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Leica Digilux 4 - the digital rangefinder camera
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Leica Digilux 4 rangefinder camera
Leica Digilux 4

The dream camera:

Leica Digilux 4 digital rangefinder camera for professional photojournalistic use

By: Thorsten Overgaard


Well, let me immediately say the Digilux 4 does not exist yet. In fact Leica haven't even mentioned that they might eventually at any point have been thinking about making it. Truth be told, we don't even have an insider rumor about anyone having cracked jokes about it in the Leica canteen.

But for those who have availed them self of the Leica Digilux 2 - many have bought two or more of them - it would be a logical step for Leica to produce an upgraded version of what is a perfect camera.

In short, the Digilux 2 is so perfect the only upgrades one should wish for, is more megapixels, faster buffer for JPG and RAW (DNG) shooting, faster AF, better EVF (digital viewfinder) and perhaps a black version and a few accessories. That's it. Any further 'development' would ruin the perfection of the classic Digilux 2 idea.

Leica Digilux 4 and Leica Digilux 2
The power of simplicity. Just add some power and a black version as well ...

"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 with the Leica Digilux 2, when Al Gore visited the islands (there's two minutes black in the end; that's just how the file is).

The Leica DC Vario-Summicron ASPH f/2.0-2.4 lens
The point I want just to make short and sweet - you might philosoph 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 anyway 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 makes the Leica Digilux 2 the Digilux 2 - the classic.
In wishing for a new and updated Digilux 4 - 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 build 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 actaully that it does great pictures with a very little 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 (page 2) there's a picture showing the sensors size relative to the lens).

And while praising the lens, let's take a deep breath and look at the Digilux 4, which for obvious reasons look like the Digilux 2:

Leica Digilux 4 in black and chrome
Digilux 4 is the camera we dream of. The biggest technological challenge has been to keep the design and functionality simple with the light control buttons the only prominent on the body (aperture, shutter and ISO), yet with upgraded technological capabilities to make the Digilux 4 a blasting fast AF reportage camera with 12 MP JPG and DNG files, support for SDHC cards, 6400 ISO, a new clear digital viewfinder and preview screen with saphire glass. The Digilux 4 will be available in black and chrome and with a range of new accessories such as electronic remote control and hand-support (as seen on the chrome version).
While we wait for the Digilux 4 dream camera (because that is what it is at this point) there's already rumors about a Digilux 4.2 with f/2.0 lens in the full zoom range and perhaps even interchangable lenses with a 19/1.4, a 50/1.0 and a 180/2.0 in the pipeline.





Latest editing was done on July 12, 2009.

The Leica Digilux 4 is a dream camera that would continue the "classic Leica Digilux 2" tradition which has become a cult camaera after Leica ceased production in 2006 and introduced the "all new" [and all essential features changed] Digilux 3 FourThirds-camera (discontinued in 2009).





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Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
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Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0
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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten Overgaard is a Danish feature writer and photographer. He currently photographs for WireImage, Getty Images, Polfoto and Associated Press.

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