Leica CL vs Sony RX1R II
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2017 and October 2015. The CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1R II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (CL) and a full frame (RX1R II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 42.2 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II? 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 Sony RX1R II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R II is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Leica CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL nor the RX1R II are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1R II 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 power pack in the RX1R II 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 would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T100||121 mm||83 mm||47 mm||448 g||430||n||May 2018||599|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T20||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A3||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||n||Aug 2016||399|
|8.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|9.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|10.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|12.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|13.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||415 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|14.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|15.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica CL features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX1R II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1R II is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 42.2MP, the RX1R II offers a higher resolution than the CL (24.1MP), but the RX1R II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.50μm versus 3.92μm for the CL) due to its larger sensor. However, the CL is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 1 month) than the RX1R II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inches or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inches or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inches or 67.3 x 44.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica CL are 30.1 x 20.1 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm for good quality, 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|3.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the CL provides a higher video resolution than the RX1R II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The CL and the RX1R II are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2360k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica CL and Sony RX1R II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T100||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T20||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A3||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Leica C-LUX||2330||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|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.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|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 RX1R II 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, the CL is one of those camera that have an additional 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.
The CL writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1R II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The CL supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the RX1R II 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II 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.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T20||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica C-LUX||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||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.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the RX1R II has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The CL does not feature such a mic input.
Both the CL and the RX1R II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The RX1R II replaced the earlier Sony RX1R, while the CL does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica CL or the Sony RX1R II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica CL (Typ 7323):
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- 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 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- 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.
- 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 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the RX1R II launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 24.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 32%.
- 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.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.49x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
- 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 (113x65mm vs 131x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2015).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX1R II emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 11 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 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 Sony RX1R II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the CL or the RX1R II 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 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|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T100||4/5||+||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2018||599|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T20||5/5||+ +||5/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A3||..||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2016||399|
|8.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||3.5/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|9.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|10.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|12.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|13.||Nikon D3500||..||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|14.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|15.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. 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 50D vs Sony RX1R II
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Sony RX1R II
- Fujifilm X-T10 vs Sony RX1R II
- Leica CL vs Nikon D100
- Leica CL vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Leica CL vs Olympus E-PL10
- Leica CL vs Panasonic G85
- Leica CL vs Panasonic GH4
- Leica CL vs Sony A7
- Olympus E-510 vs Sony RX1R II
- Panasonic LX7 vs Sony RX1R II
- Sony NEX-F3 vs Sony RX1R II
Specifications: Leica CL vs Sony RX1R II
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||Sony RX1R II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||November 2017||October 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 2,795||USD 3,299|
|Sensor Specs||Leica CL||Sony RX1R II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||4.50 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||4.93 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||97|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3204|
|Screen Specs||Leica CL||Sony RX1R II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||2360k 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||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica CL||Sony RX1R II|
|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||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/25000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica CL||Sony RX1R II|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica CL||Sony RX1R II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||220 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)
113 x 65 x 72 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)||507 g (17.9 oz)|
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