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Leica Digilux 2 rangefinder camera
 
 
The Leica Digilux 2 was introduced in February 2004 for $1,800.00 and was on the market for approx. 24 months.
   
   

Leica Digilux 2 for professional photojournalistic use

By: Thorsten Overgaard. February 2004. Latest edit on October 20, 2017

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Leica Digllux 2 pages: 1 2 3 4 5

 

It's the perfect camera for the young talented photographer, as well as the photographer who looks for that familiar feeling of a "real" camera.

February 2004: Whenever I go to a press event there's always one or several photographers approaching to admire my Leicas. While they most often use large Canon or Nikon gear equipped with zoom lenses and flash with external battery backup, I use the small and handy Leica Digilux 2. As I can compare our results in terms of technical quality after the event - either in the paper or online on the wire services - it's a wonder why they don't leave the heavy gear at home, and go have some fun with the Leica Digilux 2 for all those jobs which do not require large zoom or tele lenses. In 90% of the cases a tele above 90mm is really not needed and the Digilux 2 has a 28-90mm zoom. Also, the lack of extensive zoom and large flash keeps you alert so you have much more fun - you use your talent to get the right shots, rather than relying on large equipment.

 

"Picture Perfect" video about Danish feature writer and photographer Thorsten Overgaard, by Emma Brumpton for Channel Four. The video was done on The Faroe Islands in 2008 during a week of photographing climate changes, when Al Gore visited the islands.

 

 

A new classic

It has become a classic in itself and if one looks around on the net and on the Leica Camera User Forum one will see many great examples from the Digilux 2. It has distinguished itself as a digital camera with an extremely nice lens – and as a great camera for street photography, as well as a digital camera that does pictures in black and white mode, that remind us of classic rangefinder shots.

When the Leica Digilux 2 and its counterpart, the Panasonic DMC-LC1, were being designed, it's quite clear that "Leica was in the front seat of the development" – a fact I was told from someone who knew about their development. The philosophy is very “Leica”, and quite different than other cameras, Panasonic cameras included. A good example of this can be seen in the D-Lux 4 which is also a Leica camera with a Panasonic twin where the controls and features take over the basic qualities. That one is more a Panasonic than a Leica, though Leica did some extra features and fine tuning on the D-Lux 4 compared to the D-Lux 3 (the Leica D-Lux 4 has a different coating, different viewfinder, different file handling, etc. than the Panasonic twin).

As a side remark, parts of the best-selling book, "The Rise of Barack Obama" by Pete Souza, were shot with Leica Digilux 2 (along with a Nikon D2x). Pete Souza is the new White House photographer for President Obama since January 4, 2009 and will be using Leica in the White House (Leica M8.2 along with Canon 5D Mark II according to this article). Whether he will dig out his Leica Digilux 2 as well occasionally, time will tell.

 

Leica Digilux 2 next to the Leitz M4 in chrome from 1974. The lens is the 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 and I've kept a 21mm viewfinder on top of the M4 to make a point.
Leica Digilux 2 next to the Leitz M4 in chrome from 1974. The lens is the 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 and I've kept a 21mm viewfinder on top of the M4 to make a point.

 

Look at that picture and it's no wonder Leica Digilux 2 users often get surprised outbursts like "It's digital!" or more commonly, "Oh, you're one of those staying with film." Also, many confuse the Digilux 2 with the Leica M8.

Now, I've kept the 21mm viewfinder that I usually use along with my 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4 lens on the M4. One of the points you get to hear a lot about the Digilux 2 is the EVF (Electronic View Finder) which is a small screen inside the viewfinder. So what you see is not an acoustic picture through a lens, but a digital image. It's bluish, not very saturated, and a bit raw in it. In playing around with my gear, I tested how the 21mm optical viewfinder (which is a $1,000 optical toy) would work on a Digilux 2. To my astonishment, my well-used 1974-viewfinder had less contrast and more odd colors than the Digilux 2's digital viewfinder. If you buy a newer model, I'm sure the picture looks nicer - but nevertheless!

The point I'm trying to make is that the EVF is not as bad as some make it sound. And as any viewfinder, you get used to it. Some old SLR cameras have a bit of a yellowish color about them, some modern dSLR have dark viewfinders (because they are mainly a peephole for framing, hence clear sight is not required as the AF takes care of the focusing).

