When it was launched, the Digilux 2 cost £1,300 (the equivalent of £2,070 today), and it still commands £300-350, which is a lot of money for an 18-year-old digital camera. Is it worth that money? Honestly? Probably not. But speaking personally, I reckon the Digilux 2 is worth paying whatever you can afford just to own a classic that was very much the forerunner of the Leica D-Lux cameras and with a design still echoed in today’s full-frame Leica Q and Q2.
AmPhot, 25 January 2021
I paid around £300 on eBay for a mintish example that included all the trimmings (leather case, lens hood etc.) and turned out to have a shutter count of just under 1,000.
The menu system is not terribly intuitive and everything is a little slow given what cameras are now capable of, but is a pleasing camera with an admirable lens and good outcomes within its 5GB limit.
The essential point is that using the D2 was a pleasure and I was inclined towards more. My camera of choice at the time was a Fuji X-E3: I had pretty much bought into the Fuji line with the X-T2 then upgraded to the X-T4 and didn't get on with it at all. I looked at the X-E4 but did not like the excess of minimalisation and so was becoming dissatisfied with the brand which seems to have lost its way.
The other cameras in use were old DSLRs, a Nikon D600 and a Canon 6D, welcome relics of simpler days. In a piece that will be discussed in more detail elsewhere, Andrew Eberlin writes,
There are three primary functions I want to access quickly to take a picture: aperture, shutter speed and focus. Plus two secondary functions: ISO and exposure.
For me, all other settings on a camera are superfluous. They are added to keep camera marketing departments busy (I know, I used to be in one). People love all these extra features and pore over them to justify a new purchase. However, it means the key elements that control the light are competing for priority…
It has the perfect balance between manual and auto. You can use it as an automatic camera and get very pleasing results. It is easy to manually override any of the key features.
Andrew Eberlin, A review of the Leica Q, 2021
I was, then, ripe for a review, and the next step was an online article, Best 7 Cheapest Leica cameras you can actually afford, Sven Nikolaj Vestergaard (2023) advocates:
Leica CL - the best bargain that you will find in all of the Leica world (Vestergaard)
TL2 - pretty much a CL without EVF (me)
X Type 113 - [t]he cheapest Leica camera with fixed lens … the predecessor to the Leica Q (Vestergaard)
X2 - fixed 36mm, EVF an accessory (me), nevertheless, an absolutely wonderful camera that is well worth it even to this day (Vestergaard)
X1 - older and slower (me), one of the cheapest Leica cameras you can get your hands on (Vestergaard)
D-lux 7 - [t]he cheapest Leica camera that makes no compromises (Vestergaard), fixed zoom. M4/3 sensor (me)
So I bought a CL from MPB and it is a joy to use, meeting the Eberlin criteria.
It's not so much the price of Leica cameras, although that does involve prolonged saving, it's the fact that having done so, you need to start over again to get the lenses. Admittedly when you have the lenses you can just trade bodies, but while I can just about condone spending four figures on a camera that pleases me, I find the price of Leica lenses prohibitive, even if they offer some secret magic, which I doubt. One of the key advantages of the CL is that it takes the more generally supported L-mount and so I started with the Sigma 18-50 2.8 (£429 new): Leica have three L-mount zooms, 24-70 2.8 (£2,390 new), 24-90 2.8-4 (£4,520) and 16-35 3.5-4.5 (£5,250). Prices from Wex, 22Sep23. The CL crop factor is 1.5, so the Sigma 18-50 becomes 27-75.
The kit lens for the CL was the pancake 18mm 2.8. The CL has been discontinued and Leica
has regrettably abandoned the crop-sensor L-mount line. The 18mm was about £800 new — I found one, a little battered, for £385. It suits the CL perfectly.
Leica 9cm on Leica M and collapsed
img: 35mmc, KEH
I would also like a modest telephoto for when the need arises but do not want to pay £500+ (Sigma) or £2000 (Leica)for occasional use. I have a selection of Olympus longer lenses from a previous life but the main problem there is that the adaptor itself is about an inch long and so the advantages of a small kit bag are eroded. The two smallest L-Mount adaptors are the Leica M bayonet and M39 screw (see Urth) which brings in the old Leica 9cm collapsible which can damage the sensor, but with care would shrink into the kit bag.
That said the 9cm is a slow lens, examples are old and the CL lacks IBIS. The best way to provide a long and light lens is to take the Canon bridge camera (and consider an upgrade to the Sony RX10).
As a general conclusion, then, I am delighted to use the CL with a default 18mm and the Sigma 18-50 for length. Any longer and I'll probably use another camera. If I want to play with manual focus lenses on the CL , then best Leica M bayonet or M39 to limit the adaptor size.
[24Sep23] A short detour to consider playing with manual lenses for particular effects.
British Museum, 2018
Some fuss is made about the glory of older lenses adapted to digital bodies and bokeh - a word I don't know how to pronounce and a concept I care little about. It is undeniable that the use of selective focus to emphasise part of or otherwise enhance an image is important but the attention paid to unfocussed areas is excessive.
I tend to be more concerned about the part(s) that are in focus and using the best lens for that job.
