Home Cameras/Lenses Leica D-Lux decisions, to upgrade or to keep

D-Lux decisions, to upgrade or to keep

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  The “old” D-Lux 109 is no mean performer and will continue to do the job for many Leica fans over the next few years. The upcoming replacement has some find and dandy new features, but perhaps not enticing enough to force an upgrade. Image by Mike Evans, D-Lux 109
The “old” D-Lux 109 is no mean performer and will continue to do the job for many Leica fans over the next few years. The upcoming replacement has some find and dandy new features, but perhaps not enticing enough to force an upgrade. Image by Mike Evans, D-Lux 109

The Panasonic LX100 Mk.II has been out in the wild for some months and we all know that it’s only a matter of time before it is joined by a Leica version, the D-Lux 7 or whatever it will be called. The birth process is protracted, but I would be very surprised if we reach Christmas without seeing the D-Lux replacement on dealer’s shelves. It will make a good little present, although, sadly, I will be surprised if it comes in at under £1,000. 

Only today I saw an LX100 II on sale in Camera World for £849 (there are other offers down to £735 listed here) so the new Leica, with the inevitable premium, is hardly likely to cost less than £999. Even so, it will sell well because buyers are willing to pay that extra for the perceived better after-sales service, the cachet of the red dot and (much more sensibly) the increased resale value with a reduced full-life cost. 

  The Panasonic LX100 Mk II looks identical to its predecessor — on which the Leica D-Lux 109 is based — but offers a raft of useful upgrades, including a better sensor. But there is a good case for sticking with the current D-Lux unless you really need the incremental improvements
The Panasonic LX100 Mk II looks identical to its predecessor — on which the Leica D-Lux 109 is based — but offers a raft of useful upgrades, including a better sensor. But there is a good case for sticking with the current D-Lux unless you really need the incremental improvements

Over the past couple of years there has been an inexorable rise in camera prices, not just those from Leica. What used to be the sub-£1,000 micro four-thirds workhorse from Olympus or Panasonic is now the sub-£2,000 body. But the surprising thing is that cheaper sensor costs have brought the prices of full-frame cameras such as the a7III and some newcomers, almost down to the same levels. No doubt they now represent quite good value for money. 

If you own the current D-Lux, should you upgrade when the new model comes along? I’m not all that sure; and I could even make a case for buying the old model once prices settle down. The new camera has a bigger sensor and better autofocus among other improvements but, in the real world (as we’ve discussed in relation to the now-discontinued Leica X models) this isn’t such a big deal for most people. 

  If you must have all the latest bells and whistles, then the new D-Lux or the LX100 Mk.II is definitely for you. This shot, though, was taken with the current D-Lux 109 at the    Briévres Camera Fair in 2015
If you must have all the latest bells and whistles, then the new D-Lux or the LX100 Mk.II is definitely for you. This shot, though, was taken with the current D-Lux 109 at the Briévres Camera Fair in 2015

In reality, the LX100 II is a modest upgrade, perhaps proving that the LX100 was pretty much right from the outset. We’ll have to wait a long time for a Mk. III version, that’s for sure. So if you already own a D-Lux 109, I’d stick with it for now. If you are entering the market, though, the new model is probably worth waiting for. Or just buy a used 109 at the right price once the new model arrives — there will be a lot of up-trading and, consequently, prices of the current 109 will fall.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It is a no-brainer for me. The existing model is a very versatile little camera with top-quality performance and results. Socially it is my first choice. Travel – it is often my backup/companion camera to a bigger brother. A quick close-up around home – my D Lux T.109 (sack the man who dreamt up this nomenclature) is always ready and present.

    Build quality is superb. Fast Summilux lens superb. Zoom range is good enough for most of my everyday subjects. Battery life excellent. Why, why oh why should I upgrade?

  2. I only just bought mine having had a used Lumix original. It is a back up come small in the pocket for anywhere camera that performs admirably. I won’t be upgrading because I don’t need anything "better" in a compact camera.

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