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Leica TL Comparison Review

The Leica TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was revealed to the public in November 2016 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 16.1 megapixel.

camera

The Leica TL has a Camera Elo of 2019. This rating puts the TL below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the TL falls among the top 40 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Leica TL
Mirrorless system camera
Leica T mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12500
Viewfinder optional
3.7" LCD, 1230k dots
Fixed touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge
134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Leica TL vis-à-vis a credit card. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Leica TL vs credit card front
TL versus credit card top view
TL and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica TL alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 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 TL 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X70« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.7 in 12.0 oz 330 n Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.3 oz 410 n Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.4 oz 350 n May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« » 5.5 in 3.2 in 1.7 in 15.9 oz 300 n Jan 2012 1,699- i Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
 
Leica TL2« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
 
Leica T« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
 
Leica X2« » 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Leica TL was launched in the US market at a price of $1,695. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Leica TL:
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Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Leica TL features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Leica TL among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Leica TL sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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.

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 TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X70« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-E2S« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p----Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica CL
 
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
 
Leica T« » APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
 
Leica X2« » APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The TL indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the TL can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Leica TL in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 TL- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X70« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-A10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-E2S« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »1440 n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 n n Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL« »2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Leica CL
 
Leica TL2« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n Leica TL2
 
Leica T« »- n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica T
 
Leica X2« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X2

One convenient feature of the TL is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

 

Connection 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 TL 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 TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X70« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-A10« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-E2S« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL« »Ystereomono----Y--Leica CL
 
Leica TL2« »Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
 
Leica T« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica T
 
Leica X2« »Y----mini2.0---Leica X2

It is notable that the TL offers wifi support. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

 

Expert reviews

While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the TL in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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 TL----4/5 Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X70« »-76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
 
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-E2S« »-77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
 
Fujifilm X-A2« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-T10« »++80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »++79/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 1,699- i Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica CL« »----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
 
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
 
Leica T« »--4/5-4/5 Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
 
Leica X2« »--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 TL FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the TL.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the TL based on?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the TL?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500.

Can the camera be equipped with an optional viewfinder?

Yes, Leica provides the Visoflex (Typ 020) as an accessory (here on amazon) that can be mounted on the hotshoe.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Leica TL?

Leica does not publish a shutter rating for the TL. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

Does the Leica TL feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The TL's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Which battery does the TL use?

The camera gets its power from the BP-DC13, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Leica TL
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2016
    Launch Price USD 1695
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 4.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12500 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BP-DC13 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 384 g (13.5 oz)

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