Some of our blog readers have recently asked which camera we decided to replace our 5 year old Leica cameras with. We had purchased a brand new Canon released camera, but unfortunately… after 6 different cameras and 12 different batteries later, Canon could not diagnose why the battery indicator did not work properly. We figured it had to do with the elevation, as Canon did not have any other indication of this particular issue anywhere else in the USA. So, with every disappointment, there becomes an opportunity. Three days later, the new Leica V-Lux 40 was press released to the general public. We quickly placed an order for 2 cameras, 2 extra batteries, 2 Leica camera cases and 4 SD cards. We originally ordered the hard, brown leather case, but we returned those two cases for the smaller, soft leather Leica case (shown below).
We have to admit, there is a similar Panasonic camera available with similar capabilities, but the Red Leica Logo on the camera still indicates quality after all these years. Our 5 year old Leica cameras never had a problem and never had a battery problem, so we were confident of the performance of the new cameras.
We were fortunate to be one of the first people to receive the new Leica V-Lux 40 cameras and from the moment of the first charge of the new batteries, we were off to photograph Rocky Mountain National Park.
The new Leica V-Lux 40 lens (f/3.3-6.4) spans 24mm super-wide angle to 480 mm super-telephoto. As you can see from some of our recent bird photographs (and some of our photographs that we are going to post), the photographs bring you right into the bird’s eye and that is what makes a bird photograph really stand out.
The video is full-HD, has wind-noise filter, stereo microphone and other great features. We haven’t posted any videos on our blog, but we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with the quality of the video.
The 3″ LCD is a touch screen (if that is the best way for you to change features) or you can turn it off and use the regular controls. The touch screen can also be used for viewing and editing of your photographs right in the camera.
The size of the camera is perfect as it will fit into your front jeans pocket as well as your jacket pocket and that was very important for us. We really wanted a camera that was totally versatile in size, so it didn’t interfere with our choice of taking our camera or not taking our camera. We always wanted our camera available at all times.
We also had 2 major requirements: landscape photography and macro photography. Many cameras are very soft with macro photography and we required a camera that would photograph from a 1″ distance. With the large lens of the Leica V-Lux 40, we didn’t have any idea what the results would be. From the first group of wild flowers, butterflies, etc. we were convinced that we had made the correct choice for macro photography. The images were sharp and we produced results that we were proud of. We also could set the camera to a different setting and do closeups of butterflies zoomed in. Some of the butterflies that we photographed were very hard to photograph as you can’t approach them because they would always fly away. The new Leica solved our problems with uncooperative butterflies.
The camera can produce photographs that can be printed up to 20×30 and that is as large of a photograph that we would ever be printing.
We would also like to add that even though we have considerable Photoshop knowledge, it is not our interest to sit in front of our computer and edit photographs. So, all the photographs that have been taken with the Leica V-Lux 40 have only been cropped. What you see is what you get and that is the way we like it. It conveys what we actually saw at that time and that is what we like to present to our blog readers.
For the photographers who like to use Aperture, Shutter, Manual and Program setting, this camera is for you, too. You can use it on Automatic or set it for all the combinations that you would prefer for that photographic moment. We like to use all the possibilities, so when you see a macro with a blurred background, the camera is doing its work with an Aperture setting.
The camera also has numerous special saved settings that you can save in advance and then dial by turning the knob on the top of the camera. We set some of the settings for a special macro setting.
So, before you may think that this camera is too much for you, there are many scene settings, filters, 3D, face recognition, etc. for the photographer who just wants to have a lot of automatic settings. But the advantage, unlike other cameras, it that you can slowly learn and have the professional features available. I can attest that I didn’t know from the start how to use all these features, but I enjoy being able to experiment and learn each day. Our old Leica cameras didn’t have all these features, so I have just started to learn for the past couple of weeks. It is a very exciting process. I figure that since this camera is going to be used for a while, I might as well have available all the features I could possibly need.
The camera has a built-in GPS that marks all the locations of the photographs and I can download the map files from the Leica CD that comes with the camera. The location of the photographs are shown right on my camera. The camera can also photograph 60 images per second if I come to a bird or wildlife situation that I want to capture the exact moment. I have not had the opportunity to use that feature yet.
We printed out the 196 page manual and it sits next to our bed to be read a few pages at a time when we want to learn a bit more about the features of the camera.
The proof of the quality of the camera is the results of my photographs. The last couple of weeks have really shown me that the camera has made quite a difference. The 480mm lens has enabled me to capture those bird photographs that I was always dreaming of and the macro photographs have really been quite amazing. With all the wonderful opportunities in Rocky Mountain National Park, I wake up each day anticipating an even better day than the day before. I just came back from a great day of photography and I can’t wait to post my new photographs.
You do pay a bit extra for the Leica name, but the happiness of the results outweigh the extra cost. I hope this review of the Leica V-Lux 40 has helped you all.
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