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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.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX720 versus Leica X1
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 charge260 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.

Body comparison

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).

Size Canon SX720 vs Leica X1
Compare SX720 versus X1 top
Comparison SX720 or X1 rear

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.

Concerning battery life, the SX720 gets 250 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the X1 can take 260 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 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.

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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 SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Leica X1 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
 
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 SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm X100 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 300 n Sep 2010 1,199i
 
Leica D-LUX 6 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X2 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Leica D-LUX 5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699i
 
Panasonic ZS70 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449i
 
Panasonic LX5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499i
 
Sony HX80 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 390 n Mar 2016 349 i
 
Sony HX90V 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Canon SX720 and Leica X1 sensor measures

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).

SX720 versus X1 MP

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.

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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 SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
 
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 SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X100 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p........
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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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 SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 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 SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Fujifilm X1001440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 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.

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 SX720 HS and Leica X1 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 SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Fujifilm X100Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

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.

Review summary

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.

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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.

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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.

SX720 15:09 X1

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.

Expert reviews

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.

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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 SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Leica X1..+....4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
 
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 SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm X100..75/1004/54/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199i
 
Leica D-LUX 6....4/5..4/5 Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Leica D-LUX 5....4.5/5..4/5 Sep 2010 699i
 
Panasonic ZS70+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449i
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 i
 
Sony HX90V+ +..4/5..4.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
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.

Canon SX720:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X1:
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 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 Specifications
    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 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 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
    Viewfinder Magnification
    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 Type NB-13L BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge260 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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