Leica could soon launch a compact travel camera we can actually afford

The Leica D-Lux 7 camera on a black background
(Image credit: Leica)

  • Leica has registered what appears to be a new D-Lux compact camera
  • The model number is similar to the one for the Leica D-Lux 7 from 2018
  • Rumors are divided on features, with some claiming a new APS-C sensor

Compact cameras with fixed prime lenses are booming – and Leica is apparently planning to ride the wave soon with an exciting new Fujifilm X100VI rival.

As spotted by Leica Rumors, a renowned leaker called E8M_8888 recently flagged on the Chinese social media network Weibo that Leica has registered a new version of its D-Lux 7 compact camera.

The incoming camera's model number (which is 3952A) suggests that it could only be a minor upgrade or limited edition version of the D-Lux 7, which landed back in November 2018. That's because the current version's model number is the very similar 3952.

This has led Leica Rumors to conclude that there are unlikely to be big changes like sensor size or design tweaks to the D-Lux 7's successor. Another factor supporting that theory is the D-Lux 7 was heavily based on the Panasonic LX100 II, a model that hasn't been updated since it landed in 2018.

But a recent video from Andrea Pizzini of Sony Alpha Rumors suggests that Leica's new camera could be a lot more interesting than minor update. Pizzini speculates that Leica's incoming X100VI rival is "likely to use a new APS-C sensor", because there's no need for Leica to stick with a smaller Four Thirds chip like the one on the D-Lux 7.

According to Pizzini, the D-Lux 7 successor will also ditch the old model's 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 ASPH zoom lens, and go with a brighter prime lens instead. We don't yet know what kind of lens this might be, but an 18mm lens is possible given that would give us a similar focal length to the full-frame Leica Q3.

While the rumors are mixed about the camera's sensor and lens, most sources agree that the D-Lux 7's successor will stick to a similar design – in other words, retro and minimalist, much like the Fujifilm X100VI.

In theory, we shouldn't have to wait too long to find out the official details, as Leica launches typically follow product registrations within a few months. So if you're in the market for a Fujifilm X100VI alternative for summer travel snaps, it might be wise to wait a while.

The affordable Leica Q3?

Leica Q3 camera in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

It's hard to say whether this D-Lux 7 successor is going to be a minor update or a major overhaul, given there's evidence to support both arguments. But if the camera does fit the picture painted by Sony Alpha Rumors, it could be a very tempting option for those priced out of the Leica Q3.

The Leica D-Lux 7 originally cost $1,195 / £995 (around AU$1,930). Inflation and upgrades like that rumored APS-C sensor would definitely push that figure further north, with Andrea Pizzini speculating a price somewhere between $1,500-$2,000. 

If so, that would make it a direct rival to the Fujifilm X100VI, which costs $1,599 / £1,599 / AU$2,899 (although order backlogs mean you'll now have to wait months to get one). Still, those kinds of prices look pretty achievable when you compare them to the Leica Q3, which sets you back $5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,790.

There's typically been a huge gulf in quality between Leica's Q series and its D-Lux range, when it comes to build and lens design. The D-Lux series has traditionally been co-designed with Panasonic, but the latter has seemingly now abandoned its LX100 compact cameras. 

That means the arrival of a new D-Lux model, particularly one with an APS-C sensor, would be something of a surprise. A rebooted Leica CL, which arrived way back in 2017, would arguably be a more obvious rival to the X100VI and a little brother for the Q3. But the mystery will likely be resolved sometime in the next few months.

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.