We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
How about informing MF readers about security cameras and nanny cams and those little things you can use to determine if there is a camera watching that you cannot see? I think this crowd might be interested in this type of camera.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two cameras with the same settings chosen and the same field of view:
My first "real" camera purchase was a battered Rollei-35 that was cheap in the secondhand section of a pro-camera shop. I fell in love with the appearance and form factor of the compact rangefinder camera.
After that Rollei was stolen it was replaced with an Agfa found at a garage-sale for $5. Eventually I upgraded to an SLR, but soon discovered that the sharpness of the photos from the rangefinder cameras was an order of magnitude better than anything the SLR could produce. And I was more likely to have the camera in my pocket or bag.
Anyway, I love the appearance of those small block-shaped German cameras, but I suspect that my choice would be the Lumix although I would put it in the leather case from the Leica just for nostalgia's sake. I've been following the Lumix/Leica model progression, and they do have differences such as the processing of the jpeg images and the choices made by the camera in automatic modes, so there will be a qualitative difference between their output. I suspect that the difference is too minor to matter to most people.
Looks very interesting. Anything Leica makes you can count on as being the very top of the line on glass. Looking at the camera and the shape and size of the lense and then looking at the Panasonic it sure is clear that these are totally different machines.
In the digital world they may have equal numbers on some measurement taht I would have no clue what they mean but Id bet on the Leica.
Ill be going to Germany in September and I have to consider this seriously. The only stone I would toss is no viewfinder. I have a sony with no viewfinder and if you are in bright sun outdoors the screen on back in impossible to use/see. That would lead me to look at the viewfinder option...but at 240 bucks...whew...
I've had it over a year. I love it. It's my backup camera, but I use it more than my "real" camera (a D300). Takes better pictures under some conditions than my Nikon D300 w a 50 mm f1.4 lens (which doesn't do too badly). The reason why it costs more than the Lumix version is that the Leica software is different. The colors are gorgeous and true to life. Pictures in good light are sharp. Image stabilization means that you can shoot one handed while walking the dog or holding a kid with the other, and still get a good picture.
I realize some camera snobs still prefer to make a fuss and ritual about setting up a shot, manual focussing, using a tripod, but I don't.
The LCD is bright and has good resolution, so it is fine for use even in sunshine outdoors. It's the only Leica currently with image stabilization (very effective) and autofocus. The new, much touted (and not yet available) X1 that costs a lot more doesn't (I believe) have image stabilization. Neither does the M9. You don't need a viewfinder for pictures within the 28-60 mm range, anyway, given the spectacular LCD.
My spouse jeers at it as a "dentist" camera but admits the pictures are great.
It's low light performance indoors by available light is less than perfect, but I am spoiled by the D300 and good glass, and never use flash.
I didn't try the Lumix equivalent, but am very happy with the Leica. It comes bundled with way better software and has a longer warranty so one ends up even.
The only other way I could afford to use Leica lenses is to buy M lenses second hand from KEH and put them (with an adapter) on an Olympus Pen 2 (which has built in image stabilization--but you have no autofocus for the Leicas, obviously). You could also mount Leica lenses on the Panasonic G1 with an adapter. But the Panasonic doesn't have image stabilization built in to the body.
The point is, Leica has (why?) not really tried to go after people who take candid shots and hate tripods and don't want to fuss and be conspicuous about their setting up shots. It's a pity. It seems otherwise stuck charging obscene amounts of money for the best lenses in the world with digital camera bodies that are usually a generation or two behind Canon or Nikon. Presumably, they don't want to kill Panasonic? I bought a cheap Lumix w 12x zoom to compare (a "Leica" lens on it) and the quality was horrible by comparison.
The Olympus Pen 2 takes roughly comparable pictures (slightly different hue), slightly less sharp, but a little better in low light. The Pen 2 comes with a fantastic electronic viewfinder that makes manual focussing easier (if you need to because you put Leica lenses on it). But it costs 300 more than the Leica.
But I'm just an amateur, so some hot shot pro will probably snark that I wasted my money...
I'll probably be hunted down and shot for this, but if that retro-style of digital camera appeals to you, you might want to consider a Canon G10 or G11. They have viewfinders. Just my personal taste, but when it comes to bang for the buck and great quality, Canon comes out on top. I say that as a German -- and you know how we are about loyalty.
Lots of good information here. Won't repeat it. I will add that the Leica handles jpeg processing much better than it's Panasonic twin - the Panasonic has a really weird jpeg handling compression algorithym.
However, if you are looking for a similar camera in my favorite format - the Olympus 4/3rds format - take a look at the Olympus E P2. I have one and its a better camera than my E-1 or my E-3.