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Canon SX20 vs Leica V-LUX 2

The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS and the Leica V-LUX 2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2009 and September 2010. Both the SX20 and the V-LUX 2 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 14 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX20 versus Leica V-LUX 2
Canon SX20 Leica V-LUX 2
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 14 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 6,400)
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.7 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
123 x 88 x 87 mm, 600 g 124 x 80 x 95 mm, 520 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS and the Leica V-LUX 2? 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 SX20 and the Leica V-LUX 2. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX20 vs Leica V-LUX 2
Compare SX20 versus V-LUX 2 top
Comparison SX20 or V-LUX 2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica V-LUX 2 is notably smaller (8 percent) than the Canon SX20. Moreover, the V-LUX 2 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the SX20. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX20 nor the V-LUX 2 are weather-sealed.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 SX20 123 mm 88 mm 87 mm 600 g .. n Aug 2009 399i
2.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429i
8.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon SX30 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 601 g 370 n Sep 2010 429i
10.
 
Canon SX10 123 mm 88 mm 87 mm 600 g .. n Sep 2008 399i
11.
 
Canon SX1 128 mm 88 mm 88 mm 615 g .. n Sep 2008 599i
12.
 
Canon 1000D 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Sep 2012 949i
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 124 mm 81 mm 95 mm 540 g 410 n Dec 2011 949i
16.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX20 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the V-LUX 2, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX20 and Leica V-LUX 2 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the V-LUX 2 offers a higher resolution of 14 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the SX20. This megapixels advantage translates into a 8 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the V-LUX 2 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.41μm versus 1.53μm for the SX20). However, it should be noted that the V-LUX 2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the SX20, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica V-LUX 2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the V-LUX 2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.6 x 16.2 inches or 54.9 x 41.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.4 x 10.8 inches or 36.6 x 27.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX20 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica V-LUX 2 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.

SX20 versus V-LUX 2 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 SX20 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000720/30p........
2.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
5.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
6.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
7.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
8.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
9.
 
Canon SX30 1/2.3 14.0 4320 3240720/30p........
10.
 
Canon SX10 1/2.3 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
11.
 
Canon SX1 1/2.3 10.0 3648 27361080/30p........
12.
 
Canon 1000D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
16.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the V-LUX 2 provides a better video resolution than the SX20. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX20 and the V-LUX 2 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 202k dots. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX20 and Leica V-LUX 2 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
1.
 
Canon SX20202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
2.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
8.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon SX30202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.6 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX10202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX1202 n 2.8 230 swivel n 1/3200s 4.0 Y Y
12.
 
Canon 1000Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
16.
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
The V-LUX 2 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX20 does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the SX20 and the V-LUX 2 have zoom lenses built in. The SX20 has a 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 optic and the V-LUX 2 offers a 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Leica provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Canon. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

The SX20 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the V-LUX 2 uses SDXC cards.

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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 PowerShot SX20 IS and Leica V-LUX 2 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
1.
 
Canon SX20Ystereomono--YES2.0---
2.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
8.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX30Ystereomono--YES2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX10Ystereomono---2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX1Ystereomono--YES2.0---
12.
 
Canon 1000DY-----2.0---
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 4YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
16.
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---

Both the SX20 and the V-LUX 2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX20 was replaced by the Canon SX30, while the V-LUX 2 was followed by the Leica V-LUX 3. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX20 or the Leica V-LUX 2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2009).

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Advantages of the Leica V-LUX 2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (14 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 80g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V-LUX 2 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 3 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 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.

SX20 03:11 V-LUX 2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX20 and the Leica V-LUX 2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing 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 SX20 and the V-LUX 2 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX20..+ +73/100..4/5 Aug 2009 399i
2.
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
8.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon SX303/5+ +..3.5/54/5 Sep 2010 429i
10.
 
Canon SX10..+ +....4/5 Sep 2008 399i
11.
 
Canon SX1..+ ++..3.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
12.
 
Canon 1000D..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
13.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
14.
 
Leica V-LUX 4.......... Sep 2012 949i
15.
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
16.
 
Leica V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX20:
Check Ebay offers
Leica V-LUX 2:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 SX20 vs Leica V-LUX 2

    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 SX20 Leica V-LUX 2
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2
    Launch Date August 2009 September 2010
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 849
    Sensor Specs Canon SX20 Leica V-LUX 2
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 14 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4320 x 3240 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 1.41 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 49.86 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX20 Leica V-LUX 2
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX20 Leica V-LUX 2
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.7 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX20 Leica V-LUX 2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port YES HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX20 Leica V-LUX 2
    Battery Type 4xAA BP-DC9
    Body Dimensions 123 x 88 x 87 mm
    (4.8 x 3.5 x 3.4 in)
    124 x 80 x 95 mm
    (4.9 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 600 g (21.2 oz) 520 g (18.3 oz)

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