Leica TL versus Leica X1
The Leica TL and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were announced, 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 megapixel, whereas the X1 provides 12.2 MP.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Leica X1. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 side – the TL – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
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 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
|Leica TL (⇒ rgt)||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||no||2016||1,695||discont.||check|
|Leica X1 (⇒ lft)||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||no||2009||1,995||discont.||check|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||no||2013||549||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||799||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||no||2015||399||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||no||2013||599||discont.||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 T (⇒ lft | rgt)||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||no||2014||1,850||discont.||check|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||no||2013||2,850||latest||check|
|Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||no||2012||1,995||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||no||2015||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||no||2008||599||discont.||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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 somewhat more recent model (by 7 years and 2 months) than the X1, and its sensor might 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.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Leica TL (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Leica X1 (⇒ lft)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2856||no||-||-||-||-|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54|
|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||-||-||-||-|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|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 T (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.2||4944||3278||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||1082||75|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||no||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||no||21.1||10.3||463||53|
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 variety 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. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica TL, the Leica X1, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Leica TL (⇒ rgt)||no||no||3.7||1230||fixed||YES||4000||5.0||YES||no|
|Leica X1 (⇒ lft)||no||no||2.7||230||fixed||no||2000||3.0||YES||no|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||922||fixed||no||4000||2.2||7||YES|
|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|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.8||460||fixed||no||4000||12.0||7||YES|
|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 T (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.7||1300||fixed||YES||4000||5.0||4.5||no|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||920||fixed||no||2000||5.0||YES||no|
|Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||2.7||230||fixed||no||2000||5.0||YES||no|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||7.0||9.3||no|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||no||4001||3.0||10.5||no|
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.
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.
Reasons to prefer 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.
- 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 (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) 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.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.
Arguments in favor of 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 build in (unlike the TL).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the TL is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the TL or the X1. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Leica TL (⇒ rgt)||-||-||-||-||4/5||2016||1,695||discont.||check|
|Leica X1 (⇒ lft)||-||Rec||-||-||4/5||2009||1,995||discont.||check|
|Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||549||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||799||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2015||399||discont.||check|
|Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||-||5/5||2013||599||discont.||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 T (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||2014||1,850||discont.||check|
|Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4/5||4/5||4/5||2013||2,850||latest||check|
|Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||3/5||-||4/5||2012||1,995||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||80/100 Silver||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||70/100 HiRec||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2008||599||discont.||check|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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