Leica V-Lux 4

September 17, 2012 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras | 22 Comments | |
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The Leica V-Lux 4 is a digital superzoom camera with a 25-600mm (eq.) f/2.8 lens. Featuring the same headline specifications as the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 and available from November, the Leica V-Lux 4 comes with a licence for the professional still picture and video processing software, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, plus a two-year warranty and a one-year Leica UK ‘Passport’ (complimentary accidental damage cover) for £690 including VAT.

Leica Press Release

Get closer to the moment with the LEICA V-LUX 4:  super-fast, super-zoom compact for travel, wildlife and sports photography

Photokina, Cologne, 17 September 2012: Leica Camera AG has announced the V-Lux 4, a digital compact camera that combines a high-performance, superzoom lens, outstanding image quality and superior speed in a compact format. A true all-round camera, the V-Lux 4 offers a wide range of video functions and an impressive array of photographic features in a compact design, making it a lighter, versatile alternative to a DSLR system, and ideal for travel, sports or outdoor wildlife photography.

The Leica V-Lux 4 features a newly-designed Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.5–108 mm f/2.8 ASPH. 24x super-telephoto zoom lens with an enormous range of focal lengths, equivalent to 25–600 mm in 35 mm format. For photographers who like to shoot landscapes, architecture, sport, travel, portraits or wildlife, this enormously flexible lens makes the V-Lux 4 ideal for almost all photographic situations.

A particular highlight for a camera in this class is the constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range. This makes it possible to capture pin-sharp images at greater distances, even in unfavourable lighting conditions. In addition, the camera’s fast operation and integrated optical image stabiliser allow the use of faster shutter speeds, ensuring fewer shots with camera shake when shooting handheld. In combination with longer focal lengths, the large initial aperture of f/2.8 allows a high degree of creative freedom for experimentation with planes of focus and depth of field.

A maximum ISO sensitivity of 6400 and a new 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor ensure outstanding image results in a variety of photographic scenarios, including low light. Still pictures and video recordings produced by the V-Lux 4 are characterised by high dynamic range and natural, perfectly saturated colours. The camera can capture fast-moving subjects, resulting in richly-detailed, pin-sharp images. Furthermore, the autofocus of the Leica V-Lux 4 reacts to changes within the image frame in less than a tenth of a second, and makes it possible to reliably capture fast-moving subjects – ideal, for example, for sports photography. This is also beneficial when shooting continuous sequences: the V-Lux 4 delivers up to 12 frames per second at full resolution.

In addition to impressive still image options, the Leica V-Lux 4 features an extensive range of video functions. The camera captures Full HD video in AVCHD format with 1920 × 1080 pixels at 60 full frames per second. The entire 24x optical zoom range is available during video recording, and an integrated stereo microphone with an electronic wind noise filter guarantees a crystal-clear soundtrack.
Video files can be saved in Internet-compatible MP4 format and can be uploaded to social media or mobile devices, for example, without the need for conversion.

The new electronic viewfinder built into the V-Lux 4, with a resolution of 1.4 megapixels and a 100% field of view, is a reliable aid for assessing subject framing and exposure settings. Particularly convenient is the new zoom function that can be used to magnify the subject for accurate review. The settings and functions displayed on the monitor screen and in the viewfinder are identical. The viewfinder also features dioptre correction and is a very attractive and practical alternative to assessing images on the camera’s LCD screen, particularly when shooting in bright light.

The 3” LCD display with 460,000 pixel resolution delivers an extremely bright and clear view, and is a reliable and precise aid to photographers when composing and reviewing images. For more creative photography, the monitor screen can be freely rotated in almost any direction and allows users to shoot from even the most unusual angles. Whether shooting stills or video from above their head or close to the ground, photographers always have complete control over composition.

The design of the Leica V-Lux 4 is characterised by compact size and extremely easy handling. Its integrated handgrip keeps it steady in the photographer’s hands, and the camera’s particularly light weight allows easy one-handed shooting. All controls are clearly laid out and simple to use. For example, video recording can be started quickly and easily at the touch of a button on the top of the camera.

The Leica V-Lux 4 is supplied with a licence for the professional still picture and video processing software, Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 4.

Pricing and availability
The Leica V-Lux 4 is scheduled to be available in the UK at a suggested retail price of £690 inc VAT from November 2012 from authorised Leica dealers including the Leica Store Mayfair: http://www.leica-storemayfair.co.uk, tel: 020 7629 1351. A full list of authorised UK Leica dealers is available at http://www.leica-camera.co.uk.

