Leica D-LUX 7 vs SL
The Leica D-LUX 7 and the Leica SL (Typ 601) are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2018 and October 2015. The D-LUX 7 is a fixed lens compact, while the SL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (D-LUX 7) and a full frame (SL) sensor. The D-LUX 7 has a resolution of 16.8 megapixels, whereas the SL provides 24 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 7 and the Leica SL (Typ 601)? 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 7 and the Leica SL 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 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 Leica SL is considerably larger (101 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 7. It is noteworthy in this context that the SL is splash and dust-proof, while the D-LUX 7 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 7 has a lens built in, whereas the SL 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 D-LUX 7 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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 D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|2.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|4.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|5.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Fujifilm X100F||127 mm||75 mm||52 mm||469 g||390||n||Jan 2017||1,299|
|7.||Fujifilm X100T||127 mm||74 mm||52 mm||440 g||330||n||Sep 2014||1,299|
|8.||Fujifilm X100S||127 mm||74 mm||54 mm||445 g||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|9.||Leica SL2||146 mm||107 mm||42 mm||953 g||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 5||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||812 g||350||n||Jul 2019||1,249|
|11.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|12.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||118 mm||66 mm||55 mm||405 g||300||n||Sep 2014||1,195|
|13.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||830 g||360||n||Sep 2014||1,349|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|16.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Notes: 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 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 7 was launched at a lower price than the SL, 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.
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. 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 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 7 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Leica SL a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the SL is 284 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the D-LUX 7 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the SL offers a 3:2 aspect. The D-LUX 7 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24MP, the SL offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 7 (16.8MP), but the SL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 3.66μm for the D-LUX 7) due to its larger sensor. However, the D-LUX 7 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 1 month) than the SL, 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 Leica SL implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica D-LUX 7 are 23.7 x 17.8 inches or 60.1 x 45.1 cm for good quality, 18.9 x 14.2 inches or 48.1 x 36.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 11.8 inches or 40.1 x 30.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica D-LUX 7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica SL (Typ 601) are ISO 50 to ISO 50000 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|5.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|9.||Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 5||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
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).
Beyond 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 SL offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the D-LUX 7 (4400k vs 2764k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica D-LUX 7 and Leica SL along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 5||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||2764||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|13.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the SL, but is missing on the D-LUX 7 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 D-LUX 7 and the Leica SL 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 D-LUX 7 and the SL write their files to SDXC cards. The SL features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D-LUX 7 only has one slot. The SL supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the D-LUX 7 can use UHS-I cards.
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 7 and Leica SL (Typ 601) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the SL has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The D-LUX 7 does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica SL (unlike the D-LUX 7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the SL has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The D-LUX 7 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the SL has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SL was succeeded by the Leica SL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica D-LUX 7 or the Leica SL – 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 D-LUX 7:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1240k vs 1040k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the SL requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 147x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the SL).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the SL launch.
Arguments in favor of the Leica SL (Typ 601):
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (4400k vs 2764k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.70x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2015).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 10 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. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 7 and the Leica SL place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
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 D-LUX 7 or the SL 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], 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 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|2.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|4.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|5.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Fujifilm X100F||5/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,299|
|7.||Fujifilm X100T||5/5||+||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,299|
|8.||Fujifilm X100S||5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|9.||Leica SL2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2019||5,999|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2019||1,249|
|11.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|12.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,195|
|13.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||..||..||..||..||5/5||Sep 2014||1,349|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|16.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. 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 D-LUX 7 vs Leica SL
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 7||Leica SL|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8||Leica L mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2018||October 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,195||USD 7,450|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Leica SL|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.8 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4736 x 3552 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.66 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.48 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 50,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||88|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1821|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Leica SL|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots||4400k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1240k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Leica SL|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||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||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Leica SL|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Leica SL|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
115 x 66 x 65 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.6 in)
147 x 104 x 39 mm
(5.8 x 4.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||392 g (13.8 oz)||847 g (29.9 oz)|
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