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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.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX420
versus
Leica TL
Canon SX420   Leica TL
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 Leica T mount lenses
19.9 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 16.1 MP – APS-C sensor
720/25p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-12,500
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 230k dots 3.0" LCD – 1230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
0.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g 134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g
Canon SX420:
Check Ebay offers
Leica TL:
Check Ebay offers

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.

Body comparison

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).

Size Canon SX420 vs Leica TL
Compare SX420 versus TL top
Comparison SX420 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 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.

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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 SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299i
2.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
3.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
5.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
7.
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
8.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
9.
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
10.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
11.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
12.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
13.
 
Fujifilm X70 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799i
14.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
15.
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
16.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
17.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
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.

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.

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.

Canon SX420 and Leica TL sensor measures

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).

SX420 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
1.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
2.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.913.2169081
3.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.511.990049
4.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
5.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.811.926062
7.
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.411.883849
8.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.881748
9.
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.811.922761
10.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
11.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.211.671247
12.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
13.
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.713.0160880
14.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p24.013.3178882
15.
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p23.913.3175382
16.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
17.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
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.

Feature comparison

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.

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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 SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
2.
 
Leica TLoptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon SX430none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon M100none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1/s Y n
5.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX620none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon G5 X2360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9/s Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX610none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5/s Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Fujifilm X70optional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y n
14.
 
Leica CL2360 Y3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
15.
 
Leica TL2optional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0/s n n
16.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
17.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 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.

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 SX420 IS 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
2.
 
Leica TLYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SX430-mono / mono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon M100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX620-mono / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX720-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon G5 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX610-- / ---micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Fujifilm X70Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
14.
 
Leica CLYstereo / mono----Y--
15.
 
Leica TL2Ystereo / mono--micro3.0Y--
16.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
17.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---

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 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 SX420 and the Leica TL? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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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).

ilogo

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.

SX420 08:16 TL

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.

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 (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 SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
2.
 
Leica TL..........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
3.
 
Canon SX430........3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon M1003/5+....4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
5.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +..81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
7.
 
Canon SX620..........4/5 May 2016 279 i
8.
 
Canon SX720..+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
9.
 
Canon G5 X5/5+ +..78/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
10.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279i
11.
 
Canon SX610........4/54/5 Jan 2015 249i
12.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
13.
 
Fujifilm X704.5/5....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799i
14.
 
Leica CL....4.2/5....4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
15.
 
Leica TL23.5/5..3/5..4/54/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
16.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
17.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
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 SX420:
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 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 Specifications
    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 Technology CCD CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    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
    Second Storage Option 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 Type NB-11LH BP-DC13
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 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)
    Canon SX420:
    Check Ebay offers
    Leica TL:
    Check Ebay offers

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