If you live in Alabama, you know the last part of 2018 into January 2019 seemed like it would never stop raining. And not your average showers. Nah, here’s four inches of rain here, another five there. It was pretty absurd and the perfect storm for a serious case of cabin fever.
Add in the fact I’m hopefully coming out of a four-year medical nightmare which would make a damn good House MD episode or four, and I wanted out of the house. Oh, it’s not lupus. Not sure why they had to test for it four separate times, but good to know. It kept me from camera reviews due to the debilitating symptoms, but with a novel treatment, things are looking up, and I get to snap away again.
Enter the Leica V-Lux. Alex and I decided to take a drive up to Little River Canyon on one of the few sunny days and put it through its paces. And damn does Leica live up to its billing as one of the finest camera manufacturers out there. Even the company’s compact camera series, which the V-lux belongs to, capture incredible images.
We will get to the specs, but let’s enjoy the pictures first.
Little River Canyon & A Leica V-Lux
With the Federal government shutdown, the national park was mostly deserted. It was also brutally cold and windy. We started at Little River Falls and the boardwalk leading down to a perfect vantage point.
Yes, the water looked that good. The image is straight out of the camera and looked amazing. Props to Leica and the foot of rain we endured for the fantastic shots.
One of my favorite shots of the day is of the small pine sapling in front of the raging waterfall.
Next, we moved on towards the Canyon Rim Road. We stopped off at the first overlook for Little River Falls to test out the 25-400mm equivalent zoom lens.
Again, the blues are how the water looked. Even Alex asked if I was going nuts in Lightroom. Nope, Little River was showing out that day.
From the overlook, we drove towards Grace Falls. It’s Alabama’s highest waterfall but is only active when there’s enough rain to feed into the small tributaries. It was nice to be back at the spot. I haven’t seen the area in over four years, and the waterfall didn’t disappoint.
After capturing a few shots from another overlook into Little River Canyon, the biting wind chill forced us to call it a day. Plus, hiking with an autonomic disorder has a way of making the symptoms angry which can ruin a week in a hurry.
Overall, it was a great trip up the rim road and having the park to ourselves was damn nice. Now, let’s get to the specs.
Leica V-Lux Specs
The V-Lux fits comfortably in the travel camera category, but you can make the argument it can handle anything you throw at it. It has a 20MP 1” MOS sensor with an integrated DC Vario-Elmarit f/2.8-4.0 Lens. Yeah, how many travel cameras can lay claim to an f/2.8 lens.
The lens, based on 35mm equivalent, hits 25-400mm or a 16x optical zoom. It can reach out and grab the image you’re looking to capture. Leica’s V-Lux has a three-inch LCD screen to review the photos along with a 0.39-inch OLED EVF. It’s sharp as hell.
Need video? It can shoot 4K and features both WiFi and NFC to share the live view with a friend, or transfer pictures while shooting. I’m still of the mind to bring the SD card home and move the images to my computer, but the functionality does work if you prefer the smartphone method.
Battery life was surprisingly good, and the camera body lives up to the Leica name. It may not have the M10’s steel construction which can shrug off a grenade, but the V-Lux acquits itself with regular use. If you are the type who insists on throwing cameras off a cliff, get a GoPro.
Finally, price. Before you close your eyes in anticipation, the V-Lux is shockingly affordable. Just under $1200 means it competes well with Sony RX100 V and VI point and shoots. Sure, the Leica is beefier, but that means you actually have a grip to hold on to while shooting. Not everything has to be ultra compact.
Wrapping the Leica V-Lux
So, where does the V-Lux stand? If you want something that is an all-around good camera, this is a solid buy. Especially if you’re interested in dealing with interchangeable lenses and all that comes with it. For a travel camera, I’d put it up against the Sony’s of the world any day. The V-Lux accomplishes the job with ease. It also serves as the company’s gateway drug to its interchangeable lens cameras and with the partnership with Panasonic, expect to hear a lot more on that front as 2019 progresses.