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Canon SX420 vs Leica X Vario

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and June 2013. Both the SX420 and the X Vario are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (X Vario) 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 X Vario
Canon SX420 Leica X Vario
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4
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, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g 133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107)? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX420 and the Leica X Vario is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 X Vario is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).

Size Canon SX420 vs Leica X Vario
Compare SX420 versus X Vario top
Comparison SX420 or X Vario rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X Vario is notably larger (35 percent) than the Canon SX420. Moreover, the X Vario is substantially heavier (109 percent) than the SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the X Vario are weather-sealed.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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 SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620 3.8 in 2.2 in 1.1 in 6.4 oz 295 n May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.7 oz 270 n Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Leica Q Typ 116 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica X Typ 113 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X2 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Panasonic ZS70 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449i
 
Ricoh GR 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799i
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 obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX420 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 90 percent) than the X Vario, 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.

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 X Vario an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X Vario 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 X Vario offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX420 and Leica X Vario 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 X Vario. 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 X Vario). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the X Vario, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 X Vario are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.6 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 27.7 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 X Vario (Typ 107) are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

SX420 versus X Vario MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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 SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the X Vario 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 range of features. The SX420 and the X Vario 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 X Vario can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX420, the Leica X Vario, and comparable cameras.

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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 SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Ricoh GRoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n

Both the SX420 and the X Vario have zoom lenses built in. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 optic and the X Vario offers a 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Leica. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the X Vario 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 X Vario (Typ 107) 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 SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Ricoh GRYmonomono--micro2.0---

It is notable that the SX420 offers wifi support, while the X Vario does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The SX420 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the X Vario has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the X Vario from Leica. 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 the Canon SX420 better than the Leica X Vario or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 16.1MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • 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.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 133x73mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 355g or 52 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (90 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the X Vario launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/25p).
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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 heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X Vario comes out slightly ahead of the SX420 (13 : 12 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 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.

SX420 12:13 X Vario

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Leica X Vario place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX420 and the X Vario 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610....4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Leica Q Typ 116..80/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica X Typ 113....3.5/5..4/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A+75/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Panasonic ZS70+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449i
 
Ricoh GR..79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 Amazon price
Leica X Vario:
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.

~

    Specifications: Canon SX420 vs Leica X Vario

    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 X Vario
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4
    Launch Date January 2016 June 2013
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 2,850
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 Leica X Vario
    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 3272 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/25p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1320
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 Leica X Vario
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX420 Leica X Vario
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-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 X Vario
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX420 Leica X Vario
    Battery Type NB-11LH BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 680 g (24.0 oz)

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