Leica D-LUX 5 vs Sony A900
The Leica D-LUX 5 and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and September 2008. The D-LUX 5 is a fixed lens compact, while the A900 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (D-LUX 5) and a full frame (A900) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 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 D-LUX 5 and the Sony Alpha A900? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Sony A900 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 width, height and depth 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 A900 is considerably larger (155 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 5. It is noteworthy in this context that the A900 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 built in, whereas the A900 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|2.||Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|9.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|11.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|14.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|15.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|16.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A850||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision 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 D-LUX 5 was launched at a lower price than the A900, despite having a lens built 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.
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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 A900 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A900 is 1774 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 A900 offers a 3:2 aspect. The D-LUX 5 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 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 5 (10MP), but the A900 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 2.14μm for the D-LUX 5) due to its larger sensor. However, the D-LUX 5 is a much more recent model (by 2 years) than the A900, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A900 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A900 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inches or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica D-LUX 5 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica D-LUX 5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.5||10.4||-583||39|
|2.||Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|4.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||19.8||10.8||-303||43|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.7||11.0||430||42|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|13.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|14.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|15.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|16.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|17.||Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|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 also of capturing video footage. The D-LUX 5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the D-LUX 5 can use is 720/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A900 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica D-LUX 5 and Sony A900 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica X1||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A9||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D-LUX 5 has one, while the A900 does not. While the built-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 A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A900 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 only has one slot.
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 D-LUX 5 and Sony Alpha A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A900||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica X1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony A9||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A99||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony A850||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A900 (unlike the D-LUX 5) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D-LUX 5 and the A900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A900 was replaced by the Sony A99, while the D-LUX 5 was followed by the Leica D-LUX 6. 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 is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica D-LUX 5 or the Sony A900 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica D-LUX 5:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/60p movies.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A900 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A900).
- 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 built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the A900 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A900:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 59%.
- 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.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A900 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 9 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 D-LUX 5 and the Sony A900 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D-LUX 5 and the A900 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 D-LUX 5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|2.||Sony A900||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|9.||Leica X1||3/5||..||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|11.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|12.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|13.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||4.8/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|14.||Sony A99 II||..||..||4.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|15.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|16.||Sony A99||5/5||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A850||3/5||..||..||75/100||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, 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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 300D vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony A900
- Canon SX710 vs Sony A900
- Fujifilm X-T200 vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Fujifilm X100V vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon Df
- Leica D-LUX 6 vs Sony A900
- Olympus E-M1 vs Sony A900
- Panasonic G90 vs Sony A900
- Sony A7 vs Sony A900
Specifications: Leica D-LUX 5 vs Sony A900
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 D-LUX 5||Sony A900|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-90mm f/2.0-3.3||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Sony A900|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.14 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.59 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1431|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Sony A900|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Sony A900|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Sony A900|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Sony A900|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
110 x 65 x 43 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||271 g (9.6 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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