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Leica Digilux 2 - The "analog" digital camera

Leica today launches the Digilux 2, a 5 megapixel successor to the  Digilux 1. Leica refers to the Digillux 2 as "analog" digital camera.
Decisive photographic parameters such as sharpness, aperture, focal length and shutter speeds can be controlled like those on a classic camera by means of setting rings on the lens and a shutter speed dial...
Leica Digilux 2 - The "analog" digital camera - digital camera and photography news

PRESS RELEASE

December 1, 2003

LEICA DIGILUX 2 - The “analog” digital camera.

With the LEICA DIGILUX 2, Leica Camera AG, Solms, presents a high-performance digital reportage camera for ‘traditional photography'. It is the first Leica digital camera that can be operated like a professional analogue camera: the crucial photographic parameters such as focus, aperture, shutter speed, and focal length can be set using rings on the lens and a shutter speed dial, as on a classic reflex camera. In addition to its convenient automatic functions the LEICA DIGILUX 2 thus combines creative freedom and the familiar handling of traditional cameras. “Just like photography with the legendary Leica coupled rangefinder cameras, the LEICA DIGILUX 2 concentrates on what is essential. The camera's basic functions are simple and intuitive to master and provide an optimum basis for individual digital photography with a personal touch“, says Markus Ring, Compact Cameras Product Manager at Leica Camera AG.

The new compact camera is notable for its high-speed LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON 7-22,5 mm f/2.0-2.4 ASPH. zoom lens, which covers a focal length range comparable to 28 to 90 mm in the 35 mm system. The 2/3-inch image sensor is extremely large and gives a resolution of five million pixels. Each individual pixel has a size of 3.4 µm thus has more surface than is normal in this class of digital cameras. Larger pixels can register the light more quickly and therefore reduce errors such as interference. “The combination of the high optical quality of the Leica lens and what is currently the largest sensor area per pixel in this class of digital cameras leads to extremely high picture quality“, adds Markus Ring.
The LEICA DIGILUX 2 has a large and bright 2.5“ monitor, allowing excellent picture evaluation during and after taking. The 64 MB SD memory card included with the camera provides an above average memory holding 6 to 484 images, depending on the selected picture quality. The markedly short shutter release delay means that the camera is outstandingly well suited for quick and spontaneous shots.

The clear, modular design of the digital camera is the work of the Berlin designer Professor Achim Heine. The controls, which are predominantly based on traditional analogue photography, are clearly positioned and support the easy operation of the camera.

The LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON 7-22,5 mm f/2.0-2.4 ASPH. lens consists of 13 elements in ten optical components. Two of the lens elements have an aspherical surface, differing from the normal spherical shape. All lens elements are made of genuine optical glass and provided with a coating by means of a state of the art technology. The exclusive use of high quality materials – including special glass types produced in low quantities – contribute to the increase in contrast and brightness. The LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON 7-22,5 mm f/2.0-2.4 ASPH. has a fixed first lens group. Focusing and focal length adjustment take place exclusively inside the lens. This results in excellent mechanical stability, guaranteeing optimum setting accuracy, durability and precise control.

The LEICA DIGILUX 2's 2.5“ LC display is transreflexive: a combination of backlighting and use of the available light increases its brightness. This eliminates most of the troublesome reflections that sometimes appear on display surfaces in bright ambient light. Picture evaluation is possible even when looking at the display from extreme angles. The high-resolution 211,000-pixel camera display provides a bright, high contrast image. As an aid to manual focusing, the center of the display's screen serves as a magnifying glass, showing an enlarged section of the subject.

The LEICA DIGILUX 2 has a large, high contrast electronic viewfinder with what is currently the maximum possible resolution of 235,000 pixels also featuring diopter compensation. The former prevents the viewfinder image from being obstructed, which the large lens and the wide-angle range would cause with an optical viewfinder. The 15 mm eyepoint makes the viewfinder easy to use, even for people wearing glasses. All the information in the display is also available in the viewfinder. In addition, saved pictures can be viewed in the viewfinder, which can be very useful in extremely bright sunlight.

The LEICA DIGILUX 2 will be available at Leica stockists' as of February 2004.

Supplementary quotations:

Hanns-Peter Cohn, Chairman of Leica Camera AG:
“When you think of real photography, you think of craftsmanship, magic moments and a conscious use of technology. The LEICA DIGILUX 2 represents a commitment to photographic craftsmanship. The positive handling of tradition, even in product development, is also a basis for products that retain their value over time, as is normal for Leica in the analogue world. In this day and age, it is a counterpoint to the mainstream of automation, virtualisation and miniaturisation. It is a counter concept to photo mobiles and photo computers, without losing the advantages of digital technology. The most important things to us are the final picture and creativity, not the question of whether the picture takes an analogue or digital route. In the mature digital photography market, there is room for solutions that bring together the traditional and the modern. I believe that the LEICA DIGILUX 2 is a digital camera in the old photographic style!”

Gero Furchheim, Division Manager Corporate Communications, Leica Camera AG:
“We commissioned the Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey to take a portfolio of photos for us with the new LEICA DIGILUX 2. I met him on a reportage assignment for National Geographic France in Louisiana, to show him an initial prototype. David is a Leica M photographer, who uses a minimum of equipment. At our meeting in a Cajun pub, he had no time for technical explanations. He simply wanted to try out the camera and learn to use it intuitively. He set the shutter speed, aperture and flash in the way he was familiar with from the LEICA M6. After ten minutes he came back. In the can was an atmospheric photo of dancers and an accordion player. David was extremely satisfied with the picture and accepted the camera as a digital extension of his M equipment.“  
 

The LEICA DIGILUX 2 at a glance

Fast 7 – 22.5 mm LEICA DC VARIO SUMMICRON f/2 – f/2.4 ASPH. zoom lens (equivalent to a 28 - 90 mm zoom lens on a 35 mm camera)
 
2/3-inch CCD sensor with 5.0 million pixels
 
Analog photography feeling conveyed by manual setting possibilities directly at the lens
 
Its traditional clear design readily identifies it as a typical Leica
 
Transfer-reflexive 2,5“ display with a resolution of 211,000 pixels and outstanding brilliance
 
Electronic viewfinder with 235,000 pixels that covers 100% of the picture being taken
 
Extra large picture storage card with 64 MB
 
Interval timing and control via the PC
 
Connections:
USB 2.0 (High Speed); DC IN; AV output with option of PAL or NTSC; Remote release cable
 
Extremely robust and long-lived because of the use of high-grade materials and precision fabrication
December 1, 2003
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