Canon SX420 vs Leica TL
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Leica TL are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and November 2016. The SX420 is a fixed lens compact, while the TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (TL) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon SX420 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 SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the TL is available in three color-versions (black, silver, titanium).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica TL is notably larger (29 percent) than the Canon SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the TL are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 has a lens built in, whereas the TL is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX620||97 mm||57 mm||28 mm||182 g||295||n||May 2016||279||amazon.com|
|8.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|13.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|15.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|16.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|17.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995||ebay.com|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX420 was launched at a lower price than the TL, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX420 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Leica TL an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the TL is 1225 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX420 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the TL offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 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 1.19μm versus 4.80μm for the TL). Moreover, it should be noted that the TL is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the SX420, and its sensor might 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 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 Canon SX420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 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 PowerShot SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica TL are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the SX420 is build around a CCD sensor, while the TL uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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.
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|9.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||471||62|
|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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the TL provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX420 and the TL 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 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 SX420 and Leica TL along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX620||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX610||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/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 TL has a touchscreen, while the SX420 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the TL write their files to SDXC cards.
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 SX420 IS and Leica TL and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX620||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon SX610||-||- / -||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Fujifilm X70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|15.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the TL has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX420 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the SX420 and the TL have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The SX420 was replaced by the Canon SX430, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. Further information on the features and operation of the SX420 and TL can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX420 Manual (free pdf) or the online Leica TL Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX420 and the Leica TL? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 16.1MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the TL requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 134x69mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the TL).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).
Advantages of the Leica TL:
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/25p).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- 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 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (10 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 8 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Leica TL place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 SX420 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.
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 (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 SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX620||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279||amazon.com|
|8.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|13.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|15.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|16.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|17.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995||ebay.com|
|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.
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.
Specifications: Canon SX420 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 Model||Canon SX420||Leica TL|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||Leica T mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||November 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 1,695|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX420||Leica TL|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.6 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||370.52 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.9 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5152 x 3864 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.19 μm||4.80 μm|
|Pixel Density||70.91 MP/cm2||4.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 12,500 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX420||Leica TL|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX420||Leica TL|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX420||Leica TL|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX420||Leica TL|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
134 x 69 x 33 mm
(5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||384 g (13.5 oz)|
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