Gadget Finder

Monday, November 17, 2008

Panasonic LX3 vs Leica DLux4, Part 1

OK I finally got to try out both my cameras today. Lotsa people have been asking me to post up comparison shots of both cams as not many fellas are actually crazy enough to go out n buy both. Some people even say I'm mad for buying the Leica at twice the price of the LX3. LOL.

I've been wanting to do some outdoor shots but it's been raining cats n dogs in Kuala Lumpur everyday since I bought the DL4. I headed to a shopping mall called Sunway Pyramid today to do it indoors. I thought it would be good for trying out high ISO shots indoors as well. There's a section in the mall called Marrakesh n I really like it coz it's nice n colorful. Feels like being in Morocco actually.

Anyway, let's get on with the pics. All pics were done with exact same settings on both cams with no tweaks to Saturation, NR n all that. I only used S +1 sharpening in camera for all shots in both LX3 n DL4. I left all other settings as standard to see the difference in the JPEG processing. All pics shot with AWB.

D-Lux4- 1/30, f2, ISO125
lx3 vs dlux4

LX3- 1/30, f2, ISO125
lx3 vs dlux4

D-Lux4- 1/30, f2, ISO250
lx3 vs dlux4

LX3- 1/30, f2, ISO250
lx3 vs dlux4

D-Lux 4- 1/30, f2, ISO200
LX3 vs DLUX4

LX3- 1/30, f2, ISO200
LX3 vs DLUX4

D-Lux4- 1/40, f2, ISO400
lx3 vs dlux4

LX3- 1/40, f2, ISO400
lx3 vs dlux4

D-Lux4- 1/30, f2, ISO200
lx3 vs dlux4

LX3- 1/30, f2, ISO200
lx3 vs dlux4

See any difference between the Panasonic LX3 n Leica D-Lux4? It's hard to tell from those resized images eh? You will probably have noticed the slightly different colors though. The Leica does appear slightly sharper at 100% size too. This debate is raging in the internet right now as to why people would pay double the price for the Leica when there's no apparent difference from all the pics posted on the internet so far. All I can say is, I can see that the Leica is just that lil bit sharper at full size. This is from my own cameras n experience with them so far. I have no idea if the differences are due to sample variance though.

Here's some evidence that there is indeed some difference between the cameras. My DL4 seems to have a better lens coating. I put both cams under the same table lamp to get a picture of the reflection. Here's the pic of the difference in coatings. See how the LX3 reflects more of the lamp? It's whiter n brighter with a more defined reflection of the lamp's chrome reflector surface.

lx3 vs dlux4

Added on 18th November- I just noticed these 2 pictures after digging through a few more pics. LX3 in iA mode, DL4 in Auto mode. The DL4 picks a lower ISO than the LX3 in some situations. The following pics show the LX3 choosing ISO160 while the DL4 chooses ISO80. That should result in a substantial improvement in PQ if the DL4 consistently picks a lower ISO than the LX3 in similar situations.

D-Lux4- 1/40, f2, ISO80
lx3 vs dlux4

LX3- 1/80, f2, ISO160
lx3 vs dlux4

That's all for now regarding the LX3 vs DL4. I will be sure to post up some outdoor pics in the daytime when the weather permits.

Next page- 2. LX3 VS D-Lux 4 Part 2
Next page- 3. Ricoh LC-1 auto lens cap mod for LX3 and D-Lux4
Next page- 4. LX3 VS D-Lux4 lens
Next page-5. Doing HDR with LX3/D-Lux4

If you liked this article or found it helpful, please check out the advertisements ya? You can also buy the cameras from Amazon using the links below. Your support is much appreciated. :) :) :)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to post these comparison shots. At least on my monitor, the LX3 wins this easily and even appears sharper with better light gathering. Dave

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to post these comparison shots. At least on my monitor, the LX3 wins this easily and even appears sharper with better light gathering. Dave

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comparisons, I have put a link to your blog from mine. I guess, i don't have to think much if to get the dlux4 since both cam performs rather close to each other.

Anonymous said...

Also, thanks for the comparisons. As one who has to wear reading glasses, I long for good viewfinders as well. Love my M8.

My first impression in every example is that the Leica D-Lux 4 pictures have more depth (i.e., 3D effect). If one looks closely it seems that a nearer subject is more defined (edge sharpness) against a background. This could be the result of the coating difference that you mentioned. Bob

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to do the comparison. Since I see some color differences in the metal rings around the lenses, it leads me to believe that there was a slight variation in how the light was hitting the lenses. Since they are both "Leica" (and I doubt Leica would put their name on second class optics), I feel the coatings must be identical. Also, since the AWB was used, there may have been a slight difference in how each camera interpreted the scene. Finally, the sharpness difference may have come from slight movement during the taking of the photograph. Afterall... it was a low light photo and movement could have affected the sharpness. I think the differences are so negligible that the only people who can see them are those who have an agenda for one or the other camera.

Anonymous said...

Good job! I prefer the colors from the LX3. Also... the built-in handgrip comes in handy.

Ian Ho said...

Different color rings? They're all black n the pic of both lenses was taken at 24mm so both lenses were sticking out the maximum distance from the body of the camera. They were sitting on the same table with the same table lamp exactly the same distance n position. There is no difference in the way the light is hitting the lens. The DL4 has a different look to the coating. No 2 ways about that. It's extremely obvious when I take both my cameras out n look at the lens coatings. The DL4 has a darker more bluish tint to it.

Hand shake n AWB making a difference? Well, that's what we all wanna find out right? About how these 2 compare in our normal everyday usage. I didn't put them on tripods for the comparo coz that's not how I use them in real life. So if 1 is consistently sharper than the other in real life usage, what does that say? Better OIS in 1? That opens a whole other can of worms doesn't it?

