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Leica CL versus Leica X1

The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2017 and September 2009. The CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the X1 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 X1 provides 12.2 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 X1

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica CL and the Leica X1. 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 – the CL – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Leica CL vs Leica X1
Compare CL versus X1 top
Compare CL and 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 notably smaller (27 percent) than the Leica CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL 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 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.

Concerning battery life, the CL gets 220 shots out of its BP-DC12 battery, while the X1 can take 260 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

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
  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 CL» 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Leica X1« 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
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 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 M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica TL2« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Leica TL« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Leica D-LUX 6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« » 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« » 4.9 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 18.3 oz 410 n Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i Nikon D3400
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
Panasonic LX5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5

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. The X1 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 CL vs Leica X1

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica CL and Leica X1 sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the X1 (12.2MP), but the CL has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 5.51μm for the X1). However, the CL is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 years and 2 months) than the X1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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.

CL versus X1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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 CL» APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica CL
Leica X1« APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----Leica X1
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
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 C-LUX« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica C-LUX
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
Leica TL« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
Leica D-LUX 6« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p----Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« » APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p----Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« » 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i----Leica V-LUX 2
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
Panasonic LX5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The CL indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the CL can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica CL vs Leica X1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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 X1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica CL and Leica X1 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 CL»2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 10.0 n n Leica CL
Leica X1«- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y n Leica X1
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
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 C-LUX« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
Leica TL2« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 7.0 n n Leica TL2
Leica TL« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 5.0 Y n Leica TL
Leica D-LUX 6« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 11.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 2
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
Panasonic LX5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5

The CL is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the X1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the X1 was succeeded by the Leica X2.

Review summary: Leica CL vs Leica X1

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica CL or the Leica X1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Leica CL (Typ 7323):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 12.2MP) with a 41% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
  • 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.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k 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 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 2 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.


Advantages of the Leica X1:

  • 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.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 131x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the CL).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (260 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 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.

CL 12:08 X1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the CL or the X1. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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 CL»----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Leica X1«-Rec--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
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 C-LUX« »----- Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Leica TL« »----4/5 Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Leica D-LUX 6« »--4/5-4/5 Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« »--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« »----- Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i Nikon D3400
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
Panasonic LX5« »Rec73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5

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. 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. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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