For me, the EVF has become a strong tool in that (1) it is always the same light inside the viewfinder (contrary to viewing a screen on the back of a camera in dark or sunshine), (2) the live picture give a good idea as to how contrast, exposure and all will look like in the final picture (unlike a M4 viewfinder or a dSLR viewfinder which is an acoustic representation of the scene), and (3) I get a preview of the just-taken picture in this “closed viewfinder environment" which I can use to judge the exposure and the overall picture.

That the colors are not clear or correct - it's rather blue-tone, black and white almost - is the thing you get used to. Unless you tell yourself "I will NEVER get used to an EVF, I will NEVER get used to an EVF, I will NEVER get used to and EVF," why, you might actually come to like it!

 

 

         
 

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Some call it "the vintage digital camera"

For a long while, the Leica Digilux 2 stayed at a relatively high second-hand price around $1,000. Only in the recent years, the camera has been available for as little as $250 - $500.

Who would have thought that a 5-megapixel camera brought to market in 2004 would still be in demand more than 10 years later?

Yet it is a fact that people still search for this camera, find one they can buy and keep using it. And many who bought the camera new or while it was still being produced still use it.

There are not many vintage digital cameras around. They usually get old and end up in a garbage bin somewhere. But the Leica Digilux 2 still gets used.

Compared to the modern alternatives, the Leica M8, Leica M9 and Leica M Type 240 the Leica Digilux 2 still has a lot to offer. Things are moving slow, but still faster than buying a likewise vintage Leica M4 film camera. The files from the Leica Digilux 2 are sharp, crisp, compact… and easy to work with. They do not require big hard drives, a fast computer, nor do they require a great knowledge about post processing.

 

 

The Thorsten Overgaard Photography Extension Course 2010

 

The Leica DC Vario-Summicron ASPH f/2.0-2.4 lens

Looking at the picture of the 1974-edition of the M4 and the Digilux 2 next to each other, notice the nice big clear glass on the Digilux 2 (the glass on the M4 is also nice, yes). The Leica DC Vario-Summicron ASPH lens is actually a 7-22.5 mm lens, equivalent to a 28-90mm lens in 35mm terms.

The point I want just to make short and sweet - you might philosophize further on it later - is that if the Leica Digilux 2 camera was a full frame (FF) 35mm rangefinder system, that lens would not only be HUGE but would also cost you a fortune. In fact, did you ever see a 28-90mm lens f/2.0 for sale anywhere in the world? No, and that's what you should notice. In many ways the combination of the small sensor in the Leica Digilux 2 (I'm talking size in physical terms, not the megapixels) and the fantastic detailed and light-strong lens is what make the Digilux 2 - the classic.

In wishing for a new and updated Digilux 2 - and we're a few people who want that - forget then a FF sensor. Because it wouldn't be the same camera at all. In fact, why does everybody lust for full frame (FF) sensors and medium format (MF) sensors when everything in this world - mobile phones, computers, mp3-players to name a few - is becoming smaller and smaller. Sony built the WalkMan cassette players on compactness, and I think they had for many years the philosophy that everything they made simply had to be the most compact. So one of the small unnoticed miracles of the Digilux 2 is actually that it does great pictures with a very small sensor. So why try to get a larger sensor? Why not try to make more pixels and better image quality in small sensors?
(On next page there's a picture showing the sensors size relative to the lens).

 

See the Digilux 4 page to learn about a digital rangefinder camera that does not exist
- and which may never come to exist -->


   
    Kolkata Book Fair, reading Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard, Leica 80mm Summilux-R f1.4
   

My son Oliver, July 2007, Digilux 2, 100 ISO available light, manual mode.

 

Strengths of the camera

Leica Digilux 2 is a light camera that is easy to travel with and carry around for a long time without anybody actually noticing it. It is soundless. As a trained user you will recognize the clicks, but to everybody else you are just holding a camera. It is intuitive to use and after a few hundred shots you can use it in a dark room. It has a F/2.0 lens that does not require much light, a 28-90mm zoom that can capture most scenes you need. And auto focus - which is handy if and when you use it professionally.

On top of that, you can knock out auto focus and go manual focusing. The same goes for F-stops and shutter times. I use mine with AF but else totally manual as a general rule.

