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Leica TL versus Leica X Vario

The Leica TL and the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2016 and June 2013. The TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the X Vario is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 16.1 megapixel.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Leica X Vario. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the TL – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Leica TL vs Leica X Vario front
TL versus X Vario top view
TL and X Vario rear side
Body view (TL on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X Vario is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Leica TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the X Vario are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X Vario has a lens build in, whereas the TL is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 no 2016 1,695discont. check
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft) 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 no 2013 2,850 latest check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 331 g 410 no 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 no 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 350 g 410 no 2015 399discont. check
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 no 2017 1,950 latest check
Leica CL (⇒ lft | rgt) 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 no 2017 2,795 latest check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 no 2015 4,249 latest check
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 no 2014 1,850discont. check
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 no 2012 1,995discont. check
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 no 2009 1,995discont. check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 YES 2013 2,749 latest check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 no 2015 649discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 no 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 no 2013 2,799discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica TL and Leica X Vario sensor measures
Sensor size

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 16.1 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the TL and the X Vario have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the TL is much more recent (by 3 years and 4 months) than the X Vario, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

TL versus X Vario MP
Sensor resolution

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft) APS-C 16.1 4928 3272 1080/30p 23.4 12.7 1320 78
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.1 6014 4014 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Leica CL (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.1 6014 4014 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.7 2221 85
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.2 4944 3278 1080/30p 23.0 12.7 1082 75
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3264 no - - - -
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 12.2 4272 2856 no - - - -
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280 no 24.6 13.1 3279 89
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p - - - -
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.1 11.7 517 64
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 25.0 13.6 2537 91

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The TL and the X Vario are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica TL, the Leica X Vario, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) no no 3.7 1230 fixed YES 4000 5.0 YES no
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft) no no 3.0 920 fixed no 2000 5.0 YES no
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting no 4000 6.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 8.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 5.6 7 no
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.7 1230 fixed YES 4000 7.0 no no
Leica CL (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 YES 3.0 1040 fixed YES 8000 10.0 no no
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 3680 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 no no
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.7 1300 fixed YES 4000 5.0 4.5 no
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 2.7 230 fixed no 2000 5.0 YES no
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 2.7 230 fixed no 2000 3.0 YES no
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 4000 5.5 no no
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 7.0 9.3 no
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 12.0 13.5 YES
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 6 no

The X Vario is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the TL has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TL was succeeded by the Leica TL2.

Summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica TL and the Leica TL? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Leica TL:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • 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 920k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the X Vario launch.

Reasons to prefer the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the TL necessitates an extra lens.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2013).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the TL emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 4 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.

TL 07:04 X Vario

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the TL or the X Vario. 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 summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) - - - - 4/5 2016 1,695discont. check
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft) - - 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 2,850 latest check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 399discont. check
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) .. .. 4/5 .. 4/5 2017 1,950 latest check
Leica CL (⇒ lft | rgt) .. .. .. .. 4/5 2017 2,795 latest check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2015 4,249 latest check
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2014 1,850discont. check
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 3/5 - 4/5 2012 1,995discont. check
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) - Rec - - 4/5 2009 1,995discont. check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) - 81/100 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 2,749 latest check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 649discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 899discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2013 2,799discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 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 comparisons

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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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