Canon XSi vs Leica X1
The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2008 and September 2009. The XSi is a DSLR, while the X1 is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12.2 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XSi 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon XSi and the Leica X1. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the XSi is only available in black.
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 (41 percent) than the Canon XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi 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 XSi 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 XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|2.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|3.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|9.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|10.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Fujifilm X100||126 mm||75 mm||54 mm||445 g||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199|
|14.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|15.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|16.||Leica D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|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.
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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 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 X1 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (XSi) 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.
Even though the X1 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12.2 megapixels. This implies that the X1 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.51μm versus 5.19μm for the XSi), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the X1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the XSi, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Canon EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|14.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the XSi 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon XSi and Leica X1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|14.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the XSi and the X1 write their files to SDHC 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 EOS Rebel XSi and Leica X1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|14.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the XSi and the X1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the X1 was followed by the Leica X2. 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon XSi and the Leica X1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 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 (500 versus 260) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2008).
Advantages of the Leica X1:
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the XSi requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the XSi).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 7 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XSi emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 5 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XSi or the X1 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.
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.
|1.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|2.||Leica X1||3/5||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|3.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|9.||Canon XS||..||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|10.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|11.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon XT||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Fujifilm X100||3/5||..||75/100||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199|
|14.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|15.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|16.||Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
Specifications: Canon XSi 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 XSi||Leica X1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||36mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2008||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 1,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XSi||Leica X1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2848 pixels||4272 x 2856 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.19 μm||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.70 MP/cm2||3.30 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 3,200 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 X1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XSi||Leica X1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XSi||Leica X1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon XSi||Leica X1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||260 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
124 x 60 x 32 mm
(4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||524 g (18.5 oz)||306 g (10.8 oz)|
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