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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.

Headline Specifications
Canon XSi
versus
Leica X1
Canon XSi   Leica X1
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
12.2 MP – APS-C sensor 12.2 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-3,200
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD – 230k dots 2.7" LCD – 230k 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 charge260 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g 124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g
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Check XSi offers at
ebay.com
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Check X1 offers at
ebay.com

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Canon XSi vs Leica X1
Compare XSi versus X1 top
Comparison XSi 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 (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.

Concerning battery life, the XSi gets 500 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the X1 can take 260 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

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.

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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 XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799ebay.com
2.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849ebay.com
6.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449ebay.com
7.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
9.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899ebay.com
13.
 
Fujifilm X100 126 mm 75 mm 54 mm 445 g 300 n Sep 2010 1,199ebay.com
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699ebay.com
15.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995ebay.com
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499ebay.com
Note: 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.

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 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.

Canon XSi and Leica X1 sensor measures

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).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

XSi versus X1 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none22.611.8103769
3.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
7.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.478364
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
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.
The XSi offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The X1 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

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.

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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)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
2.
 
Leica X1none n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon T6ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
9.
 
Canon XSoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5/s Y n
11.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Fujifilm X1001440 n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the XSi and the X1 write their files to 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 XSi 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 XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica X1Y- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon XSY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
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 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.

Review summary

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.

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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).

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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.

XSi 07:05 X1

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.

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], 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 XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799ebay.com
2.
 
Leica X13/5....+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T6i5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849ebay.com
6.
 
Canon T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449ebay.com
7.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
9.
 
Canon XS..82/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899ebay.com
13.
 
Fujifilm X1003/5....75/1004/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199ebay.com
14.
 
Leica D-LUX 6........4/54/5 Sep 2012 699ebay.com
15.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995ebay.com
16.
 
Leica D-LUX 5........4.5/54/5 Sep 2010 699ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499ebay.com
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.

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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 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 Specifications
    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 Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    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%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Type LP-E5 BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge260 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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)
    logo
    Check XSi offers at
    ebay.com
    logo
    Check X1 offers at
    ebay.com

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