Leica’s D-Lux 2; It’s The Perfect Vacation Camera—And It’s A Leica Page 2

The D-Lux 2 has an aluminum body and is bundled with a 64MB Secure Digital card, a charger, a battery, and a software package that includes Adobe's Photoshop Elements 3.0, QuickTime Movie Player, and USB driver. That 64MB card holds few TIFF, raw, or large JPEG files (2, 3, 15, respectively), so treat yourself to a 1GB (they're less than $100) memory card to get the maximum enjoyment and image quality from the camera. The D-Lux 2 also has in camera "trimming" (cropping) that some snapshooters might like, but most Shutterbug readers will ignore.

This photo was made one night after dinner at Señor Frogs, whose parking lot overlooks Acapulco Bay. It's a good test of Leica's D-Lux 2 anti-shake technology and while not as tack-sharp as it might have been if tripod mounted, instead of braced atop a wall, is pretty good for a 15-second exposure that was determined by the camera's Starry Night Scene mode at ISO 400.

What is most impressive about the D-Lux 2 is that whenever I wanted features they were there. When I wanted to make macro shots of flowers at Acapulco's Botanical Gardens, it was available. When I needed to shoot Burst mode, the D-Lux 2 gave it to me. Most of all, I could select the film frame aspect ratio that suited the subject. When added to the color scene and exposure modes and Image Stabilization, the D-Lux 2 is hard to beat as a perfect vacation camera. Oh yeah, you can shoot video clips, too.

Look-Alike LeicaEven a causal glance at the specifications of the Leica D-Lux 2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 (who names these things, R2-D2?) will tell you that these cameras are siblings. Just as the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix are more than kissin' cousins, these two are similar but differently priced (the Panasonic is $200 less) cameras have almost everything in common except cosmetics. So what's different? I asked a Leica representative and here's what she told me, "The warranty is two years compared to Panasonic's 90 days, customer service support offers a toll free number, the Leica brand name, aluminum body housing, and higher value software (Photoshop Elements 3.0). Those are the differences that Leica believes are the most important." It's up to you if you think that difference is worth the added expense, but she had me at "aluminum housing."

While touring Hoover Dam's generator room, I began channeling Margaret Bourke-White and decided to give the room, virtually unchanged since the 1930s, a vintage look by using the Leica D-Lux 2's Black and White mode. Exposure was in Program mode (1/20 sec at f/4.5) at ISO 400 and I was again thankful for the camera's built-in anti-shake technology.

Technical Specifications
Image Sensor: 1.65" CCD sensor
Effective Pixels: 8.4 megapixels in the 16:9 format
File Formats: Still pictures--raw, TIFF, JPEG (Fine/Standard); Video--QuickTime Motion JPEG
Storage Media: Secure Digital memory card and MultiMediaCard (64MB Secure Digital card included)
Sensitivity Setting: Automatic, Manual: ISO 80, 100, 200, or 400
White Balance: Automatic for daylight, overcast sky, halogen light; two manual settings. Fine calibration of the white balance from -1500 to +1500K in 150K steps (not available in Automatic mode).
Lens: Leica DC Vario-Elmarit zoom 28-112mm equivalent, 4x optical zoom
Digital Zoom: 4x
Optical Image Stabilizer: Two operating modes--available for exposure or exposure and LCD
Exposure Modes: Programmed Automatic, Shutter-Speed Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual
Exposure Metering: Multi-field metering, center-weighted integral metering, spot metering; settings can be stored
Exposure Bracketing: +/- 2 EV in 1/3 EV steps
Shutter Speed Range: Full Automatic mode--1/4-1/2000 sec; in Program mode--1-1/2000 sec; in Shutter-Speed and Aperture-Priority modes--8-1/2000 sec; Manual settings--60-1/2000 sec
Toning Effects: Bluish, reddish, black and white, or sepia
Monitor: 2.5" TFT LCD color display (207,000 pixels)
Connectors: USB 2.0, DC IN (power supply), and AV OUT
Power Supply: Lithium ion battery, 3.7v, 1150 mAh, or optional direct mains connector
Dimensions: 45/32x29/32x1"
Weight: 61/2 oz; 73/4 oz with battery, storage card, and lens cap
Price: $795

For more information, contact Leica Camera Inc., 1 Pearl Court, Unit A, Allendale, NJ 07401; (800) 222-0118, (201) 995-0051; www.leica-camera.com.