Leica has made a name for itself in the “photography enthusiast” circles, but many users still think of it as being “for pros” (or simply “too expensive”). The Leica V-Lux 30 has been designed to change this perception, at least a little. Instead of having an array of physical controls, it features a touch-screen that should be less intimidating to the novice. And although it does have a fair number of manual controls, the V-Lux 30 automatic mode should be able to handle most situations.Despite its relative simplicity, the Leica V-Lux 30 looks like a quality imaging device. We haven’t tried it yet, but on the paper, the Leica lens 4.3 – 68mm f/3.3-5.9 should work for scenery, macro or portrait photos. With such a zoom range (16X), it would be unrealistic to expect a “faster” (lower f-stop) lens, but I wonder what its low-light performance really is.
Shooting fast-moving objects is also an option: the camera can snap 10 photos per second in the highest resolution, or up to 60 frames per second in a lower resolution. The same technology also allows the quick capture of two frames to form a 3D-photo saved in .mpo format. The integrated GPS can then “tag” the location of those photos, if you want to sort them geographically.
The V-Lux 30 can also record 1080p (1920×1080) AVCHD movies at 30 frames per second, and it can do so while using the full zoom range. Leica says that the recorded sound is processed to eliminate background noise, but we can’t tell you how good it really is without trying it. Finally, the camera comes with the Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9 photo and video software package.
Leica has not communicated the price of the V-Lux 30, but the V-Lux 20 sells for about $670… At that price, I also recommend considering Micro 4/3 and other lens-replaceable cameras.