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Canon SX520 vs Leica X2

The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Leica X2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2014 and May 2012. Both the SX520 and the X2 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX520) and an APS-C (X2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 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 SX520   Leica X2
Canon SX520 Leica X2
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1008mm f/3.4-6 36mm f/2.8
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-3200 ISO 100-12500
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 461k dots 2.7" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.6 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
210 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 441 g 124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS 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 SX520 and the Leica X2. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX520 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX520 vs Leica X2
Compare SX520 versus X2 top
Comparison SX520 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 smaller (13 percent) than the Canon SX520. Moreover, the X2 is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the SX520. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX520 nor the X2 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX520 gets 210 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the X2 can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX520» 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jul 2014 399- i Canon SX520
 
Leica X2« 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
 
Canon SX540« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i i Canon SX540
 
Canon SX530« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jan 2015 429- i Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349- i Canon SX710
 
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
 
Canon SX510« » 4.1 in 2.8 in 3.1 in 12.3 oz 250 n Aug 2013 249- i Canon SX510
 
Fujifilm X100S« » 5.0 in 2.9 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 330 n Jan 2013 1,299- i Fujifilm X100S
 
Fujifilm X-E2« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
 
Leica X Typ 113« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X1« » 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
 
Nikon B600« » 4.8 in 3.2 in 3.9 in 17.6 oz 280 n Jan 2019 349 i i Nikon B600
 
Nikon L840« » 4.4 in 3.1 in 3.8 in 19.0 oz 590 n Feb 2015 299- i Nikon L840
 
Nikon Coolpix A« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 230 n Mar 2013 1,099- i Nikon Coolpix A
 
Sony HX90V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 360 n Apr 2015 429 i i Sony HX90V
 
Sony H200« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 3.4 in 18.7 oz 240 n Jan 2013 249 i i Sony H200
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 SX520 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the X2, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

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 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX520 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Leica X2 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X2 is 1221 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 SX520 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the X2 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX520 and Leica X2 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X2 offers a higher resolution than the SX520 (15.9MP), but the X2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 1.33μm for the SX520) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX520 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 2 months) than the X2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX520 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

SX520 versus X2 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX520» 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Canon SX520
 
Leica X2« APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2
 
Canon SX540« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX540
 
Canon SX530« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX710
 
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
 
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
 
Canon SX510« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p----Canon SX510
 
Fujifilm X100S« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X100S
 
Fujifilm X-E2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2
 
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X1« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----Leica X1
 
Nikon B600« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Nikon B600
 
Nikon L840« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i----Nikon L840
 
Nikon Coolpix A« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480Nikon Coolpix A
 
Sony HX90V« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p----Sony HX90V
 
Sony H200« » 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p----Sony H200

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SX520 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX520 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX520 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX520 and Leica X2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX520»- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y Canon SX520
 
Leica X2«- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X2
 
Canon SX540« »- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX540
 
Canon SX530« »- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« »- n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y Canon SX710
 
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
 
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T5
 
Canon SX510« »- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y Canon SX510
 
Fujifilm X100S« »2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X100S
 
Fujifilm X-E2« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2
 
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n Leica X1
 
Nikon B600« »- n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon B600
 
Nikon L840« »- n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y Nikon L840
 
Nikon Coolpix A« »- n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n Nikon Coolpix A
 
Sony HX90V« »638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Sony HX90V
 
Sony H200« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y Sony H200

The SX520 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the X2 comes with a built-in prime. The SX520 has a 24-1008mm f/3.4-6 optic and the X2 offers a 36mm f/2.8 (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. The X2 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX520 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X2 uses SDHC 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 SX520 HS and Leica X2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX520»-stereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX520
 
Leica X2«Y----mini2.0---Leica X2
 
Canon SX540« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon SX540
 
Canon SX530« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon SX710
 
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
 
Canon T5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
 
Canon SX510« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon SX510
 
Fujifilm X100S« »Ystereomono--micro2.0---Fujifilm X100S
 
Fujifilm X-E2« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-E2
 
Leica X Typ 113« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X1« »Y----mini2.0---Leica X1
 
Nikon B600« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y-YNikon B600
 
Nikon L840« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Nikon L840
 
Nikon Coolpix A« »Ystereomono---2.0---Nikon Coolpix A
 
Sony HX90V« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX90V
 
Sony H200« »-monomono---2.0---Sony H200

It is notable that the X2 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX520 does not feature such an accessory-socket.

Both the SX520 and the X2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX520 was replaced by the Canon SX530, 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 is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX520 or the Leica X2 – 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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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • 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 (461k vs 230k dots).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 2 months of technical progress since the X2 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica X2:

  • 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.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.4).
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 120x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 96g or 22 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 210) 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 May 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X2 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

SX520 08:14 X2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX520 and the Leica X2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 SX520 and the X2 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX520»+-3.5/5-3.5/5 Jul 2014 399- i Canon SX520
 
Leica X2«--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
 
Canon SX540« »----- Jan 2016 399 i i Canon SX540
 
Canon SX530« »+ +-4/5-4/5 Jan 2015 429- i Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Jan 2015 349- i Canon SX710
 
Canon SX60« »+ +75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon T5« »+-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
 
Canon SX510« »+ +-4.5/5-4/5 Aug 2013 249- i Canon SX510
 
Fujifilm X100S« »+ +81/1004.5/54/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299- i Fujifilm X100S
 
Fujifilm X-E2« »-80/1004.5/5-5/5 Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
 
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X1« »-+--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
 
Nikon B600« »+-3.5/5-3/5 Jan 2019 349 i i Nikon B600
 
Nikon L840« »+ +-3.5/5-4/5 Feb 2015 299- i Nikon L840
 
Nikon Coolpix A« »+75/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099- i Nikon Coolpix A
 
Sony HX90V« »+ +-4/5-4.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i i Sony HX90V
 
Sony H200« »--3.5/5-3.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i i Sony H200
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX520:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X2:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX520 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 SX520 Leica X2
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.4-6 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date July 2014 May 2012
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 1995
    Sensor Specs Canon SX520 Leica X2
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 4.79 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 100-12500 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX520 Leica X2
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX520 Leica X2
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX520 Leica X2
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX520 Leica X2
    Battery Type NB-6LH BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 441 g (15.6 oz) 345 g (12.2 oz)

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