Leica V-LUX 2 vs Sony A850
The Leica V-LUX 2 and the Sony Alpha A850 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and August 2009. The V-LUX 2 is a fixed lens compact, while the A850 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (V-LUX 2) and a full frame (A850) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 14 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 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 V-LUX 2 and the Sony Alpha A850? 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 V-LUX 2 and the Sony A850. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A850 is considerably larger (84 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 2. It is noteworthy in this context that the A850 is splash and dust-proof, while the V-LUX 2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 2 has a lens built in, whereas the A850 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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 V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|2.||Sony A850||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|5.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429|
|6.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|11.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Sony A7C||124 mm||71 mm||60 mm||509 g||740||Y||Sep 2020||1,799|
|15.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|16.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The V-LUX 2 was launched at a lower price than the A850, 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 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica V-LUX 2 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A850 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A850 is 2979 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the V-LUX 2 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A850 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24.4MP, the A850 offers a higher resolution than the V-LUX 2 (14MP), but the A850 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 1.41μm for the V-LUX 2) due to its larger sensor. However, the V-LUX 2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the A850, and its sensor might 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 V-LUX 2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A850 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A850 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inches or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica V-LUX 2 are 21.6 x 16.2 inches or 54.9 x 41.1 cm for good quality, 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.4 x 10.8 inches or 36.6 x 27.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica V-LUX 2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A850 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|2.||Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||12.8||1491||78|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.8||11.1||501||43|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.7||11.0||430||42|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|11.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|14.||Sony A7C||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3407||95|
|15.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|16.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|17.||Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
|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. The V-LUX 2 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A850 does not. The highest resolution format that the V-LUX 2 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 2 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the A850 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica V-LUX 2, the Sony A850, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX30||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.6/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX20||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7C||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|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 V-LUX 2 has one, while the A850 does not. While the built-in flash of the V-LUX 2 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The V-LUX 2 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A850 does not have a selfie-screen.
The V-LUX 2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A850 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A850 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the V-LUX 2 only has one slot.
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 V-LUX 2 and Sony Alpha A850 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A850||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon SX30||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon SX20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony A7C||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A99||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony A900||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A850 (unlike the V-LUX 2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the V-LUX 2 and the A850 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The V-LUX 2 was replaced by the Leica V-LUX 3, while the A850 does not have a direct successor. 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? Is the Leica V-LUX 2 better than the Sony A850 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Leica V-LUX 2:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A850 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x80mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A850).
- 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 affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the A850).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A850:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 14MP), which boosts linear resolution by 35%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2009).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A850 emerges as the winner of the match-up (16 : 13 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 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 V-LUX 2 and the Sony A850 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the V-LUX 2 or the A850. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|2.||Sony A850||3/5||..||..||75/100||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|5.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429|
|6.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||..||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|11.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Sony A7C||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||86/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2020||1,799|
|15.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|16.||Sony A99||5/5||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|17.||Sony A900||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 use the search menu below. 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 X vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Canon 2000D vs Sony A850
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Sony A850
- Fujifilm X-H1 vs Sony A850
- Fujifilm X100T vs Sony A850
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Panasonic G9
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Panasonic L1
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Sony A7R
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Leica X1 vs Sony A850
- Olympus E-300 vs Sony A850
Specifications: Leica V-LUX 2 vs Sony A850
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 V-LUX 2||Sony A850|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||25-600mm f/2.8-5.2||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||August 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 849||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Sony A850|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4320 x 3240 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.41 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||49.86 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1415|
|Screen Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Sony A850|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||98%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Sony A850|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Sony A850|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Sony A850|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
124 x 80 x 95 mm
(4.9 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||520 g (18.3 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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