Leica CL versus Leica X Vario
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2017 and June 2013. The CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the X Vario is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The CL has a resolution of 24.1 megapixel, whereas the X Vario provides 16.1 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 CL vs Leica X Vario
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica CL and the Leica X Vario. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size 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 side – the CL – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X Vario is notably smaller (5 percent) than the Leica CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL nor the X Vario are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X Vario 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 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.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Leica CL (⇒ rgt)||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||no||2017||2,795||latest||check|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft)||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||no||2013||2,850||latest||check|
|Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||no||2016||979||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||no||2017||899||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||no||2017||899||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||no||2016||399||latest||check|
|Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||no||2017||6,595||latest||check|
|Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||no||2017||1,950||latest||check|
|Leica TL (⇒ lft | rgt)||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||no||2016||1,695||discont.||check|
|Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt)||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||no||2015||4,249||latest||check|
|Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt)||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||no||2014||1,850||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||no||2016||499||latest||check|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||no||2016||699||latest||check|
|Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt)||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||YES||2013||2,749||latest||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||no||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||no||2013||2,799||discont.||check|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 CL vs Leica X Vario
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the CL offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixel, compared with 16.1 MP of the X Vario. This megapixel advantage translates into a 22 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the CL has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 4.80μm for the X Vario). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the CL is much more recent (by 4 years and 5 months) than the X Vario, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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.
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica CL (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77|
|Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||no||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica TL (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.2||4944||3278||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||1082||75|
|Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84|
|Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||no||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the CL provides a higher video resolution than the X Vario. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the X Vario is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Leica CL vs Leica X Vario
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the CL has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X Vario relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica CL and Leica X Vario in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Leica CL (⇒ rgt)||2360||YES||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||8000||10.0||no||no|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft)||no||no||3.0||920||fixed||no||2000||5.0||YES||no|
|Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.2||1620||tilting||YES||4000||9.0||5||no|
|Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||4000||8.0||no||no|
|Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||8.0||5||no|
|Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||6.0||7||no|
|Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1037||fixed||no||4000||5.0||no||no|
|Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.7||1230||fixed||YES||4000||7.0||no||no|
|Leica TL (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.7||1230||fixed||YES||4000||5.0||YES||no|
|Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt)||3680||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||2000||10.0||no||no|
|Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.7||1300||fixed||YES||4000||5.0||4.5||no|
|Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||921||fixed||no||4000||5.0||7||no|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.2||1037||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||921||fixed||no||4000||5.5||no||no|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||12.0||13.5||YES|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1229||fixed||no||4000||5.0||6||no|
Both the CL and the X Vario 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 CL vs Leica X Vario
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica CL and the Leica X Vario? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica CL (Typ 7323):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 16.1MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 5 months of technical progress since the X Vario launch.
Advantages of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the CL necessitates an extra lens.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2013).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the CL is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 5 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.
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 CL or the X Vario handle or perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Leica CL (⇒ rgt)||..||..||..||..||4/5||2017||2,795||latest||check|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft)||-||-||4/5||4/5||4/5||2013||2,850||latest||check|
|Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||82/100 Silver||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||2016||979||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||84/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2017||899||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Silver||5/5||..||4.5/5||2017||899||latest||check|
|Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||74/100||4.5/5||-||4/5||2016||399||latest||check|
|Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||2017||6,595||latest||check|
|Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||2017||1,950||latest||check|
|Leica TL (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||-||-||4/5||2016||1,695||discont.||check|
|Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100 Silver||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||2015||4,249||latest||check|
|Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||2014||1,850||discont.||check|
|Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2016||499||latest||check|
|Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2016||699||latest||check|
|Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||2013||2,749||latest||check|
|Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2014||899||discont.||check|
|Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2013||2,799||discont.||check|
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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