Sorry, but the Digilux 3 is not the new Digilux 2
Digilux 2 has (not) been replaced by the Leica Digilux 3 camera which was introduced in October 2006. The Digilux 3 looks like it, is a tad larger (ca. 15% larger), has a mirror like in a dSLR, uses the "4/3 lens mount standard" shared with Panasonic, Olympus and other brands. And thus one can change lenses on the camera, unfortunately not to the now-classic 28-90mm lens on the Digilux 2, but the new ones are nice too! The Digilux 3 has higher pixels and has no delay on RAW shooting in series. In short, the Digilux 3 acts as a dSLR but has the size of a Leica Digilux 2. But is not the same as, or an upgrade of, the Digilux 2. It's a new camera that looks like. Leica has also made an R-to-4/3-adapter so that one can mount one’s Leica R lenses onto the Digilux 3, thus having a 10MP digital camera.
Digilux 2, by the way, is not the new Digilux 1 either!
For comparison, check out the Leica Digilux 1 examples (where there's two Kira shots at the bottom of the page from the same session as the D2 here).
Oh, and don't confuse the Digilux 2 with the Leica D-Lux 2!
They might sound the same, but the Leica D-Lux 2 Leica D-Lux 2 is a compact pocket camera that looks and act way different than the Leica Digilux 2.
For D2 manual [GERMAN and ENGLISH PDF in same file] click here. For the technical specifications [PDF] click here. For the technical specifications [PDF] click here.
Various downloads from Leica for the Digilux 2 are available here [remote control software, firmware, original brochure, manual, etc.]
Digilux 2 specifications at DPreview.com here.
Doing assignments in 2012 with the Leica Digilux 2
I must admit that while I hardly ever use my Digilux 2 anymore, but instead use the Leica M9 for almost anything (the same for why I hardly ever use my Leica dSLR either), I still get lots of enthusiastic mails from people who are new to the Leica Digilux 2 or simply have been using - and still are using - the Leica Digilux 2.
One such is photojournalist Simon Wakelin from Los Angeles who - amongst other projects such as recording video on the Leica Digilux 2 - did this printed 12" x 9" front cover and imagery inside, for legendary director Tony Kaye in shots magazine.
Frontpage of Tony Kaye for the magazine shots. Photo by Simon Wakelin using Leica Digilux 2 on JPG setting
Leica Digilux 2 tips and tricks
The Digilux 2 isn't a fast-focusing camera. When you look through the viewfinder, there's a green blinking spot in the middle indicating that the camera hasn't focused yet. And then when the green dot is stable on, and not blinking anymore, the camera has obtained focus.
Now, an error one can do is to point the camera, press the shutter, and then experience a delay before the camera take the picture. What happens is that the AF tries to find the focus, eventually finds it, and then the exposure happens. But apparently there's also a time-out, so if the AF can't find the right focusing within some seconds, the camera simply fires. Hence, you get some blurred shots.
The correct way to do it is to point the camera, press the shutter slightly down 1/2 step, which tells the camera to focus, and then WHEN the green dot is on and the camera is in focus, you press the shutter all the way down. This will give control on focus, as well as exposure without delay. This technique can be used, anticipating a certain expression or event, to be ready to shoot the camera. No matter what camera I use, I'm often following the event through the viewfinder with focus and exposure-time and all set and ready to go, waiting for the right expression or something to happen. With the Digilux 2, part of that being ready is having the finger on the shutter and the green DOT on, signaling that focus has been obtained.
Problem with AF can occur if you focus on something the camera's AF can't recognize at a distance. A white wall, a black wall, smoke (on a stage for example), bright light, etc. You can move the camera to something else on the same distance and focus, then change back to the frame you want, as the AF has already been locked. But note that the lightmetering (when on auto) will follow that. I mostly use manual, thus this doesn't affect my metering. But mostly I use the multiple field setting for both light metering and focusing (normal AF metering field).
