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Leica D-LUX 5 versus Sony A7

The Leica D-LUX 5 and the Sony Alpha A7 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and October 2013. The D-LUX 5 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (D-LUX 5) and a full frame (A7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 D-LUX 5 vs Sony A7

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Sony A7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 D-LUX 5 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica D-LUX 5 vs Sony A7
Compare D-LUX 5 versus A7 top
Compare D-LUX 5 and A7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 is considerably larger (67 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 5. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 is splash and dust-proof, while the D-LUX 5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX 5 has a lens build in, whereas the A7 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the A7 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D-LUX 5 gets 400 shots out of its BP-DC10 battery, while the A7 can take 340 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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 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
Sony A7« 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X20« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.5 oz 270 n Jan 2013 599- i Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X10« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
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 V-LUX 3« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.7 in 19.0 oz 410 n Dec 2011 949- i Leica V-LUX 3
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
Leica X1« » 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Leica V-LUX 1« » 5.6 in 3.4 in 5.6 in 25.9 oz 360 n Sep 2006 849- i Leica V-LUX 1
Panasonic LX5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Samsung NX1« » 5.5 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 19.4 oz 500 Y Sep 2014 1,499- i Samsung NX1
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D-LUX 5 was launched at a lower price than the A7, 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 D-LUX 5 vs Sony A7

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 D-LUX 5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Sony A7 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 is 1761 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 1.0. The sensor in the D-LUX 5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A7 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Leica D-LUX 5 and Sony A7 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A7 offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 5 (10MP), but the A7 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 2.14μm for the D-LUX 5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A7 is a much more recent model (by 3 years) than the D-LUX 5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

D-LUX 5 versus A7 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 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 D-LUX 5» 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p----Leica D-LUX 5
Sony A7« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X20« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X10« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 6« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p----Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« » 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i----Leica V-LUX 2
Leica X1« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----Leica X1
Leica V-LUX 1« » 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p----Leica V-LUX 1
Panasonic LX5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5
Samsung NX1« » APS-C 28.0 6480 43204K/30p24.213.2136383Samsung NX1
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287Sony A7S
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A7 provides a better video resolution than the D-LUX 5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 720/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica D-LUX 5 vs Sony A7

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7 has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the D-LUX 5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica D-LUX 5 and Sony A7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. 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 D-LUX 5»- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Leica D-LUX 5
Sony A7«2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X20« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 12.0 Y Y Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X10« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 10.0 Y Y Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 6« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 12.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 11.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 2
Leica X1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y n Leica X1
Leica V-LUX 1« »235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 2000 2.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 1
Panasonic LX5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5
Samsung NX1« »2360 Y 3.0 1036 tilting Y 8000 15.0 Y n Samsung NX1
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7S
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n Sony A7R
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D-LUX 5 has one, while the A7 does not. While the build-in flash of the D-LUX 5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The D-LUX 5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 D-LUX 5»Ymonomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 5
Sony A7«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
Canon G7 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X20« »Ystereomono--micro2.0---Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X10« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 2
Leica X1« »Y----mini2.0---Leica X1
Leica V-LUX 1« »Ymonomono---2.0---Leica V-LUX 1
Panasonic LX5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX5
Samsung NX1« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0YYYSamsung NX1
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

Both the D-LUX 5 and the A7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D-LUX 5 was replaced by the Leica D-LUX 6, while the A7 was followed by the Sony A7 II.

Review summary: Leica D-LUX 5 vs Sony A7

So how do things add up? Is the Leica D-LUX 5 better than the Sony A7 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica D-LUX 5:

  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the A7 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the A7).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 340) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced 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.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/60p).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the D-LUX 5 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 9 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.

D-LUX 5 09:19 A7

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D-LUX 5 or the A7. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 D-LUX 5»--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
Sony A7«HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Fujifilm X20« »HiRec77/1004.5/5-5/5 Jan 2013 599- i Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X10« »-76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
Leica D-LUX 6« »--4/5-4/5 Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« »----- Dec 2011 949- i Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« »----- Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
Leica X1« »-Rec--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Leica V-LUX 1« »----- Sep 2006 849- i Leica V-LUX 1
Panasonic LX5« »Rec73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Samsung NX1« »-87/1005/54.5/55/5 Sep 2014 1,499- i Samsung NX1
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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