Like a Leica

lx3The Panasonic LX3 is very popular as a compact camera for people who normally use a Digital SLR but want something smaller that they can carry everywhere. It has a wide-angle, fast lens, manual controls and can shoot in RAW format, which most enthusiasts and professionals want to do. The LX3 is also sold, with a couple of small alterations, by Leica as the D-Lux 4. One of the differences is the price: The LX3 goes for about Β£330 in the UK while the D-Lux 4 costs around Β£500.

Another difference is the software that comes with the camera. The Panasonic comes with Silkypix Studio, which is fine but not very fancy. The Leica comes with Capture One, professional software which many photographers already use with their DSLRs.

leica-dlux-4So if you’ve already got a copy of Capture One you might think that you could use it with your LX3 since the Raw files that come from the LX3 are functionally identical to the ones produced by the D-Lux4. Unfortunately you can’t. Capture One refuses to import LX3 raw images because of two slight differences in the files. Luckily you can very easily make an LX3 Raw file look like it came from a D-Lux 4. Here are two ways.

Option 1 – Use the command line

If you’re using a Mac, or Linux, you can use Perl on the command line to make the changes needed. Make your way to the directory where the Lx3 Raw files are and then type:

perl -p -i.bak -e 's/Panaso/LEICA\x00/g;' -e 's/DMC-LX3/D-LUX 4/g' *.RW2

You’ll end up with all your original files called something.RW2.bak and a whole load of new files called something.RW2. You then need to change the suffix on the .RW2 files to .RWL by typing:

for f in *.RW2; do mv $f `basename $f .RW2`.RWL; done;

Then give all the original files their old, correct, suffix.

for f in *.RW2.bak; do mv $f `basename $f .RW2.bak`.RW2; done;

Option 2 – Use Like A Leicagrab

An easier way is to use this little programme that I’ve written. It copies your images before it changes them so your original files should be safe, but back-up before you try it, just to be careful.

This is version 1.1.1. Updated May 2012. It remembers the folder that you used last time, there’s a progress bar, it won’t attempt to convert files it’s already done and it’s a bit faster now. It also has an icon πŸ™‚

Download for Mac Intel

Download for old PPC Macs

Download for Linux

Download for Windows

Join the conversation


  1. I have used your program on 25 LX3 raw files in one go and no problems at all, makes my workflow as per my DSLR’s.

    Used on OS X 10.5.7 and C1 Pro 4.8.1.

    Many thanks for this.


  2. Thanks thanks and thanks.
    I tried the software with more than 500 files in a folder and it worked perfectly.

    Used on 10.5.7 and C1 4.8.1


  3. Thanks for trying it! I’m glad it works. I’ll clean up the code a bit and make an icon for it when I get a spare moment.

  4. It would be fine to have a Windows Version, I’m ready for it πŸ™‚
    Please let me know once it’s ready.

  5. Absolutly fantastic your little Tool. Exactly what i was looking and searching for!!! Works Great with my Mac and Capture one Pro even with a large amount of Files.

    Thank you very much for your exelent Work!!
    Best Regards

  6. This excellent little software made my worflow with LX3 files so much faster and easier. May I make a suggestion, which would improve my life even further? I wish Like A Leica would remember the selected folder between sessions. Alternatively, choosing a default folder in the preferences, or starting the programme by dragging a folder on its icon would do the trick for me.
    Thanks a lot and best regards.

  7. Great job! thanks very much.
    The software works prefectly on LX3 raw file. But it does not work on the raw file captured by the newly released GF1. I guess it should changed to .RAW instead of .RWL in order to work on capture one. Do you have any idea on this? I guess thousands of people having the same trouble with me on this. Can you help to solve this again?
    Once again thanks for your software.

  8. Thanks very much for the windows version.
    Bought a LX3 today and struggling with DNG route to Capture 4.
    By the way, your program works better than DNG (which I have used with other compacts) as all functions work in Capture 4 pro including lens correction which is not available via DNG format.
    Thanks again.

  9. hi

    i tried ‘like a leica’ on my vista 64 system and it wouldnt run…. any tips to make it work on there?