The AF, by the way, can be either Normal autofocusing metering field (the small square in the center of the viewfinder) or the Spot autofocus metering field which is a tiny square in the center of the viewfinder, almost the size ofthe spot metering in the center.
Some use manual focusing all the time. I never do that, so I can't advise in that area.
Leica Digilux 2 x-ray photo by photographer Blake Billings, Memphis, TN.
Shooting series instead of singles
I always shoot series of three shots at the time instead of single shots. I do this as a habit I've developed, and because it has some advantages:
1) When shooting in low light you can go as low as 1/8 and 1/4 second and get pictures. The first shot in the series of three will usually have motion blur from you pressing the shutter on the camera, but there's a good chance the next two are completely still.
2) You get more selections, and by experience I can tell that face expressions can change a lot between three shots in a series. And as the files are so small, I don't mind. I use iView Media Pro (now known as Microsoft Expression) to select photos, and having 3 photos in each row, it's a matter of selecting which of the three to choose. You get used to it.
3) You get a preview of the last shot in the viewfinder, enabling you to change exposure setting, etc. I never look at the screen on the back of the camera.
The three icons here (from left to right) are Preview, Series and Single shot. Set it to the middle, Series, and you shoot three images in a row.
A series of pictures, three in a row. Three different images; one blurred to the left, one sharp to the right. Now you got something to choose from and the guy is not going to do the walk again!
Danish film director and poet Jørgen Leth, Digilux 2, 100 ISO, 1/30 @ f/2.0 (The heavy blue fringing on the spot is not from the Leica lens but the spots own, by the way)
I often use external lightmeter because it's more precise. But often I use the Digilux 2's lightmeter, and mostly on multiple field metering. What I do is that I shoot or measure a scene with the camera's lightmeter, then adjust the f-stop and the exposure time (and thus going manual). And I often shoot series of three exposures on a middle exposure (say f/2, 1/250 sec), then do another series on f/2, 1/125 sec, and another on f/2 1/500. Sometimes even one or two more series at f/2 1/60 sec and f/2, 1/30 if I feel it's an important shot and there might be some interesting effect in doing so. As the Digilux 2 has great JPG's but only that (not RAW where you have lots of information and data you can alter after the fact), I tend to shoot many so that I have something final I don't need to fix in Photoshop.
Look here: Metering mode is set to the multiple field metering which is the one you will get most correct exposures from using. The one above on the photo is spot-metering that only measures the light in a 2 degree center spot of the frame. The one below measures the full picture and is named center-weighted integral metering.
A side-note on metering methods
As can be seen here with this tricky lightning, the the spot meter hitting the shadow part will light up the whole thing to make that little spot look middle-grey; because a lightmeter is always set so that what it thinks it measures, is a middle-grey scenery. So if you look into a camera’s brain, what it is thinking is "if this is middle-grey, then I better set the time to 1/125 and the f-stop to f/2.0." The camera never thinks, "oh, I see a red wall darker than middle-grey, and with a highlight crossing [oh my!], so I better set time to 1/250 and f-stop to f/4.0 so as to get good contrast and both shadow detail and highlight detail." The camera doesn't think that way; that is what you are there for, the photographer.
The closest you get to this are "intelligent" metering methods such as multiple field metering, "matrix metering," "multi-zone metering" and such new metering methods where someone tries to implement this type of reasoning. Read further below how you can point that center square towards a mix of light so as to get a somewhat correct measurement.
The center-weighted integral metering is perhaps the most useless (technologies with the longest names often are) because it's almost always wrong as it takes no stand in the discussion. Come sun, rain or snow. It just measures the 'integral' (meaning the complete, or all parts), though with a little more attention to the center, as it guesses the user of the camera might point towards something he wants to photograph. It's all good for mixed scenery, but shooting a scene with lots of bright snow around a person skiing, or a portrait with bright buildings behind, this type of metering simply can't comprehend such a scenery that is not even lighted in middle-gray tones. Group photos in grey weather, or with the sun coming from behind, it can do.
