Canon 1D Mark IV vs Leica X Vario
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2009 and June 2013. The 1D Mark IV is a DSLR, while the X Vario is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-H (1D Mark IV) and an APS-C (X Vario) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 16 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 16.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107)? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Leica X Vario are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 1D Mark IV is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X Vario is considerably smaller (60 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark IV. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark IV is splash and dust resistant, while the X Vario does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X Vario has a lens built in, whereas the 1D Mark IV is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 1D Mark IV and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark IV gets 1500 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the X Vario can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark IV has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|2.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|4.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|5.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1535 g||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499|
|10.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|12.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|13.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|14.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|15.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|16.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|17.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The X Vario was launched at a lower price than the 1D Mark IV, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D Mark IV features an APS-H sensor and the Leica X Vario an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X Vario is 29 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the X Vario offers a slightly higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 16 MP of the 1D Mark IV. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 5.70μm for the 1D Mark IV). However, it should be noted that the X Vario is much more recent (by 3 years and 7 months) than the 1D Mark IV, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the X Vario has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1D Mark IV (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|2.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|4.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|10.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|12.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||12.8||1491||78|
|14.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|15.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|16.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 1D Mark IV has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X Vario relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X Vario can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D Mark IV and Leica X Vario along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||n|
|10.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|12.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the 1D Mark IV, but is missing on the X Vario is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 1D Mark IV writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the X Vario uses SDXC cards. The 1D Mark IV features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the X Vario only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 1D Mark IV has a microphone port, which is missing on the X Vario. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark IV (unlike the X Vario) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D Mark IV and the X Vario have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Canon and Leica. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Leica X Vario? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV:
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1500 versus 450) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in October 2009).
Arguments in favor of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 1D Mark IV requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x73mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 1D Mark IV).
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark IV launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark IV emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Leica X Vario place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D Mark IV or the X Vario. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|2.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|4.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|5.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||4,499|
|10.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|12.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|13.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|14.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099|
|15.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|16.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|17.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon 1D Mark IV
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Leica M10-R
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon B600
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Olympus E-M1
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Ricoh GR II
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Sony NEX-5N
- Canon SX510 vs Leica X Vario
- Leica Q Typ 116 vs Leica X Vario
- Leica X Vario vs Nikon Z6 II
- Leica X Vario vs Olympus E-30
- Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GF2
- Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GX80
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Leica X Vario
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 1D Mark IV||Leica X Vario|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||28-70mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||October 2009||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 4,999||USD 2,850|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Leica X Vario|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||27.9 x 18.6 mm||23.6 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||518.94 mm2||370.52 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||33.5 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||4928 x 3272 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.70 μm||4.80 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.08 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,500 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||74||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||23.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1320||1320|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Leica X Vario|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Leica X Vario|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Leica X Vario|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Leica X Vario|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1500 shots per charge||450 shots per charge|
156 x 157 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
133 x 73 x 95 mm
(5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1230 g (43.4 oz)||680 g (24.0 oz)|
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