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Leica Launches Lux App, Bringing Its Iconic Camera Profiles to iPhone Users

TLDR: The Leica Lux app brings iconic camera profiles and lens simulations to the iPhone. The freemium model offers limited features for free, with full access via subscription. Mixed results in early testing, with challenges in third-party app integration. Fun for Leica fans, but at a cost.

Leica, the renowned camera manufacturer, has introduced a new app called Leica Lux, which allows iPhone users to mimic the colour profiles and lens characteristics of its iconic cameras. The app, available on the App Store, comes with 11 colour profiles, dubbed “Leica Looks,” designed to match current Leica cameras and classic film-inspired aesthetics.

Two Modes of Operation: Automatic and Aperture

Leica Lux offers two modes of operation: a fully automatic mode, similar to Apple’s native camera app, and an “Aperture mode,” which uses software to imitate the style and bokeh of expensive Leica lenses, such as the Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH and the classic Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 ASPH from 1966.

Freemium Model: Limited Features in Free Mode, Full Access with Subscription

The app follows a freemium model, with limited features available in the free mode:

  1. Five Leica Looks
  2. One lens imitation

To unlock all color profiles, software lenses, and pro-oriented features like manual exposure controls, users must subscribe for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

Mixed Results in Early Testing

Early testing of the prerelease beta version of Leica Lux on an iPhone 15 Pro yielded mixed results:

  • Sleek and streamlined interface
  • Nicely customizable controls
  • Leica Looks add drama to images, but some appear heavy-handed and filtered
  • Portrait mode and lens simulations can be hit or miss, with occasional badly rendered results

The app also integrates with the user’s downloaded photos from Leica cameras, displaying them in the in-app gallery.

Challenges with Third-Party App Integration

Leica Lux faces challenges when integrating with Apple’s native software:

  • Inability to reverse portrait mode shots to regular photos
  • iOS camera roll allows the application of Apple’s own portrait and bokeh effects, potentially ruining the intended aesthetics

Not Leica’s First Attempt at Subscription-Based Features

Leica previously moved features of its Leica Fotos app behind a pro-tier paywall, forcing photographers to pay for features like Adobe Lightroom integration. However, due to negative feedback from users, Leica quickly reversed course and made all features of the Fotos app free again.

Leica Looks: A New Addition to the Lux App

Leica Looks, previously available in the Fotos app for owners of newer cameras like the Q3 and SL3, is now integrated into the Lux app, allowing transferred images to have profiles applied on iPhone or Android devices.

The lens bokeh simulations and the ability to Leica-fy the iPhone camera experience are truly novel aspects of the Lux app.

Conclusion: Fun Ideas for Leica Fans, but at a Cost

While Leica Lux offers some fun ideas and a nice design for Leica enthusiasts, taking full advantage of the app requires users to pay a subscription fee. The app’s performance and integration with native iOS features may need improvement to justify the cost for some users.


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