Leica V-LUX 40 Review

4.0
October 30, 2012 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

As you'd get from the V-Lux 40's Panasonic equivalent, colours are rich yet naturalistic straight out of the camera, though we did occasionally feel the need to enliven things further by reaching for the Expressive mode control, while the toy and mini (miniature) options are also great fun if used in moderation.

The compact gives a respectably consistent performance in most conditions, which is ultimately what you want from a camera that you can whip from your pocket for an instant snap when the photo opportunity presents itself. It's also much sharper than competing compacts when it comes to maintaining detail across the focal range, though inevitably there is still occasional softness when shooting near the telephoto end, and using the camera handheld. The V-Lux 40 further acquits itself well by maintaining detail into the corners at maximum 24mm equivalent wideangle setting. While the richness of imagery doesn't quite match the near DSLR quality of the likes of Sony's RX100 which field a larger sensor for the same £550 asking price, if it's not pin sharpness but scope that is your priority (the Sony fields a weedy by comparison 3.6x zoom), there isn't much to complain about here.

For low light shots, the Leica's slightly modest light sensitivity settings run the gamut from a standard issue ISO100 to ISO3200, which is not exactly over-egging the pudding. Though the ability to boost this to an equivalent ISO6400 – at a lower pixel count – is possible with the selection of High Sensitivity mode, located within the scene mode menu. Predictably you'll want to stick at ISO800 to avoid any noise entirely, but ISO1600 and ISO3200 setting are still reasonably usable in terms of sensor performance, with the image, though slightly grittier, not degrading to a disquieting extent.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Leica V-LUX 40. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% Crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can change the in-camera sharpening level via the Picture Adjust menu option.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The Leica V-LUX 40's 20x zoom lens provides a very versatile focal length of 24-480mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

24mm

480mm

Chromatic Aberrations

The Leica V-LUX 40 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Leica V-LUX 40 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Leica V-LUX 40 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (480mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (480mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Leica V-LUX 40's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 8 seconds at ISO 100. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, wide-angle, beginner, 14 megapixel, manual, touch-screen, travel-zoom, travel, touchscreen, touch screen, 24mm, prosumer, GPS, 20x zoom, 3D, full HD, VLUX40, V-LUX 40, V-LUX40, V LUX 40, Leica V-LUX 40 Review, VLUX 40

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