Leica TL2 vs Sony A7
The Leica TL2 and the Sony Alpha A7 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2017 and October 2013. Both the TL2 and the A7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (TL2) and a full frame (A7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica TL2 and the Sony Alpha A7? 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 TL2 and the Sony A7 are illustrated 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TL2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A7 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 A7 is notably larger (29 percent) than the Leica TL2. Moreover, the A7 is markedly heavier (19 percent) than the TL2. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 is splash and dust-proof, while the TL2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 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. 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 TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|2.||Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A5||117 mm||68 mm||40 mm||361 g||450||n||Jan 2018||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X100F||127 mm||75 mm||52 mm||469 g||390||n||Jan 2017||1,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049||amazon.com|
|10.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|11.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|13.||Samsung NX1||139 mm||102 mm||66 mm||550 g||500||Y||Sep 2014||1,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A7C||124 mm||71 mm||60 mm||509 g||740||Y||Sep 2020||1,799||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A7 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the TL2, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica TL2 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A7 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica TL2 offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 24 MP of the Sony A7. 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 3.92μm versus 5.97μm for the A7). However, it should be noted that the TL2 is much more recent (by 3 years and 8 months) than the A7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TL2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Leica TL2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.
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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|2.||Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|14.||Sony A7C||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3407||95|
|15.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|16.||Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|17.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|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 are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the TL2 provides a higher video resolution than the A7. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A7 has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica TL2 and Sony A7 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Sony A7||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A5||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X100F||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E3||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||2330||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Samsung NX1||2360||Y||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/8000s||15.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony A7C||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|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 TL2 has a touchscreen, while the A7 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The TL2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The TL2 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the A7 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 TL2 and Sony Alpha A7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Sony A7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Fujifilm X100F||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Samsung NX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7C||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The TL2 lacks such a headphone port.
The TL2 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the A7 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 was succeeded by the Sony A7 II. Further information on the features and operation of the TL2 and A7 can be found, respectively, in the Leica TL2 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A7 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica TL2 and the Sony A7? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Leica TL2:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 75g or 16 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 8 months of technical progress since the A7 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (340 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 comes out slightly ahead of the TL2 (12 : 11 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 TL2 and the Sony A7 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 TL2 or the A7. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|2.||Sony A7||5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A5||..||+||4.1/5||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X100F||5/5||+||3.9/5||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||3.5/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049||amazon.com|
|10.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|11.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|13.||Samsung NX1||5/5||..||..||87/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A7C||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||86/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2020||1,799||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7S||4/5||..||..||86/100||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Leica TL2
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Sony A7
- Canon 7D vs Leica TL2
- Canon G15 vs Sony A7
- Canon G7 X Mark III vs Sony A7
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Leica TL2
- Canon SX520 vs Sony A7
- Fujifilm X-T3 vs Leica TL2
- Leica Q Typ 116 vs Leica TL2
- Leica TL2 vs Panasonic S1R
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony A7
- Panasonic GX9 vs Sony A7
Specifications: Leica TL2 vs Sony A7
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 TL2||Sony A7|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2017||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1,950||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Leica TL2||Sony A7|
|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||24.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 51,200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||90|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2248|
|Screen Specs||Leica TL2||Sony A7|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica TL2||Sony A7|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board 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||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica TL2||Sony A7|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica TL2||Sony A7|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||340 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)
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||399 g (14.1 oz)||474 g (16.7 oz)|
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