Leica LUX Is an iPhone Camera App With Leica Style and Lens Simulations

Two smartphones display different screens. The left phone shows a camera app capturing a man wearing a purple cap. The right phone displays a Leica advertisement for Leica LUX lenses and Leica Looks, with a red "Next" button at the bottom and the Leica logo at the top.

Leica Camera AG announced Leica LUX, a new iPhone camera app. Leica LUX features a Leica-inspired user interface, unique Leica Looks, and meticulously crafted simulations of legendary Leica lenses.

Leica is no stranger to mobile photography platforms, given the company’s history of collaboration with major smartphone makers, like Xiaomi, and its own devices, the Japan-exclusive Leitz Phone. However, with Leica LUX, the camera company aims to establish a stronger foothold in mobile imaging. Leica says that about 80% of its camera owners own an iPhone, so Leica LUX is a way to bring a Leica-inspired experience to their smartphone.

A person wearing a light-colored shirt and dark pants is sitting outdoors, looking at the camera. The phone screen shows camera settings for a Leica Lux, including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and exposure, with a map indicating the location as Ouadane, Mauritania.

A primary reason so many people love their Leica cameras is the characteristic look of Leica lenses. Leica and Fjorden engineers have worked to create faithful recreations of some Leica lenses for LUX. As of now, there are Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH, Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH, Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 ASPH, and APO-Telyt-M 135mm f/3.4 options available, although the lattermost option is exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro (Max) smartphones, thanks to their expanded telephoto capabilities. Leica says additional lenses will be added to the app over time.

Smartphone screen displaying the Leica LUX app interface. The background is black with three camera lenses labeled "Leica BLU," "Leica CLB," and "Leica SEP." Text reads, "Experience the world through the lens of Leica's legacy, right from your pocket.

A smartphone screen shows a camera app interface with a portrait of a smiling woman posing outdoors. The settings, including aperture and various mode options, are displayed on-screen. The photo is framed in the center with minimalistic icons around.

“Thanks to Leica’s proprietary image processing engine, grounded in machine learning and computer-aided photography, these lens simulations reproduce the unmistakable look for which these lenses are renowned, including, of course, the characteristic bokeh effect,” Leica explains. “This means that an iPhone now has the opportunity to emulate photos with the unique aesthetic of the legendary Leica M lenses.”

A woman kneels and smiles on a pavement in front of a modern building in six different photo modes. The modes are labeled: LEICA STD, LEICA CNT, LEICA ETN, LEICA BLU, LEICA BW NAT, and LEICA BW HC. The second photo, LEICA CNT, is highlighted with a red border.

Beyond these unique bokeh modes, the Leica LUX app also has Leica Looks, a diverse selection of presets that emulate different color gradations and film styles in dedicated Leica cameras. Options include Leica Standard, Leica Classic, Leica Contemporary, and Leica Black and White. Even with the Standard Look, the LUX camera app offers a different look than the native iPhone camera app, with different colors and contrast.

A smartphone screen displaying a photo of blooming pink flowers with a building in the background. The screen is in camera manual mode showing various settings such as ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and focus.

A smartphone screen displays a photograph taken in a cafe. The image shows a neon sign on a white tiled wall that reads, "All you need is love & pizza." The phone interface indicates options for capture format selection, with "ProRAW + JPG" currently chosen.

Although built with Leica photographers in mind, Leica LUX is also accessible to beginners unfamiliar with manual camera controls. The app promises a powerful and easy-to-use automatic mode.

Users who want to take more control can adjust focus, ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and exposure compensation. The app also includes a grid, level, timer, and control over file formats, including RAW, JPEG, and HEIF. Once an image is captured, users can save the full-res file to Photos or export it with a special Leica frame, complete with basic shooting information.

Pricing and Availability

The Leica LUX app is available to download for free now. However, users must purchase a paid upgrade to unlock all the app’s capabilities, including complete access to Leica Looks and all simulated lenses. This in-app purchase is $6.99 a month or $69.99 annually. Leica LUX with all iPhone devices that run iOS 17, although Leica recommends the use of iPhone 12 Pro or newer to achieve the best results.

PetaPixel is putting Leica LUX through the paces and will have a hands-on report soon.

Image credits: Leica