LEICA D-LUX (TYP 109) and NOKIA LUMIA 1020

This is the first of my 'interchangeable camera' comparisons. Well not comparisons exactly, because the two complement each other. 

LEICA D-LUX (TYP 109)

Firstly, here's what I shot with the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) My comments could of course apply equally to the Panasonic LX100, which is essentially the same camera.

There are lots of things I like about the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109)

  • Small and light.
  • Terrific lens.
  • 4K Video and 4K Photo (8MP video frame 'grab.)
  • Silent shutter.
  • Excellent viewfinder.
  • Screen works in bright sunshine.
  • Multi-aspect sensor.
  • Excellent image quality.

What could be improved

  • Articulated screen would be nice.
  • Zoom range a little short. 
  • Battery life could be better.

The Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) / Panasonic LX100 is a fabulous little camera. For it's size, weight and the portability it offers, the results for both stills and video are outstanding. And with the 'improvements' I've indicated, it could be an even better camera, though these would probably result in a bigger, heavier camera. And even as it is, it's so useful. Small enough to carry anywhere and capable of excellent quality, it's absolutely the best compact camera I've ever used.

NOKIA LUMIA 1020

Still for me the best photographic smartphone out there, even though it's now a discontinued model.

Things I like

  • Best screen I've ever used, non-reflective and sharp and clear even in bright sunshine
  • Minimalist simplicity, especially with the battery / shutter button / tripod bush grip attached. No accidentally hitting controls.
  • The grip is an excellent addition for photographers and shows that this is predominantly a smartphone designed for photography.
  • 38MP for 4:3 34MP for 16:9. The full size images are 'pushing' it in terms of pixel density. But downsizing the files produces images that compare very favourably (at low ISO's) with many MCE (Mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L) cameras.
  • The above allows very flexible composing. I can hold this at different angles and even at full arms length and still see my composition clearly.
  • There are some basic camera functions that can be adjusted. For me this is enough without overcomplicating the camera.
  • Fabulous eye popping colour.
  • Exposure and AF are excellent.
  • The full HD video is very attractive.
  • Camera focuses pretty close and I use it a lot in this wide-angle semi-macro mode.

Things I don't like

  • It may seem churlish to complain about the image quality, since all of those pixels on such a small sensor is an incredible achievement, but the images are somewhat soft and need to be sharpened, which results in some added noise and there are softer edges and corners.
  • Battery life could be better, though the grip with it's extra battery power does help. Especially since I have two of them and can easily swap them over to get more shooting time.
  • Microsoft / Nokia haven't as yet upgraded this camera. There is, I guess a possibility that they won't

WORKING WITH THIS TWO CAMERA OUTFIT

These two cameras complement each other very well. Both are easy to use and perform well. And considering the total combined weight and size, the results are remarkable. The Leica / Panasonic is one of the best zoom compact cameras I've ever used, if not the best. As a lightweight, carry anywhere, versatile, high quality camera I really can't see that there is anything to beat it. Panasonic and Leica have even managed to squeeze a really good EVF into it, with a surprisingly 'big view.' I raise the camera to my eye, expecting to see some 'tunnel vision' view, but that isn't the case.

I'm afraid I'll have to rave about the Nokia again. The longer I've had this, the more I like it and since I carry it everywhere, as it's my primary phone, I take pictures with it almost every day. And I could happily use this as my only camera, it's that good. Downsizing the images produces incredibly sharp files and that deep rich colour is just what I like. The screen is the best I've seen or used and this was the camera that convinced me that screen only composition and picture taking was a viable alternative to a viewfinder. There are some lens issues, with soft corners and edge, but with all those pixels it's perfectly possible to crop them out and still have a massive file.

But far and away it's main attraction is that most of my favourite images over the past 10 months since I bought it have been created with this camera. It seems to inspire me in a way my 'proper' cameras don't. And if Microsoft / Nokia show no signs of bringing out an upgraded phone camera with similar specs., then I'm going to buy a couple more of these before they disappear. I like it that much. 

And that's why I like using these two cameras together. Because much as I love the Nokia, It is a fixed wide-angle lens. And much as I like getting in close, there are times when I need something longer. However, if Microsoft / Nokia ever come up with the rumoured 50MP smartphone monster they are apparently working on, the ability to crop images from that could make having to carry another a camera unnecessary. An excellent combination and one that shows walking around with lots of lenses and constantly changing them isn't necessary. Apart from anything, neither of these cameras generate any dust spots which is reason enough to justify their existence. An excellent pairing and I have to say, probably the best two camera interchangeable system I have currently. The proof is in the pictures I create with these cameras and I'm never disappointed with what I come home with. The Leica T is my favourite camera and I'm VERY impressed with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, but if I really had to choose only one camera from everything I own, then I would choose the Nokia Lumia 1020. Simply because I create the images that please me most with it. And if that's not a good enough reason to prefer one camera over another, I don't know what is.