Leica: the Rolls-Royce of cameras

The Leica D-Lux doesn’t come cheap, but this compact version is affordable and enjoyable, says Matthew Partridge.

Leica D-Lux7 camera

Even if you have no interest in cars, or don't drive at all, the words "Rolls-Royce", "Aston Martin" or "Bentley" will still conjure up images of luxury and refinement. The equivalent brand in the camera world is Leica. Some of the world's most renowned photographers count themselves fans, as does the Queen. Sadly, with even used Leicas costing several thousand pounds, Leicas are a luxury most of us aren't able to afford.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The good news is that there are Leicas you can buy without having to take out a second mortgage or sell a kidney the D-Lux range of budget Leicas, part of a collaboration with Panasonic. Its latest model, the D-Lux 7, is based on Panasonic's LX 100 Mark II, which was released last year. Technically, the D-Lux is a "compact" camera as it has a fixed lens and a slightly smaller sensor, though a bigger one than you'd typically find in many "point-and-shoot" cameras. For purists, this means it isn't a "proper" Leica, but it will be perfectly good enough for the rest of us.

The D-Lux 7 is compact enough to stuff in a coat or trouser pocket and the image quality is much better than you'd get on a smartphone. You can operate it in silent mode and with automatic eye-recognition, and it will produce compelling photos, even in challenging dimly lit environments. It also produces crisp videos at up to 4K quality. You can't connect an external microphone, but this isn't really a problem as the internal one is good enough for most uses.

The camera also comes with a variety of filters and modes that you can play around with. The limited range of the lens (equivalent to 24-75mm) means that this is a camera to complement rather than replace a DSLR, but I enjoyed using it enough to buy a second-hand copy of the original LX 100 from eBay. The current model has slightly better image quality than the original Panasonic.

Leica D-Lux 7, RRP £995



Alternative investments

Today's art markets are a paradise for bargain hunters

Now is an ideal time for collectors to go shopping at the art auctions. 
29 Nov 2019
Alternative investments

Investing in art: where to find the best value in the art market today

It’s been a record-breaking ten years for the art market – even Old Masters of questionable provenance are selling for hundreds of millions. But where…
15 Nov 2019
Alternative investments

Ancient art sparks controversy

Who has the right to own art treasures that were originally pillaged? Chris Carter reports.
12 Jul 2019
Alternative investments

Marceau Rivière and Desmond Morris: two ace art collectors sell up

Some intriguing art is appearing on the market for the first time, says Chris Carter.
28 Jun 2019

Most Popular


These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020
EU Economy

Why a stronger euro is good news for investors

The fragile state of the eurozone has for a long time brought the threat of deflation. But the ECB’s latest moves have dampened those fears. John Step…
5 Jun 2020

Disease, rioting and mass unemployment – so why are markets soaring?

Despite some pretty strong headwinds in the last year, America’s S&P 500 stock index is close to all-time highs. John Stepek explains why markets seem…
4 Jun 2020