But what has made the Digilux 2 a classic, besides the above, is that you can shoot JPG's straight off the camera and they look good. Black and white mode looks perhaps even greater. It's the lens but also the way Leica decided to handle JPG files; which was not to fix them up like Canon, Sony and many others do. The Leica look is very natural, very film-like and pretty cool (the Panasonic DMC-LC1 is slightly different in it's handling of JPG's but not that far from the Leica). If you shoot RAW, it's the raw file you get, so you just enjoy the benefits from the lens, not the (lack of) fixing the pictures.

 

 
 

 

 

To wish for in a future Leica Digilux 2

What one could wish for in a future Digilux 2 is higher ISO speed than the 400 ISO, larger file sizes (10 million pixels or more), but mainly faster AF. One can go manual focus, which will speed up the time from focusing to the first picture, but otherwise the AF will take a few microseconds (or seconds if confused, for example by smoke on a stage) to focus.

ISO stands for "International Organization for Standardization" and was called ASA before (American Standards Association). What ISO means, is how much light a film a digital sensor require to hit it in order to create a natural-looking picture. It's a matter of sensibility... 100 ISO film or digital sensor requires twice as much light to capture pictures as a 200 ISO, and five times as much light as a 3200 ISO film or digital sensor. So in short: The higher ISO, the better.

The ISO 400 is not bad when the lens is F/2.0. Consider this: If you get a camera with a F/3.4 lens you need 1600 ISO to compare with the 400 ISO F/2.0 Leica Digilux 2. But Leica users tend to like using available light, and the darker places they (we) can find to shoot, the better. And even though the Leica Digilux 2 has a flash, we would never in our wildest dreams think of ever using it. So higher ISO would be nice: 1600 ISO minimum, 3200 ISO would be more desirable.

 

Don't expect that everything can be repaired on the Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital camera
Don't expect that everything can be repaired on the Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital camera ...

 

After 11 years since introduction:
Don't expect too much repair of the Leica Digilux 2

As of April 2015 Leica Camera AG has started telling customers that they don't have spare parts for the Leica Digilux 2 anymore.

If I should translate that into something meaningful, I would look at what Leica Camera AG has done with other models. Take the Leica DMR digital, back when they surely ran out of spare parts from their supplier but then sometimes offered some customers an upgrade to another camera and would keep their DMR digital back for spare parts. In the Leica M9 they have also occasionally been missing sensor spare parts (but I think that has been solved now), so in periods they would offer customers to upgrade the camera to a newer model when they couldn't repair it.

I would personally send in a Leica Digilux 2, if needed, and see if they could fix it or upgrade it. Leica Camera AG can for sure glue the rubber on the camera back on again and fix several things. Some spare parts they might have, others they don't.

The "official" reply as of April 2015 to one customer was:
"Thank you for your email. We sincerely regret to inform you that we stopped the repairs on the Digilux 2. Spare parts are no longer manufactured by our service partners. We have the option to offer an exchange to a current model at a reduced price, if you decide to send the camera in. Kind regards, Leica Camera AG Customer Care"

 

Repair of the Leica Digilux 2

For new leather coverings, rubber eyepieces and other things, try Aki-Asahi.com. They carry stock of Leica Digilux 2 and Panasonic DMC LC1 parts, I have heard (as of January 2017).

Leica X Vario (2013) vs the Leica Digilux 2 (2004)

Is the Leica X Vario introduced June 11th, 2013, the new Leica Digilux 2 …?

The Leica Digilux 2 has quite a bit of charm, and is easily mistaken for a Leica M judging from the outside appearance. The Leica X Vario takes off of the Leica X1 and Leica X2 (that takes off of the original Leica O from 100 years ago), and with a design of the top plate borrowed from big brother Leica M Type 240.

The similarity between the Leica X Vario and the Leica Digilux 2 is the zoom and the silent handling.

In retrospect, Leica Camera AG would not put a design like the Leica Digilux 2 on the market again in 2013. Since then it has become possible to put larger sensors in the camera, and that basically - together with higher ISO - changes everything.

One of the key features of the Leica Digilux 2 is the f/2.0-2.4 zoom lens. But that lens only works when the sensor is as small as it is in the Leica Digilux 2. As mentioned some paragraphs above, a f/2.0 zoom lens on a full frame (24x36mm) camera would have to be four times as big to do the same!

The 400 ISO is the new 100 ISO

In the Leica X Vario the sensor is larger. It also performs at a much higher ISO. Hence, Leica Camera AG put a f/3.5 - f/6.4 lens on the camera. If you think of it, that makes the Leica X Vario outperform the Leica Digilux 2, already at 300 ISO and up (because the Leica Digilux 2 shouldn't be used above 100 ISO).

