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Leica C sensor review: Small sensor struggles in low light

By Kevin Carter - Thursday September 18 2014

Sensor Review
Introduction | Leica C: Interesting Dynamic Range | Leica C versus competition | Conclusion
Leica C sensor review: Small sensor struggles in low light

Aimed at discerning enthusiasts, the diminutive Leica C size boasts a stabilized 28-200mm equivalent f2.0-5.9 zoom, 12-Mpix 1/1.7in type back-illuminated MOS sensor and built-in 200k-dot EVF. Read on to find out how this camera performs.

Specification and Features

Leica is well known for the iconic M-series rangefinders but they also make a range of highly desirable compacts in conjunction with Panasonic. This fetching high-end model is based on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 which includes an impressive optical image stabilized Leica DC Vario-Summicron 28-200mm equivalent f2.0-5.9 zoom, rear illuminated 12-Mpix MOS type sensor and a built-in 0.2” 200k dot electronic viewfinder (with +/-4 diopter adjustment). In addition to the EVF there’s a large 3” TFT type LCD with a high-res 921k dot panel but perhaps unsurprisingly in a compact camera as small as this it’s fixed rather articulated. Few cameras these days are without movie capture and while this model has full HD video recording 1080p at 30/25 fps (NTSC/PAL) in AVCHD and MP4 formats, video features are somewhat limited. Nevertheless as a more stills-oriented model the Leica C has built-in WiFi with NFC, and both electronic and mechanical shutter operation up to 1/4000th sec with continuous shooting of up to 10fps. There’s also a good balance of manual control with an exposure mode dial on the top plate and a multi-function control ring surrounding the lens.

The Leica C 4.1 x 2.5 x 1.1" (103.0 x 63.0 x 28.0 mm) and weighs 6.88 oz (195 g) and is available now at $699. 

Key specifications

  • 12MP 1/1.7” MOS Sensor
  • Leica DC Vario-Summicron 28-200mm equiv. f/2.8-5.9 stabilized zoom
  • ISO 12,800 and 10 fps Continuous Shooting
  • HD video capture at 30/25 fps
  • 0.2" 200k-dot viewfinder
  • 3.0" 921k-dot TFT LCD display
  • Built-In Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC

Leica C: Interesting Dynamic Range

Leica C versus competition 

Conclusion