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Amanda Jane

D-Lux 4 vs V-Lux 1 (beginner)

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I am a beginner when it comes to digital but have some limited experience with 35mm SLR cameras.

 

My question is - which camera is better for a virtual beginner in this field? The D-Lux 4 sounds great but a lot of what I have read indicates that to get great pictures you need to know a lot about the treatment of the photos using photoshop, aperture or similar (neither of which I have). Does anyone use the pics without treating them a lot?

 

I work in the film industry where everything is beginning to go digital so am keen to get a really good digital stills camera which can grow with me over the next year or 2 but still go on holiday and take snapshots.

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Welcome to the forum Amanda,

 

There are some very fine photographers here and you will learn a lot from them. I fall into the category you are looking for and use both cameras you mention. My recommendation is the DL-4. It produces a nicer picture and is much lighter in weight. I don't miss the zoom at all for my type of shooting. I just crop the picture and that makes up the lack of zoom ability. But to let you know I only print 4x6 pictures when I do that.

 

I work with a Mac and use iPhoto, which comes with all their computers. My main editing is the crop tool. Just get your subject in the picture and you crop the picture to improve the composition. The iPhoto edit features allow improving finishing touches very easily, these include: exposure, saturation, sharpness, and several others. You can get a dedicated 4x6 printer for easy and fast prints. The DL-4 is perfect for my use being light and small.

 

You will find the members here are very supportive and willing to help you become a good photographer. Browse the photo section and learn to adapt what you see. I'm always amazed at the creativity and talent of so many people here.

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I am a beginner when it comes to digital but have some limited experience with 35mm SLR cameras.

 

My question is - which camera is better for a virtual beginner in this field? The D-Lux 4 sounds great but a lot of what I have read indicates that to get great pictures you need to know a lot about the treatment of the photos using photoshop, aperture or similar (neither of which I have). Does anyone use the pics without treating them a lot?

 

I work in the film industry where everything is beginning to go digital so am keen to get a really good digital stills camera which can grow with me over the next year or 2 but still go on holiday and take snapshots.

 

To get great pictures means getting it right in the camera. I use photoshop very little with the Dlux 4 images. If you shoot RAW then yes you need to use some type of RAW processor but the JPEGS that this camera produces are amazing straight from the camera.

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Welcome to the forum!

 

I own a D-Lux 4 but not a V-Lux 1 but I believe that both cameras will give you excellent 'finished' pictures right out of the camera if you set the options that appeal to your taste and are happy with jpegs. The D-Lux 4, in particular, offers an enormous amount of flexibility in both colour and black & white jpeg control, has a fast wide angle lens and offers HD video. The V-Lux 1 otoh has a superior zoom range and is larger and heavier than the D-Lux 4 so if you're looking for a 'carry around everywhere' camera the D-Lux 4 would probably be the better choice because of its size.

 

Both cameras are very good for virtual beginners because if you want them to they'll pretty much do everything for you but as you progress they offer the flexibility to take complete manual control.

 

Pete.

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As said, there's really no law to use RAW; Fine JPG are very nice on the DL4 (haven't used V-Lux). RAW is a more flexible file for post processing; both creatively but really as a crutch too. As you're probably aware, it can be easy to blow highlights with digital, and that's especially true with the typically narrower dynamic range of small sensor cameras, which these both are. Experiment with it and when uncertain, since you can lift shadows but never recover blown highlights, err on slight underexposure.

 

While RAW is pretty fast on the DL4, JPG should be faster still, and considering the much smaller file sizes of JPG you can probably bracket exposure when desirable; the only real trade-off being timing, but then chances are you nail it on the first frame anyway once comfortable with the camera.

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" it can be easy to blow highlights with digital, and that's especially true with the typically narrower dynamic range of small sensor cameras, which these both are."

 

The D-Lux 4 has a highlight alert / warning amongst its display options - see page 45 of the Instruction Book for particulars. (A pdf version of the Instructions can be downloaded from the Leica website) As a very contented D-Lux 4 user, regret I have no knowledge of the V-Lux.

Edited by jimbo035

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I have a V-LUX which, like you are considering, I bought when I moved from SLR film to Digital. I am a viewfinder man so this camera was ideal, having the option of screen for difficult situations. I find the camera extremely flexible yet can be used as quite basic to start with. The highly variable lens is great and results are splendid. I have been using JPEG while getting to grips with the camera's strengths and although I have Photoshop I do very little post processing except perhaps some cropping.

