Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica D-Lux 7 rounds off a week of pleasant surprises

Leica D-Lux 7 rounds off a week of pleasant surprises

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  The D-Lux 7 body is virtually identical to that of its predecessor, but the silver finish of the deep top-plate transforms the appearance. It looks very new, very desirable (to a Leicaphile at least) and becomes a suitable case for upgrade
The D-Lux 7 body is virtually identical to that of its predecessor, but the silver finish of the deep top-plate transforms the appearance. It looks very new, very desirable (to a Leicaphile at least) and becomes a suitable case for upgrade

This week has brought a positive Leicucopia of delights. Yesterday the latest M digital, the M10-D dropped onto my desk. And today it’s the turn of the D-Lux 7. I’ve borrowed it to use in Germany over the next five days, having decided to travel light and not schlepp the M10-D and a bunch of lenses. I’ll save the -D for closer acquaintance next week.

As I pointed out when the D-Lux 7 launched on Tuesday, its appearance is quite extraordinary. Somehow, Leica’s designers have managed to turn the rather unprepossessing Panasonic LX100 Mark II into a delightful classic retro Leica. As with the M10-D, I am sure old Oskar would have approved of this one. 

  Business as usual at the back of the camera — clearly laid-out controls and a fixed screen, perfectly flush with the body. The small thumb grip is useful but doesn’t compensate for the slippery front of the body
Business as usual at the back of the camera — clearly laid-out controls and a fixed screen, perfectly flush with the body. The small thumb grip is useful but doesn’t compensate for the slippery front of the body

In the metal and plastic, the -7 is even more gorgeous than the stock product shots promised. Despite the resolve of many not to upgrade from the late D-Lux, I can hear muttering in the ranks. The silver anodised finish turns the new camera into something extraordinary and very desirable. 

When you get down to it, though, this new camera’s body is virtually identical to that of the old D-Lux. But by anodising the deep top plate in silver, Leica has managed to produce a radically different-looking camera. Unfortunately, the very smooth body, sans grip, is carried over from the previous model. It needs something to stop the fingers skidding around on the front of the camera, as much for the tactile feel as for extra stability — which is not necessary with this camera.

  Sensible physical controls allow full manual access. The on-off switch is easy to use and clearly labelled while the shutter speed and exposure-compensation dials are better than electronic displays. The lens allows direct access to aperture, with an Auto button which, when used in conjunction with the A on the speed dial permits fully automatic operation. The aspect ratio on this camera can be changed from 3:2 to 16:9, 1:1 or 4:3. Note the 4K video button.
Sensible physical controls allow full manual access. The on-off switch is easy to use and clearly labelled while the shutter speed and exposure-compensation dials are better than electronic displays. The lens allows direct access to aperture, with an Auto button which, when used in conjunction with the A on the speed dial permits fully automatic operation. The aspect ratio on this camera can be changed from 3:2 to 16:9, 1:1 or 4:3. Note the 4K video button.

While the mini grip on the Panasonic doesn’t look great, I can’t help thinking that the D-Lux 7, a stick-on grip (similar to that sold by Sony for the RX100 at a cost of £12) would suffice. However, I shall be trying out the Leica handgrip to see if that makes handling better.

We all know that the D-Lux 109, with its slightly cropped 4/3 sensor and that fantastic fast zoom, was a star performer. The 7 brings improvements — a larger 17MP sensor, new processor, faster AF and improved low-light performance, not to mention improved video performance — but the sharp f/1.7-2.8, 24-75mm Vario-Summilux remains, for which we will all be thankful. It is perhaps the best fixed-zoom of its type, achieving superb results from a very small package. 

I had intended to travel light this trip to Germany since it mostly work-related and I won’t have time for much photography. But the D-Lux 7 will now fit the bill admirably. Although I had previously decided to take just the Leica X2 rather than carrying any heavier gear, I am delighted to have the Seven because it makes an ideal travel companion.

I shall be back later next week. In the meantime, I have handed over to two contributors. On Monday, Tom Brennan — a new face on Macfilos — takes us on a trip through the Australian desert. Tuesday and it’s time for the second part of Dave Seargeant’s trek along the North Yorkshire Cinder Track.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Mike, are you saying the D-Lux 7 still needs a grip or that the surface has somehow been improved so that it’s not really needed? I have the grip from the Type 109, which I assume will fit just fine.

    I guess the next product left to be updated is the SL, which makes sense as the L-mount rolls out early 2019.

    Have a good trip to Germany.

    • Sorry if there’s a misunderstanding. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t need a grip for handling in terms of weight or stability — it’s a light camera and the lens is small. However, the camera does lack grip in the sense that the body is slippery (the same as the D-Lux so you will know). I have borrowed the Leica grip to see how it works, although it adds depth to the camera and must be removed to change card or battery — the usual Leica problem. However, I mentioned the Sony stick-on grip made for the RX100, which suffers from the same smooth surface. That works well and is surprisingly a factory accessory complete with "Sony" engraving. A similar accessory for the D-Lux 7 would be welcome.

      Yes, I don’t think SL2 can be far away, although it could be CL Max or SL Mini. I’ve now heard any specific rumours, but the SL has been around for a long time now and it appears that there are many in stock secondhand — also 24-90s and 50mm Summiluxes.

      • Have only just seen this, Mike. Initially I took it you meant the RX100 grip (which my dealer put on without even asking!) would also fit the DL7. But I see that shouldn’t be read into it. I am exploring a flipbac surface-mounted grip for my XV. After on and off use of the Leica Grip, I’ve finally abandoned it, as it puts paid to any pretensions the XV might have to being a small camera! I shall probably do the same for the DL7 when I have it.

  2. The D-Lux 7, as was the D-Lux (Typ 109), is a nonstarter for me because I’m unwilling to pay $150 (US) for a handgrip. I compared the D-Lux with the LX100 and concluded that what Mike called a "mini grip" fit nicely into my fingers to comfortably hold the LX100. If Panasonic decides to offer a silver version of the LX100 Mark II, I will upgrade from my LX100.

  3. Have a great trip to Germany and what a beauty to go with. May you be rewarded with some amazing images and a great experience.The previous version I recommended to a photographer for what I would pick for major travel and she has loved it and had images curated into national fur and feather competitions. My Leica Q-P arrived late yesterday and she is the most gorgeous camera I have owned including the SL. I plan to take Lady Di out tomorrow for some shutter therapy.

  4. Enjoy your German break. You deserve it for the wonderful site you’re running. Waiting for your D-lux 7 review. That camera could well become the replacement of my ricoh GR.
    Jean

    • Hi, these days it does not matter where something is made as long as it has quality control of the brand. Strangely, certain Leica glass that were made in both Canada and Germany carry a perception that the German one must be better even though the amazing designer was Canadian. A lot of fine equipment is made outside Japan for cost reasons but has hopefully the same quality controls of the company.

    • I have read that Arte du Mano say their D-Lux cases fit the D-Lux 7 and this rings true because the bodies are identical. Obviously I can’t give a guarantee so you should try before buying.

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