Leica warranty and added value services
The Leica V-Lux 4 comes with a two-year warranty and a one-year Leica UK ‘Passport’ (complimentary accidental damage cover). UK customers are also welcome to visit the Leica Store and Akademie in Mayfair, London, for a complimentary demonstration or training session on the features of the camera. Technical support by telephone or in person is available via Leica’s London-based Client Care department.

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#1 Rokbourn

Another overpriced Panasonic with a red dot!
I Love Pannys but i really dislike Leica's idea of value.

10:20 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#2 Doru

It is a very expansive camera , but I cannot see ( yet ), neither specifications, or what can this camera works, but its V-LUX Leica, it is normal to be expansive...in my opinion.
If you don't like the price just buy a China Made, Canon or Nikon...

6:12 am - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#3 Kerahdah

I just do not understand the Leica/Panasonic rationale. Identical but cheaper for the Panasonic.
I've used both these brands, and I would not miss an identical Leica. So what if the Leica is sturdier? The V-Lux is not going to be taken under the polar ice-cap, or to the moon. If the Panasonic breaks, so what? The Leica is not indestructable!

10:31 am - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

#4 angelique

Amazing superzoom camera, not expensive i think, because the specifications and features is great, i love leica, i will phurcase leica vlux IV soon

6:37 am - Friday, September 28, 2012

#5 Kerahdah

In the end it's not really the camera, but the person behind the camera. I have taken great pictures with a pin-hole camera made out of an ordinary cardboard box. So, it doesn't matter where the camera is made either.

7:06 am - Friday, September 28, 2012

#6 Linda

I am trying to get a handle on what the better software is which leica uses in the vlux 4 in comparison to the Panasonic FZ200?

Is it faster, sturdier and better software and what about the Sensor? Better Sensor?

12:54 am - Friday, October 12, 2012

#7 Linda

And what about the quality of the lense in comparison to the FZ200 vs Leica Vlux 4?

Any difference, if anyone out there "really" knows the answer please tell me so I can make an educated decision!

12:59 am - Friday, October 12, 2012

#8 pjbw

The V-Lux 4/FZ200 will simply stand or fall for me by the quality of the lens between 25 and say 120 mm equiv.
My 2005 Sony DSC-R1 won't last for ever but its Carl Zeiss 24-120mm lens is nearly perfect; a tiny bit of barrel distortion at full aperture at less than 1m.
I am totally hooked on the R1's 3-mode WYSIWYG electronic viewfinder but it would be nice to have image stabilisation. I must remember to look at the Leica next month!

8:14 pm - Sunday, October 21, 2012

#9 Costa

Apparently, camera is partially assembled in Japan and then it is shipped to Germany where it is fine tuned to Leica's standards and then shipped out as Leica. I have a Leica V-Lux1 and the picture quality is better than the Panasonic equivalent. Imagine f2.8 from 25mm all the way to 600mm!!! Leica lenses are in a league of their own!

1:50 am - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#10 Bob

Well, they would have had my money for sure IF they would have had a larger sensor.. I just won't fork out the money on a camera with such a sensor despite the fact the camera can take in more light when zoomed in far. If they put a respectable sensor in this camera Leica would have really had something. That should have been the difference between the Panasonic and the Leica. Too bad.. I really would have liked to have one of these. All Leica has to do is rework the sensor. But of course all cameras will have limits and be compromises. The bottom line is how the camera produces within the range of the person's desires using it. But still I just could not stomach paying for a sensor of this size. I actually just got an XS-1 and am extremely happy with it. Maybe in a couple of years Leica will give us all it's potential in a camera of this type because they realize we will pay for it. But IF you are shooting for the most part withing the range of need for this camera I bet it takes some really nice pictures.

9:01 am - Saturday, December 22, 2012

#11 Ian Porter

The Leica / Panasonics are assembled in Japan under Leica technicians' quality control. They pick the best of the lenses for the Leica badged cameras. The jpeg 'engine' is also tuned to Leica preferences. The Camera also comes with a free download of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and a longer warranty (3 years?).

12:19 am - Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#12 beken

While Christmas shopping the price difference between the Leica VLux4 and the Panasonic FZ200 was $100 (In the Vancouver Canada area).

At a $100 (Canadian dollar) difference, is the Leica a good deal?

12:12 am - Wednesday, January 2, 2013

#13 Kerahdah

Leica has the cache and the build quality. Panasonic probably has comparable optics and electronics. So it comes down to brand name in the end. I would love to own a Leica, but do I want to pay a premium for a 'nice-to-have'? I might, and that's an emotional decision mostly.

10:21 am - Wednesday, January 2, 2013

#14 M42

At one time the optics in the Leicas had different coatings. It appears now that Panasonic is using identical lenses. The difference in the two cameras which has been verified by Leica is that although the Panasonic and Leica cameras use the same sensor and image processing chip the processing chip is programmed differently. Leica uses their own software that alters color tone, color balance and white balance. There are minor differences in the button shapes too as well as the menu systems. And don't forget Leica comes with a two year warranty and Lightroom 4.

