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Canon T3i vs Leica X1

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2011 and September 2009. The T3i is a DSLR, while the X1 is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 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 T3i
versus
Leica X1
Canon T3i   Leica X1
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-3,200
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.7 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
440 shots per battery charge260 shots per battery charge
133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 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 EOS Rebel T3i 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

The physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Leica X1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the T3i is only available in black.

Size Canon T3i vs Leica X1
Compare T3i versus X1 top
Comparison T3i 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 considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Canon T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the X1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X1 has a lens built in, whereas the T3i is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the T3i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the T3i gets 440 shots out of its LP-E8 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 would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
2.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
3.
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
6.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
9.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
10.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
11.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
12.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Fujifilm X100 126 mm 75 mm 54 mm 445 g 300 n Sep 2010 1,199i
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
15.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699i
17.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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. 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the X1 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (T3i) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon T3i and Leica X1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T3i offers a higher resolution of 17.9 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 4.31μm versus 5.51μm for the X1). However, it should be noted that the T3i is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the X1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The resolution advantage of the Canon T3i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T3i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 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 EOS Rebel T3i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

T3i versus X1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 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
1.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
2.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none22.611.8103769
3.
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
6.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
7.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
8.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
9.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
10.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
11.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
12.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
13.
 
Fujifilm X100 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p19.810.8-30343
15.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.510.4-58339
17.
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The T3i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the T3i can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the T3i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon T3i, the Leica X1, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/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
1.
 
Canon T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
2.
 
Leica X1none n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SL2optical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T5optical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
7.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
9.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
12.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
13.
 
Fujifilm X1001440 n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
15.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
The T3i has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the X1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The T3i writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X1 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 EOS Rebel T3i 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica X1Y- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SL2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Fujifilm X100Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---

Both the T3i and the X1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the T3i was followed by the Canon T4i. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T3i and the Leica X1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 12.2MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (440 versus 260) on a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the X1).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Leica X1:

  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the T3i requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the T3i).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T3i is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 5 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 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.

T3i 12:05 X1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Leica X1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the T3i 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
2.
 
Leica X13/5....+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
3.
 
Canon SL24/5+ +4/578/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T53/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
6.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
7.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
8.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
9.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
10.
 
Canon T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
11.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
12.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Fujifilm X1003/5....75/1004/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199i
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6........4/54/5 Sep 2012 699i
15.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5........4.5/54/5 Sep 2010 699i
17.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 T3i:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X1:
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon T3i 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 T3i Leica X1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date February 2011 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 1,995
    Sensor Specs Canon T3i Leica X1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 4272 x 2856 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 3.30 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 793 ..
    Screen Specs Canon T3i Leica X1
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon T3i Leica X1
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.7 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-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 T3i Leica X1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon T3i Leica X1
    Battery Type LP-E8 BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge260 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 100 x 80 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    124 x 60 x 32 mm
    (4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 570 g (20.1 oz) 306 g (10.8 oz)

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