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Leica TL vs X1

The Leica TL and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2016 and September 2009. The TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the X1 is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The TL has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the X1 provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica TL versus Leica X1
Leica TL Leica X1
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica T mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-3,200
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.7 LCD, 1230k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge260 shots per battery charge
134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g 124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica TL and the Leica X1? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Leica X1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the X1 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Leica TL vs Leica X1
Compare TL versus X1 top
Comparison TL or X1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X1 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Leica TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the X1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X1 has a lens built 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 power pack in the TL can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica TL 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica X1 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Fujifilm X70 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.7 in 12.0 oz 330 n Jan 2016 799i
 
Fujifilm X-A10 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399i
 
Fujifilm X-E2S 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Jan 2016 699i
 
Fujifilm X-A2 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.3 oz 410 n Jan 2015 399i
 
Fujifilm X-T10 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.4 oz 350 n May 2015 799i
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1 5.5 in 3.2 in 1.7 in 15.9 oz 300 n Jan 2012 1,699i
 
Fujifilm X100 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 300 n Sep 2010 1,199i
 
Leica CL 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica T 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica D-LUX 6 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X2 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Leica D-LUX 5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699i
 
Panasonic LX5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.

Sensor comparison

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 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica TL and Leica X1 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the TL offers a higher resolution than the X1 (12.2MP), but the TL has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 5.51μm for the X1). However, the TL is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 2 months) than the X1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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.

The resolution advantage of the Leica TL implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the TL for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X1 are 21.4 x 14.3 inches or 54.3 x 36.3 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 29 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica TL has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

TL versus X1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-A10 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........
 
Fujifilm X-E2S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-A2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........
 
Fujifilm X-T10 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p........
 
Fujifilm X100 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p........
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The TL indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X1 does not. 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 TL and the X1 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. That said, the TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica TL and Leica X1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X70optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-A10none n 3.0 1040 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-E2S2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-A2none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-T102360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-Pro11440 n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 n n
 
Fujifilm X1001440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the X1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The TL writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X1 uses SDHC cards.

Connectivity 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 Leica X1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X70YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X-A10-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X-E2SYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X-A2Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X-T10YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X100Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the TL offers wifi support, while the X1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the TL and the X1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Leica TL better than the Leica X1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Leica TL:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 12.2MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 260) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Leica X1:

  • 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.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm 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 TL).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 5 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

TL 13:05 X1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica TL and the Leica X1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the TL or the X1. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica X1..+....4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Fujifilm X70..76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799i
 
Fujifilm X-A10....4/5..4/5 Dec 2016 399i
 
Fujifilm X-E2S..77/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2016 699i
 
Fujifilm X-A2....4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399i
 
Fujifilm X-T10+ +80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799i
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1+ +79/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 1,699i
 
Fujifilm X100..75/1004/54/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica D-LUX 6....4/5..4/5 Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Leica D-LUX 5....4.5/5..4/5 Sep 2010 699i
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X1:
Check Ebay offers

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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Leica TL vs Leica X1

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica TL Leica X1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date November 2016 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 1,695 USD 1,995
    Sensor Specs Leica TL Leica X1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4272 x 2856 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 4.34 MP/cm2 3.30 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica TL Leica X1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.7inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica TL Leica X1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica TL Leica X1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica TL Leica X1
    Battery Type BP-DC13 BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge260 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    124 x 60 x 32 mm
    (4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 384 g (13.5 oz) 306 g (10.8 oz)

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