I believe the best way to test was how I would use them in daily use while making sure the shutter speed, aperture, ISO were the same to make it even. If the OIS n AWB make a diff then that just shows the cameras working just that lil bit differently. They do behave differently anyway, this can be seen from the way the DL4 chooses a lower ISO in certain conditions, as can be seen in the example above regarding iA n Auto mode.

Anyway, it's good to read the opinions n comments from people all over the world who own the LX3 n DL4. Keep it coming guys. :)

Ian Ho said...

Oh,I forgot to reply about the grip. I personally don't like the grip. They should have made it all black instead of that ugly silver trim around the faux leather grip. I've seen sum1 modify his LX3 with black gaffa tape n made the whole front of the camera black. That looked pretty good. An all black camera with no branding. It's kinda like my Sony Alpha 200 which I modified to all black with no branding. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the posts, Ian.
Strange it only me? I thought from your set of images the d-lux was clearly better.
Have you tried comparing them with the Sigma DP1 ? Bigger CCD, thats gonna give the LX3 and D-Lux a run for their money?

Ian Ho said...

I tried the DP1, Canon G10, LX3 n D-Lux 4 in Shanghai before deciding on 1. DP1 was just totally weird with fixed 28mm n sloooow at f4. G10 was big n heavy, not wide enuf. So LX3 n DL4 it was for me. Hehe. I was heavily leaning in G10's direction coz I'm so used to my Canon 40D. Same menu system n software wud have made life easier.

Anonymous said...

Well, the D-Lux4 has more 'depth' and nicer colour. It also sesms to hold highlights better. Maybe it's me but I prefer these things after shooting plenty of E6 with my Minilux.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this comparison. The difference is hard to tell on such small pics. Personnaly, I prefer The Leica D-Lux4, because I feel something more human, more photographic. I feel more love and spirit on the pictures. If we consider both camera technically, for sure they are pretty closed. But if we listen to our heart... The Flickr galleries are fullfilled with astonishing pictures of the D-Lux4. Those taken with the Pana LX-3 aren't as beautiful...

I've made my choice and ordered the Leica 2 days ago. Can't wait to put my hands on !!!

I have a question for Ianho: Which one do you prefer, if you listen to your heart ?

Thanks and peace.

Ian Ho said...

WD, if we all listened to our hearts then of course the choice will be Leica D-Lux4. The LX3 is a choice decided by the brain as it makes more economical sense.

As for me, I usually listen to my heart as I'm very passionate about my hobbies. :)

BTW.... welcome to the D-Lux4 club n dont forget to join us over at the Leica Owners forum at-

Unknown said...

Dear Ian,
Believe it or not, I was actually browsing through looking for a good lx3 and d-lux 4 comparison, and it dawned to me I was looking at pictures of Sunway Pyramid. I must say you have some very nice shots. In anyway, have you submitted any of your shots for the Sunway Memories photography contest?

Gary Chin

Ian Ho said...

Thanks for telling me Gary, I didn't know about it. Will be sure to check it out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the invitation , dear Ianho ;) I should receive my D-Lux4 tomorrow morning. Believe it or not, but I'm already inspired by this camera : I've seen green shots this evening (a gas-pipeline boat, doing a reverse on the river, by night, all those and thought: "If only I had my Leica..." :)

Anonymous said...

Oups... Not "green shots", but "great shots" ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian

Great comparisons!
D-LUX 4 right away.
I use one of those big swedish digital cams and right from the start you can tell that the D-Lux4 has got more depth, better shadow details, slightly more contrast and holds highlights better.
If you look at the BW shots - they come across as more 'human' as another fellow post puts it.

Thanks for posting these pictures - I was planning on getting the Lumix LX3 (since everyone was saying they are the same) but after seeing these - it's the DLux4 for me.

Great site!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ej Goh: It was exactly the same case for me ;) LX3 in my mind, but when I've seen the D-lux4 shots...
Ordered !
I've received the Leica this morning, and I've done 150 pics since ;) trying different settings. I don't regret my choice, I already have a complicity with this camera, it's so tiny, handy, classy...I'll never forget it at home !

A bit disapointed by the sound however, but maybe there are some settings ? (I haven't opened the manual yet, but I promise: tomorrow with a cup of coffee ;)

Ian Ho said...

Congratz on ur purchase guys. Dont forget to read the manual. Leica's done a magnificent job by providing a comprehensive manual that explains just about everything. My LX3 manual is useless! They even call it "Basic manual" on the front cover. LOL It only has 31 pages explaining mundane stuff like how to put the battery in, turn on camera n such.

About the sound while using HD recording, mebe ur shutter finger is pressing on the mic coz the mic is up there right next to the zoom toggle n ur blocking the sound with ur finger.

Oh ya, I've done a new set of comparo pics in bright outdoor conditions with lotsa bright red, blue, green. Will post them up in a new posting soon. N dont forget guys, if u liked this article, please check out the advertisements ya, your support is much appreciated. Who knows with u guys' support, I may just be able to do a Panasonic FX37 vs Leica C-Lux3 comparo next. Hehehe.

Anonymous said...

People, what is the device on Leica with 3 open leafs?

Ian Ho said...

It's a Ricoh LC-1 automatic lens cap. You can see the detailed step by step instructions + video here if you head on over to-

Unknown said...

The sample black and white picture from D-Lux 4 says it all. Notice the contrast, depth, sharpness, and the 'graduated' shadows. They are all Leica's trademark!

Anonymous said...

