Looking for the best Leica camera under $500? This is on the low side when it comes to buying Leicas but there’s a few (especially the top choice) that fit the bill very nicely.

Hi, I’m Sven the Leicaphile and here’s the list of Leica cameras that you can buy for $500 or less. But first let’s first keep our expectations in check.

What Leica can $500 buy you?

There are no two ways about this. Leicas are expensive cameras and $500 is nothing in the world of Leicas, so it cannot buy you anything new. The only thing you can buy at that price is used cameras.

The other thing is, Leicas hold their values pretty well so not only you will have to look at used cameras, they will be way older as even the recently discontinued cameras go for $1000 or more. And just to be clear, you will not be able to afford any M camera, even the earliest ones. These hold even more value.

But the good news is, what makes these cameras great back then still make them great cameras today, so you are getting great image quality at a tiny fraction of the price.

Best Leica camera under $500 list

For the list below of the best Leica camera under $500, I am assuming that you will “Buy it now” on eBay.

NameSensor SizeMegapixelLens Info (35mm eq)Max apertureGet it here:
1. Leica D-Lux Typ 1094/312.824-75 mm 1.7-2.8 Check Price
2. Leica C Type 1121/1.7″12.1
28–200 mm

2–5.9
Check Price
3. Leica D-lux 61/1.7″10
24–90 mm

1.4–2.3
Check Price
4. Leica D-Lux 51/1.63″1024–90 mm2–3.3 Check Price
5. Leica V-Lux 31/2.3″12.125–600 mm2.8–5.2 Check Price

1. Leica D-Lux Typ 109

By far the best Leica camera under $500

leica d lux typ 109 camera
THE best Leica camera under $500
Reasons to buyCons
+ Large sensor
+ Stabilization
+ Video
+ Great zoom range
+ Fast aperture
+ Integrated viewfinder
+ Compact
– No built-in flash

If you are looking for the best Leica camera under $500 it is this one. It is the largest sensor size you can get for that price as even the second choice immediately drop to small sensor. There’s multiple reasons why this camera is excellent.

First the sensor, it is a micro 4/3 sensor, much larger then the other sensors on this list and it is big enough for beautiful Bokeh (background blurring). The lens itself is an amazing Leica vario lens from 24-75mm which means it is wide enough for landscapes and street photography and telephoto enough for some nature photography but most importantly, portraits!

The combination of large sensor, excellent zoom and fast lens (f1.7 to f2.8) make this one of the best cameras you can get your hands on, Leica or not. It’s the kind of camera that can do everything and do it well, did I mention it does excellent stabilized video?

I’ve tried hard to come up with a con for this camera and I can’t really find any. Maybe that the sensor would be bigger but it would make everything much larger, killing the portability. Ah I digress: No built-in flash. This comes with a tiny flash that you can attach if you want. No big deal but it is an extra accessory to deal with.

The image quality is nothing short of excellent with beautiful colors and Bokeh and can handle high ISOs very well, so it’s great for some night shooting where the stabilization will help keeping your images sharp as a knife.

It even has a viewfinder and the aperture is changed right on the lens for a rangefinder-like experience. This is the camera to own as it can hold it’s own against any bulkier DSLR and the fact that this is one of the best Leica camera under $500 make is the icing on the cake.

I’ve wondered why such great camera can go for so cheap especially compared to the other cameras on this list and could not find any reason. Get one before anyone realizes this camera is too cheap for how good it is. Leica D-lux Typ 109 / D-lux 7 sample images (same lens):

Leica d lux 7 portrait photography 1
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Leica d lux 7 portrait photography 5
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Leica d lux 7 sample image 11
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Leica d lux 7 sample image 12
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Leica d lux 7 portrait photography 2
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As you can see from these images, it can do everything pretty well, deserving the spot of the best Leica camera under $500. Click here to do a price check.

2. Leica C Typ 112

The best Leica camera under $500 that fits in your pocket

leica c typ 112 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Looks stylish
+ Front ring for control
+ Integrated viewfinder
+ Really long zoom for such a small camera
+ Fast on the wide angle end
– Small sensor

The D-Lux typ 109 is your best choice when it comes to getting a large sensor. All the cameras going forward will be smaller sensors. This is the best of the 1/1.7″ sensor group. While this is a small point and shoot camera, it acts like anything but.

First of all, it has an integrated viewfinder which is mind boggling for such camera size. It also has a cool ring in the front that allows you to change your settings and lastly it has one amazing Leica vario lens.

