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Canon M vs Leica X2

The Canon EOS M and the Leica X2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2012 and May 2012. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the X2 is a fixed lens compact. 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 M
versus
Leica X2
Canon M   Leica X2
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
17.9 MP – APS-C sensor 16.1 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-12,500
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 3.0" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g
Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Leica X2? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Leica X2. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the X2 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).

Size Canon M vs Leica X2
Compare Canon M versus X2 top
Comparison Canon M or X2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X2 is notably larger (19 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the X2 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the Canon M is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

Concerning battery life, the Canon M gets 230 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the X2 can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Fujifilm X100S 127 mm 74 mm 54 mm 445 g 330 n Jan 2013 1,299i
11.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Oct 2013 999i
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
13.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
14.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
15.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 X2 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (Canon M) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon M and Leica X2 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Leica X2. 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 4.79μm for the X2). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The resolution advantage of the Canon M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M 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 X2 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 M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

Canon M versus X2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
2.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
5.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
6.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
7.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
8.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
9.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
10.
 
Fujifilm X100S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.312.5132975
11.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.412.6140077
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
13.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none22.611.8103769
14.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
15.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
16.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The Canon M indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The Canon M and the X2 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M and Leica X2 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
2.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon M100none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1/s Y n
4.
 
Canon M10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6/s Y n
5.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
8.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Canon T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
10.
 
Fujifilm X100S2360 n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
11.
 
Fujifilm X-E22360 n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
13.
 
Leica X1none n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0/s Y n
15.
 
Panasonic GF6none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G31440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the X2 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon M writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X2 uses SDHC cards. The Canon M supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X2 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 M and Leica X2 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon M10-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G7 X-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Fujifilm X100SYstereo / mono--micro2.0---
11.
 
Fujifilm X-E2Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Leica X1Y- / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereo / mono---2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
16.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---

Both the Canon M and the X2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Canon M was replaced by the Canon EOS M3, while the X2 does not have a direct successor. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon M better than the Leica X2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 16.1MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 124x69mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.

ilogo

Advantages of the Leica X2:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the Canon M necessitates an extra lens.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon M 10:06 X2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Leica X2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon M and the X2 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+....4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10..........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
6.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
8.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
9.
 
Canon T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Fujifilm X100S5/5+ +..81/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299i
11.
 
Fujifilm X-E24/5....80/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 999i
12.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
13.
 
Leica X13/5....+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
14.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+..75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
15.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +..75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 M vs Leica X2

    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 M Leica X2
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date July 2012 May 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 1,995
    Sensor Specs Canon M Leica X2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 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 4.79 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 12,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 ..
    Screen Specs Canon M Leica X2
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Leica X2
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Leica X2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 M Leica X2
    Battery Type LP-E12 BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 345 g (12.2 oz)
    Canon M:
    Check Ebay offers
    Leica X2:
    Check Ebay offers

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