard-wearing neoprene case and a Billingham combination case.

Leica DIGILUX 3 specifications

Body material • Rear and top metal, remainder plastic
Sensor • 4/3 type MOS ('Live MOS sensor'), NMOS type
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm active area
• 7.9 million total pixels
• 7.5 million effective pixels
• 5.6 x 5.6 µm pixel pitch
• RGB (Primary) color filter array
• Fixed low pass filter (anti-alias filter)
• Supersonic Wave Filter (dust protection)
Image sizes • 3136 x 2352 (L) - 7.4 MP
• 2560 x 1920 (M) - 5.0 MP
• 2048 x 1536 (S) - 3.0 MP
Image sizes (3:2) 3136 x 2080 (L) - 6.5 MP
• 2560 x 1712 (M) - 4.5 MP
• 2048 x 1360 (S) - 2.5 MP
Image sizes (16:9) 3136 x 1760 (L) - 5.5 MP
1920 x 1080 (S) - 2.0 MP (HDTV)
Aspect ratios 4:3 (native)
3:2 (Live View only)
16:9 (Live View only)
File formats • RAW + JPEG
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2) - three quality levels
Lenses • 4/3 standard lens mount
• Optimal with Leica/Panasonic 4/3 lens with aperture ring
• Range of 4/3 lenses available
• Multiply focal length by 2 for 35 mm equiv. FOV
Auto focus • 3-point TTL Phase Difference Detection
• Automatic or manual point selection
• EV 0 to 19 (ISO 100) detection range
Focus area selection • Automatic
• Manual
Focus modes • Single shot AF
• Continuous AF
• Manual focus
Manual focus Focus by wire
AF assist lamp Yes, dedicated lamp
Image stabilization With Kit lens
Mode 1 (continuous operation)
Mode 2 (shutter release only)
Extended optical zoom M size 1.2x
S size 1.5x
(frame crop with no magnification)
Digital zoom 2x
(frame crop with magnification)
Exposure modes • Program AE (with shift)
• Aperture priority AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Manual

• Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600

Metering system • 49-zone multi-pattern (viewfinder mode)
• 256-zone multi-pattern (live view mode)
• Range (viewfinder mode): 0 to 20 EV (50 mm F2, ISO 100)
• Range (live view mode): 0 to 16 EV (50 mm F2, ISO 100)
Metering modes • Digital ESP
• Center-Weighted Average
• Spot (2%)
AE Lock • AEL/AFL button
• With shutter release half-press
AE Bracketing • 3 frames
• 1/3, 2/3 or 1.0 EV steps
Exposure steps 1/3 EV
Exposure compen. • -2.0 to +2.0 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Shutter speed • 60 -1/4000 sec
• Bulb (up to 8 mins)
• Flash X-sync 1/160 sec
Aperture values Depends on lens: 1/3 EV steps
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Shade
• Incandescent
• Flash
• Custom 1
• Custom 2
• Kelvin temp (2500 - 10000 K)
WB fine tuning Yes
WB Bracketing None
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Image parameters • Color mode (Standard, Dynamic, Nature, Smooth)
• Saturation (5 levels)
• Contrast (5 levels)
• Sharpness (5 levels)
• Noise reduction (5 levels)
• Monochrome (Standard, Dynamic, Smooth)
Drive modes • Single
• Continuous H (3 fps)
• Continuous L (2 fps)
Continuous buffer • 6 RAW images
• Unlimited JPEG images with a fast card (9 minimum)
Self-timer • 2 sec
• 10 sec
Flash • Manual pop-up
• 2 position (straight ahead / bounce)
• TTL auto / manual
• Guide no. 13
• Sync modes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow syncro with red-eye reduction,
Slow syncro, 2nd curtain slow syncro, Fill-in, Off
• Flash power: Up to +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps
Flash X-sync speed 1/160 sec
External flash Hot shoe
Viewfinder • Eye-level TTL Optical Porro Finder
• Field of view 95%
• Magnification 0.93x with a 50mm lens and -1 dioptre
• Eye point 18 mm at -1 dioptre
• Dioptre adjustment -3 to +1 dioptre
• Focusing screen: Fixed type
• Mirror: Quick return mirror
• Eye cup: Interchangeable type EP-5/6 (EP-5 supplied)
• Eye piece shutter built-in (activated by lever)
Viewfinder info

• Aperture
• AE Lock
• Shutter speed
• Exposure compensation / digital meter
• AF Lock
• AE Bracketing
• Flash mode
• SD card activity
• Frames remaining

DOF preview Yes, button (Live View only)
Orientation sensor Yes
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD monitor
• 207,000 pixels
• 100% frame coverage
Live view on LCD • Live view using main sensor
• 100% frame coverage
• No viewfinder in live view mode
• AF available (mirror drops and raises)
• MF with 4x or 10x mag.
Playback functions • Single
• Magnify (2 - 14x)
• Index (4, 9, 16, 25 frames)
• Calendar view
• Rotation
• Light box view
• Slide show
• Histogram (Lum / RGB)
• Highlight & Shadow point warning
Editing • RAW development
• JPEG editing (B&W, Sepia, Red eye reduction, Color saturation, Resize)
Storage • SD card (Secure Digital)
• Supports SDHC cards (2 GB+)
Connectivity • USB 2.0 (High Speed)
• Video Out (NTSC / PAL)
Vertical / portrait grip None
Power • 1500 mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
• Supplied charger / AC adapter
• Dummy battery (connects to AC adapter via cable)
Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
Weight (no batt) 530 g (1.2 lb)
Weight (inc batt) 606 g (1.4 lb)