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New iPhone app means Xiaomi isn't the only brand with Leica tech onboard

Leica comes to iPhones through the power of app, though the full experience will cost you.

Published onJune 10, 2024

leica lux
  • Leica LUX is a new app that emulates the Leica experience on the iPhone.
  • There are 11 color profiles to choose from to help your photos stand out.
  • In addition to an automatic mode, there’s also an Aperture mode that emulates the style of real Leica lenses.

Xiaomi might be the only company with official Leica branding, but iPhone users will soon be able to at least somewhat emulate this experience. Leica’s new LUX app is designed to mimic the experience you’d get from Leica lenses.

The app does this through a combination of software trickery and AI. There are 11 different color profiles designed to match current Leica cameras as well as classic cameras from the past. There’s a fully automatic camera mod that works similarly to the Apple camera, but there’s also an Aperture mode that uses AI to mimic the style, bokeh, and aperture you’d get from lenses like the Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH.

While the Leica app is free, you’ll only get five Leica Looks and one lens imitation. You’ll need to pay $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year to unlock all the profiles, lenses, and several other more advanced features.

The addition of Leica features on an iPhone is a pretty big deal for fans of the brand and its products. Previously the only way to get Leica’s expertise on a new mobile phone was to buy a Xiaomi device. Of course, the big question is how well these Leica features actually work.

While the iOS app does a fairly decent job of replicating the experience, a quick look at images taken from it around the web will reveal minor issues like image artifacts, jagged edges that shouldn’t be there, and other minor issues. Some of these things might improve with future software updates, but the reality is that without a more direct partnership with Apple there will always be a few limitations here. Still, it’s the closest thing you’ll likely find to a Leica-branded iPhone experience anytime soon.

For now, Leica Lux is exclusive to iPhone owners through the App Store, though perhaps someday we’ll get an Android version as well. One can hope at least.

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