I own the Leica version and bought it because I could tell the difference in the colors the two cameras produced. My impression is that the Leicas are consistent right out fo the box, whereas the Panasonic's owners fiddle with contrast, sharpness and white balance controls to get correct colors.

My impression after using the Leica is that the Leica side of the partnership got things right. The lens is very sharp and the camera processes and exposes pictures right on the money. But the Panasonic side of things is where it seems a letdown occurred. The build of the camera is not that sturdy and the materials used are cheap. It just doesn't feel like a camera that's going to last a long time.

9:35 pm - Thursday, January 10, 2013

#15 Kerahdah

Comment #14 sounds like a very fair and rational one coming from someone who has actually purchased the camera.
I would probably also lean towards Leica. It has such a cache, and I've also used Panasonic. In the competitive stakes, there has to be a down side for the Japanese product, though rather marginal.

7:57 am - Friday, January 11, 2013

#16 pjbw

The Leica V-LUX 4 looks to be the best candidate so far to replace my Sony. However I have no way of trying one out because I live in Ireland where there are no Leica outlets, also I checked and Leica UK don't do sale and return. I will be in London before too long and will call in to the Leica shop.

1:27 pm - Friday, January 11, 2013

#17 Moriarty

I have just purchased one of these cameras and my test shots so far do not disappoint, the image clarity is very good and the zoom lens is great.
Why did i buy this particular model, main reason is that posted reviews have been very encouraging. Also I have been looking for a replacement for my trusty Canon G11 which is an excellent camera. I initially purchased bargain priced "Entry level" DSLR, a superbly made camera from a leading Japanese manufacturer but the image result was very disappointing. I have persevered with it for 3 years but am now convinced for every reason that these types of bulky camera with their heavy interchangeable lenses are fast becoming dinosaurs.I am also convinced that unless you are quite skilled and/or have expensive or professional grade gear you are never going to be able to take outstanding pictures. After much thought I decided that the Leica would be a great compromise for my family or travel pictures.
What I do not like about my V Lux 4;
1,The handbook, it is very basic, has about 20 languages. One detailed handbook in English only would be much better. The PDF instructions are not always convenient to access.
2, The swing viewfinder, feels flimsy and is difficult to un-latch.
3, The battery charger has no "charge complete" indicator. The green LED just goes out when the battery is charged. (this can also mean that the is simply not plugged in)

10:56 am - Sunday, July 14, 2013

#18 Moriarty

Another "Do Not Like"

A feature of this camera is the free download of Adobe Lightroom 3.2 or 5.0. You only get 2 attempts to download, both attempts failed for various technical reasons. I have contacted Leica support re this, still waiting for a reply. As per my previous comment, 1, A printed detailed user manual would be far better than the CD/PDF as supplied and 2, A CD/DVD with the photo edit program would be so much better than trying to download a 500 Mbit file off the web.

10:54 am - Wednesday, July 17, 2013

#19 Ron

I couldn't agree with Bob #10 above more. I'm having a hard time spending the money for such a small sensor. Instead of creating a true legendary camera, they've created a bandaided camera with a great lens. The real marvel of this camera is it's optics. This camera is screaming for a full size sensor. Why is this so hard for Mfgs to understand?

8:54 pm - Monday, October 21, 2013

#20 Steven Sagri

Does anyone know if you can take double exposures with the V-Lux 4?

8:04 pm - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#21 Kerahdah

I suspect the the primary reason that one product is more expensive than its twin, is the rate of exchange. The US$, the Euro, and the pound Sterling all manipulate the pricing of export products to benefit themselves, despite acquiring the raw materials from struggling third-world countries and selling them back to the source, which might sound like damn good business, but it's also damned immoral.
So, no, on the basis of the principles involved I could not support products made in countries where their currencies are artificially inflated. The economic theories are just too skewed.

10:35 am - Sunday, April 6, 2014

#22 Moriarty

To Kerahdah #21. I fail to see the rationale of your political comment and it has absolutely nothing to do with photography or the Leica V4 Lux. Note many products from top range Japanese cameras to Swedish cars are now assembled in places like Thailand and really it is a win-win situation all round.
Now as for my V4 Lux one year on I am completely happy with it, it is so versatile and takes top quality photos always, and as "value" seems to be an issue here, no, I do not think I paid too much for it, I got a very good price at a leading camera retailer here in Sydney.
One year on my main complaint still is the useless handbook and the need to look up detailed operating instruction off a CD. Totally useless when you are out on a hike.

11:48 am - Sunday, April 6, 2014