The results are so negligible that a simple quick batch conversion could match the LX3 image to that of the Leica. It is obvious that the lens coatings are the same unless a sample variation problem, I've stared at them under 3 sorts of light as well as outside at the camera shop and I nor the employees can see any difference in lens coating. It wouldn't make sense for Panasonic to coat the Leica lens differently really and it is Panasonic after all who builds the lens.

It is just a firmware difference and styling folks, the same as on the LC1 and its equivalent Leica, or the FZ50 and its equivalent Leica.

I will grant you that the Leica will hold its resale better, so really is a good investment if you have the money.

Anonymous said...

Ian, thanks for the comparison. that is very helpful. one suggestion is that you should post pics taken by both cameras side by side, but not telling which is by which, see how many people can really tell the difference and point out which camera is which...
Personally, I think the difference between these two cameras are so little that this may just become another coco-cola vs. pepsi type of myth...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ian, for taking the time. All that I see are tiny differences in the WB. Thank you for helping me be at ease in buying the LX3... since I can't really see any difference in the results.

Ian Ho said...

You're welcome guys. I dont believe in the blind tests coz people will still dig tru the EXIF. Hehe. So it's rather pointless to not put the names there. Besides, people will believe what they wanna belief. So I'd rather just post up the pics n let people decide by themselves.

Unknown said...

Is that a make-shift lens hood on the D-LUX 4 or a Leica accessory?

The Titanium model looks amazing...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ian, for taking the time!
I have just been discovering the Leica D-lux4, rushed on my computer to get LX3/D-lux4 comparisons, ans I discover your blog! Thanks!

First of all, would you please guys excuse my English, which could sound a bit "weird": I am a French-speaaking European.

I used to have a bulky SLR Nikon system (film) a few years ago. Because of size and weight, that equipment used to stay in its bag all the time.

When I switch to digital, I choosed a Canon G6. Nice but too big and 35mm minimum is not wide enough for me. I then bought the wide angle adapter, which got me an 24mm. Nice but: 1. the whole is as bulky as a SLR 2. Though very good, this adapter slightly downgrades the pictures's quality.

3 years have passed since the acquisition of the G6, and I am ready for a good switch, but can't aford a costy mistake.

At first, I was tempted by the new Canon G10. But it's heavy, still bulky for a compact, and the extreme sharpness at ISO 80 is very quickly lost as long as you go towards ISO 200, 400. I would even say that the lost with higher ISO is dramatic. Look at these pictures, taken by, which compare the G10 with the LX3.
At ISO 80, the G10 wins hands down against all competitors:

But at ISO 400, things are mush less clear, to say the least...

And at ISO 1600, the results are very contrasted. You can clearly see that there are here two dramatically different approaches: one (G10) which soften things, at the expense of detail, and the other (LX3), which tends to express detail, but a large amount of noise is noticeable:

So, as far as I am concerned, there is a first choice to do between G10 vs (LX3 or D-lux4). Any insightful opinion?
Suppose that I go for the second option, the second question is: LX3 or D-lux4? Here we are.

A vendor said to me that the D-lux4

1.had a better coating on the lense (and there is obviously a difference, thanks for you pictures Ian) and
2. had a "better" algorithm. But as far as this point is concerned, which bothers me is that
2.1 the algorithm of the LX3 is said to already be very performant (see, and
2.2 the vendor said the D-lux4 embeds the algorithm of the Leica M8, which seems (accoring to DPreview) to be rather poor, and is already 2,5 year old (the M8 outcame in 2006)
Is that information correct?
Any insightful opinion?

As I ABSOLUTELY do not want to spend hours behind my computer to get the best of RAW files (I need a compact which tremendous results in JPEG mode, without post-procesing), all I can say is that the algorithm of the M8 (supposedly embedded on the D-lux4) is certainly not for me: it invites you to shoot in RAW mode, what I want to avoid.

At the end of the day, I wonder if a G10 wouldn't be the good choise for me, as it seems to give good (even flattering) results in jpeg mode. But it's bulky, heavy and 28mm only.
Any insightful opinion?

The LX3 and the D-lux4 suit me as far as the size/weight and 24-60mm lense are concerned. The question is: which one to buy? In Europe, the LX3 costs €500, and the D-lux4 costs €700. These are higher price than in Asia and US, but you see that, here, the Leica doesn't cost the double.

Any insightful opinion?

Thanks for your (insightful) reaction. Please communicate the results of your personal *experiences* rather than your personal non-rational prejudices against/in favour of one or another brand. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I am genuinely interested in the strengths and weaknesses in both of these cameras.

IanHo - firstly, you are obviously biased. Secondly, crops would make a comparison much easier. Thirdly, use your commonsense - the lenses are going to be identical. Fourly, if you try to do a comparison and keep all factors constant, you should also obviously use a tripod - not some excuse like you were doing a test in (hand-held) conditions as you normally practice.

Fred - I bet you buy the lx3 if you choose a 24mm compact. The G10 is quite a different camera in my opinion - one that favours the middle of the market type, whose photos consist mostly of their spouse in front of human-inspired construction monstrosities - like a famous bridge or something. The 24-60mm compacts are going to be stronger in landscape photography - what do you mostly shoot?

The decision to buy the leica should logically be based on your attitude to risk (warrantee), what other RAW processing software you already have and possible resale value.

I would be interested in hearing what you chaps think the leica may sell for after 4 years. I recon the lx3 would have devalued to about 20% of its initial value by then.

This purchase decision ideally wouldn't be based on ego (heart). The Leica will not make you a better photographer unless you want to prance about in public showing off your fancy red badge, thereby getting more practice.

So IanHo - next time you use the dlux4 remember that it is a japanese camera with a german badge ;) and be honest in your "comparisons".


ps. think I might buy the leica - but it'll be for the extended warrantee and stronger resale value

Anonymous said...

