This new Japanese-built Leica, the V-LUX 20, is probably the most sophisticated compact camera around. It delivers Leica-looking photos and has what inferior gadget writers irritatingly call “all the bells and whistles”.
So why, therefore, have I bought the more expensive Leica X1, which I reviewed in June, even though it’s heavier, is based on a 1925 design, has a fixed lens and nary whistle nor bell? I don’t think it’s pretentiousness. It’s just that the X1 offers so few gimmicks that you concentrate on getting close to your subject and taking photos that are good.
The V-LUX 20, on the other hand, majors on having GPS to geotag your photos. This, to me at least, is rather boring and not something a grown-up will use. The camera does have a stupendous zoom, though, up to the equivalent of a 25mm-300mm lens, and has been described as perfect for private investigators. It also shoots terrific HD video, which my X1 can’t. And it has a beautiful leather case.
So unless, like me, you fancy yourself as the next Henri Cartier-Bresson, the V-LUX 20, is the compact du moment.