My primary camera is a Leica M Monochrom, but as a serious and frequent traveler I needed a versatile, all-around camera, capable of capturing color as a companion to the Monochrom, which only shoots in black and white. I purchased a V-Lux 4 a while back and loved it. It has traveled the world with me, through China, Scandinavia, Russia and all over Europe. I have been very happy with the results.


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I was at Leica Store Miami the day that the new V-Lux (Type114) arrived and I thought about upgrading to the new model. It was a difficult decision to make. The new V-Lux has a variable aperture, f/2.8-4 verses a constant f/2.8. The zoom has been reduced from 25-600mm to 25-400mm, and the camera is visibly larger. The advantages are a much larger sensor (1″), more resolution, and better low light performance. Fortunately, I decided to make the switch.

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Having finished my first trip with the new V-Lux I can honestly say that I love it. The images it produces are wonderful. My results were from fine JPEGs since Lightroom is not yet reading the RAW files, so the quality can only improve from here.

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The camera is definitely larger than my V-Lux 4, but is lighter than it looks, and handles very well. The controls are in familiar places, but sometimes get pushed accidentally. My fault I’m sure. Focus is lightning fast, even in low light, and images shot at ISO 1600 were fantastic.

I used the V-Lux in my travels to England, Portugal and Bermuda, covering a broad spectrum of situations from macro to extreme telephoto, and low light to bright beaches. I was extremely pleased with the results.

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One of my passions is live music. I photograph a lot of concerts and dance performances. The V-Lux 4 had difficulty with exposures with stage lighting. The new V-Lux(Type114), though, did a great job of finding focus and good exposure in this situation. No need for exposure bracketing or exposure compensation to get the desired results.

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I can’t speak to the flash or video capabilities of the new camera as I haven’t tried them. Not my thing.

I read in the myriad of early press write-ups on the new V-Lux that it was the “Swiss Army Knife” of cameras. I couldn’t agree more. This camera, along with my M Monochrom, will be in my bag for a long time.

 

 

About The Author

Bob Levite

Bob Levite began his career in Chicago as a studio table top photographer specializing in food. He then went on to a career in marketing and advertising. In the early 90's he switched from Nikon to Leica for a project, shooting TV production stills for an advertising client. The Leica's quiet shutter made shooting on a sound stage much easier. He was hooked.In 1999 he published "A Decade of Dave in Advertising", photographically chronicling the first ten years of the Dave Thomas advertising campaign. Bob is now concentrating on Street and Travel photography and is an active participant in the South Florida photo community.

3 Responses

  1. Dr. Van Beveren

    Awsome! Thank you for that wonderful article Bob. That pretty much sums up the same experience I have had in that, as a semi-retired doctor I travel the world shooting 13th. and 14th. century paintings by the masters – often in medieval cathedrals, churches and museums that still use wax candles or other extremely difficult lighting conditions that result in glare. I also enjoy close-up zoo, super-fast aquarium photography and, my favorite – street art. Back in the late 1970’s, during the first year of my medical practice, I earned some extra income with wedding photography on the weekends using what would now be considered the Olympus point and shoot cameras – so I do have some limited experience professionally!

    After he interrogated me about usage I bought a Leica V lux 114 at the insistence of Lee, my Princetonian retailer. Years ago he sold me a Leica ranger M8 along with a simple Panasonic Lumix for most of my travel needs – a great little camera but with few extras. It was difficult to use in low light and the autofocus left a lot to be desired, comparatively. Its sensor was limited and It had very few bells and whistles. I always carried a heavy tripod everywhere I traveled. I did use it for many microscopic images and it worked great.

    He advised me to buy the newer Panasonic/Leica V Lux 114 and then upgrade to the Leica M9 – and that I’d never regret the combination. He could not have been more right. The Leica V Lux 114 is an incredible mid-range, lightweight, ergonomic, stealthy silent, very sturdy weather resistant camera that along with the upgrade to the ranger M9, resolved most, if not all my problems. To me this combination holds its own in even the most demanding situations and saves me from even being tempted by the $5,999 Eos/Mark 11 -:). Sorry Canon.

    The two cameras are a great combination for virtually all my applications. What one has the other does not and vice-versa. The fixed 28 – 400 mm high quality Leica lens (constant 2.8F ) on the V-Lux is both fast and handles with ease. When the long lens zooms in and out from its basic body – people often do a double take and stop to ask me “what camera” i.m shooting. (I did not mean for that sentence to sound so sexy!). This camera has video, Wi-Fi and other features that you only see in equipment that cost thousands of dollars more and still, for an amatuer like me, it’s really easy to use and gets professional images. And I obviously don’t have to sing the praises of the M9 as it has stood on its own for many years. Keep ‘um coming Bob..

    Reply
  2. John Blyth

    Hi Bob,
    A very interesting resume of the Leica 114 many thanks. Just a quick question having seen the quality of your photographs. Have you used the output in any published book/magazines.
    I have the opportunity to produce a local book of my surrounding area in the UK, the
    Leica would be a very convenient way to produce the photos without masses of lens changes but I cannot find out if the 1 inch sensor would be up to the job.
    From a detail point of view your photos look superb

    Many thanks

    John Blyth

    Reply
    • Bob Levite

      Hi John-
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the 1″ sensor produces great images in my opinion. Currently Leica Store Miami has a show of bird photography shot entirely with the V-Lux. Some of the images are 20×24 inches and are excellent. My only caution involves low light level performance. When traveling I take the V-Lux and a Q or Monochrom for low light situations.
      I hope this helps.

      Bob

      Reply

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