One more point on lenses, I often keep some when I sell camera bodies because they tend to retain their value and you never know when a particular mount might be needed.
back to cameras
SL and Q
MPB Leica CL
24 Sep 23
[24Sep23] So if my CL breaks down (etc.) I'll be able to replace the body (current used price on MPB is £1,600+ for Exc condition) for some time. The alternative is, sticking to L-Mount, the SL line, currently offering:
SL - 2015, 24MP full frame MPB £1,600+ Exc
SL2 - 2019, 47MP full frame, IBIS, MPB £3,250 Exc, new £5,920
SL2S - 2017, 24MP full frame MPB £3,200+ Exc, new £4,340.
The drawbacks of the SLs are that they are twice the weight of the CL and though they take crop L-mount lenses they give a reduced size image.
I had entirely ignored the Leica Q range until recently. It is a fixed lens 28mm full frame camera. It weighs 640g, including battery and, of course, the fixed lens.
The CL weighs 403g with battery, no lens; the SL 847g.
Thorsten Overgaard, reviewing the Q2, states,
last great camera that was so simple that the user could focus on what is in front of the camera, and could make photographs of high optical quality, was the Leica Digilux 2. This is a camera I have used extensively and written a lot about. The Leica Digilux 2 from February 2004 has become the first vintage digital camera in existence.
Other cameras I have referred people to to has been the Canon G and Ricoh GR cameras ... and that is about it. I don't think people are aware of what a painful question they ask when they ask someone to recommend a good camera.
But now the Leica Q and the Leica Q2 is here, and it is actually a good camera - just to understate it.
Thorsten Overgaard, Leica Q2 Review
The Q includes a digital zoom (or digital crop) which, for once, is not a joke — as the file size has increased over the three models, the range of the digital zoom has increased, while still providing a usable file size at the top end. The crop is applied to the Jpeg; the RAW remains full-frame.
Q - 2015, 24MP, 28mm plus 35 and 50mm
Q2 - 2019, 24MP, 28mm plus 35, 50 and 75mm (75=7MP)
My preferred spec for an everyday camera approximates to:
A modest size and weight (ideally pocketable with a pancake fitted), 25MP, focal lengths 28-150mm (preferably more), a viewfinder, IBIS, an articulating rear screen, dual card storage, built in flash. And the Eberlin criteria.
The Q3 offers 60MP, viewfinder, IBIS, a tilting screen and 28-90 by means of digital zoom. For £5,300. I looked at a Q3 in LCE Strand today (27Sep) and it is bigger than I expected: the SL is big and heavy (weights above).
[10Oct23] My day-to-day camera is a pocket-friendly Canon G5X Mk1. If I am going out to take photographs for pleasure or purpose I take the CL. If I need a particularly wide angle zoom I take the Canon 6D and the 17-40; if I need a long zoom I'll take the Canon SX70. If I am going for fun I might take the Digilux 2. And I have recently started taking a film camera — Olympus Mju II by default sometimes a Nikon F75.
I see no reason to change this until one of them malfunctions, although only the Leica CL offers Eberlin satisfaction.
[20Oct] I have sold 5 rarely used cameras today and intend to buy a used RX10 with the proceeds. If a worthwhile new L-Mount APSC camera comes along (see Sigma below) I will probably get a used 10-18mm f/2.8, just announced.
LCE Strand had a D2 in their shop window today. I called in after work (Courtaulds Volunteering) and asked. The answer was £426.
D2 at LCE Strand
Jaron Schneider speculates in PetaPixel that Sigma might produce an APSC L-Mount camera. He reasons,
Sigma has not released a new camera since 2021 and doesn’t currently have an APS-C camera, otherwise known as a crop sensor, in its lineup. In fact, it hasn’t made one since the sd Quattro in 2016. That should change, and I believe it’s about to.…
As part of its promotion for the new 10-18mm f/2.8 DC DN lens, Sigma published a few photos of possible use cases for the compact lens … [but] didn’t show the lens on any currently available camera. No, instead the company chose to mount it on a strange, gray block.
A block that just happens to follow the general design aesthetic of the company’s most recent cameras, the fp L, but devoid of any distinguishing features.
Sigma now has a lovely line of mirrorless APS-C lenses that cover a pretty fantastic range. For primes, it has a 16mm f/1.4, a 23mm f/1.4, a 30mm f/1.4, and a 56mm f/1.4. For zooms, it added the new 10-18mm f/2.8 to its existing 18-50mm f/2.8, giving users an effective 10mm to 50mm (equivalent to a full-frame camera range of 15-75mm) with a constant f/2.8 aperture across two lenses.
But perhaps more important is that L-mount has not seen an APS-C camera in quite some time. The last one was the Leica CL from 2017; it remains the only L-mount APS-C camera that Leica lists on its website. But don’t be fooled, it’s not available brand-new anymore and was discontinued a while back.
Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel
That, on the face of, might fix my what to do when all the second-hand Leica CLs have gone problem, but my experience with Sigma cameras (limited to the d2 which I am currently trading in) is that they are the exact opposite of Eberlin compliant, even if they are interestingly bizarre.
