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Leica CL versus Panasonic LX15

The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 (labelled Panasonic LX10 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2017 and September 2016. The CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the LX15 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (CL) and an one-inch (LX15) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 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 Panasonic LX15

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica CL and the Panasonic LX15 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth 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).

Compare Leica CL vs Panasonic LX15
Compare CL versus LX15 top
Compare CL and LX15 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX15 is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Leica CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL nor the LX15 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX15 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 LX15 can take 260 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLH7 power pack.

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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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» 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Panasonic LX15« 106 mm 60 mm 42 mm 310 g 260 n Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX15
Canon 2000D« » 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 475 g 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i Canon 2000D
Canon M50« » 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 390 g 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
Canon 200D« » 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Fujifilm X-A5« » 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« » 127 mm 75 mm 52 mm 469 g 390 n Jan 2017 1,299 i i Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« » 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« » 113 mm 67 mm 46 mm 340 g 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica TL2« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Leica TL« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Panasonic TZ200« » 111 mm 65 mm 45 mm 340 g 370 n Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« » 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic TZ100« » 111 mm 65 mm 44 mm 312 g 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100

Any camera purchase will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The LX15 was launched at a lower price than the CL, despite having a lens build in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica CL vs Panasonic LX15

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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica CL features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic LX15 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX15 is 69 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2. The LX15 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between different aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.

Leica CL and Panasonic LX15 sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the LX15 (20MP), but the CL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 2.41μm for the LX15) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the CL is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the LX15, and its sensor might 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.

CL versus LX15 MP

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.

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
Panasonic LX15« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic LX15
Canon 2000D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.611.9100971Canon 2000D
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
Canon 200D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon 200D
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica C-LUX
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
Leica TL« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
Panasonic TZ200« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic TZ100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic TZ100

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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).

 

Feature comparison: Leica CL vs Panasonic LX15

Beyond 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 LX15 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 Panasonic LX15 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

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
Panasonic LX15«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LX15
Canon 2000D« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 2000D
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 10.0 Y n Canon M50
Canon 200D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 200D
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M6
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
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
Panasonic TZ200« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« »1166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic TZ100« »1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ100

One feature that is present on the CL, but is missing on the LX15 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 and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, both cameras feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the CL and the LX15 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Leica CL»Ystereomono----Y--Leica CL
Panasonic LX15«-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic LX15
Canon 2000D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon 2000D
Canon M50« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
Canon 200D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 200D
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Fujifilm X-A5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-YFujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica C-LUX
Leica TL2« »Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
Leica TL« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
Panasonic TZ200« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic TZ100« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ100

Both the CL and the LX15 are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. The LX15 replaced the earlier Panasonic LX7, while the CL does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Leica CL vs Panasonic LX15

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica CL and the Panasonic LX15? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 20MP) with a 10% 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: Larger sensor generates images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • 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.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 2 months after the LX15).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15:

  • 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 flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the CL necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (106x60mm 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.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • 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 on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 11 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

CL 13:11 LX15

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 LX15 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available 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
Panasonic LX15«HiRec81/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX15
Canon 2000D« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon 2000D
Canon M50« »Rec79/100--3.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
Canon 200D« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Fujifilm X-A5« »Rec-4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« »Rec83/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 1,299 i i Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« »----4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
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
Panasonic TZ200« »HiRec81/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic TZ90« »HiRec-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 449 i i Panasonic TZ90
Panasonic TZ100« »HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. 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 the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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