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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. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica TL vs Leica X Vario

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).

Snapsort Leica TL vs Leica X Vario
Compare TL versus X Vario top
Compare TL and X Vario rear

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 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 TL» 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Leica X Vario« 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
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-A2« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.3 oz 410 n Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
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 CL« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Leica Q Typ 116« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249 i i Leica Q Typ 116
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
Leica X1« » 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch 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: Leica TL vs Leica X Vario

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 tend 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

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

For many 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
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
Leica X Vario« APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078Leica X Vario
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A2
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
Leica CL« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica CL
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 X2« » APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2
Leica X1« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----Leica X1
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R

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: Leica TL vs Leica X Vario

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

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.

Review summary: Leica TL vs Leica X Vario

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica TL and the Leica X Vario? 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 before making a decision on a new camera.

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

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
Leica X Vario«--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« »HiRec80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Leica CL« »----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249 i i Leica Q Typ 116
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
Leica X1« »-Rec--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R

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 camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? 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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