The one thing which V-LUX is not, is a handy pocket/handbag camera, but that is a matter of personal choice.

Richard

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Wow - what a great site. Thanks for all the response, it's really helpful for a first timer to both reasonable quality digital and Leica itself.

 

I think I will start with the D-Lux 4 and move on to a more comprehensive SLR once I have spent a bit of time getting my head around the format. Good to know I can get away with using my iPhoto too.

 

I can't wait to start.

 

Cheers

Amanda

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That's great news, Amanda, and when you're ready please post some photos in one of the Photo forums because we'd love to see them!

 

Pete.

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I've never used a V-Lux 1, but I do own the D-Lux 4. The 2 things I love about this camera are the size of it and all of the choices I have. I used to carry the Nikon F5 film camera, and the Nikon D3 as my SLRs of choice. While each has it's own place, I missed a lot of photos because I didn't want to carry the SLRs with me. Luckily my wife ALWAYS had her little Sony point-and-shoot that she could almost fit into her wallet. The quality of those she took was not near what the D3 would do, but she got the photo and I didn't. Now, with my D-Lux 4, I can get the shot I want because I have the camera with me AND it takes very, very good quality photos.

 

Also, I fought the film-to-digital movement for many years. Actually, I'm still fighting it.

But, one of the best things I've ever done was take an Intro to Photoshop class at my local community college at night. By far it was the best $80 I've ever spent.

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The D-Lux 4 has a highlight alert / warning amongst its display options - see page 45 of the Instruction Book for particulars. (A pdf version of the Instructions can be downloaded from the Leica website) As a very contented D-Lux 4 user, regret I have no knowledge of the V-Lux.

But of course. Unless I'm completely missing something there, you're referring to the review mode, which is an after the fact alert.

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I have BOTH the V Lux 1 and the D Lux 4. I use each for different things. I like the VLux1 for outdoor photography when that's all I'm doing. I don't care for it when shooting some things indoors. When I'm out just taking a walk or going somewhere on foot or horseback, I like the DLux4 as to it's size. I do use a WB device to set the color when shooting people for true flesh tones in any light. Any digital camera owner should have one of those. They are both good cameras and since being discontinued, the VLux1 may be hard to find new. I do like the viewfinder on the 1 vs. no viewfinder on the 4. I did get a Voightlander 50MM viewfinder for the 4 and it's good. Still, I perfer the VLux1 for frameing shots.

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Wow - what a great site. Thanks for all the response, it's really helpful for a first timer to both reasonable quality digital and Leica itself.

 

I think I will start with the D-Lux 4 and move on to a more comprehensive SLR once I have spent a bit of time getting my head around the format. Good to know I can get away with using my iPhoto too.

 

I can't wait to start.

 

Cheers

Amanda

 

Hi Amanda

I also have the D-Lux 4, BUT I understand they are coming out in May with the V-Lux 20. Worth checking out and comparing the two before you make a decision. I understand the V-Lux 20 IS a compact camera like the D-Lux 4. I actually am researching at the moment to find out the difference between them. Good luck with your research as well.l

Edited by liburke
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I am a beginner when it comes to digital but have some limited experience with 35mm SLR cameras.

 

My question is - which camera is better for a virtual beginner in this field? The D-Lux 4 sounds great but a lot of what I have read indicates that to get great pictures you need to know a lot about the treatment of the photos using photoshop, aperture or similar (neither of which I have). Does anyone use the pics without treating them a lot?

 

I work in the film industry where everything is beginning to go digital so am keen to get a really good digital stills camera which can grow with me over the next year or 2 but still go on holiday and take snapshots.

 

I have a V-Lux 1 which I like very much but technology has moved on. I wouldn’t recommend it now as a first digital camera. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend any small sensor camera now that compact cameras with larger sensors are available. I think what you’ve read is true. You do have to do a fair amount of computer processing to get really good results from small sensor cameras. Whichever camera you choose, part of your growth in digital photography will be learning how to use picture processing software in your digital darkroom. Developing the photograph and getting the picture as you want it isn't only for film photographers.

