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Leica C-LUX versus Leica CL

The Leica C-LUX and the Leica CL (Typ 7323) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2018 and November 2017. The C-LUX is a fixed lens compact, while the CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (C-LUX) and an APS-C (CL) sensor. The C-LUX has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the CL provides 24.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica C-LUX vs Leica CL

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica C-LUX and the Leica CL is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the C-LUX – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica C-LUX vs Leica CL
Compare C-LUX versus CL top
Compare C-LUX and CL rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica CL is notably larger (35 percent) than the Leica C-LUX. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the C-LUX nor the CL are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the C-LUX has a lens build in, whereas the CL is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica C-LUX» 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica CL« 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Canon SX730« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.5 oz 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Leica TL2« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Panasonic LX100 II« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.6 in 13.8 oz 300 n Aug 2018 999 i i Panasonic LX100 II
Panasonic ZS70« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic ZS70
Sony RX100 VI« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.7 in 10.6 oz 240 n Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The C-LUX was launched at a lower price than the CL, despite having a lens build in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica C-LUX vs Leica CL

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica C-LUX features an one-inch sensor and the Leica CL an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the CL is 220 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica C-LUX and Leica CL sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the C-LUX (20MP), but the CL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 2.41μm for the C-LUX) due to its larger sensor. However, the C-LUX is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the CL, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the CL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

C-LUX versus CL MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Leica C-LUX» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica C-LUX
Leica CL« APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica CL
Canon SX730« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
Panasonic LX100 II« » Four Thirds 16.8 4736 35524K/30p----Panasonic LX100 II
Panasonic ZS70« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636Panasonic ZS70
Sony RX100 VI« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Leica C-LUX vs Leica CL

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the CL offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the C-LUX (2360k vs 2330k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica C-LUX and Leica CL along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica C-LUX»2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
Leica CL«2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 10.0 n n Leica CL
Canon SX730« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 3200 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
Leica TL2« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 7.0 n n Leica TL2
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
Panasonic LX100 II« »2764 n 3.0 1240 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100 II
Panasonic ZS70« »1166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic ZS70
Sony RX100 VI« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting Y 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The C-LUX has one, while the CL does not. While the build-in flash of the C-LUX is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, both cameras feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the C-LUX and the CL write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Leica C-LUX»-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica C-LUX
Leica CL«Ystereomono----Y--Leica CL
Canon SX730« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX730
Fujifilm X-E3« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A3
Leica TL2« »Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
Panasonic LX100 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YPanasonic LX100 II
Panasonic ZS70« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic ZS70
Sony RX100 VI« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYSony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV

Both the C-LUX and the CL are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Leica.

Review summary: Leica C-LUX vs Leica CL

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica C-LUX and the Leica CL? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Leica C-LUX:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1240k vs 1040k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the CL requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x67mm vs 131x78mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the CL).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the CL).


Advantages of the Leica CL (Typ 7323):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO images.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2017).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the C-LUX emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 8 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.

C-LUX 10:08 CL

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the C-LUX and the CL 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica C-LUX»----4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica CL«----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Canon SX730« »Rec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T20« »HiRec82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Panasonic LX100 II« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2018 999 i i Panasonic LX100 II
Panasonic ZS70« »HiRec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic ZS70
Sony RX100 VI« »HiRec83/1004/5-4.5/5 Jun 2018 1,199 i i Sony RX100 VI
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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