Leica's brand of luxury cameras has been given a Titanium make-over on its excellent but wallet-smacking D-Lux 5 Titanium
Last year Leica released the D-Lux 5, a high-end compact camera, and this year, just in time for Christmas, they've released the D-Lux5 Titanium, a Special Edition version on the same camera in anodized silver-grey finish. The camera comes in a special set with a high quality case with shoulder strap and a copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. T3 already reviewed the excellent but much cheaper Leica V-Lux 30 in October and now we have the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium. The camera's styling looks great and the out of box experience is certainly a luxurious one.
In terms of specifications, the biggest draw of the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium is it's fast 5.1 – 19.2mm f/2 -3.3 ASPH zoom lens, which has a focal length of 24 to 90mm, meaning you can shoot anything from macro flowers with plenty of depth of field through to wide, pin sharp landscapes.
The 10.1 MP Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium features a 1/1.63-inch CCD image sensor, which is frankly huge for a compact model. What this means for the consumer is that together with the high quality lens, the camera should be capable of images far to superior than that of an average compact with exceptional sharpness, high contrast and natural colour rendition. We were impressed (seePics and Video) below.
As you would expect of a camera at this price point, it shoots RAW as well as JPEG and offers full manual control, as well as program modes and a whole host of scene modes too. The top dial also hosts two custom modes for photographers to store their most used settings. There are alsovarious colour modes providing effects includingpinhole, film grain, retro and monochrome –these are fun to use and provide quirky effects. Another really nice thing about the Leica D-Lux 5 is that it lets you shoot in a range of formats: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1.
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium: Controls
Not only does the matt grey Titanium styling look great but it feels great in the hands too. At 4.33 x 2.60 x 1.69 inches it's bigger than the majority of compacts on the market these days but that's synonymous with the fact that it's a serious camera. It's not too big by any means but, because ofits lens, it won't fit in the pocket of skinny jeans - it's more of a coat pocket job. However, you'd no doubt make good use of the premium grey leather case with shoulder strap that comes with the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium anyway…
Considering it's actually a very sophisticated camera, the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium is a doddle to use, with a clear and easily navigable menu system. Buttons and control are all intuitively placed, so you can get the settings you want quickly, The control wheel on the top plate features all the shooting modes and there's also the zoom control, dedicated video button and on/off switch. The back is home to a wheel for changing apertures and shutter speeds, a D-pad with menu in the center and dedicated AF/AE lock, play, display and quick menu buttons. On top of the lens itself is a sliding switch for changing image formats.
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium: Screen
The 3-inch LCD with 460,00 pixel resolution is a joy to use: exceptionally clear and displaying a massive amount of detail. We tested the camera in the gloom and in bright sunlight and it performed excellently in both conditions.
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium: Speed
The Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium certainly won't slow you down: it's a very responsive camera, particularly for a compact. It switches on and is ready to go in two seconds and changing settings is pretty much instant.
The main selling point of this camera however, is it's glorious 5.1 – 19.2mm f/2 -3.3 ASPH zoom lens and it doesn't disappoint, it's incredibly responsive. The camera commits pictures to card in no time at all. You'll wait a few seconds for writing video to the card though – but this is of average performance for a compact, rather than being slow.
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium: Battery
A full battery will shoot approximately 400 shots.
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium: Pics and Video
The combination of the fast high quality lens and large CCD certainly makes for exceptional image quality in the Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium. We were truly impressed with the high quality of our text pictures: no visible noise, clear, crisp photos with lovely natural colour. The camera handled high contrast scenes very well indeed and as the camera can capture an amazing amount of detail macro images look superb.
Much like the photo quality, the video HD video quality is excellent – colours are recorded very naturally, detail is amazing and sound is impressively clear too.
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium Verdict
If you are looking for a high-end compact and have funds to flat Leica's limited edition D-Lux 5 Titanium, you won't be disappointed. It's easy to use, a joy to handle and takes exceptional photographs where the quality matches that provides by many DSLR cameras.
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium availability: Out now
Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium price: £855