It has a 28mm lens on the wide angle side (for street photography, landscape and the like) and goes all the way up to a stunning 200mm telephoto. Making this one of the longest telephotos you can find on such a small camera.

Granted the aperture is on the slow side (f5.9) on the telephoto end but if you keep things on the wide angle end, it has a fast f2 maximum aperture. Since it is from the same era, it has that stunning stabilization that gives you silky smooth video and helps you get sharp images even in low light.

This camera is like a tiny, pocket rangefinder that has manual controls, and a pretty unique look. While not the biggest sensor, the portability and excellent image quality make it our second choice for the best Leica camera under $500. Sample images:

Leica c 112 sample image 1
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Leica c 112 sample image 11
Leica c 112 sample image 12
Leica c 112 sample image 13
Leica c 112 sample image 14
Leica c 112 sample image 15

The top choices so far are the larger sensor Typ 109 and smaller pocket Typ 112. These are the best Leica camera under $500, but if you want to go even further back in Leica’s older cameras, here’s even more of the best Leica camera under $500.

3. Leica D-Lux 6

The former best Leica camera under $500

leica d lux 6 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Manual controls
+ Great IQ
+ Great zoom range
+ Fast aperture
– Larger then Leica C
– No integrated viewfinder

Before the D series went to 4/3 sensor with the Typ 106, the Leica D-Lux 6 ruled. It has a 1/1.7″ sensor, 24–90 mm zoom range. Which is more than the Typ 109, however that camera has a much larger sensor then the D-lux 6’s.

The aperture is quite fast at 1.4–2.3 but since this is a smaller sensor, only marginal Bokeh possible here. That is not a bad thing as this is a bonus for genres like landscapes and street photography that love larger depth of fields.

The camera is made with photographers in mind and has a back dial and the aperture can be changed in the front, but the automatic modes are there if all you want is a camera that makes nice images.

There are no viewfinders but you can get an external one that can flip 90 degrees for that low angle shot or macro. You can get it and still keep it on budget making this one of the best Leica camera under $500. Sample images:

Leica d lux 6 image sample 1
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Leica d lux 6 image sample 2
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Leica d lux 6 image sample 3
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Leica d lux 6 image sample 4
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The D-lux 6 is the best Leica camera under $500 that’s about 2 generations from the current one. If you want an even cheaper deal, there’s the D5.

4. Leica D-lux 5

The former former champion

leica d lux 5 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Compact
+ Stylish
+ Great zoom range
+ Fast aperture
– Smaller sensor then D6
– No aperture ring
– No integrated viewfinder

Since we are looking for the best Leica camera under $500, the D-lux 6 is the one to get, but if you want even cheaper then the D-Lux 5 is fine.

It is an even smaller 1/1.63″ sensor with the same 24-90mm but a slower f2–3.3 lens. That makes the D6 way better in terms of specs but if you are on a tight budget, this will do great. It has great image quality, but doesn’t have that front aperture ring. It does however have a back dial for changing settings quickly. Sample images:

Leica d lux 5 image sample 8
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Leica d lux 5 image sample 9
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Leica d lux 5 image sample 10
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Leica d lux 5 image sample 11
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Leica d lux 5 image sample 12
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5. Leica V-Lux 3

The DSLR with a small sensor heart

leica v lux 3 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ DSLR like
+ Longest telephoto
+ Integrated viewfinder
+ Great IQ
+ Fast on wide angle end
– Too big for such a small sensor

In this best Leica camera under $500, we’ve so far selected rangefinder like bodies, point and shoots and compact cameras. For the last selection, we have a DSLR-like body. It has the longest zoom range of all the camera here as it can go from 25–600 mm.

The only camera that comes close is the C Typ 112 that can go up to 200mm. This goes 3x as far.

So that is some major telephoto attached! The aperture unfortunately isn’t that fast on the telephoto end as the max aperture is f2.8-5.2. So if you like your camera bodies like a DSLR this is the Leica for you.

This would be even more of interest for nature / wildlife lovers as the 600mm is perfect for those situations and at 12 frames per second it almost guarantees that you get the shot you want. For anyone else who don’t need that kind of zoom, the pocket C Typ 112 will probably do the trick.

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this article about the best Leica camera under $500. Without a doubt the best one is the Leica D-Lux 109 as it is hard to beat the combination of large sensor, great zoom range and fast aperture. The C Typ 112 is a pocket rocket that reaches really far, has a fast zoom lens on the wide angle end and has an integrated viewfinder.

Even older Leicas provide better deals, the best older model is the D-Lux 6, but if you want a DSLR form factor then the V-Lux 3 is for you.

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