The Leica X Vario lens is less light-strong at 70mm (f/6.4) than the Leica Digilux-2 at 70mm or 90mm (f/2.4). All in all, the lens of the Leica X Vario is much, much simpler and less expensive to produce than the Leica Digilux 2 lens. This does not necessarily makes the Leica X Vario a bad lens. On the contrary, actually.

Just less exotic, definitely, and Leica users like exotic lenses. The harder to make, the better and the more expensive. But in the case of the Leica X Vario, one will have to settle with less exotic, turn up the ISO from 100 to 400 and get the show on the road:

ISO makes up for a slower lens
Leica X Vario
70mm f/6.4
Leica Diglux 2
90mm f/2.4
Leica X Vario
28mm f/3,5
Leica Diglux 2
28mm f/2.0
100 ISO
1/6
1/30
1/15
1/45
200 ISO 1/12 1/60 1/30 f/90
400 ISO 1/20 1/250 1/60 1/180
800 ISO 1/45 - 1/125 -
1600 ISO 1/90 - 1/250 -
3200 ISO 1/180 - 1/500 -
6400 ISO 1/360 - 1/1000 -
12,800 ISO 1/750 - 1/2000 -
As seen on the yellow markings, the Leica X Vario will perform at 400 ISO as the Leica Digilux 2 did on 100 ISO. When you zoom to 90mm you will have to go to 800 ISO on the Leica X Vario to perform as the Leica Digilux 2 at 90mm f/2.4.

 

DOF (depth of field) doesn't really change by adding a smaller aperture to a larger sensor (X Vario) vs. a wider aperture to a small sensor (Digilux 2). No matter what, it will be difficult to get much selective focus out of either camera. Though the Leica X Vario might actually have a better chance than the Leica Digilux 2.

Now, are the Leica X Vario and the Leica Digilux 2 actually comparable? That question in itself is quite a compliment to the Leica Digilux 2. When was the last time somebody compared a 9-year old digital camera with a current one?

In many ways the Leica X Vario beats the Leica Digilux 2. On speed of operation, ISO, size of files, etc.

But if the charm, the love-factor and the simplicity has been beaten ... That is a highly personal and individual question only you can answer, for yourself.

I've met a few Leica X Vario users over the years since 2013 who love their camera so much that they really can't understand why so few have fallen for this camera. So there you have it: Very few Leica X Vario sold, but very popular by those who have one. Make of it what you want.

For more on the Leica X Vario, visit the website of  Jono Slack.

 

Specifications comparison
Leica D-Lux 6
Leica X Vario
Leica Diglux 2
ISO

80 - 12,800

100 - 12,500

100 - 400
Aperture f/1.4 - 2.3 f/3.5 - 6.4 f/2.0 - 2.4
Lens 24 - 90 mm ASPH 28 - 70 mm ASPH 28 - 90 mm ASPH
Max shutter speed 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000
EVF Extra Extra Yes
Sensor 12 MP 16 MP 5 MP
Frames per second JPG 2 - 12 fps ? fps 2 fps
Frames per second DNG 2 fps ? fps 1 frame at the time
Video Full 1920 x 1080 HD Full 1920 x 1080 HD 320 x 240
Price new $ 800 $ 2,850 1,800 $
Nickname   "Type  007" "D2"
Production 2012 - 2013 - 2004 - 2006
Size 110.5 × 67 × 47 mm 133 x 73 x 95 mm 135 x 82 x 103 mm
Weight 296 g 679 g 705 g
Panasonic twin Lumix DMC-LX7 Pure Leica Lumix DML-LC1

 

 

Leica Q (2015) vs the Leica Digilux 2 (2004)

The Leica Q that was introduced in 2015 is another chapter in charm, and has become a real best-seller for Leica Camera AG. It doesn't have the zoom that the Leica Digilux 2 has, but it has the compact size and weight that makes it usable for daily use. A camera you can wear every day, everywhere.

Read my extensive article on the Leica Q here, "To be, or not to be, that is the Q":

 

 

 

Which SD-card to use with the Leica Digilux 2?

