Leica C-LUX vs Sony A99 II
The Leica C-LUX and the Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2018 and September 2016. The C-LUX is a fixed lens compact, while the A99 II is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (C-LUX) and a full frame (A99 II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 42.2 MP.
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 Leica C-LUX and the Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica C-LUX and the Sony A99 II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 C-LUX can be obtained in two different colors (gold, blue), while the A99 II 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 A99 II is considerably larger (96 percent) than the Leica C-LUX. It is noteworthy in this context that the A99 II 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 A99 II is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the C-LUX can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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.
|1.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|2.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T20||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||812 g||350||n||Jul 2019||1,249|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|9.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|10.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|14.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|15.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 A99 II, despite having a lens built 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 A99 II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A99 II is 643 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.
With 42.2MP, the A99 II offers a higher resolution than the C-LUX (20MP), but the A99 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 2.41μm for the C-LUX) due to its larger sensor. However, the C-LUX is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the A99 II, 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 A99 II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A99 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A99 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inches or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inches or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inches or 67.3 x 44.9 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 A99 II 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 ALT-A99 II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|16.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|17.||Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
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 A99 II 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 A99 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||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 A99 II 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 A99 II has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the C-LUX does not have a selfie-screen.
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 A99 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A99 II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the C-LUX only has one slot. 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 ALT-A99 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A99 II 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.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A99 II (unlike the C-LUX) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the C-LUX and the A99 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Leica and Sony. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica C-LUX better than the Sony A99 II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Leica C-LUX:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- 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: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A99 II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x67mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A99 II).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 8 months after the A99 II).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 45%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- 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 (0.78x vs 0.53x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (490 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A99 II is the clear winner of the contest (24 : 12 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 A99 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the C-LUX and the A99 II in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|2.||Sony A99 II||..||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T20||5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2019||1,249|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|9.||Leica CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|10.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|11.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|12.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|13.||Sony RX100 VI||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|14.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|15.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A900||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica C-LUX vs Sony A99 II
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 A99 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-360mm f/3.3-6.4||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2018||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1,049||USD 3,199|
|Sensor Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A99 II|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||4.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||4.90 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||92|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2317|
|Screen Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A99 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2330k dots||2400k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1240k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A99 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A99 II|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|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|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica C-LUX||Sony A99 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||490 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
113 x 67 x 46 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
143 x 104 x 76 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||340 g (12.0 oz)||849 g (29.9 oz)|
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