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Canon 7D vs Leica TL

The Canon EOS 7D and the Leica TL are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and November 2016. The 7D is a DSLR, while the TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon 7D versus Leica TL
Canon 7D Leica TL
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-12,500
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 3.7 LCD, 1230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
8 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
800 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
148 x 111 x 74 mm, 860 g 134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 7D and the Leica TL? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon 7D and the Leica TL 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 TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the 7D is only available in black.

Size Canon 7D vs Leica TL
Compare 7D versus TL top
Comparison 7D or TL rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica TL is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Canon 7D. Moreover, the TL is substantially lighter (55 percent) than the 7D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 7D is splash and dust resistant, while the TL does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The power pack in the TL can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699i
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Canon 80D 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199i
 
Canon G3 X 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i
 
Canon 7D II 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
 
Canon 1D Mark IV 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1230 g 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999i
 
Canon 5D Mark II 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499i
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X70 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799i
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Nikon D7000 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499i
 
Sony RX10 III 133 mm 94 mm 127 mm 1051 g 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the TL is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (7D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 7D and Leica TL sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 7D offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Leica TL. 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 4.31μm versus 4.80μm for the TL). Moreover, it should be noted that the TL is much more recent (by 7 years and 2 months) than the 7D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 7D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 7D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica TL are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 7D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica TL are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

7D versus TL MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
 
Canon G3 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163
 
Canon 7D II APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
 
Canon 1D Mark IV APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074
 
Canon 5D Mark II Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780
 
Sony RX10 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 7D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 7D and Leica TL along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon 7Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Canon G3 Xoptional n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon 7D IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
 
Canon 1D Mark IVoptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Canon 5D Mark IIoptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 3.9 n n
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
 
Fujifilm X70optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D7000optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Sony RX10 III2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 14.0 Y Y

One feature that is present on the 7D, but is missing on the TL 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 7D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the TL uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 7D and Leica TL and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon 7DYmono-Y-mini2.0---
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
 
Canon G3 XYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
 
Canon 7D IIYstereomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 1D Mark IVYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon 5D Mark IIYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 50DY----mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X70YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D7000YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX10 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-

It is notable that the 7D has a microphone port, which is missing on the TL. 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 7D (unlike the TL) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 7D and the TL have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 7D was replaced by the Canon 7D Mark II, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 7D and the Leica TL? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 16.1MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 400) 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.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).

ilogo

Advantages of the Leica TL:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 920k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 148x111mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 476g or 55 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the 7D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D comes out slightly ahead of the TL (11 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

7D 11:10 TL

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 7D and the Leica TL place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 7D or the TL perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 7D+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699i
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Canon 80D+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199i
 
Canon G3 X+..4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i
 
Canon 7D II+84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i
 
Canon 70D+ +83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
 
Canon 60D+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
 
Canon 1D Mark IV..89/100..5/5.. Oct 2009 4,999i
 
Canon 5D Mark II91/10079/1004/55/5.. Sep 2008 3,499i
 
Canon 50D+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X70..76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Nikon D7000..80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499i
 
Sony RX10 III+84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 7D:
Check Ebay offers
Leica TL:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 7D vs Leica TL

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 7D Leica TL
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2009 November 2016
    Launch Price USD 1,699 USD 1,695
    Sensor Specs Canon 7D Leica TL
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 4.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 12,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.0 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 854 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 7D Leica TL
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.7inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon 7D Leica TL
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 7D Leica TL
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Canon 7D Leica TL
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type LP-E6 BP-DC13
    Battery Life (CIPA)800 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 148 x 111 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
    134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 860 g (30.3 oz) 384 g (13.5 oz)

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