I'm new to photography, I heard of Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, etc... but never heard of Leica. I view your test images on my Sansung 19" wide LCD monitor. I must say the Leica ones looks a bit better; I can't explain or ponit to where it's better but just looks better on my screen.
It prompt me to google what is Leica.
I got a shock when I saw their prices! That is 1 expensive brand! Their price put me off man. I google farther and found Sony also uses (on some model)German lens (Carl Zeiss). My question: Is Sony (comparable model) cheaper than Panasonic LX-3?

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

My choice is done: if you let down the 24mm and try to be pleased with a 28mm, the best ratio quality/prize/size of all compacts is not the Leice or tha Pana LX3, but the Fuji f100fd !!
It is the best photo shop in Brussels where I discover that! That shop is hold by passionated people, who always give you the tip of the insider. They have all the brand in stock. All of them! As I didn't want to repeat the mistake of a too big and heavy camera, the vendor suggested me to forget the G10 (I have a G6, and it was a mistake because of its size).
Instead of pushing me toward the Leice D-lux4 or the Pana LX3, he says that he personnally choosed the Fuji F100fd for his own use and the Fuji costs much less than even a LX3!
Why? Because of the unique technology of its captor: same as the S5pro (, but captor of the compact F100 is smaller, of course. That technology means there is a kind of hexagon pattern made of muliple pixels: small ones interlaced with bigger ones. Some captures low-level details in the dark, while the others capture the details in highly lighted parts of the picture. It's patented by Fuji, and they don't give their captors to other manufacturers.That unique combination gives you a captor which is waaaaays less noisy than the standard Sony captor which equips all the compact.

The pictures are amazing.

There are downsides yet:
- 28mm - 140mm zoom
- f3.3-5.1 (though this is more than compensated by the fact that you can really work at 800ISO with very low noise !!!)
- no optical rangefinder
- no manual mode, no Aperture priority mode, no speed priority mode; instead, you get at huge range of easily accesible automatic modes which shoot just right !
- rather little battery autonomy (a 2nd one is advised)
- looks like common family-compact (hides all its qualities inside)

But the advantges clearly surpasses the downsides:
- ultra-low noise!!
- very little and lightweight (265gr)
- good screen
- plenty of automatic modes which all give excellent results; generally better that what I could have with the (more ancient) G6 in Aperture priority mode (my favorite mode)
- 12mm pixels, but its rather 6+6, as the technology they use for the captor make that the half of the pixels are in charge of the low-light, the other half for the high-lights.

A French magazine, Chasseur d'image (the largest photo magaszine in Europe) give the following results (not the kind of magazine where all camera have 90%, as you'll see) in its december issue:

- canon G10
General features: 6/10
Low ISO: 6/10
high ISO: 4/10 (yes, the sharpnes of details are quickly degreaded as yo go higher in Iso with the G10)
TOTAL: 16/30

- Fuji F100fd
General features: 4/10
Low ISO: 5/10
high ISO: 6/10
TOTAL: 15/30

- Panasonic LX3
General features: 6/10
Low ISO: 4/10
high ISO: 4/10
TOTAL: 14/30

They publish comparative test, a bit like dp-review does.
You can clearly see that the LX3 starts with a fair amount of noise even at low ISO, ...and that the picture taken with the Fuji are clearly better, and have even more natural tone.

I am especially happy to have found that little gem.


Anonymous said...

wow. thanks. im already waiting for my leica dlux4 to arrive. eventhough the pics differ slightly, i sd still go for leica due to its value. if its leica, its leica, u knw. like a bmw. hehe thanks again

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your interesting post!
Are these cameras 'responsive' cameras? How long does it take from pushing the button until the camera actually takes the picture? Is the Dlux as 'quick' as a true Leica to take the 'decisive moment' or is the shutter lag to long..?

Anonymous said...

I guess everybody needs to convince themselves that they made the "best" decisions when they bought their camera (= the "best" camera) after long soul searching. People can become very militant when they have to defend their choices. But all I can say is, my camera is better than yours.... :)

Seriously, considering how similar the shots are - we're clearly not seeing any mindblowing differencs - it's not so easy to make a strong case for either one.

I love the look of Leica and it's such a beautiful object in a classic sense, but no matter which camera you buy these days, whether you spend $5,000 or $500, the camera will be obsolete in 2 years from now. So, to me that has changed the equation of how I buy stuff. Can't get too atached to a camera any more, Leica or not.

Just enjoy and have fun taking amazing pictures. The quality is better than what most of us could ever have accomplished in the olden days using film. Ever seen film grain at ISO 1600? Ever spent a day in the darkroom only to leave with a couple of muddy prints?

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for nice comparison!
I think in "double blind" test it would be very hard to say which picture is DL4 or LX3 :))

Anonymous said...

My vote would have to go to the D-Lux 4 on this one. Just go to Flickr (camera models->leica->d-lux 4->night) and you'll see how it's noise-less 800+ ISO is almost in par with Nikon's D700. But the LX3 is not far-off however. I'd say the D-Lux 4 wins by +4 on low-noise hi-ISO performance.

So for me, I'd buy the LX3 cause' Leica is way overpriced with their products. The LX3 is fairly affordable. Some anonymous user suggest the, Fujifilm F100fd, and I completely agree. It destroys other 10+mp rivals out there even on ISO 800 (like the Canon SD990 for instance) and for a fairly cheap $300 pricetag for a 12mp.

But I'm in saving mode cause' I'm awaiting Fujifilm's new killer app with the so-called, Super CCD EXR, it was said to surpass Fujifilm's 2006 models the, F30/F31fd, in low-noise levels on high ISO setting. Up until no current model rivals it's awesome hi-ISO quality. Watch out Sony/Canon/Nikon fanboys =P

Pl-Svn said...

