Leica C-LUX vs Sony A7
The Leica C-LUX and the Sony Alpha A7 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2018 and October 2013. The C-LUX is a fixed lens compact, while the A7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an one-inch (C-LUX) and a full frame (A7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica C-LUX||Sony A7|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|24-360mm f/3.3-6.4||Sony E mount lenses|
|20 MP, 1" Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 125-12,800 (80 - 25,600)||ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2330k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1240k dots||3.0 LCD, 1230k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|370 shots per battery charge||340 shots per battery charge|
|113 x 67 x 46 mm, 340 g||127 x 94 x 48 mm, 474 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica C-LUX and the Sony Alpha A7? 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 Leica C-LUX and the Sony A7. 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 C-LUX can be obtained in two different colors (gold, blue), while the A7 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 Sony A7 is considerably larger (58 percent) than the Leica C-LUX. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 is splash and dust-proof, while the C-LUX does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the C-LUX has a lens built in, whereas the A7 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 A7 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Leica C-LUX||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Sony A7||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||4.4 in||2.4 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|Leica V-LUX 5||5.4 in||3.8 in||5.2 in||28.6 oz||350||n||Jul 2019||1,249|
|Leica D-LUX 7||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.6 in||13.8 oz||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||5.4 in||3.8 in||5.2 in||28.6 oz||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|Panasonic LX100 II||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.6 in||13.8 oz||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX100 VII||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.7 in||10.7 oz||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|Sony RX100 VI||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.7 in||10.6 oz||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony RX100 V||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX100 IV||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony A7 II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7S||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||17.2 oz||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499|
|Sony A7R||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|Sony RX1R||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony RX1||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The C-LUX was launched at a lower price than the A7, despite having a lens built in. 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 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 Sony A7 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 is 638 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.0. 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.
With 24MP, the A7 offers a higher resolution than the C-LUX (20MP), but the A7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 2.41μm for the C-LUX) due to its larger sensor. However, the C-LUX is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 7 months) than the A7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica C-LUX are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Leica C-LUX has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 80-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica V-LUX 5||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
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, but the C-LUX provides a higher video resolution than the A7. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the C-LUX (2400k vs 2330k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica C-LUX and Sony A7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|Leica V-LUX 5||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The C-LUX has one, while the A7 does not. While the built-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 information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the C-LUX is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Leica C-LUX has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The C-LUX writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Leica C-LUX and Sony Alpha A7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|Leica V-LUX 5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The C-LUX does not feature such a mic input.
The C-LUX is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the A7 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 was succeeded by the Sony A7 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Leica C-LUX better than the Sony A7 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica C-LUX:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x67mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the A7 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.53x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2013).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the C-LUX comes out slightly ahead of the A7 (13 : 12 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica C-LUX and the Sony A7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the C-LUX or the A7. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
|Leica C-LUX||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||+||82/100||..||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|Leica V-LUX 5||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2019||1,249|
|Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||83/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|Panasonic LX100 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Sony RX100 VII||..||..||4/5||..||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|Sony RX100 VI||+ +||83/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Sony RX100 V||+ +||83/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony A7 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7S||..||86/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499|
|Sony A7R||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|Sony RX1R||..||..||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony RX1||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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, 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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Leica C-LUX vs Sony A7
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||Leica C-LUX||Sony A7|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-360mm f/3.3-6.4||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2018||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1,049||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A7|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 51,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||90|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2248|
|Screen Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A7|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2330k dots||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1240k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A7|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A7|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
113 x 67 x 46 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||340 g (12.0 oz)||474 g (16.7 oz)|
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