Leica TL vs Sony RX1R II
The Leica TL and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2016 and October 2015. The TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1R II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (TL) and a full frame (RX1R II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 42.2 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II? 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 RX1R II 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 RX1R II 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 RX1R II is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Leica TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the RX1R II are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1R II 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 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.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|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 Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|14.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|15.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|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. 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. 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 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 RX1R II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1R II is 131 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.
With 42.2MP, the RX1R II offers a higher resolution than the TL (16.1MP), but the RX1R II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.50μm versus 4.80μm for the TL). It is noteworthy in this context that the TL is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the RX1R II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inches or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inches or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inches or 67.3 x 44.9 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-RX1R II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|3.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|13.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|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, but the RX1R II 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. For example, the RX1R II has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. 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 RX1R II 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.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6/s||Y||n|
|9.||Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||1440||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The TL has one, while the RX1R II does not. While the built-in flash of the TL is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The TL writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1R II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX1R II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the TL cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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-RX1R II 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 RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|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 Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the RX1R II has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The TL does not feature such a mic input.
The RX1R II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the TL has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TL was succeeded 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 what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica TL or the Sony RX1R II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Leica TL:
- 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 220) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the RX1R II).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 62%.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- 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.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2015).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX1R II emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 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 Sony RX1R II 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 RX1R II. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|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 Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|14.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|15.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Leica TL vs Sony RX1R II
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 RX1R II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||November 2016||October 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,695||USD 3,299|
|Sensor Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1R II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||4.50 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||4.93 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA 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)||..||97|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3204|
|Screen Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1R II|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1R II|
|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||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1R II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica TL||Sony RX1R II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||220 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 72 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||507 g (17.9 oz)|
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