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Leica V-LUX 4 versus Sony RX10 III

The Leica V-LUX 4 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and March 2016. Both the V-LUX 4 and the RX10 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (V-LUX 4) and an one-inch (RX10 III) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony RX10 III

The physical size and weight of the Leica V-LUX 4 and the Sony RX10 III 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the V-LUX 4 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony RX10 III
Compare V-LUX 4 versus RX10 III top
Compare V-LUX 4 and RX10 III rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX10 III is notably larger (15 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 4. Moreover, the RX10 III is substantially heavier (79 percent) than the V-LUX 4. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 III is splash and dust-proof, while the V-LUX 4 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

Concerning battery life, the V-LUX 4 gets 540 shots out of its BP-DC12 battery, while the RX10 III can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica V-LUX 4» 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Sep 2012 949- i Leica V-LUX 4
Sony RX10 III« 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499 i i Sony RX10 III
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« » 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
Leica V-LUX Typ 114« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Sep 2014 1,349 i i Leica V-LUX Typ 114
Leica X Vario« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Leica D-LUX 6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.7 in 19.0 oz 410 n Dec 2011 949- i Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« » 4.9 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 18.3 oz 410 n Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic FZ200« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic FZ150« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150
Sony RX10 IV« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.7 in 38.6 oz 400 Y Sep 2017 1,699 i i Sony RX10 IV
Sony RX100 V« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 220 n Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony RX10 II« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

Any camera purchase 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. The V-LUX 4 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 37 percent) than the RX10 III, which puts it into a different market segment. 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: Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony RX10 III

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 V-LUX 4 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony RX10 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 III is 314 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the V-LUX 4 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX10 III offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around BSI-CMOS sensors.

Leica V-LUX 4 and Sony RX10 III sensor measures

With 20MP, the RX10 III offers a higher resolution than the V-LUX 4 (12MP), but the RX10 III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.53μm for the V-LUX 4) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX10 III is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 6 months) than the V-LUX 4, and its sensor will 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 the V-LUX 4 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

V-LUX 4 versus RX10 III 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Leica V-LUX 4» 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Leica V-LUX 4
Sony RX10 III« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270Sony RX10 III
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947Canon SX50
Leica V-LUX Typ 114« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica V-LUX Typ 114
Leica X Vario« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078Leica X Vario
Leica D-LUX 6« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p----Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« » 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i----Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic FZ200« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic FZ150« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240Panasonic FZ150
Sony RX10 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Sony RX10 IV
Sony RX100 V« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.458670Sony RX100 V
Sony RX10 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469Sony RX10

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the RX10 III provides a better video resolution than the V-LUX 4. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony RX10 III

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the RX10 III offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the V-LUX 4 (2359k vs 1312k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica V-LUX 4 and Sony RX10 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica V-LUX 4»1312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 4
Sony RX10 III«2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 III
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« »202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 2000 2.2 Y Y Canon SX50
Leica V-LUX Typ 114« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX Typ 114
Leica X Vario« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
Leica D-LUX 6« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 12.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 11.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic FZ200« »1312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic FZ150« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ150
Sony RX10 IV« »2359 Y 3.0 1440 tilting Y 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX10 IV
Sony RX100 V« »2359 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 24.0 Y Y Sony RX100 V
Sony RX10 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y Sony RX10

One feature that is present on the RX10 III, but is missing on the V-LUX 4 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the RX10 III features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the V-LUX 4 and the RX10 III have zoom lenses build in. The V-LUX 4 has a 25-600mm f/2.8-2.8 optic and the RX10 III offers a 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Leica and the same tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX10 III offers the faster maximum aperture.

The V-LUX 4 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX10 III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Leica V-LUX 4»YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 4
Sony RX10 III«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10 III
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G1 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX50
Leica V-LUX Typ 114« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Leica V-LUX Typ 114
Leica X Vario« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
Leica D-LUX 6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic FZ200« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic FZ150« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Panasonic FZ150
Sony RX10 IV« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10 IV
Sony RX100 V« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 V
Sony RX10 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10

The RX10 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the V-LUX 4 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the V-LUX 4 was succeeded by the Leica V-LUX Typ 114.

Review summary: Leica V-LUX 4 vs Sony RX10 III

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica V-LUX 4 better than the Sony RX10 III or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Leica V-LUX 4:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More compact: Is smaller (125x87mm vs 133x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 463g or 44 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (540 versus 420) on a single battery charge.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (37 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 32%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: Larger sensor generates images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1312k dots).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 12 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the V-LUX 4 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX10 III is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 9 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.

V-LUX 4 09:19 RX10 III

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the V-LUX 4 or the RX10 III handle or perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica V-LUX 4»----- Sep 2012 949- i Leica V-LUX 4
Sony RX10 III«Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499 i i Sony RX10 III
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Canon G1 X« »Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon SX50« »HiRec72/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
Leica V-LUX Typ 114« »----5/5 Sep 2014 1,349 i i Leica V-LUX Typ 114
Leica X Vario« »--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Leica D-LUX 6« »--4/5-4/5 Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
Leica V-LUX 3« »----- Dec 2011 949- i Leica V-LUX 3
Leica V-LUX 2« »----- Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic FZ200« »HiRec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic FZ200
Panasonic FZ150« »HiRec76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150
Sony RX10 IV« »Rec84/1004.5/5-5/5 Sep 2017 1,699 i i Sony RX10 IV
Sony RX100 V« »HiRec83/1004/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 999 i i Sony RX100 V
Sony RX10 II« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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