An ultra-compact camera with telephoto superpowers

Leica’s new C-Lux camera is more powerful than a compact has any right to be

Leica C-Lux, £875
Leica C-Lux, £875 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

My feelings about the new Leica C-Lux were formed in undue part by one photo. I was walking in the Swedish countryside when I spotted, on a farm in the middle distance, an elongated wagon-sized barrel on wheels. I don’t normally have a lot of use for telephoto lenses, but I opened up the C-Lux’s Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens to its full 360mm focal length and loosed off a few shots. A 360mm lens is long for a non-digitally enhanced telephoto. But even so, the antique agricultural conveyance was so far off that when I downloaded the photo to my Mac, it still didn’t appear very big. So I blew it up until the machine almost filled the screen. Only then was it clear that the telephoto had produced a wonderful photo, both in content and technical quality – and there wasn’t a pixel or a flaw to be seen. The huge (for a pocketable compact) 1in sensor had done it’s Leica-like job magnificently.

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The C-Lux is a terrific travel camera. It also has a 24mm wide angle zoom, perfect for any street scene. There’s a 2.3m-dot resolution, electronic viewfinder with an automatic eye sensor, a dioptre-correction wheel, a 3in touchscreen and, almost needless to add, RAW capability to ensure you can take top-quality pro-standard photos. And it shouldn’t matter, but whether in this light gold or a midnight-blue finish, the C-Lux looks both understated and very desirable.

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