I hoped a comparison would solve my douts but... now I'm even more uncertain about the way to go :-(

What, to me, clearly stand out, from your pics and other comarisons, is that Leica is "cleaner and sharper" (that could just be the result of an harder contrast setting. And there's really something here: all Lumix pics are softer) but... Lumix wins hand down in color accuracy (in particular under artificial light, but not only).

So... still can't decide :-(

Anonymous said...

As a scientist I would like to suggest something: this is just a sample test, not a study, however interesting this comparison seems to be. At the very least you should compare with the results from another technically identical camera... of the same brand! Eg. 2 x Lumix vs 2x DLux...


Bodo said...

Is it possible to use the lumix lx3 viewfinder with d-lux 4 camera?

Anonymous said...

if it is possible to detect anything, it looks that the panasonic is more contrasted and sharper.

But a comparison on such small samples is meaningless, I would like to see a detail of some of these pics.

Thanks for the comparison (just got the leica though!)


Pl-Svn said...

... opted for the Leica, at the end :-)

what really impresses me is the amazing quality of this camera's raws: way better than in-camera jpgs
Raws from my Panasonic DMC-L1 (another great camera) require much more tweaking to become acceptable whilst D-Lux 4 raws are almost perfect out-of-the camera :-)

Jamal said...


I own DL4 but based on your comparison I don't see any big difference between those two. However overall I am pleased with my Leica & I believe those who own LX3 will also feel the same.

Let shoot more pictures!! :D

Ian Ho said...

Sorry I've been away for so long guys. Just to answer some of the questions after taking a quick read of all the comments.

The 3 flap thingy on the Leica DL4 is a Ricoh LC-1 lens cap that I modified to fit on the LX3 n DL4. U can do it too if u take a look at my step by step guide in here.

As for the comment on me being biased, all I can say is...... LOL. Y should I be biased when I own both. These 2 cameras belong to me, both bought with my own cash. I'm not some sponsored camera site that has something to gain by being biased. Well, come to think of it, if u donate say $1000 to me, I'd say 1 rocks over the other based on ur choice. Howzabout that? LOL. Dont forget to tell me ur choice after banking in the $1000. Hehehe.

Some1 asked me to do a test with 2x LX3 n 2x D-Lux4!!!! R u crazy! As it is, the LX3 n DL4 already cost a bomb just to satisfy my curiousity. Now, u want me to go buy another LX3 n DL4 for a proper scientific test? Please send me some money for the procurement of 2x LX3 n 2x DL4 n I shall proceed with the scinetific tests. LOL.

Please guys, there is no bias or anything here. I'm not some camera sales site n I dont profit from anything by telling ppl to buy a certain brand. All I did was post the pics to share with every1. I didnt say 1 is better than the other except for the lens coatings which r obviously different. It's ur choice to buy whichever camera u prefer. I just posted them up coz I'm very sure many ppl r curious about the LX3 vs DL4 as I was. :)

Pl-Svn said...

ianho, thank you very much for the time (and money) you spent on this subject. don't care about what people says: some can even say, and they actually did it, the opposite of what stands clear from your testing, so...

bak to the subject: in the end I bought the Leica (... well... I wanted to buy the Leica since the beginning ;-)

as I wrote... I found Leica's Raws *amazing*, most of the times they're perfect out-of-the-camera so... just out of curiosity: could you, please, also post a comparison between Leica and Panasonic *RAWs*?

thank you so much! :-)

Ian Ho said...

@ pl_svn, my proper PC system is not up n running yet due to me moving house n all. Right now using a lowly Intel Celeron laptop. Processing RAWs with this laptop will make me grow white hairs while waiting. LOL. Perhaps after everything settles down n I've put the PC into a new workstation at the new home, I'll do it then.

Pl-Svn said...

ok, ianho: take your time

but, please, *do not* process the raws: leave 'em untouched, only converted to jpg for uploading

thank you once more

DUSA said...

How does the D-Lux 4 HD video compare to that of the Nikon D90? The D90 outputs to AVI (standard broadcast production standard) does anyone know if the D-Lux 4 can output to AVI without conversion?

Ian Ho said...

@ DUSA, if I remember correctly, the DL4 movie file is MOV.

Anonymous said...

in my opinion the pixs of the lumix are brighter, so you could use a faster shutter speed, and so get more sharpness, if neccesary.

Anonymous said...

Can you please tell me something about Leica C-LUX 3 in comparion to Panasonic LX3 vs Leica D Lux 4??
I am really confused!

Anonymous said...

This is very insightful; I think it's a very small margin. If you could buy just one of them, considering the Leica is about twice as expensive (at least before they gave you the leather bag with it for free), would you still pick the Dlux?
Thanks for this great piece of information here!

Ian Ho said...

The LX3 appears brighter sometimes due to it picking a higher ISO. I'd rather have a lower ISO for better IQ. The OIS is brilliant n we dont really need high shutter speeds unless ur really hamfisted.

The C-Lux3 cannot compare to the LX3 n DL4 coz it's just a small compact camera. It should be good enuf for the wife's handbag though. Hehe.

@ R.R, I would pick the Leica if I had to choose only 1 purely because I can afford it. If money was an obstacle then my choice would be the LX3 for sure. I'm very sure this is what most people do. Those who can afford it will naturally go for the DL4 n those who cant will go with the LX3 simply because of monetary issues.

Anonymous said...