The way the meter measures here shown graphically, though we don't know exactly how the multiple field metering works (where it measures and how it puts such metering together).
Manipulating the cameras logic
You can usethe spot metering to point the small cross in the center of the Digilux 2's finder towards a middle-grey area and lock the light metering (by pressing the shutter half down) and then reframe with that metering locked, before you shoot. The spot metering should then point towards a middle-grey area (or similar tonality in blue, green, brown or whatever; it's the middle tone, not the greyness that does it). If you do this you will learn a lot about light in the process, and you will always be able to see in the viewfinders digital preview if it's right or not - and can then move the cross or spot towards a slightly darker or lighter surface until you think it's right.
I do the same thing with the multiple field metering (which is the metering I use most of the time) where I point the small square in the center of the viewfinder (called normal autofocus metering field in the manual) towards that area I want to measure; because even Leica hasn't stated how that multiple field metering works, I guess it takes its primary metering within that small square in the center.
But mainly, what I do is that I see in the viewfinder (which is digital why I see a preview of the shot) what the picture will look like. So when I have shot my first series, I point that multiple field metering square towards something lighter or darker, so as to quickly and simply tell the camera to correct the metering up or down. And that's how I get three or more different lit pictures when on Auto mode with the multiple field metering on. It's not that I carefully examine the tonality of the viewfinder to get the right shot. It's more that I notice the light on the first one, and then create a lighter and a darker one, compared to that first one.
The alternative is to shoot the first series on Auto, look in the bottom of the viewfinder while shooting and notice that the camera goes for example f/2 and 1/250, then go manual by turning the shutter-wheel to 1/125 and shoot a series, then turn the wheel again to 1/500.
Maybe the multiple field metering should have been named democratic spot metering, because I guess that's how I use it. The spot metering is very precise, so if the area measured is not, the metering is off. With the multiple field metering square, you get to be a bit more sloppy as it measures the middle-value of a larger area that you point to. It's a matter of choosing the tool so that you can quickly get towards the result that you think is about right.
The multiple field metering is very often correct and on the spot, but it's you and not the camera who take the picture, so you're free to manipulate the cameras logic towards your desired result. And the above is a way to do so.
Photography control is about doubling or halving light
Each step in f-stop is a doubling of light through the lens or a reducing of the light to the half. And each step on the shutter-wheel is the same. And ISO, by the way, is the same. Each ISO step if a doubling of light (sensitivity of the sensor) or reduction of the light to half. And that's all photography is about - technically speaking - controlling the light by adjusting those three factors: Sensitivity (ISO), light through the lens (F or aperture) and shutter time (amount of time the sensor is exposed to the light going through the lens).
If you want to keep it simple, here’s a good rule: All Leica lenses are made for optimum performance fully open. So keep the Digilux 2 at f/2.0 at all times (unless there's too much light) and use only the shutter-wheel for adjustment. And keep the sensitivity of ISO 100, that's all. One wheel to adjust and spend the rest of your artistic power on composing and timing!
Manual exposure settings: See the wheel has been turned to 1/2000 second and the f-dial to f/2.0. When the first series has been shot, you turn the time to 1/1000 second and shoot one more series, then turn it back to 1/2000 second and compensate on the f-dial to f/2.8. This way you have a series shot normal, one darker and one lighter.
Same frame quickly shot as medium, dark and light series. I do that whenever I feel I might get a better picture to work from or the effect of a over-lit or underexposed picture might be more pleasing to look at. I also feel that even though the EVF of the Digilux 2 is great, you can't always see just how many details you got in shadow or highlight. As in the above; did I get any details of the big clock on the darkest photo? You really can't tell before you get it onto a big screen.
There is a menu in the Digilux 2 allowing you to do bracketing, meaning a series of pictures where the camera automatically does this. However, you have to set it to do bracketing for each series of exposures - hence it's easier to do it manually by the use of the f-dial and the shutter-wheel, than operating the menus in the display.