First thoughts on the Leica D-Lux Type 109

Discussion in 'Leica D-LUX, V-LUX, and Digilux' started by grebeman, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. grebeman

    grebeman New to Leica Place

    Sep 17, 2014
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie Whitehall
    I was interested in the concept of the Leica D-Lux Type 109 and in particular the ability to change settings such as speed, aperture, exposure compensation and the like using dials in the manner of the old "analog" (film) cameras. Having taken delivery of one about a week ago I found that the body was a little on the petite side for my large hands so I decided that I would use it on a pistol grip that I had long ago salvaged from a flash unit. I had mounted a Cullman quick release platform on top of the grip for ease of removing whatever I had mounted on the grip.

    The tripod bush on the D-Lux type 109 is very close to the battery compartment cover and with the quick release plate in position cannot be opened. However I determined that there was just sufficient room to modify the quick release plate to enable the battery compartment door to be opened with the quick release plate still in situ. Being plastic I was able to cut a slot in the quick release plate using just hand tools.

    The images below show the set up in more detail.

    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr
    The modified quick release plate

    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr
    The modified quick release plate

    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr
    The modified quick release plate in situ on the camera showing that the battery compartment door can be opened sufficiently to allow for a change of battery or removal of the SD card with the plate in position

    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr
    The component parts of the set up

    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr
    The grip in use.

    I've found this to be a more comfortable way to hand hold the camera.

    My opportunities to use the camera have been limited due to overcast weather. However last weekend I was able to take a walk on Dartmoor and try the thing out. It might not be the prime use for the camera, but was a useful exercise. On the whole I liked being able to set the various controls manually and not have to peer at screens, select and then turn control wheels.

    I was taking images in both raw and fine jpeg. I find that the four way controller is very sensitive and at some time during the walk I accidentally altered the white balance to tungsten. That wasn't a problem because I had raw files that I could correct afterwards, however I have decided to set up the four way controller to "Direct area focus" and use the quick menu to allow me to alter iso, white balance and drive mode when I want to be able to do so. I think the ability to move the focus area using the four way controller and alter it's size by turning the control dial is a better use of the four way controller, given it's sensitivity and the ease with which the controls assigned to it can be inadvertently altered.

    Whilst I have downloaded Lightroom from the Leica website and obtained a key code I have not been able to extract the application from the bundled download, an error is generated when I try and do that. It might be a blessing in disguise since when I previously tried Lightroom I got hopelessly confused over the way image files are saved into a massive data base with no option to do otherwise. It would appear that I'm unable to update camera raw 8.6 to 8.7 in Photoshop CS6 and therefore open the raw files directly, could it be that Adobe have blocked that as an update to encourage people to use Photoshop CC?

    In order to be able to open the raw files I used the latest Adobe DNG converter to convert them to an earlier DNG version that Photoshop CS6 could read.

    I have since found that the latest Photo Ninja issued in October 2014 is able to open the Leica (.RWL) files, however given that it is Photo Ninja and probably lacks a camera profile and certainly a lens profile some manual correction to the files is needed to produce acceptable results.

    Hopefully there will be more impressions to follow. It's been touch and go as to whether I would keep this camera, however having overcome some initial misgivings I think I probably will.

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  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell Leica Place Veteran

    May 25, 2014
    interesting write up, thanks for your time in doing that for our benefit.

    OT i note you are selling your new leica T, which surprised me because it seemed from your various posts you were enjoying it. i am curious if you would like to share your thoughts on selling it.
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  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I bought the new D-Lux, and I'm selling my 'T' as well. My only reason is because I like the optional carry cases Leica provides for the X1/X2 and D-Lux series, and I can't find a comparable case for the T and 18-56 lens.
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