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Leica TL2 vs Sony RX1

The Leica TL2 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2017 and September 2012. The TL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (TL2) and a full frame (RX1) 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.

Headline Specifications
Leica TL2 versus Sony RX1
Leica TL2 Sony RX1
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica T mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-50,000 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)
7 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
134 x 69 x 33 mm, 399 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 TL2 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Leica TL2 and the Sony RX1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear 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 RX1 is only available in black.

Size Leica TL2 vs Sony RX1
Compare TL2 versus RX1 top
Comparison TL2 or RX1 rear

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 TL2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL2 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 TL2 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica TL2 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Sony RX1 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Fujifilm X-T100 4.8 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 15.8 oz 430 n May 2018 599i
 
Fujifilm X-T20 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.5 oz 350 n Jan 2017 899 i
 
Fujifilm X-A3 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399i
 
Leica C-LUX 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i
 
Leica CL 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica T 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Nikon D3500 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 12.9 oz 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i
 
Nikon D5600 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D3400 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D5300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799i
 
Sony RX1R II 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Sony A3000 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony RX1R 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony NEX-7 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349i
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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica TL2 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.

Leica TL2 and Sony RX1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica TL2 offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 24 MP of the Sony RX1. 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 5.96μm for the RX1). However, it should be noted that the TL2 is much more recent (by 4 years and 9 months) than the RX1, 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 Leica TL2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. 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.

TL2 versus RX1 MP

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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493
 
Fujifilm X-T100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p........
 
Fujifilm X-T20 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p........
 
Fujifilm X-A3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Leica C-LUX 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the TL2 provides a higher video resolution than the RX1. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The TL2 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 TL2 and the FDA-EV1MK for the RX1 – are available as accessories. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica TL2, the Sony RX1, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Sony RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-T1002360 n 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-T202360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-A3none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Leica C-LUX2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX1R II2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-72359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TL2 has a touchscreen, while the RX1 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 RX1 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 RX1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
 
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X-T100YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Fujifilm X-T20YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X-A3Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Leica C-LUX-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
 
Nikon D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Sony RX1R IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-7YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the TL2 offers wifi support, while the RX1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The TL2 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the RX1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX1 was succeeded by the Sony RX1R. 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica TL2 and the Sony RX1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer 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 flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 9 months of technical progress since the RX1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the TL2 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 134x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL2 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 6 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 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.

TL2 11:06 RX1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica TL2 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 TL2 or the RX1. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Sony RX1..79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Fujifilm X-T100+79/1004/5..4.5/5 May 2018 599i
 
Fujifilm X-T20+ +82/1005/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i
 
Fujifilm X-A3..74/1004.5/5..4/5 Aug 2016 399i
 
Leica C-LUX....4.5/5..4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Nikon D3500..75/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i
 
Nikon D5600..79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D5300+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
 
Sony RX1R II..82/100..o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Sony A3000+..4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony RX1R....4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony NEX-7+ +81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349i
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. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica TL2:
Check Amazon price
Sony RX1:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Leica TL2 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica TL2 Sony RX1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date July 2017 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 1,950 USD 2,799
    Sensor Specs Leica TL2 Sony RX1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.1 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6014 x 4014 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.92 μm 5.96 μm
    Pixel Density 6.52 MP/cm2 2.82 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 - 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 TL2 Sony RX1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    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 TL2 Sony RX1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 7 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-II no
    Connectivity Specs Leica TL2 Sony RX1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.0 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 TL2 Sony RX1
    Battery Type BP-DC13 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 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 399 g (14.1 oz) 482 g (17.0 oz)

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