30 Dec 2011


I don't have much patience with most photography related blogs/websites and the army of instant, highly opinionated "experts" on the internet but one I really do appreciate is by globetrotting , highly acclaimed Danish photographer ,Thorsten Overgaard .See THORSTEN OVERGAARD .
He takes superb photos,mainly portraits of famous people, and then writes about how he made them . He is a big Leica fan and I appreciate the fact that he still often uses a Digilux 2 camera which most "experts" would dismiss as an outdated clunker.
Reading his blog recently prompted me to take down from my museum shelf the Leica Digilux 1 I purchased s/h from my Leica/Lotus/Jaguar expert and friend Roger Putnam back in 2004 .
 Now the Digilux 1 was introduced in 2002 and is a big,weird, clunky camera with ugly retro styling and appalling control layout .
The period 2002 to 2007 was the period of really rapid advances in digital camera technology so even when I bought the Digilux 1 in 2004 it was seriously out of date in terms of sensor sensitivity etc and by 2006 I felt that I should trade up to the then newly released Canon G7 so I moved it to my museum shelf where it has stayed neglected for the past 5 years.
By today's standards the Digilux 1 is a total anachronism -the highest ISO is 200 and the sensor gets really noisy at ISO above100 .It shoots JPEGS and TIFF-no RAW as such and the shutter release delay is very long and it is only 4 mp--less than a modest smartphone nowadays.
But it has a  Leica F2.0 Summicron zoom lens equivalent to 33mm to 100 mm and a viewfinder and a manual focussing ring around the lens .And it takes beautiful photos with that mellow,clear "Leica" look.
I spent a few hours trying to get any one of the spare three batteries for the camera to accept a charge and succeeded eventually with just one of them. Then to my surprise when I put it into the camera it booted up .I took the two photos ,of Julia and Phoebe-the Himalayan ,with it over the holiday weekend.The AWB seems to be a little askew so I had to do a white balance adjustment in LR but otherwise these are straight TIFF files out of the camera .Just remember this is a 9 year old 4 mp camera .

When I was actively using the Digilux 1 I took it on a number of trips overseas although at that time I still thought of my Leica M6 as my main camera . One trip was to Shanghai in 2004 and below are four photos from that trip . SD cards were still very small capacity at that time ( the camera came with a tiny 64 mp card) so I shot small JPEG files to ensure that I had enough memory for the trip .

 Now that I have revived the Digilux 1 I may be tempted to use it from time to time and as I do so I will reflect on whether many of the digital camera "advances" of the last 9 years are in fact just marketing gimmicks designed to tempt the vast army of pixel peepers anxious to have the latest and greatest .


  1. ok, never made it to leica-dom, but my all time favorite snapper remains my little canons s-400, had two of them over the years, low megapixel, slower to boot than the proverbial molasses in January, and produced some favorite shots.
    These Leica shots are gorgeous! Especially as you take the time to make a few minor corrections. Definitely worth dusting off more frequently and finding an aftermarket battery pack that will keep a charge...

  2. Great! I actually bought one last week. Just for fun.
    When the camera came out in 2002 it had the shortest delay in the world :)

  3. Thanks to this post and the shot of the FPV , I ended up grabbing a Digilux1 2 days ago, it might be here tomorrow, if not, next week :(

  4. Thank you for posting this. After two days of trying to get a charge from two batteries, finally getting one of them to take a charge!! So 8 years have gone by and my Leica again sees the light.

    Love your photos!!