Leica TL vs Sony RX1
The Leica TL and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2016 and September 2012. The TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (TL) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica TL||Sony RX1|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Leica T mount lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-12,500||ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)|
|Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|3.7 LCD, 1230k dots||3.0 LCD, 1229k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|400 shots per battery charge||270 shots per battery charge|
|134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g||113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica TL and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Sony RX1. 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 RX1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1 is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Leica TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the RX1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1 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 battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||140 mm||82 mm||43 mm||450 g||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699|
|Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|Panasonic G7||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649|
|Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
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.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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.
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 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica TL features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 130 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the TL (16.1MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 4.80μm for the TL) due to its larger sensor. However, the TL is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 1 month) than the RX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Sony RX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica TL are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
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, but the RX1 provides a faster frame rate than the TL. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The TL and the RX1 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 FDA-EV1MK for the RX1 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica TL and Sony RX1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the RX1 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 RX1 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the TL offers wifi support, while the RX1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the TL and the RX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX1 was replaced by the Sony RX1R, 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 and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica TL and the Sony RX1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages 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.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
- 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 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the RX1 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the TL necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 134x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the TL comes out slightly ahead of the RX1 (8 : 7 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 Sony RX1 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the TL or the RX1. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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.
|Leica TL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|Sony RX1||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Fujifilm X70||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||..||77/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|Fujifilm X-A2||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|Fujifilm X-T10||+ +||80/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699|
|Leica CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Leica TL2||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Leica T||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|Leica X2||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|Nikon D5300||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|Panasonic G7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649|
|Sony RX1R II||..||82/100||..||o||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|Sony A3000||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|Sony RX1R||..||..||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Sony NEX-7||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica TL vs Sony RX1
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||Sony RX1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||November 2016||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1,695||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||93|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2534|
|Screen Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||270 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
134 x 69 x 33 mm
(5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||482 g (17.0 oz)|
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