Canon SX720 vs Leica X1
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2016 and September 2009. Both the SX720 and the X1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and an APS-C (X1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon SX720||Leica X1|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||36mm f/2.8|
|20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO 80-3,200||ISO 100-3,200|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 922k dots||2.7 LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.9 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|250 shots per battery charge||260 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 64 x 36 mm, 270 g||124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Leica X1? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX720 and the Leica X1 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 SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the X1 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X1 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Canon SX720. Moreover, the X1 is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the X1 are weather-sealed.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon SX720||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Leica X1||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX420||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX540||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon SX410||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX710||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Fujifilm X100||5.0 in||3.0 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199|
|Leica D-LUX 6||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|Leica X2||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|Leica D-LUX 5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|Panasonic ZS70||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic LX5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Sony HX80||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony HX90V||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
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 SX720 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 81 percent) than the X1, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 SX720 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Leica X1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X1 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 SX720 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the X1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX720 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Leica X1. 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 5.51μm for the X1). However, it should be noted that the SX720 is much more recent (by 6 years and 5 months) than the X1, 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 SX720 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX720 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX720 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 X1 are 21.4 x 14.3 inches or 54.3 x 36.3 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 29 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX720 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX720 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX720 and the X1 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. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX720 and Leica X1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
The SX720 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the X1 comes with a built-in prime. The SX720 has a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 optic and the X1 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 X1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The SX720 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X1 uses SDHC cards. The SX720 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 SX720 HS and Leica X1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SX720 offers wifi support, while the X1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX720 and the X1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the SX720 was followed by the Canon SX730. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX720 better than the Leica X1 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.2MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- 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 1080/60p 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 36g or 12 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (81 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.
Advantages of the Leica X1:
- 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 light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.3).
- 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 September 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX720 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 9 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 SX720 and the Leica X1 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX720 or the X1. 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Leica X1||..||+||..||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon SX410||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Fujifilm X100||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199|
|Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|Leica X2||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony HX90V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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.
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Canon SX720
- Canon M vs Canon SX720
- Canon SX410 vs Canon SX720
- Canon SX720 vs Canon SX730
- Canon SX720 vs Leica X Vario
- Canon SX720 vs Nikon D5600
- Canon SX720 vs Nikon D60
- Canon SX720 vs Panasonic GM5
- Canon SX720 vs Sony H300
- Canon SX720 vs Sony HX90V
- Leica X1 vs Olympus TG-6
- Leica X1 vs Panasonic LF1
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Leica X1
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 SX720||Leica X1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||36mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||February 2016||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 1,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Leica X1|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4272 x 2856 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||3.30 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Leica X1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Leica X1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||3 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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX720||Leica X1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX720||Leica X1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||260 shots per charge|
110 x 64 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
124 x 60 x 32 mm
(4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||306 g (10.8 oz)|
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