Leica V-Lux 20 shows its Panasonic lines

Back in April Leica announced the V-Lux 20, a couple of months after Panasonic showed off its Lumix DMC-TZ10 model. These cameras have a story like a cheesy Lindsay Lohan movie. Separated at birth, one model fights it out alongside the likes of Canon, Nikon and Olympus, whilst the other drifts off into a life of plush interiors and exclusive boutique stores.

Leica has been open about its partnership with Panasonic and you'll still find Leica lenses on some of your favourite Panasonic models; it's a relationship that in our opinion has brought to life some excellent cameras.

What we have here though is the Leica V-Lux 20, a model that Leica is pitching as a compact travel camera. It comes with 12.1 megapixels and 12x optical zoom from the Leica DC-Vario-Elmar lens, offering up focal range of 25-300mm (in 35mm terms).

The body comes in black, making that prestigious Leica badge stand out, so no one will be searching for that Lumix tag. Leica tells us that its firmware runs the camera and it was built to its specification so it is a Leica product through-and-through.

But you do get many of the niceties that you'd find on a consumer-friendly point and shoot, so you get face detection, heaps of scene modes and ISOs that run up to 1600. What you don't appear to get is Panasonic's iA or Intelligent Auto shooting mode where it recognises the scene in front of you a picks a shooting mode.

Presumably as a Leica fan you'll have some idea about photography already, so that may not bother you, but you might be pleased to find aperture and shutter priority shooting modes, along with full manual control.

The big point here that plays to the categorisation as a travel camera is the embedded GPS. This will let you geo-tag your photos, so you'll know exactly where your yacht was when you snapped those models in your rear-deck Jacuzzi. 

There is a 3-inch screen around the back to compose and preview your shots, plus you get 720p HD video capture with stereo sound, and there is a mini-HDMI socket to hook-up to your HDTV. You also get Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 in the box.

The price, if you need to ask, is £495, and you can get a leather case for it for an additional £70.

We shot the camera on location at the Leica Store Mayfair - if you love Leica, it's well worth a visit if you are in the vicinity. 



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