Leica TL vs Sony RX100
The Leica TL and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2016 and June 2012. The TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (TL) and an one-inch (RX100) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Sony RX100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 RX100 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 RX100 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Leica TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the RX100 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 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 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|
|2.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A10||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||331 g||410||n||Dec 2016||399|
|7.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|9.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||140 mm||82 mm||43 mm||450 g||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699|
|11.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|12.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|13.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|14.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|16.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The RX100 was launched at a lower price than the TL, despite having a lens built in. 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 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 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 Sony RX100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 is 69 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the TL. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 4.80μm for the TL). Moreover, it should be noted that the TL is much more recent (by 4 years and 5 months) than the RX100, 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 Sony RX100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 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-RX100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX100 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 variety of features. The TL and the RX100 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica TL and Sony RX100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n|
|9.||Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||1440||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||n||n|
|11.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|12.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|13.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL has a touchscreen, while the RX100 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 RX100 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-RX100 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.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Fujifilm X-E2S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Fujifilm X-T10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the TL has a hotshoe, while the RX100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the TL and the RX100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX100 was replaced by the Sony RX100 II, 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 RX100? 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:
- 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.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 5 months of technical progress since the RX100 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- 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).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the TL necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm 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).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 10 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 Sony RX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TL or the RX100 perform in practice. 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 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|
|2.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A10||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Dec 2016||399|
|7.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|9.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699|
|11.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|12.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|13.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|14.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|16.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 Sony RX100
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 RX100|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|Launch Date||November 2016||June 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1,695||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||17.18 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 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||390|
|Screen Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX100|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|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 RX100|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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 RX100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||330 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)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||240 g (8.5 oz)|
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