The Leica D-LUX4 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 are basically the same camera (lens, sensor) with different image engines (firmware). They are both made in Japan, by Panasonic. Any subtle difference in the pictures we see will be due to the different image engines. For example, Panasonic will shoot at ISO 200 while Leica will shoot at ISO 100 for the same scene. Thus, the subtle difference in the picture quality. Leica has a 3 year warranty vs 1-year for the Panasonic; should demand higher resale value, and has a in-depth user manual for those who care and have the time to read.

Anonymous said...

if you do a double blind test. no one can tell the which picture belongs to which camera.

even if you are a leica fanboy and beleive truthfully that picture quality on the leica is better, you would still ask yourself whether that little difference and extra 1 year warranty is worth an extra 1500rm. and lets be honest, if they can slap a 2-3 year warranty on the leica, then the panasonic is supposedly to last just as long. (unless of course they know the leica will fail after 1 year...then the warranty will come into consideration)

that type of money would be better spent on your SLR lenses or maybe save up for the lx-4 which would be around the same price. which also means its a free upgrade.

Ian Ho said...

Well.......... the thing is..... people who buy the DL4 most probably also have SLRs with some nice lenses already. As an example, I've got 2 SLRs n enuf lenses already. The LX3 n DL4 are just really nice compact cameras to use as walkabout cams.

As for the LX4. Is there such a thing????

Anonymous said...

I think this is probaly down to the Algorithms requested by Leica. giving there camera, the slight edge in sharpness and saturation. As has been pointed out in earliar post. All this would be possible to copy in photoshop but the Leica gives instant images that need little or no intervention but at a hefty price tag. I have been pondering which camera to go for and it comes down to if you are willing to spend a little more time on the computur, personalising !


Anonymous said...

I was just about to buy a leica and was reading it i got more confused, more people are saying its a better but the lumix ( i was about to change my mind to buy a panasonic ) but how come so many people are ended up with the Leica ? ooo what the heck... im getting my leica for its a leica and it is still a leica and i can afford a leica so its a leica.... :D no offence to other reader but when you can afford a more premium one i still think no matter how little the difference is you will still buy coz in my experience its those little things that makes the difference and the differnce cost a lot.

Anonymous said...

I think even if it could be shown categorically that the "Leica" were that little bit worse, you'd still buy it - and then spend your time rationalising it to yourself and others. But if you think it makes you take better pictures...

Anonymous said...

Little has been said about the extended warranty and the processing software that come with the Leica. Surely those alone go some distance towards equalizing the price differential, not to mention the fact that the Leica will hold its value better as some have said.

dawsding said...

but with digital technology nowadays, a newer camera with better algorithms is already in the offing for both brands, so 2 yrs down the line this cameras wud be surpassed in evry aspect. so why bother about the cameras holding a better value :)?

Ian Ho said...

Which is why I've always said, buy whichever camera you can afford and just enjoy it. No point dwelling on which 1 is of more value. Better still if you can afford both, then go a bit mad and buy both! :)

Dazy said...

That is just huge!! I did not have any notion of what a Leica camera is like. Fruits are looking real... and everything else too....

Anonymous said...

This helps a lot. I think the Leica wins here. It clearly has better color saturation. The Panasonic pictures seem a bit washed out with some hot spots where the light is brighter. My MAIN question is, since you own both, are the accessories (underwater housing etc.) interchangeable? I figured, since they are pretty much identical, I could buy the Panasonic accessories for the Leica.

Anonymous said...

These are the (basically) default jpeg output. If you are going to buy one or the other based on that, then you should ask the retailer if you can pay double what the 'Leica' is going for - it will make you feel twice as good about it. I agree with Ian - buy the one you want and be happy.

Anonymous said...

I have both cameras. I feel that the Leica is just a tad sharper, and has better color just a little bit. Nothing hard to achieve for the LX3 with post processing.
I like the DL4 because of its feel and brand name. That's about it.

Anonymous said...

The only consistent difference I see is that the Panny photos are brighter. This has nothing to do with ISO differences as Ian claims as most of them were shot with the same A, S and ISO. The only place I could see a slight difference in color was in the green grapes, the Leica being very slightly more pleasing. Otherwise I can see no difference. The extra brightness of the LX3 is far more significant, especially for indoor shots. I am glad I got the LX3.

FYI, I have a G9 as well and it cannot compare when taking indoor low light shots at the same settings as the LX3. I was able to take blur free handheld shots with the LX3 at very slow shutter speeds (1/10) and 80 ISO but the G9 couldn't cope unless I cranked up the ISO to 400 (both with IS on). That makes a huge difference. I'd sell the G9 but think I could use the extended zoom outdoors on occasion so I opted to keep it. NOw if the panny only had a bit more reach...then it would be perfect.


Anonymous said...

BLIND TEST! - I believe that psychology plays a part when reviewing the pics when somebody pays a bundle for something. The blind tests I've done with other products have had interesting results. The testers when testing a product blind had various results. But when testing a products when they knew the price difference consistently had votes for the most expensive item.

If you can do a blind test to review photos and crops so they didn't know which camera took the pics, enter it into the website, then show the results after that, that would be a true comparison test. A lot of people are biased to Leica because of the name. Get out the bias in the tests and lets see the true results which can only be achieved by a blind test.

Anonymous said...

If the hardware's what's the same and the firmware can be updated, maybe you can buy the Lumix and download the Leica firmware? You can load Mac OS onto an ASUS, so maybe something similar would work with these cameras. Anyone tried that?

YIN said...

thanks for taking the time to post the pics up. personally i kinda like the LX3's results more though. and the fact that its cheaper by almost half ~~~ <3
hahahha . it rocks . thanks for sharing this !

Ian Ho said...

The camera checks the firmware file before flashing so the DL4 firmware is not gonna work in the LX3. BUT who knows, maybe someone will be able to make the Leica file look like the Pana file when the LX3 checks the file before flashing. Any1 heard of this being done yet?

