Leica CL vs Panasonic LX100
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2017 and September 2014. The CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the LX100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (CL) and a Four Thirds (LX100) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12.7 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 DMC-LX100? 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 LX100. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The LX100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), 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 LX100 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Leica CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL nor the LX100 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 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.
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 CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|2.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|3.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A5||117 mm||68 mm||40 mm||361 g||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|9.||Fujifilm X100F||127 mm||75 mm||52 mm||469 g||390||n||Jan 2017||1,299|
|10.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899|
|11.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|12.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|13.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 LX100 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 LX100 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the LX100 is 50 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.2. The sensor in the CL has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX100 offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX100 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the LX100 (12.7MP), but the CL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 3.82μm for the LX100) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the CL is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 2 months) than the LX100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 LX100 are 20.6 x 15.4 inches or 52.2 x 39.2 cm for good quality, 16.4 x 12.4 inches or 41.8 x 31.4 cm for very good quality, and 13.7 x 10.3 inches or 34.8 x 26.1 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 DMC-LX100 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the LX100 offers a higher resolution than the one in the CL (2764k vs 2360k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica CL, the Panasonic LX100, and comparable cameras.
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the CL, but is missing on the LX100 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 and the Panasonic LX100 both have 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 LX100 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 LX100 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 DMC-LX100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the CL and the LX100 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 Panasonic. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica CL and the Panasonic LX100? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica CL (Typ 7323):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 12.7MP) with a 41% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- 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 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- 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 modern: Reflects 3 years and 2 months of technical progress since the LX100 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2764k vs 2360k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.49x).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the CL necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm 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.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2014).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 12 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 CL and the Panasonic LX100 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the CL or the LX100 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|2.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|3.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A5||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|9.||Fujifilm X100F||5/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,299|
|10.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899|
|11.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|12.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|13.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|16.||Panasonic GH1||..||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|17.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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 CL vs Panasonic LX100
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 LX100|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|Launch Date||November 2017||September 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 2,795||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic LX100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||15.7 x 11.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||185.26 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||19.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||12.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||4112 x 3088 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||3.82 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||6.85 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||553|
|Screen Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic LX100|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||2764k 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||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic LX100|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/25000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic LX100|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica CL||Panasonic LX100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
131 x 78 x 45 mm
(5.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 in)
115 x 66 x 55 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.2 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)||393 g (13.9 oz)|
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