I've been doing research on the Leica D-Lux 4 and Panasonic LX3. Internally, they're almost the same cameras and almost every casual shooter online agrees that the image quality differences between them are negligible. One produces a slightly cooler/warmer image. Yes there are other very subtle differences in tone, but it's not very significant. What is significantly different is the price tag. Today, you can get new models as follows (results from Bing/live cashback):
New D-Lux 4: $680
New LX3: $410
The argument I keep hearing from D-Lux users is that "it's a red dot!", "it has a slightly better warranty", and "it has a better resale value." I think what they are really saying "I need a Leica to fit in with my Country Club buddies putting at the greens." Leica, Mercedes, golf. They go hand in hand. I haven't heard a person who said he/she got the D-Lux because of the extra software. Anyways, of all the arguments I've heard, the "better resale value" seems to hold, somewhat. After doing a search on completed bids on eBay, here is what I find:
Used D-Lux 3: $450 (ball park)
Used LX2 $200 (ball park)
Assuming a new D-Lux 4 will drop to the price of today's used D-Lux 3 in a few years, and assuming a new LX3 will drop to the price of today's used LX2 in a few years, then we're looking at the following depreciation (yes this is a gross assumption but since no one can see the future, let's just assume the past prices correlates to future prices to some extent):
D-Lux: 680-450 = $230 depreciation (33% loss)
LX: 410-200 = $210 depreciation (51% loss)
So assuming you are willing to sell your old Leica D-Lux or Panasonic LX, will will depreciate to about the same value; even though the Leica costs a lot more than the Panasonic, its higher resale value holds. Leica owners can probably feel good that they're only paying $20 extra for the extra warranty, and the red dot that is useful for getting attention (which could be very good or very bad, depending on your perspective). So in the end, the cost difference, based on the assumptions above, is only $20 plus/minus a bunch of flaws in the assumptions above.
What is your take on the D-Lux 4 vs. LX3?