 

My recommendation is that you take a look at the micro four thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. Digital Camera Product Reviews: Digital Photography Review is a good place to start your research. Look for the Panasonic G1, G2 or GF1 and the Pen models from Olympus. These are all compact cameras with decent-sized sensors and interchangeable lenses.

 

You might also consider the Leica X1 which also has a size of sensor that is found in digital SLRs. It has a fixed lens and no zoom but is said to produce excellent image quality.

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By the way, when I responded earlier, I forgot to mention that I am one of the few responding here who owns both a D-Lux 4 and a V-Lux 1. I noticed most people said they have no experience with the V-Lux 1 but love the D-Lux 4. I'll have to admit the D-Lux 4 is a SWEET camera. It is small and portable, but its capabilities on manual shoots really allow you to be creative. It is versatile.

I like a few things about the V-Lux 1 as well: it's light, and it has a really big zoom (35 to 420!!!) and it has a view-finder!!!! They made this camera to act like an SLR but it really doesn't cut it. There is a delay in the shutter, like a lot of the digital cameras, and I'll have to say the picture quality has no comparison with the D-Lux 4. I like to use the V-lux 1 for stills and outdoor when there is good light. But the D-lux 4 really performs well indoors, in low light situations, and even takes nice crispy action photos.

If I had to choose between the two, I would pick the D-Lux 4, but, like I said before, the V-Lux 20 is being released as we speak, and it has a great zoom and other features as well. You might want to compare the V-lux 20 to the D-lux-4 before deciding.

Good luck. Let us know on the forum what you decided on (if you haven't bought it yet!!)

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Hi Amanda

 

I have (had) both the D-lux 4 and the V-Lux 1. They are both very good cameras - in the end I sold my V-lux 1 because I found I just wasn't using it enough to keep it.

 

I love the D-lux 4. I use Auto when I'm in a rush and Aperture mode when I'm not. I also like the dynamic B&W setting. My friends (photographers and non-photographers alike) are always impressed with the quality of the images. They can tell it's something more than a P&S.

 

I also sold my Nikon and Olympus DSLRs because they became redundant. Of course the D-Lux 4 does have its limitations and I will consider a M4/3 eventually. But I'm in no rush.

 

Have fun

 

Ian

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Hi Amanda,

 

Welcome to this forum!

I was surprised to read your posting, because you are checking two very different cameras! The useage of the V-Lux 1 cannot compared with the D-Lux 4. Beside the picture quality which can be sure compared between every camera, I think that the 1st thing you should be aware of is: for which situation do you want the camera? When do you use that camera? If you need a companion for everyday, the D-Lux 4 is ok, also for situations where you do not want o be recognised much. On the other hand the V-Lux 1 is great for nature, architecture and all situations where you need a superzoom in combination with good pic quality. V-Lux 1 is a bridge-camera with a real big coverage of zoom, and the D-Lux 4 is a little camera with almost no -means very small- zoom range.

 

When you concentrate your decision 1st on the postprocessing, I think this is a fault, because thinking about postprocessing should not be in your view when taking or planning a photo. It will disturb and may end in someting like "taking a photo - photoshop makes the rest". Better not to take any photo then thinking like that. That is just an advice! I do not want to say and I do not assume that you do so, don´t understand me wrong!

 

From my point of view all this big and time consuming workflows which I call Photoshopping and Lightrooming, I dislike. Only I think it is enough to do some little adjustments of bright, gamma correction, contrast and color, but not much. I also do not see any sense to buy a little compact camera as the D-Lux 4 and then spending much time in a postprocessing workflow in front of a PC. Just take a good photo - the best photos ever taken are mostly not perfect - and I say: should not be perfect, and cannot be perfect anyway - because nothing in this world is perfect (so far my little philosophy

).

 

Also I would not recommend the V-Lux 20, because -after seeing some test-photos on the web, I was disappointed. Too much electronic gadgets and less pic quality you may find.

 

I think finally that you are someone who want to to go very deeply into the field of photography. For that, I recommend as an alternative: check the Leica X1, or also a used M8 or - as a very good, and -compared to the two latter models mentioned- quite cheap alternative (with excellent JPGs) - a Digilux 2!

 

Quickly you will find out that "preprocessing" (diving into the situation and what you wanna take a photo from) is so much more imporant then every preprocess.

Edited by Digitom

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