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Leica X Vario vs X1

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and September 2009. Both the X Vario and the X1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The X Vario has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the X1 provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica X Vario versus Leica X1
Leica X Vario Leica X1
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 36mm f/2.8
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-3,200
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge260 shots per battery charge
133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g 124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Leica X1? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica X Vario and the Leica X1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Leica X Vario vs Leica X1
Compare X Vario versus X1 top
Comparison X Vario or X1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X1 is notably smaller (23 percent) than the Leica X Vario. Moreover, the X1 is substantially lighter (55 percent) than the X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the X1 are weather-sealed.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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 X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica V-LUX Typ 114 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 830 g 360 n Sep 2014 1,349i
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699i
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899i
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499i
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799i
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the X Vario, 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

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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica X Vario and Leica X1 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X Vario offers a higher resolution than the X1 (12.2MP), but the X Vario has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 5.51μm for the X1). However, the X Vario is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 9 months) than the X1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Leica X Vario implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X Vario for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X1 are 21.4 x 14.3 inches or 54.3 x 36.3 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 29 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

X Vario versus X1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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 X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
 
Leica V-LUX Typ 114 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p........
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p........
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The X Vario indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the X Vario can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X Vario and the X1 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. That said, the X Vario can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X Vario and Leica X1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica V-LUX Typ 1142359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Ricoh GRoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n

The X Vario is equipped with a zoom lens, while the X1 comes with a built-in prime. The X Vario has a 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 optic and the X1 offers a 36mm f/2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the X Vario provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the X1. The X1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The X Vario writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the X1 uses SDHC 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 X Vario (Typ 107) and Leica X1 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 X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
 
Leica V-LUX Typ 114YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ1000YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Ricoh GRYmonomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---

Both the X Vario and the X1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the X Vario 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 website.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X Vario or the Leica X1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 12.2MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 260) on a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 9 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Leica X1:

  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.5).
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 133x73mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 374g or 55 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X Vario is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 5 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.

X Vario 09:05 X1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X Vario and the Leica X1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X Vario and the X1 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews 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 X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica X1..+....4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Leica X-U Typ 113........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
 
Leica Q Typ 116..80/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica V-LUX Typ 114........5/5 Sep 2014 1,349i
 
Leica X Typ 113....3.5/5..4/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica D-LUX 6....4/5..4/5 Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Leica D-LUX 5....4.5/5..4/5 Sep 2010 699i
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
 
Nikon Df..81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
 
Panasonic FZ1000+ +82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899i
 
Panasonic LX5+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
 
Ricoh GR..79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
 
Sony RX1R....4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica X Vario:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X1:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica X Vario vs Leica X1

    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 X Vario Leica X1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date June 2013 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 2,850 USD 1,995
    Sensor Specs Leica X Vario Leica X1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3272 pixels 4272 x 2856 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 3.30 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1320 ..
    Screen Specs Leica X Vario Leica X1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X Vario Leica X1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica X Vario Leica X1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X Vario Leica X1
    Battery Type BP-DC8 BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge260 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    124 x 60 x 32 mm
    (4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 306 g (10.8 oz)

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