Anonymous said...

About the difference in lens coatings. That is most likely manufacturing variation. I work for Zeiss and no two AR coats are ever identical. The vacuum coating process is very sensitive to process variations (much to our chagrin) :)

Anonymous said...

Any differences in lenses and processing only may become apparent under lighting that is less than optimal.

Point the two cameras at the bright sun at noon and photograph the sky. This will reveal any differences in the contrast and anti-glare coatings applied to the lenses. Point the camera at the sun at dusk and silhouette a person in the foreground. See how accurately the sensor renders the red and yellow detail in the sun. Examine the edges of the silhouetted person and see if bands of red or green striping frame the silhouetted edges.

Next, photograph a subject under red concert lighting and see how the sensor and processing software handles red values. This often is a problem with less expensive cameras.

You may never see differences between cameras used under normal lighting conditions like most of these photos. The difficult lighting situations are the real test...

Anonymous said...

haha. forget it. lx4 will be announced in 2 weeks using the new panasonic backlight sensor. those who bought the leica....good luck trying to sell it.

in the end. the panasonic is a panasonic. the leica is also a panasonic. and both will be surpassed by the next generation.

Ian Ho said...

"About the difference in lens coatings. That is most likely manufacturing variation. I work for Zeiss and no two AR coats are ever identical. The vacuum coating process is very sensitive to process variations (much to our chagrin) :)"

Thanks for sharing. That's some useful info there. Mind sending over some Zeiss lenses for my Sony Alpha? :)

Ian Ho said...

"haha. forget it. lx4 will be announced in 2 weeks using the new panasonic backlight sensor. those who bought the leica....good luck trying to sell it.

in the end. the panasonic is a panasonic. the leica is also a panasonic. and both will be surpassed by the next generation."

And your point is.......since technology moves so fast, we should all stop buying new cameras? LOL. Anyway, you're a lil behind time with the LX4 announcement. It's been a while since Panasonic announced the LX4 coming in Q1, 2010.

Why the sarcasm towards the Leica users? Doesn't the launch of LX4 also make the LX3 obsolete? Those who can afford it will just upgrade to the LX4 or D-Lux 5 when they are launched. Simple as that, no luck needed for selling them. LOL. In the end, it's all about individual preferences and personal finances. There's no need to be a fanboy of either brand.

Ruister said...

Thanks for posting these, it is great to see the comparison. I honestly cannot see an advantage either way. There are some color variations but even those are minor. It would be great to see how many people who claim that they can see a difference would be able to do a blind test and see if people could consistently pick which images are Panasonic versus Leica,

Anonymous said...

Guys, be honest, none of the above mentioned issues cannot be reached with a raw processor software like Adobe Lightroom. Okay, the Leica's got the better software... (Since I use Lightroom for me that's no issue).
Actually it's all about the design, the "Leica feeling" and (maybe) the resulting higher resale value.

But why not pay the extra bucks for style?

Flduerr said...

Ian, nice work on the DL4 review. Question: where can I get the lens shade as seen in your image?
Frank in Southern California.

Ian Ho said...

Frank, u can see the step by step guide I made for the lens cap mod here-

U can buy the Ricoh LC1 cap by clicking on the link at the bottom of that article. Your support will be much appreciated. Hehe.

Anonymous said...

I have no regrets purchasing the Leica, I much prefer the styling over the Panasonic.

It's one of those cameras that force me to want to take better pictures, and I can't put a price tag on that!

Having said that, I may also end up buying the new Panasonic GF1 as well, when it arrives.

Anonymous said...

The differences between these 2 cameras is fairly thin. If you step back, take a break and then look at them again, it is easy to see how the similarities greatly outweigh the differences. That said, as a designer I prefer the Leica. For color quality I prefer the Leica. For warranty I prefer the Leica. The thing is that I use Photoshop and shoot RAW, so the Panasonic wins because after photoshop work, the difference is null. I also get to save a butt-load of dough. Since I am a camera user, I would rather have a camera I can "get dirty" versus something I want to polish every Saturday morning.

I also don't find that excess cameras are necessary as I am a minimalist, thus Panasonic wins. No offense to the materialists out there. The Panasonic is a heaping value over the Leica if you shoot the way I do. The Leica pluses are just too miniscule IMHO.

That said, you do get what you pay for, in some sense, so the Leica is "better". Why would Leica let Panasonic make their camera appear so much more overpriced?

Anonymous said...

Ian, Thanks for all the comments and comparisons.. Now I'm convince that D-Lux4 is a better of than LX3. Going to get a DLux4 Titan by this weekend. JW

Ian Ho said...

"I would rather have a camera I can "get dirty" versus something I want to polish every Saturday morning."

^^^^ To some of us, the D-Lux4 IS the dirty camera we go out with n use everyday. :)

Ian Ho said...

JW, I'm only too happy to share. :) Hope u enjoy your new toy. Now's the perfect time for the D-Lux4 Titanium as the price premium over the normal black version is not a lot. It used to be extortionate but now seems reasonable.

mfoconsulting said...

Very Good job! I prefer the colors from the LX3.
The lx3 built-in handgrip comes in handy.
Hope to see an DL-5 in 2010...with micro 4/3 lens like the panasonic DMC-GF1.


Ian Ho said...

The GF1 is nice but a lil big. I'm hoping the DL5 will be the same compact dimensions as now but with a bigger sensor . The DL4 is pretty much ideal the way it is IMHO. Just needs a big sensor in it n it would b awesome

Make the lens a 24-70mm f1.4 and it would be a wet dream. lol. With the 24-70 it'll b the perfect partner for my 5D MkII when I'm using the 70-200.