Use a 50X SD-card to get optimum speed. Above that, you are above what the Digilux 2 and the Panasonic DMC-LC1 can utilize. You might experience your computer can work faster with 130X or faster cards when emptying the cards. Very likely. Here are the times I've tested from pressing the shutter until the pictures have been stored, and the camera is ready for another shot:

Brand
Card Speed
Size
A series of 3 JPGs
RAW
Kingston
Normal
2 GB
7.0 seconds
6 seconds
Kingston
50X
2 GB
3.5 seconds
6 seconds
Kingston
120X
2 GB
3.5 seconds
6 seconds

 

Maximum size of SD memory cards in the Digilux 2 is 2GB.

 
  The Digilux 2 needs a relative simple 2GB card which is about $7.00.
Only SD, not SDHC..!
   

I've used 2GB Kingston cards as I have good experience with Kingston RAM and Kingston SD-cards.

But flash-RAM is not rocket-science anymore so I guess any brand will do these days. But buy big cards and plenty, and shoot highest quality, largest file size: If there is one thing we can be certain of, it's that there will be plenty of disk space on your future computer equipment. And a 3 megabyte JPG file will seem like a micro-size file in year 2015. So shoot big and save it for eternity using a DAM-software (Digital Assets Management) with one or two backups of your files.

 

 

 

   
   

Maibritt digilux 2 shot
Maibritt, April 2008 with Digilux 2, 100 ISO

 

Secrets revealed

I often get questions on the above photo and the photo of Hans Blix (see page 2) and if it is really Digilux 2. And it is, with selective Photoshop manipulation as described in the article 100,000 Exposures Later - Part III - Dodge and Burn.

For illustration, here is the camera file and the final file side by side:

For more on this, look at the Hans Blix photo on page 2.

 


   

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.

 

Downloads

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.

 

The Lightroom Survival Kit

 

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

Focusing

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 xray photo by photographer Blake Billings
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.
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!
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)
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)

 

Manual exposure

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.

 

multiple field metering mode on the Leica Digilux 2
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).
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.

 

Rememeber:
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.
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.

 

Three exposures of the same frame
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.

 

 
 

 

   

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    Thorsten Overgaard
#0900-0204

   

 

leica.overgaard.dk
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
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Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 180mm R lenses
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The Leica Digilux 2 was introduced in February 2004 for $1,800.00 and was on the market for approx. 24 months.

Though an 'retired' camera model, the Leica Digilux 2 is a Leica Classic, and a darling of many professional photographers who use it for professional work and/or as a leisure camera, with soul and lots of "love factor." Sells second-hand for $300.00 - $1,000.00.
Though an 'retired' camera model, the Leica Digilux 2 is a Leica Classic, and a darling of many professional photographers who use it for professional work and/or as a leisure camera, with soul and lots of "love factor." Sells second-hand for $300.00 - $1,000.00.

The Panasonic DMC-LC1 is the twin camera - same lens and interior, but in a different design and with the buttons placed slightly different. Sells second-hand for $100.00 - $300.00.
The Panasonic DMC-LC1 is the twin camera - same lens and interior, but in a different design and with the buttons placed slightly different. Sells second-hand for $100.00 - $300.00.

 

April 2015: Don't expect too much repair of the Leica Digilux 2

 

 

 

Leica logo

LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.

 


Thorsten von Overgaard.
Photo by Birgit Krippner.

 

 

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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
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Stuff for the Digilux 2:

Leica Digilux 2 underwater housing
Hugyfot HFL D2 underwater housing for a Leica Digilux 2. List price was ca. 2,000 Euro. I gues, if you gotta go, you gotta go.

Leica ELPRO-D E69 Macro Filter
Leica ELPRO-D E69 Macro Filter (18633) for Digilux 2 comes with many recommendations. Discontinued and rare. List price was ca. 300 Euro. See sample shots down the site. Panasonic DMW-LC69 may do as well but is no way the same lens.

Panasonic wide angle converter on Leica Digilux 2
Panasonic DMW-LW69 wide angel converter for DMC-LC1 and Leica Digilux 2, a 0.7x Lens Converter. It's a huge glass but actually make nice pictures. Make the 28mm lens into a 20mm. List price was ca. 450 Euro and a Leica edition was never made.

Leica Leather Case for Digilux 2
Leica Leather Case (18627) for Digilux 2. Camera does not go in or out easily and is not supported inside.

Panasonic accessories for Panasonic DMC-LC1 can fit Digilux 2. Check Panasonic's spare part site here (type in DMCLC1 and you will get a list).

 

 

     
     

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