The Minilux was introduced in 1995. It is a joint effort by Leica and Matsushita-Panasonic. The camera and optics are a Leica design with Matsushita providing the engineering and manufacturing. The "highlight" of this excellent nifty camera is its specially-developed Summarit 40mm f/2.4 lens, capable of producing excellent results. The camera's finish is superb and very stylish. Also the motorized film transport is very nice to hear, almost silent. Its shape is a little boxy but that makes it easy and stable to hold. This camera delivers top-notch Leica quality at a fraction of the cost of M or R equipment, thus being an ideal lightweight companion to a full-fledged M or R equipment. It can also be an excellent introduction to Leica for new users.

The Minilux has been awarded many certificates of excellence by photo magazines. The French Chasseur d'Images and the German FotoMagazin gave it a maximum of 5 stars. The camera has also received design prices.

Its Leica catalog number is 18006 (titanium). A version in black lacquer finish was introduced in 1998 and only available for a short period (catalog number 18009). A limited edition was the Leica Tintin. At Photokina 2002 Leica introduced another limited edition with databack, "DB Exclusive", the leather covering part made of snake skin.

A variant is the Minilux Zoom, introduced in 1998. This camera sports a Vario-Elmar 35-70mm f/3.5-6.5 lens. Its catalog number is 18036. A black lacquer finish version was available in 1999 as part of a special "Bogner" set.

Read an in-depth test report of the Summarit 40mm f/2.4 lens. Here is the page of the Minilux Club, including a comparison between the Minilux and its successor, the CM.

An excellent book on the Leica Minilux and Minilux Zoom cameras is by Joachim Giebelhausen, Leica Minilux and Leica Minilux Zoom, Technik, Tips und Tricks, Umschau/Braus Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3-8295-7202-6. German only, there is no English translation available.