Leica Digilux 3: a classic camera, but should you buy a used digital camera?

Leica Digilux 3
(Image credit: Paul Burrows)

Classic film cameras are enjoying a revival, so what about a classic digital camera? For starters, is there such a thing? And, secondly, why would you bother when the current tech is so good? Well, if anything, the design of contemporary digital cameras has become quite conventional compared to the early days, so there is some fun to be had with models from the days when everybody was still feeling their way around. And, given nobody has really been taking much notice of older digital cameras, they can be very cheap indeed. The Leica Digilux 3 that we’ve chosen for our first classic digital camera test cost $2,500/£1,880/AU$4,300 when it was new back in 2006 (although it was definitely overpriced) and now you can pick one up for around £

$250/£200/AU$650 for the body only, or the region of $600/£450/AU$1,100 with its standard lens. That these aren’t exactly garage sale prices indicates this model still has some appeal nearly 17 years after it was launched. The Leica badge will certainly have something to do with this – even though the Digilux 3 was built in Japan by Panasonic – but there’s more to it than that… in reality, as you’ll see, this is still a very usable camera.

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Paul Burrows

Paul has been writing about cameras, photography and photographers for 40 years. He joined Australian Camera as an editorial assistant in 1982, subsequently becoming the magazine’s technical editor, and has been editor since 1998. He is also the editor of sister publication ProPhoto, a position he has held since 1989. In 2011, Paul was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Australian Photography (AIPP) in recognition of his long-term contribution to the Australian photo industry. Outside of his magazine work, he is the editor of the Contemporary Photographers: Australia series of monographs which document the lives of Australia’s most important photographers.