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Canon SX540 vs Leica TL

The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Leica TL are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and November 2016. The SX540 is a fixed lens compact, while the TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) and an APS-C (TL) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 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 SX540 versus Leica TL
Canon SX540 Leica TL
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Leica T mount lenses
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 100-12,500
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.7 LCD, 1230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
5.9 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
205 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS 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 SX540 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 views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the SX540 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX540 vs Leica TL
Compare SX540 versus TL top
Comparison SX540 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 smaller (6 percent) than the Canon SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the TL are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX540 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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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 SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Canon 77D 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon 200D 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon G1 X Mark III 115 mm 78 mm 51 mm 399 g 200 Y Oct 2017 1,299 i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon M6 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon 1300D 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm X70 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799i
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
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 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 SX540 was launched at a lower price than the TL, despite having a lens built in. 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. 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX540 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 SX540 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the TL offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX540 and Leica TL sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX540 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 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 1.18μm 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 SX540, 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 SX540 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX540 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 SX540 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica TL are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

SX540 versus TL 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 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
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
 
Canon 200D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
 
Canon G1 X Mark III APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon 1300D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........

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 SX540 provides a higher frame rate than the TL. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX540 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX540 and Leica TL in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon 200Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon G1 X Mark III2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 9.0 Y Y
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
 
Canon M6optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon 1300Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X70optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the SX540 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 SX540 and the TL write their files to SDXC cards. The SX540 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the TL cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 SX540 HS 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon 200DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIIYstereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon M6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon 1300DYmonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Fujifilm X70YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
 
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 SX540 does not feature such an accessory-socket.

The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the TL has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TL was succeeded 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX540 better than the Leica TL 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 SX540 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 16.1MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the TL requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • 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).

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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.
  • 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 461k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 205) 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 number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 9 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 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.

SX540 09:14 TL

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX540 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX540 and the TL 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 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 SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Canon 77D..82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon 200D+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon G1 X Mark III+79/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Oct 2017 1,299 i
 
Canon G9 X Mark II..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
 
Canon M6..80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon 1300Do73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX530+ +..4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 429i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm X70..76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX540:
Check Amazon price
Leica TL:
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 SX540 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 SX540 Leica TL
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Leica T mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2016 November 2016
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 1,695
    Sensor Specs Canon SX540 Leica TL
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS 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 20.2 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 4.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 12,500 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX540 Leica TL
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.7inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX540 Leica TL
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 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 UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX540 Leica TL
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX540 Leica TL
    Battery Type NB-6LH BP-DC13
    Battery Life (CIPA)205 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 384 g (13.5 oz)

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