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Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2013 and October 2013. The X Vario is a fixed lens compact, while the GM1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X Vario) and a Four Thirds (GM1) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Leica X Vario   Panasonic GM1
Leica X Vario Panasonic GM1
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Micro Four Thirds lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-12500 ISO 200-25600
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 1036k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g 99 x 55 x 30 mm, 204 g

Body comparison: Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica X Vario and the Panasonic GM1 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Leica X Vario and Panasonic GM1
Compare X Vario versus GM1 top
Compare X Vario or GM1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GM1 is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Leica X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the GM1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X Vario has a lens built in, whereas the GM1 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 GM1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X Vario gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the GM1 can take 230 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLH7 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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 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
Panasonic GM1« 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Leica X-U Typ 113« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 3.5 in 22.4 oz 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950 i i Leica X-U Typ 113
Leica Q Typ 116« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249 i i Leica Q Typ 116
Leica T« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Leica X2« » 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Nikon Coolpix A« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 230 n Mar 2013 1,099- i Nikon Coolpix A
Panasonic FZ1000« » 5.4 in 3.9 in 5.2 in 29.3 oz 360 n Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Panasonic GH3« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
Ricoh GR« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799- i Ricoh GR
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R

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. 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 X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 X Vario features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GM1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GM1 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the X Vario has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GM1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica X Vario and Panasonic GM1 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X Vario offers a slightly higher resolution than the GM1 (15.8MP), but the X Vario nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 3.77μm for the GM1) due to its larger sensor. However, the GM1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the X Vario, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500 The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 125-25600..

X Vario versus GM1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the X Vario provides substantially higher image quality than the GM1, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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 X Vario» APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078Leica X Vario
Panasonic GM1« Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066Panasonic GM1
Leica X-U Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X-U Typ 113
Leica Q Typ 116« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185Leica Q Typ 116
Leica T« » APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
Leica X2« » APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
Nikon Coolpix A« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480Nikon Coolpix A
Panasonic FZ1000« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870Panasonic GX7
Panasonic GH3« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271Panasonic GH3
Ricoh GR« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278Ricoh GR
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R

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 GM1 provides a faster frame rate than the X Vario. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X Vario and the GM1 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X Vario and Panasonic GM1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica X Vario»- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
Panasonic GM1«- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n Panasonic GM1
Leica X-U Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X-U Typ 113
Leica Q Typ 116« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 n n Leica Q Typ 116
Leica T« »- n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 4000 5.0 Y n Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
Leica X2« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X2
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 n n Nikon Df
Nikon Coolpix A« »- n 3.0 921 fixed n 2000 4.0 Y n Nikon Coolpix A
Panasonic FZ1000« »2359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y Panasonic GX7
Panasonic GH3« »1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Panasonic GH3
Ricoh GR« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GM1 has a touchscreen, while the X Vario has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the GM1 features an 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).

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the X Vario and the GM1 write their files to SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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 X Vario»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
Panasonic GM1«-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM1
Leica X-U Typ 113« »Ystereomono---2.0---Leica X-U Typ 113
Leica Q Typ 116« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Leica Q Typ 116
Leica T« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
Leica X2« »Y----mini2.0---Leica X2
Nikon Df« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
Nikon Coolpix A« »Ystereomono---2.0---Nikon Coolpix A
Panasonic FZ1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GM5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
Panasonic GX7« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GX7
Panasonic GH3« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Panasonic GH3
Ricoh GR« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Ricoh GR
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R

It is notable that the X Vario has a hotshoe, while the GM1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The X Vario is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the GM1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GM1 was succeeded by the Panasonic GM5.


Review summary: Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica X Vario better than the Panasonic GM1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (2000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GM1 requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2013).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 920k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (99x55mm vs 133x73mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X Vario emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 8 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.

X Vario 11:08 GM1

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X Vario or the GM1. 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: Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

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 full reviews are available 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 X Vario»--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Panasonic GM1«Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i Panasonic GM1
Leica X-U Typ 113« »----3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950 i i Leica X-U Typ 113
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249 i i Leica Q Typ 116
Leica T« »--4/5-4/5 Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Leica X2« »--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Nikon Coolpix A« »Rec75/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099- i Nikon Coolpix A
Panasonic FZ1000« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899- i Panasonic FZ1000
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i Panasonic GM5
Panasonic LX100« »HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i Panasonic GX7
Panasonic GH3« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i Panasonic GH3
Ricoh GR« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799- i Ricoh GR
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R

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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 Amazon price
Panasonic GM1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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 X Vario vs Panasonic GM1

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Leica X Vario Panasonic GM1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date June 2013 October 2013
    Launch Price USD 2850 USD 749
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 17.3 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3272 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 7.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100-12500 ISO 200-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 125-25600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1320 660
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional No viewfinder
    LCD Framing n/a Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 1036k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/2000s 1/500s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-ShutterElectronic Shutter
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BP-DC8 power pack DMW-BLH7 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    99 x 55 x 30 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 204 g (7.2 oz)

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