Leica TL vs Pentax Q
The Leica TL and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2016 and June 2011. Both the TL and the Pentax Q are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (TL) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 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 Pentax Q? 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 Pentax Q 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the Pentax Q is available in two color-versions (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Leica TL. Moreover, the Pentax Q is substantially lighter (53 percent) than the TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the Pentax Q are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax Q||98 mm||57 mm||31 mm||180 g||230||n||Jun 2011||649||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A10||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||331 g||410||n||Dec 2016||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||140 mm||82 mm||43 mm||450 g||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|10.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|11.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The Pentax Q was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 percent) than the TL, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica TL features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the TL has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the Pentax Q offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the TL offers a higher resolution than the Pentax Q (12MP), but the TL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the TL is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 4 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 Pentax Q are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|17.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The TL and the Pentax Q 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. However, optional viewfinders – the Visoflex (Typ 020) for the TL and the O-VF1 for the Pentax Q – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica TL and Pentax Q along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Pentax Q||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.5/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6/s||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||1440||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus XZ-2||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the Pentax Q has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Pentax Q has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TL and the Pentax Q write their files to SDXC 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 Pentax Q 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.||Pentax Q||Y||mono / mono||-||-||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.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus XZ-2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the TL offers wifi support, while the Pentax Q does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the TL and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. Further information on the features and operation of the TL and Pentax Q can be found, respectively, in the Leica TL Manual (free pdf) or the online Pentax Q Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica TL and the Pentax Q? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica TL:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 12MP) with a 18% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- 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 460k 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 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 230) 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 prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 4 months of technical progress since the Pentax Q launch.
Advantages of the Pentax Q:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 134x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 204g or 53 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Pentax Q place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 Pentax Q. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax Q||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jun 2011||649||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A10||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Dec 2016||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|10.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|11.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica TL vs Pentax Q
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||Pentax Q|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Pentax Q mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2016||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 1,695||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Leica TL||Pentax Q|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||125 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||189|
|Screen Specs||Leica TL||Pentax Q|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica TL||Pentax Q|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica TL||Pentax Q|
|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||Pentax Q|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||230 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)
98 x 57 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||180 g (6.3 oz)|
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