Leica T vs Panasonic TZ90
The Leica T (Typ 701) and the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 (labelled Panasonic ZS70 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2014 and April 2017. The T Typ 701 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the TZ90 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T Typ 701) and a 1/2.3-inch (TZ90) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 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 T (Typ 701) and the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90? 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 T and the Panasonic TZ90 are illustrated 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.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic TZ90 is notably smaller (19 percent) than the Leica T. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T Typ 701 nor the TZ90 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the TZ90 has a lens built in, whereas the T Typ 701 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|5.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|8.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|9.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|10.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|11.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|12.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|14.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|15.||Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|16.||Panasonic G7||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The TZ90 was launched at a lower price than the T Typ 701, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 T features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic TZ90 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TZ90 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the T Typ 701 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the TZ90 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the TZ90 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 16.2 MP of the T Typ 701. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 4.79μm for the T Typ 701). However, it should be noted that the TZ90 is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the T Typ 701, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 Panasonic TZ90 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the TZ90 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica T are 24.7 x 16.4 inches or 62.8 x 41.6 cm for good quality, 19.8 x 13.1 inches or 50.2 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.5 x 10.9 inches or 41.9 x 27.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica T (Typ 701) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the T Typ 701 provides substantially higher image quality than the TZ90, with an overall score that is 39 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.9 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|10.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|16.||Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the TZ90 provides a better video resolution than the T Typ 701. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the TZ90 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the T Typ 701 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the T Typ 701 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica T and Panasonic TZ90 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 100D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm XF10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|9.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic TZ95||2330||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FT7||1170||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic G7||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
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 TZ90 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).
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T Typ 701 and the TZ90 write their files to SDXC cards. The TZ90 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T Typ 701 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 T (Typ 701) and Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 100D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Fujifilm XF10||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic TZ95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FT7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic G7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the T Typ 701 has a hotshoe, while the TZ90 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the T Typ 701 and the TZ90 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T Typ 701 was replaced by the Leica TL, while the TZ90 was followed by the Panasonic TZ95. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica T or the Panasonic TZ90 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica T (Typ 701):
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (39 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (3.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2014).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 16.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the T Typ 701 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x67mm vs 134x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the T Typ 701).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the T Typ 701 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TZ90 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 11 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 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 T and the Panasonic TZ90 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T Typ 701 and the TZ90 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|2.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|5.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon 100D||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|8.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|9.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|10.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|11.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|12.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|14.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|15.||Panasonic FT7||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|16.||Panasonic G7||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D X vs Leica T
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Leica T vs Nikon D5300
- Leica T vs Olympus E-P3
- Leica T vs Olympus E-PL2
- Leica T vs Panasonic GX9
- Leica T vs Sony A6500
- Leica V-LUX 5 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Panasonic GM1 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Panasonic LX10 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Panasonic TZ90 vs Pentax K-3 II
Specifications: Leica T vs Panasonic TZ90
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 T||Panasonic TZ90|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||24-720mm f/3.3-6.4|
|Launch Date||April 2014||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 1,850||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Leica T||Panasonic TZ90|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4944 x 3278 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.37 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||75||36|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.0||19.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1082||106|
|Screen Specs||Leica T||Panasonic TZ90|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica T||Panasonic TZ90|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica T||Panasonic TZ90|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica T||Panasonic TZ90|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
134 x 69 x 33 mm
(5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
112 x 67 x 41 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||322 g (11.4 oz)|
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