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Canon XSi vs Leica Digilux 3

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Leica Digilux 3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2008 and September 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (XSi) and a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 7.4 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon XSi versus Leica Digilux 3
Canon XSi Leica Digilux 3
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 207k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g 146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and the Leica Digilux 3? 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 XSi and the Leica Digilux 3 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon XSi vs Leica Digilux 3
Compare XSi versus Digilux 3 top
Comparison XSi or Digilux 3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XSi and the Leica Digilux 3 are of equal size. However, the Digilux 3 is markedly heavier (16 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi nor the Digilux 3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (XSi) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (Digilux 3).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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
 
Canon XSi 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799i
 
Leica Digilux 3 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Canon T6i 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T4i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T3 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T2i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XS 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449i
 
Canon 40D 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon XTi 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899i
 
Olympus E-330 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-500 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-300 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799i
 
Panasonic L10 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599i
 
Panasonic L1 5.7 in 3.4 in 2.5 in 21.4 oz 750 n Feb 2006 999i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XSi was launched at a markedly lower price (by 47 percent) than the Digilux 3, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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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. 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. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon XSi features an APS-C sensor and the Leica Digilux 3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the Digilux 3 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the XSi has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the Digilux 3 offers a 4:3 aspect.

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

Canon XSi and Leica Digilux 3 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the XSi offers a higher resolution than the Digilux 3 (7.4MP), but the XSi has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). However, the XSi is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the Digilux 3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Canon XSi implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XSi for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica Digilux 3 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The Leica Digilux 3 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

XSi versus Digilux 3 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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 XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
Both the XSi and the Digilux 3 offer Live View, so that they make it possible to use the rear screen for framing. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XSi and the Digilux 3 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the XSi has a higher magnification than the one of the Digilux 3 (0.54x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon XSi, the Leica Digilux 3, and comparable 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 XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

The XSi writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the Digilux 3 uses SDXC 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 XSi and Leica Digilux 3 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 XSiY----mini2.0---
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L1Y-----2.0---

Both the XSi and the Digilux 3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the Digilux 3 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon XSi better than the Leica Digilux 3 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 7.4MP) with a 31% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.47x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 207k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 82g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (47 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the Digilux 3).

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Reasons to prefer the Leica Digilux 3:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XSi is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 3 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 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.

XSi 12:03 Digilux 3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi and the Leica Digilux 3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the XSi and the Digilux 3 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 XSi+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
 
Canon T6i..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XS82/100+ +3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599i
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
 
Panasonic L185/100+..o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon XSi:
Check Ebay offers
Leica Digilux 3:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. 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 XSi vs Leica Digilux 3

    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 XSi Leica Digilux 3
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 1,499
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Leica Digilux 3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 7.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 3136 x 2352 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 ..
    Screen Specs Canon XSi Leica Digilux 3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.47x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 207k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Leica Digilux 3
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XSi Leica Digilux 3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XSi Leica Digilux 3
    Battery Type LP-E5 BP-DC3
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 606 g (21.4 oz)

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