Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Sony A9
The Leica X-U (Typ 113) and the Sony Alpha A9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and April 2017. The X-U Typ 113 is a fixed lens compact, while the A9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X-U Typ 113) and a full frame (A9) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 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 X-U (Typ 113) and the Sony Alpha A9? 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 X-U Typ 113 and the Sony A9. 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 the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A9 is notably larger (10 percent) than the Leica X-U Typ 113. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments. More than that, the X-U Typ 113 is water-proof up to 3m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X-U Typ 113 has a lens built in, whereas the A9 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A9 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the X-U Typ 113 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the A9 can take 650 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The power pack in the A9 can be charged via the USB port, 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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950|
|2.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||115 mm||78 mm||51 mm||399 g||200||Y||Oct 2017||1,299|
|4.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|7.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|8.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|10.||Nikon W300||112 mm||66 mm||29 mm||231 g||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|11.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|12.||Panasonic FZ300||132 mm||92 mm||117 mm||691 g||380||Y||Jul 2015||599|
|13.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|15.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|17.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-U Typ 113 was launched at a lower price than the A9, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 X-U Typ 113 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A9 is 128 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 24MP, the A9 offers a higher resolution than the X-U Typ 113 (16.1MP), but the A9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.80μm for the X-U Typ 113) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the X-U Typ 113, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A9 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A9 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X-U Typ 113 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 A9 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Leica X-U (Typ 113) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A9 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
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.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|8.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|13.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|14.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|16.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|17.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A9 provides a better video resolution than the X-U Typ 113. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, 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 A9 has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X-U Typ 113 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X-U Typ 113 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X-U Typ 113, the Sony A9, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|7.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|8.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X-U Typ 113 has one, while the A9 does not. While the built-in flash of the X-U Typ 113 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A9 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The X-U Typ 113 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A9 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A9 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the X-U Typ 113 only has one slot. The A9 supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the X-U Typ 113 can use UHS-I 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 X-U (Typ 113) and Sony Alpha A9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A9 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the X-U Typ 113 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A9 (unlike the X-U Typ 113) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the X-U Typ 113 and the A9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A9 was replaced by the Sony A9 II, while the X-U Typ 113 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X-U Typ 113 or the Sony A9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica X-U (Typ 113):
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A9 requires a separate lens.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A9).
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 3m).
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A9:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- 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 detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 920k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 450) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 2 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A9 is the clear winner of the contest (27 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X-U Typ 113 and the Sony A9 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X-U Typ 113 and the A9 in practical situations. 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], 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 X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|2.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2017||1,299|
|4.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Leica CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|7.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|8.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|10.||Nikon W300||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||May 2017||389|
|11.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|12.||Panasonic FZ300||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||599|
|13.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|15.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|17.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.
Specifications: Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Sony A9
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 X-U Typ 113||Sony A9|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||35mm f/1.7||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 2,950||USD 4,499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X-U Typ 113||Sony A9|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||92|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3517|
|Screen Specs||Leica X-U Typ 113||Sony A9|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3686k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X-U Typ 113||Sony A9|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||20 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Image Stabilization||no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X-U Typ 113||Sony A9|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica X-U Typ 113||Sony A9|
|Environmental Sealing||Waterproof body (3m)||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||450 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
140 x 79 x 88 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 3.5 in)
127 x 96 x 63 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||635 g (22.4 oz)||673 g (23.7 oz)|
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