Field Review: Leica D-LUX 5 (Day 4)

The Leica D-LUX 5 is a camera that can be as fun as playing with a new puppy for photographers used to shooting DSLRs all day. I found this out the other night while going for a promenade around Manhattan. Once in a blue moon I need to get out, shoot, and clear my mind. However, I don’t always want to bring a messenger or camera bag with me. The ability to just slip this little powerhouse of a camera into my coat was just incredible.

Quick Menu

An important part of the fun with this camera was overlooked by me earlier on in the review. On the bottom right hand corner of the back of the camera is a little button for quick menu access. It allows the user to operate a number of settings like the film mode, shooting rate, focusing mode, etc. It’s a major convenience for those that tend to change every aspect of their images vs focusing on ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

I’ve only used it once so far for dealing with a specific white balance issue.

Additionally, users can program certain features to the Fn button.

Aspect Ratios

The aspect ratio control for the camera is available using the little switch on the top of the lens. Using this, the images can change from a 1:1 ratio, 4:3 ratio, 3:2 ratio, and a 16:9 ratio.

Here’s a bit of an explanation. All photos were shot on a table with no other change of settings besides flicking the aspect ratio switch.

1:1- Square format. If you’ve seen square film and liked it, you’ll be smitten.

4:3- Think old school video with the 640×480 ratio of what YouTube used to do. Also think of the 4/3rds DSLRs and Micro Four Thirds.

3:2- This is what most DSLRs usually shoot in. If you want a different perspective in your photos, stay away from this.

16:9- This is a wide aspect ratio typically used in HD movie recording.

No Need For Very High ISOs?

Throughout my testing, I found that there was no major need for me to crank up my ISO settings past 800. For reference, I was shooting on November 6th, 2010 between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM in New York City. By this time, it is already very dark.

Film Modes

Smooth film mode sample.

Smooth black and white sample.

Dynamic film mode sample.

These three settings are perhaps my favorite because of the colors that can come from the camera. Unfortunately, the black and white mode is totally null if you’re shooting in RAW. Many of you perhaps knew this, but there could have been many out there that did not.

HD Video Sample

You can get the D-LUX 5 at Amazonand B&H.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.