Leica SL vs Sony A77
The Leica SL (Typ 601) and the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2015 and August 2011. The SL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A77 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (SL) and an APS-C (A77) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica SL||Sony A77|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Leica L mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|24 MP, Full Frame Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 50-50000||ISO 100-16000 (50-25600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (4400k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)|
|11 shutter flaps per second||12 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|400 shots per battery charge||470 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 104 x 39 mm, 847 g||143 x 104 x 81 mm, 732 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica SL (Typ 601) and the Sony Alpha SLT-A77? 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 SL and the Sony A77. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 A77 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Leica SL. Moreover, the A77 is markedly lighter (14 percent) than the SL. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
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.
|Leica SL»||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Sony A77«||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399||Sony A77|
|Canon 5D Mark IV« »||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 80D« »||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Hasselblad X1D« »||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica SL2« »||146 mm||107 mm||42 mm||953 g||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999||Leica SL2|
|Leica M10« »||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240« »||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D5« »||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D500« »||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7200« »||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Panasonic GH5« »||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A9« »||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A7 II« »||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A77 II« »||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A99« »||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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. The A77 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 81 percent) than the SL, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica SL features a full frame sensor and the Sony A77 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A77 is 58 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Even though the SL has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the SL has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 3.91μm for the A77), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the SL is much more recent (by 4 years and 1 month) than the A77, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Leica SL (Typ 601) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the SL has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A77 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Sony A77||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.2||801||78||Sony A77|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 80D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica SL2|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D500||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7200||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
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 SL provides a higher video resolution than the A77. 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 two cameras under consideration 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 A77 (4400k vs 2359k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica SL and Sony A77 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Leica SL|
|Sony A77||2359||Y||3.0||921||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Hasselblad X1D||2360||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.3||n||n||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica SL2||5760||Y||3.2||2100||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Leica SL2|
|Leica M10||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Panasonic GH5||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The SL has a touchscreen, while the A77 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The A77 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SL does not have a selfie-screen.
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 SL 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 SL 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 SL writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A77 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The SL features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A77 only has one slot. The SL supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the A77 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 SL (Typ 601) and Sony Alpha SLT-A77 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica SL||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Sony A77||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A77|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 80D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Hasselblad X1D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica SL2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Leica SL2|
|Leica M10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D7200||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Panasonic GH5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A77 II|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
It is notable that the SL has a headphone jack, which is not present on the A77 This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that both cameras feature internal geolocalization sensors and can record GPS coordinates in their EXIF data.
Both the SL and the A77 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A77 was replaced by the Sony A77 II, while the SL was followed 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 and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica SL and the Sony A77? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica SL (Typ 601):
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (4400k vs 2359k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.73x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- 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 legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- 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 prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the A77 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A77:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 115g or 14 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (81 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 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 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 SL and the Sony A77 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR 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 SL or the A77 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 (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.
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 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.
Specifications: Leica SL vs Sony A77
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 SL||Sony A77|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica L mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2015||August 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 7450||USD 1399|
|Sensor Specs||Leica SL||Sony A77|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||50-50000 ISO||100-16000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||88||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.0||24.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.4||13.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1821||801|
|Screen Specs||Leica SL||Sony A77|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||4400k dots||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica SL||Sony A77|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||Single UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica SL||Sony A77|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||full HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica SL||Sony A77|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
147 x 104 x 39 mm
(5.8 x 4.1 x 1.5 in)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||847 g (29.9 oz)||732 g (25.8 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.