Thank you Molly for this rare opportunity to get a word in edgewise.
I wrote awhile ago on my blog The Liberated Photographer that I thought I may have lost my muse. I think my real problem is I am plain tired of lugging my two Nikons around. Most of the photography I do is done whilst hiking in the mountains and forests and those cameras, with lenses, are heavy buggers. I'm doing the hard court press on 70 so maybe I'm losing a little bit of steam.
I had gotten to a place where I was leaving the Nikons at home and just taking a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot. I can put it in a pocket, very liberating. Whilst the photos are not the greatest quality they are fine for internet sharing on Facebook and the blogs. There are moments of frustration when I see something I really want to photograph and I don't have the right tool.
Whilst I was on my Journey to the Black Hills this past May/June I met another professional photographer who had just gotten a Leica V-Lux Type 114. He was enjoying the heck out of it and invited me to look it over. I was amazed.
|Leica V-Lux (Type 114)|
The Leica V-Lux 114 is what they call a bridge camera. It fills the void between a point and shoot and a DSLR. It does it with about a third of the weight of either of my DSLRs. I carry two Nikons, one with a wide angle lens and one with a 70-300mm zoom. I don't like changing lenses in the field and I never know what I'm going to want to shoot. Great for quick flexibility. The pits for the hauling factor.
The Leica V-Lux 114 comes with a fixed 25-400mm, which gives me the same or better range range as the two Nikons, and 16x optical zoom. The lens is a respectable f2.8-4. I took the below photo with the zoom fully extended and it's amazingly sharp.
|Full on zoom|
There is also a macro zoom that works well. It took the photo below indoors with just ambient light. Again quite sharp.
It has a built in flash but I almost never use a flash. I adjust my light with shutter speed or stops and ISO. The ISO on this camera goes to 12,500. My Nikons go nowhere near that. I haven't tried it yet to see how much grain you get but 12,500 is a big number. The V-Lux sports 20 mega pixels. And, last but certainly not least it has a German made Leica lens. Leica lenses are legendary.
The manual is a tome and I've barely scratched the surface of the things you can do with this little camera. One thing you can't do is much in the way of action shots, like a true point and shoot the regeneration is very slow. It does have a burst option and there may be other tools I haven't discovered yet but the things it does offer make up for this shortfall as far as I'm concerned.
I've heard some people complain about the plastic feel of the body. Well, it's that plastic that makes it so light so I'm fine with it.
If you are looking for a camera that will take you farther than a point and shoot but without the weight and expense of a DSLR I think this Leica V-Luz is the bomb. It's certainly gotten my photographic juices flowing. Looking forward to learning a lot more about this little camera. If you've used the Panasonic Lumix Point and Shoot you'll find that the controls are very familiar. With a price tag of around $1,200 it's steal! You can pay up to $30,000 for a Leica DSLR. :)
Anyway, I'm having a ton of fun with the V-Lux and just wanted to share it with you in case anyone else was looking for a nice little bridge camera.