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Canon T3i vs Leica X2

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Leica X2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2011 and May 2012. The T3i is a DSLR, while the X2 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 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 T3i versus Leica X2
Canon T3i Leica X2
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-12,500
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
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 5 shutter flaps per second
440 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 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 EOS Rebel T3i 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 T3i 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the T3i is only available in black.

Size Canon T3i vs Leica X2
Compare T3i versus X2 top
Comparison T3i 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 considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Canon T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the X2 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 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 X2 can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 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 X100S 127 mm 74 mm 54 mm 445 g 330 n Jan 2013 1,299i
14.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Oct 2013 999i
15.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
16.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
17.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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. 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.

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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 tend to be more expensive and 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 X2 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon T3i and Leica X2 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T3i offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Leica X2. 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 4.79μm for the X2). Moreover, it should be noted that the X2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 3 months) than the T3i, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

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 X2 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 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 X2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

T3i versus X2 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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
1.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
2.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
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 X100S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
14.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
15.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
16.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
17.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The T3i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the T3i can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the T3i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. 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 T3i and Leica X2 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
1.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
2.
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
7.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
9.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
12.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
13.
 
Fujifilm X100S2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
14.
 
Fujifilm X-E22360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
15.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
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 X2 does not have a selfie-screen.

The T3i writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X2 uses SDHC cards.

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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 X2 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
1.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Fujifilm X100SYstereomono--micro2.0---
14.
 
Fujifilm X-E2YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
15.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
17.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---

Both the T3i and the X2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T3i or the Leica X2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 16.1MP) with a 5% 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.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2011).

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Reasons to prefer the Leica X2:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the T3i requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm 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 modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 3 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T3i is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.

T3i 10:06 X2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Leica X2 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T3i or the X2 perform in practice. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
2.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
3.
 
Canon SL24/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 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..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 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 X100S5/5+ +81/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299i
14.
 
Fujifilm X-E24/5..80/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 999i
15.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
16.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
17.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
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. 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 T3i:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon T3i 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 T3i Leica X2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date February 2011 May 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 1,995
    Sensor Specs Canon T3i Leica X2
    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 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 4.79 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 12,500 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 X2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    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 X2
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.7 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 T3i Leica X2
    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 X2
    Battery Type LP-E8 BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 100 x 80 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 570 g (20.1 oz) 345 g (12.2 oz)

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