10MP D-Lux 3: The Little Leica that Can…

Think you need an SLR to capture pro-quality images? Think again. Think Leica D-Lux 3. The little power-house, with its high quality optics, 10-megapixel sensor and custom settings, can rival most SLRs.  Better yet, it’s so compact, that I won’t leave home without it.

Never again will I miss capturing that dazzling double rainbow, decisive moment or impromptu jam session where Keanu Reeves shows up (it could happen!) just because I didn’t want to be weighted down with an SLR. Sure, I could snap it on my cell phone, but with the D-Lux 3 in my pocket, purse or backpack, not only will I get the shot, but it’ll be magazine quality resolution. Add to that a video function, and, it’s easy to see why I’ve taken to calling it ‘the little Leica that can.’

The D-Lux 3 is more than your average point-and-shoot. It’s a compact camera with controls like those on my professional SLRs. With focal lengths from 28 to 112 millimeters (F2.8 - F8.0), auto and manual focusing, image stabilization for shake-free pictures, and file formats from simple Jpeg to QuickTime movies and RAW for optimum image quality, it’s a pocket-sized performer.

The Good:

A powerful compact camera choice for those who want the creative features of an SLR - including manual setting options, metering and exposure options, RAW file support -  without the bulk.

The Bad:

1. Despite a bright, large 2.8-inch LCD display, it needs a viewfinder. Composing in bright sunlight is challenging without one.

2. The camera-top function dial tends to turn when pulled out of a pocket or camera sleeve. It’s easy to snap away and then realize that you’re dialed to the wrong function setting (e.g. shooting high-speed action only to discover the dial was turned to Shutter Priority at 1/30 sec.)

The Bottom Line:

I don’t leave home without it!

*For travel-tested results, click here to view photos produced on a walking tour in France with The Wayfarers. A good number of those images were shot with the D-Lux 3.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".