Schneider, Jaron (2023) Sigma Should Make an L-Mount APS-C Camera (And Probably Will) [online]. petapixel.com. Available from https://petapixel.com/2023/10/11/sigma-should-make-an-l-mount-aps-c-camera-and-probably-will/ [Accessed 11 October 2023].
I was drawn to the Df because I already have the lenses, but I have a D600 in the camera cupboard and when I need a DSLR hit I can use that . I am not really tempted by the Dfc. The Df is a serious piece of kit which ticks a lot of my boxes so that is currently favourite to replace the CL when it expires, unless a worthy new APSC L-mount turns up.
 Rick Roeven writes in a 2022 retrospective review of the Df,
If you compare the Nikon Df to its brothers and sisters in the Nikon line up like the D610, D750 and D800 you have to conclude that those are better cameras. They are a lot cheaper (Nikon D610) or have more megapixels and better autofocus (D750 and D800), better ergonomics and dual SD-card slots. But even still I wouldn’t trade my Sony A7 for a D610 or D750, but if I had the chance to exchange it for a Df I wouldn’t even hesitate for a second. The Nikon Df can put a smile on your face, something a normal DSLR hasn’t been able to do for me, even with their impressive specifications. That is also what makes the Nikon Df so much better for me than the other DSLR’s, and that is the reason I think there still is a place for the Df in the current Nikon line-up. If you don’t like smiling you’re probably better off with the Nikon D750.
Well, if you're going to put it that way, it is nearly Christmas.
I am in two minds. I have been tracking Dfs on MPB. I think the black version looks far more elegant than the silver and there is a small price premium. The 5 models that have been in stock since a well-used black sold a few weeks ago are all silver but yesterday a new black arrived, Like New and with 2,344 shutter clicks. The £1,089 price of the Df is half the price of a Zf with IBIS, and IBIS is, with age, becoming increasingly important to me.
Lenses are a big factor: I have all the lenses I would need for the Df. If I buy a Zf, it's either with the bundled 24-70 which will cover most requirements and try an old 50mm with a converter for speed;
or, alternativeley, take the bundled 40mm and buy a s/h or discounted 24-200 for general use.
I'm hoping that someone will buy the Df soon and remove the temptation in the runup the Christmas. But I'll continue the monitoring.
Having staved off Df pangs, I considered the logic of the Zf, priced at £2,229 b/o. In full frame Nikon Z, the best value available, according to Christopher Malcolm, is the 2018 Z6 - £859 As Newat MPB. Pretty much the only downside of the Z6 is that its single slot uses the expensive cul-de-sac XQD cards. The 2020 Z6 ii uses one XQD and one SD and costs £1,399 used b/o and £1,799 new.
The 2020 Z5 has two SD slots and most of Z6 model specs and is currently discounted at £1,549 with the 24-200 zoom so I bought one. Dan Bracaglia described the Z5 at launch as "the best value stills-oriented full-framer".
[8Dec] The black Df had gone by this morning leaving the five silver models still there. I did not regret my decision.
image source: text
nn December 2023
Bracaglia, Dan (2020) Nikon Z5 review: the best value stills-oriented full-framer [online]. dpreview.com. Available from https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-z5-review [Accessed 6 December 2023].
Eberlin, Andrew (2021) A review of the Leica Q [online]. brighterside.co.uk. Available from https://www.brighterside.co.uk/news/leica-q-review [Accessed 22 September 2023].
Huff, Steve (2019) The Leica Q2 Real World Review and Experience. Worth the $5k?
[online]. stevehuffphoto.com. Available from https://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2019/03/27/the-leica-q2-real-world-review-and-experience-worth-the-5k/ [Accessed 27 September 2023].
Malcolm, Christopher (2023) Why I Bought the Original Nikon Z6 in 2023 [online]. fstoppers.com. Available from https://fstoppers.com/business/why-i-bought-original-nikon-z6-2023-628629 [Accessed 6 December 2023].
Overgaard, Thorsten (2019) Leica Q2 Review and User Report [online]. overgaard.dk. Available from https://www.overgaard.dk/Leica-Q2-digital-rangefinder-Page-2.html [Accessed 4 October 2023].
Rick Roeven (2022)
Nikon Df 2023 review [online]. ricksreviews.org. Available from url [Accessed 25 November 2023].
Vestergaard, Sven Nikolaj (2023, updated) Best 7 Cheapest Leica cameras you can actually afford [online]. reddotcamera.net. Available from https://reddotcamera.net/leica/cheapest/ [Accessed 22 September 2023].
Wade, John (2021) Leica Digilux 2 – the first classic digital camera [online]. amateurphotographer.com. Available from https://amateurphotographer.com/second-hand/leica-digilux-2-the-first-classic-digital-camera/ [Accessed 22 September 2023].
Wee, Keith (2023) Leica Q3 in-depth review [online]. keithwee.com. Available from https://keithwee.com/2023/06/10/leica-q3-in-depth-review-five-critical-improvements-to-the-q-system/ [Accessed 27 September 2023].
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Page created 20-Sep-2023; Page updated 08-Dec-2023