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Leica Digilux 3 vs X2

The Leica Digilux 3 and the Leica X2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and May 2012. The Digilux 3 is a DSLR, while the X2 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and an APS-C (X2) sensor. The Digilux 3 has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the X2 provides 16.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica Digilux 3   Leica X2
Leica Digilux 3 Leica X2
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Four Thirds lenses 36mm f/2.8
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-12500
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.5" LCD, 207k dots 2.7" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g 124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Leica X2? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Leica X2 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.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the Digilux 3 is only available in silver.

Size Leica Digilux 3 vs Leica X2
Compare Digilux 3 versus X2 top
Comparison Digilux 3 or X2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X2 is considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the X2 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the Digilux 3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the Digilux 3 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 Digilux 3» 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Leica X2« 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
 
Canon 30D« » 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« » 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica TL« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica T« » 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
 
Leica X Typ 113« » 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« » 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
 
Leica X1« » 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
 
Leica M8« » 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« » 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849- i Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« » 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« » 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Leica X2 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X2 is 64 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the Digilux 3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the X2 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Leica Digilux 3 and Leica X2 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X2 offers a higher resolution than the Digilux 3 (7.4MP), but the X2 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). Yet, the X2 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 7 months) than the Digilux 3, 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 Leica X2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inch or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica Digilux 3 are 15.7 x 11.8 inch or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inch or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inch or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica Digilux 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

Digilux 3 versus X2 MP

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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 Digilux 3» Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Leica Digilux 3
 
Leica X2« APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2
 
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
Leica TL« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica T« » APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
 
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078Leica X Vario
 
Leica X1« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----Leica X1
 
Leica M8« » APS-H 10.4 3936 2630-21.111.366359Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« » 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p----Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Panasonic L1
The Digilux 3 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The X2 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Digilux 3 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica Digilux 3, the Leica X2, and comparable cameras.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3»optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
 
Leica X2«- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X2
 
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
 
Leica TL« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica TL
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica T« »- n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica T
 
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
 
Leica X1« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n Leica X1
 
Leica M8« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« »235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« »optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1

The Digilux 3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X2 uses SDHC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

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 Digilux 3 and Leica X2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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 Digilux 3»Ystereomono---2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Leica X2«Y----mini2.0---Leica X2
 
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
 
Leica TL« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica T« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica T
 
Leica X Typ 113« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
 
Leica X1« »Y----mini2.0---Leica X1
 
Leica M8« »Y-----2.0---Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« »Ymonomono---2.0---Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L1

Both the Digilux 3 and the X2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Leica. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.


Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Leica Digilux 3 better than the Leica X2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Leica Digilux 3:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 450) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2006).


Arguments in favor of the Leica X2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 51%.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the Digilux 3 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 146x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Digilux 3).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the Digilux 3 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X2 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

Digilux 3 05:11 X2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Leica X2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Digilux 3 or the X2. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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 Digilux 3»----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Leica X2«--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
 
Canon 30D« »+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 350D« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica TL« »----4/5 Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica T« »--4/5-4/5 Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
 
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« »--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
 
Leica X1« »-+--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
 
Leica M8« »-+ +--- Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« »----- Sep 2006 849- i Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-330« »-+o3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »76/100+ +--- Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« »-+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »85/100+-o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica Digilux 3:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Leica X2

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica Digilux 3 Leica X2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date September 2006 May 2012
    Launch Price USD 1499 USD 1995
    Sensor Specs Leica Digilux 3 Leica X2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 4.79 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-12500 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica Digilux 3 Leica X2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica Digilux 3 Leica X2
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica Digilux 3 Leica X2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica Digilux 3 Leica X2
    Battery Type BP-DC3 BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz) 345 g (12.2 oz)

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