BONEV PHOTOGRAPHY - Leica D-Lux 109

BONEV PHOTOGRAPHY

Leica D-Lux Type 109
Leica D-Lux 109 was introduced in 2014 as a successor to Leica D-Lux 6. The camera packs a lot for it small size. Sensor is 4/3 and is 12.8 MP which is good to print up to 16x20 inches. The camera was made together with Panasonic and both companies sold it under their brand. Panasonic version was cheaper mainly because it was lacking the Adobe Lightroom into the package. Small and extremely light it is perfect for everyday walk on the streets. The lens is Leica Summilux f1.7-2.8 and 24-75mm equivalent on 35 mm full frame sensor. The camera ergonomics lacks front fingers grip but with its light weight and compact size you really do not need it at all. It has a lot of features like image stabilization, 4k video, macro, raw+jpg shooting, effects, manual switch to go to different size formats, many focusing mechanisms, face tracking, object tracking, electronic shutter, EVF with sensor for auto switching, WIFI, and many many more features to make your life easier.

I will focus mainly on the camera ease of use on the streets. I will be honest- since 2015 I have not used it a lot mainly because this was meant to be used by other members of my family. I shoot mainly with Leica M (my thoughts here) but recently decided to give it a try just for fun. I have used it on one event at the national stadium (article here) and just recently. On the streets the camera behaves quite well. Autofocus is fast so shooting from your hip is quite effective. It is small and extremely discrete. Really fits in a pocket, but do not expect to get it into your jeans.
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street photography with Leica D-Lux 109
The lens uses very useful range. From 24-75 means you will get most building and have some decent zoom of about 3 times. And because the lens is made by Leica and is not changeable this means you will get some quite nice sharpness in your photos through the whole range. Capturing big buildings with this camera is a breeze.
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capturing buildings with Leica D-Lux 109
The camera has a lot of interesting shooting modes or effects if you would like to call them. High Key will produce interesting colors. If you do not want to rely on the build in jpg compression methods, you can shoot raw. My experience with raw compressed or jpg in different cameras is rather mixed so you you are worried you will loose detail then shoot on uncompressed raw. Even with my Leica M I have seen difference between uncompressed raw and compressed raw.
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shooting street photography with Leica D-Lux type 109
Tonality and rage is great. Raw helps preserve more detail in the shadows. Distortion of the lens is not big, and quite invisible. When shooting 24mm equivalent you have to be careful with lines but nothing to worry about. 24 to 35 mm means you can shoot from the hip from very very close distance with moving objects without being noticed. The camera has two ISO modes- standard and intelligent ISO which considers movement and brightness of your subject. On top of the camera you have also manual wheel adjustment for exposure which is quite handy since you are always seeing what the sensor is seeing. It helps quickly adapt for light changes.
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shooting leica d-lux type 109 on the streets
Camera comes with a small flash for when more light is needed, but since I am not a flash guy, I never took it out of the box. Colors are accurate, but shooting in jpg will make a little tweak to the colors making them look more pleasant. The two images below are straight from the camera shot in jpg.
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colors of leica d-lux 109 in jpg
Macro is a good option when you need to get close. Do not expect 1:1 but it is decent macro and with the autofocus it is quite easy to use.
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macro with leica d-lux 109
Overall the small camera have some serious performance and functionality. The creativity with it is endless so I enjoyed shooting with it. By no means I am saying that this is a pro camera. It is a very versatile tool for everyday city walking or holiday vacation, web designer and etc. I remember there was actually a photographer that took it to Manchester United dressing room and made some fantastic portraits of the players with it. So the use either pro or not will depend on you, your goal, and final print being digital or paper. Bellow are some quick shots of the camera itself so you can visualize all the options and ergonomics.
  •  Leica D-Lux 109 lens

    Leica D-Lux 109 lens

  •  Leica D-Lux 109 top

    Leica D-Lux 109 top

  •  Leica D-Lux 109 back

    Leica D-Lux 109 back

  •  Leica D-Lux 109

    Leica D-Lux 109