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.
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.
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).
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|2.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A10||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||331 g||410||n||Dec 2016||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|8.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||140 mm||82 mm||43 mm||450 g||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699|
|9.||Fujifilm X100||126 mm||75 mm||54 mm||445 g||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199|
|10.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|11.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|12.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|14.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|15.||Leica D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|16.||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.|
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.
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.
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).
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.
|13.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||19.8||10.8||-303||43|
|15.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.5||10.4||-583||39|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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.
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.
|1.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Leica X1||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||1440||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||n||n|
|9.||Fujifilm X100||1440||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|11.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|12.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||optional||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.
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.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Leica X1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Fujifilm X100||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
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.
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 (14 : 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.
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.
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 (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 TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|2.||Leica X1||3/5||..||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A10||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Dec 2016||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|8.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699|
|9.||Fujifilm X100||3/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199|
|10.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|11.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|12.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|14.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|15.||Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|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.
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.
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 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 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|
|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|
|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||Built-in Flash||Built-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|
|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 Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||260 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
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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