  10. I should clarify having tried again that after clicking ok on about 7 runtime error messages the program actually came up and worked…. but why all the runtime errors?


  11. I’m sorry Mike, I wrote this on a Mac and I could only test it on Windows XP running in VMware Fusion, so I have no idea about how well it runs under Vista. Unfortunately I had my laptop stolen just before Christmas and until it’s replaced I’m using my old non-intel desktop computer so I can’t do any cross-platform development at all. The program was written in RealBasic, you might find some answers at the Real Software forums –

  12. thanks for the reply

    it still works i suppose, just 7 screens to click through!

    i doubt i would understand the answers from the forum anyawy!


  13. This was working very well but now comes up with the message “An exception of class NilObjectException was not handled. The application must shut down.” Any ideas what this means?
    Many Thanks

  14. Sorry to hear that Chris. That error usually happens when something that the program confidently expects to be there turns out not to be. It might be worth throwing away the prefs.ini file that’s sitting in the same directory as the application, see if that helps.

  15. Hi Jon, thanks for getting back to me. While trying to work out how to do that I noticed that the programme was still running from my downloads folder so I transferred it to the applications folder and now it is running fine again. Basically it was me being really stupid!!

  16. Hi, I’ve been using Likealeica successfully for a while. Tonight when I ran it I also got the β€œAn exception of class NilObjectException was not handled. The application must shut down.” message.
    App is in the Applications folder. Mac OS 10.6.2 – maybe that’s the problem??
    I’ll give the command line thing a go, but I love Likealeica!
    All the best

  17. Doesn’t run on Windows Vista: plugin.cpp: 7327 Failure Condition: pluginEntryTable.GetEntry( entrypointName, out ) can’t find plugin method BevelButton.DeleteAllRows

    Perl command doesn’t run either: String found where operator expected at -e line 2, at end of line (Missing semicolon on previous line?) Can’t find string terminator “‘” anywhere before EOF at -e line 2.

  18. Capture One seems to be excellent software I’d really appreciate using on my LX3 RAW files. Like-a-Leica is an excellent approach but the conversion seems not to work for me.

    Meanwhile I got the perl command to work when using ActivePerl instead of Strawberry Perl and replacing the single quotes with double quotes. It didn’t work for *.RW2 but it worked for one file, like 1234567.RW2. The file was updated, but after renaming the result to .RWL, Capture One still doesn’t recognize it.

  19. Hello, is it possible to get the source code to make adjustments for pano FZ50? or if you make that available? thanks

  20. I don’t have Lion yet so I’m afraid I don’t know. I am thinking of writing an updated version of this so do let me know if it has any problems running under Lion.

  21. Hi There.
    Having discovered Phase One doesn’t support my camera (GM1), Google led me to your site. Have you removed the software permanently? Although I shouldn’t have to fight so hard, I would like to try out CaptureOne. Thanks. Franco

  22. It was easy to make LX3 files look like D-Lux 4 files because they were identical apart from a small text tag at the start of the file. The hardware was identical and the operating system was based on the same software. If you can find a camera that is supported by CaptureOne and has identical hardware to the GM1 then you can probably hack the files from your GM1 to work with CaptureOne. But it might be easier to just use Lightroom!

  23. Sadly your great little utility does not work on the .RWL files from the Leica C112 (similar to the Panasonic LF1). I have been a Capture One user for close to 10 years and would hate to have to use LightRoom. Can I send you a C112 .RWL to play with to see if any update to your utility would work. Why Leica/Panasonic made the idiotic decision not to use the industry standard .DNG files, like they do on my M8/9 and 240 beats me. Wilson

  24. It looks like Capture One Pro 8 does support both the C112 and the DMC-LF1. I’d be happy to see if I can convert from one format to the other, but I’m not sure what the problem is in this case.

  25. Jon,

    Strangely whereas the LF1 is listed on the Phase One website as a supported camera, the C112 is not. I have tried everything I can to force Capture One to load the C112 .RWL files and it won’t. I even tried using DNG converter to change the .RWL file to .DNG, which apparently worked but C1 would still not load or open the DNG file.


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