Anonymous said...

I am off to Egypt and looking at a back up for my D300. I looked and looked at these pictures trying to decide which looked best and I the LX3 seemed best. Then I did a side by side using the Safari browser. I mixed them so even I didn't l know which one was which. One time I thought the one of the right might be better, but then thought the one on the left. It turned out they were both DL4. I read the comments and tried again. In one picture a highlight looked better to me in the DL4. But I want the DL4 and was rooting for it. I just can't see where someone being presented with a single picture could possibly say, "nice pic, but is from DL4 not LX4. I have to believe and from the reading of the comments believe any difference is either psychological or my eyesight. Which one will I buy? The DL4. It does red better---red as in red dot.


photosJL said...

First of all, TONS OF CONGRATULATIONS for this amazing post & thread!

BRAVO IANHO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1) The pictures posted are VERY different. Look at them in a dark room. Leica's are so much more classy (less vibrant colors, little vignetting, greyish, softer, etc). So nice.

2) FYI guys : I talked to my local Leica salesman (Montreal Leica Store), here is the bottom line :
Yes the lens are basically the same (LX3 vs D-Lux 4).
What is not the same : The Operating System & the factory Settings.

3) If only the new Canon S90 had the Leica Settings! ( )
What a fabulous new little compact camera !!!!!!

4) I'm curious what you think of the new Leica X1 coming in January !!!!!
( )
Very nice, Big CMOS sensor !!!!!! BUT : no video, no zoom, no f/2.0, etc
Who will buy this 2000$ camera ? Who is it for ?
I don't understand. Especially with the new Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Anyway.. Again, congratulations for your post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm getting the D-Lux 4 this weekend.

lillian said...

Thanks for doing this comparison for us. Actually, The leica D-LUX4 is as twice price as the LX3.I still thinking for chosing one of these.

Ian Ho said...

Jack, since u can afford the red dot then by all means go for it. Most important thing is that we're happy with the purchase.

JL, I think the X1 is awesome BUT the price is a lil crazy. I may be willing to pay twice the price of an LX3 for the DL4 but I certainly am not paying $2000 for the X1. It's just plain madness!

lillian, just go with whichever 1 that tugs at your heart. Hehe.

r4i said...

I love the LX3. When I go on vacation, I take the LX3 along with the TZ5, and I'm all set. In good lighting, the LX3 takes pictures that can compare to a DSLR. They're stunning. Even in low light, the pictures are still excellent.

Ian Ho said...

r4i, yes it's a lovely lil camera n I love the Dynamic B&W picture style the most. Only problem with the LX3/DL4 is when we use the pop up flash. It's absolute rubbish. Makes our skin look like wood. LOL.

Unknown said...

ianho, while I appreciate you making and posting your comparison, this sentence invalidates any comments related to lens quality: "I didn't put them on tripods for the comparo coz that's not how I use them in real life." At that point an uncontrolled variable was introduced -- your ability to hold the cameras steady. Since you were shooting at relatively low shutter speeds, that can have a significant impact on perceived sharpness.

And yes, I do understand that in such a situation one would normally not use a tripod, but this was supposed to be a comparison test. As such it's just another anecdotal report comparing the two cameras.

For perspective, if we were comparing tires that were supposed to be identical even though offered under two different names, would it make sense to measure their responses without considering the condition of the pavement?

Ian Ho said...

1st of all, most people already said they can hardly see any difference in this set of comparison pics n ur questioning the perceived sharpness? There is a reason I did a part 2. This is so that I can compare indoor n outdoor pics in bright sunny sunshine. Or do u still think a tripod is essential for daytime pics in an outdoor park? Read the entire thing before being so quick to judge ya?

Anonymous said...

1st- thanks Ian for this excellent comparison and exchange of ideas regarding the two cameras. (I can't believe how much the manufacturers pay you for doing it! ha ha.)

Yes, there are subtle differences between the two cameras output.
Differences which could be compensated for, and further enhanced, using Photoshop.
So, IMO- that NULLS any issue over one being better than the other. Aside from cosmetics.

I've traveled the world for shooting.
I've always had a 'red dot' something or other in doing it.
At first (and always, really) it was all about the glass- as the mechanism wasn't that spectacular. Quiet enough, but it should be- cloth shutter after all.

When I came to realize Leica glass wasn't that great (by noticing I'd obtained Zeiss glass for my M's instead of Leitz) it was a real epiphany.
Zeiss is -by far- the best glass out there (and I don't do endorsements either.)

I've subsequently dumped all the 'red dot' stuff I had (but must admit, the DL4 is pretty to look at!)
I shoot pro with C645AF, and carry the Panasonic LX3 on my hip for the P&S, quick grab shots (with truly stunning results!)

BUT- and this long winded response does have a POINT:
I want to thank the contributor who pointed me to the FUJIFILM cameras.
I'd never considered them, and hadn't heard much about them either.

The new HS10 is ASTOUNDING. Flabbergastingly so!!
(I know, it's not a slim line, pocketable P&S, but its features are amazing!)
Forgive me for straying off topic, it is just that:
with these three guns in my arsenal - the Contax, the LX3, and (when it arrives) the HS10; I can do anything. Bar none- it is a force to be reckoned with.

[FWIW; I have a handful of 'red dots' in my 'collection'. Just can't let go, you know. It's like an incurable infection! The camera junkie's tika dust red dot syndrome!]

Ian Ho said...

Heh! How I wish the manufacturers paid me to do this. It would certainly take away a lot of the financial pain of buying both these cameras. Hehehe.

Perry said...

What kind of lens hood do yu=ou have on the Leica?

Ian Ho said...

It's not a hood. It's a Ricoh LC1 cap modified to fit.