Leica CL vs Panasonic FT7
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 (labelled Panasonic TS7 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2017 and May 2018. The CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the FT7 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (CL) and a 1/2.3-inch (FT7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 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 CL (Typ 7323) and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7? 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 CL and the Panasonic FT7. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The FT7 can be obtained in three different colors (black, blue, orange), while the CL 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 Panasonic FT7 is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Leica CL. It is noteworthy in this context that the FT7 is splash and dust-proof, while the CL does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the FT7 is water-proof up to 31m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the FT7 has a lens built 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 FT7 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BCM13 power pack. The power pack in the FT7 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T100||121 mm||83 mm||47 mm||448 g||430||n||May 2018||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T20||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A3||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||n||Aug 2016||399||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049||amazon.com|
|10.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|11.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||415 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|14.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449||amazon.com|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 FT7 was launched at a lower price than the CL, 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.
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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica CL features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic FT7 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the FT7 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the CL has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the FT7 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the FT7 (20.2MP), but the CL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 1.18μm for the FT7) due to its larger sensor. However, the FT7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the CL, 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.
The resolution advantage of the Leica CL implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the CL for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic FT7 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
In terms of underlying technology, the CL is build around a CMOS sensor, while the FT7 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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.
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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, 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 consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the CL offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the FT7 (2360k vs 1170k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica CL and Panasonic FT7 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||1170||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T100||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T20||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A3||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||2330||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic TZ95||2330||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the CL, but is missing on the FT7 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 CL 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the CL and the FT7 write their files to SDXC cards. The CL supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the FT7 can use UHS-I cards (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 CL (Typ 7323) and Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T20||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|14.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|16.||Panasonic TZ95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the CL has a hotshoe, while the FT7 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The CL is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the FT7 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the FT7 from Panasonic. Further information on the features and operation of the CL and FT7 can be found, respectively, in the Leica CL Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic FT7 Manual.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica CL or the Panasonic FT7 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? 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 20.2MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2360k vs 1170k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.49x vs 0.45x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/1300s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2017).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7:
- 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 (117x76mm vs 131x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the CL).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 31m).
- 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 built-in lens.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 CL and the Panasonic FT7 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the CL or the FT7. 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 provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|2.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T100||4/5||+||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2018||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T20||5/5||+ +||5/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A3||..||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2016||399||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||3.5/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049||amazon.com|
|10.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|11.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D3500||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|14.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449||amazon.com|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|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. 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. 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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1200D vs Leica CL
- Canon 4000D vs Leica CL
- Canon 80D vs Leica CL
- Canon SX720 vs Panasonic FT7
- Canon T8i vs Leica CL
- Leica CL vs Leica M10-R
- Leica CL vs Nikon 1 V1
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Panasonic FT7
- Nikon B700 vs Panasonic FT7
- Panasonic FT7 vs Panasonic G5
- Panasonic FT7 vs Ricoh GR III
- Panasonic FT7 vs Sony A7 III
Specifications: Leica CL vs Panasonic FT7
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 CL||Panasonic FT7|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||28-128mm f/3.3-5.9|
|Launch Date||November 2017||May 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 2,795||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic FT7|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||Venus|
|Screen Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic FT7|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||1170k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic FT7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/25000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic FT7|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic FT7|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (31m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
131 x 78 x 45 mm
(5.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 in)
117 x 76 x 37 mm
(4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)||319 g (11.3 oz)|
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