Leica C-Lux brings style to long-zoom compact cameras

So long as you're willing to pay for the privilege, that is.

When you think of compact cameras with long-zoom lenses, "fashionable" probably doesn't come to mind. They tend to be very utilitarian devices where looks take a backseat to the optics you need for a dramatic vacation shot. Leica wants to change that: it's introducing a new C-Lux camera that gives the category some flair. It's ultimately a reskinned Panasonic Lumix ZS200, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The C-Lux combines the ZS200's 15x (24-360mm equivalent) f/3.3-6.4 lens and 1-inch, 20.1-megapixel sensor with a considerably posher design in an attention-grabbing "Light Gold" or a more sober "Midnight Blue." This is a camera that wouldn't look out of place at a classic car show or a polo match.

The similarity promises some solid performance, too, with 49-point fast autofocus, continuous shooting at 10 frames per second and 4K videos at up to 100Mbps (albeit with a 15-minute time limit). You can also rely on a 2.33-megapixel electronic viewfinder as well as Bluetooth and WiFi to transfer your photos.

Not surprisingly, you'll be paying a stiff premium for the looks and Leica's signature red dot. The C-Lux will cost you $1,050 when it arrives in mid-July, or a solid $250 more than the Lumix. That's utter overkill if you're purely interested in functionality, but it might be tantalizing if you're determined to get an all-purpose camera that stands out in a sea of drabness.

Leica C-Lux in Midnight Blue