Leica X Vario vs Sony HX90V
The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2013 and April 2015. Both the X Vario and the HX90V are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an APS-C (X Vario) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX90V) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica X Vario||Sony HX90V|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|28-70mm f/3.5-6.4||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-12500||ISO 80-3200 (80-12800)|
|Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder (638k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|450 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g||102 x 58 x 36 mm, 245 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica X Vario and the Sony HX90V is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the HX90V is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX90V is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Leica X Vario. Moreover, the HX90V is substantially lighter (64 percent) than the X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the HX90V are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the X Vario gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the HX90V can take 360 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the HX90V can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, 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.
|Leica X Vario»||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||Leica X Vario|
|Sony HX90V«||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX60« »||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549||Canon SX60|
|Leica X-U Typ 113« »||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica T« »||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||Leica T|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114« »||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||830 g||360||n||Sep 2014||1,349||Leica V-LUX Typ 114|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||Leica X Typ 113|
|Nikon Df« »||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Ricoh GR« »||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799||Ricoh GR|
|Sony HX99« »||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449||Sony HX99|
|Sony RX100 V« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX400V« »||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499||Sony HX400V|
|Sony RX100 III« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX1R« »||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||Sony RX1R|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The HX90V was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 Sony HX90V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX90V is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the X Vario has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX90V offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX90V offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the X Vario. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.25μm versus 4.80μm for the X Vario). However, it should be noted that the HX90V is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the X Vario, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX90V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78||Leica X Vario|
|Sony HX90V||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX60||1/2.3||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||19.2||10.8||127||39||Canon SX60|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica T||APS-C||16.2||4944||3278||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||1082||75||Leica T|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX Typ 114|
|Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica X Typ 113|
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89||Nikon Df|
|Panasonic FZ1000||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||11.7||517||64||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Ricoh GR||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.5||972||78||Ricoh GR|
|Sony HX99||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX99|
|Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX400V||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX400V|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91||Sony 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 HX90V provides a faster frame rate than the X Vario. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the HX90V has an electronic viewfinder (638k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X Vario relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X Vario can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X Vario, the Sony HX90V, and comparable cameras.
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Vario|
|Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX60||922||n||3.0||922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y||Canon SX60|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica T||optional||n||3.7||1300||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica T|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX Typ 114|
|Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Typ 113|
|Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n||Nikon Df|
|Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR|
|Sony HX99||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX400V|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1R|
Both the X Vario and the HX90V have zoom lenses built in. The X Vario has a 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 optic and the HX90V offers a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Leica. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
The X Vario writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX90V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The HX90V supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X Vario cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Vario (Typ 107) and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Vario|
|Sony HX90V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX60||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX60|
|Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica T||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica T|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Leica V-LUX Typ 114|
|Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Typ 113|
|Nikon Df||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Df|
|Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Ricoh GR||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Ricoh GR|
|Sony HX99||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 V|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony HX400V||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX400V|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
It is notable that the X Vario has a hotshoe, while the HX90V does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX90V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the X Vario and the HX90V are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The HX90V replaced the earlier Sony HX50V, while the X Vario does not have a direct predecessor. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X Vario and the Sony HX90V? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 360) 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).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 133x73mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 435g or 64 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- 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 geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (85 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 10 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the HX90V is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 9 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 X Vario and the Sony HX90V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X Vario and the HX90V in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. 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? 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 Mark II vs Leica X Vario
- Leica Q2 vs Leica X Vario
- Leica S Typ 006 vs Sony HX90V
- Leica X Vario vs Nikon D60
- Leica X Vario vs Olympus E-5
- Leica X Vario vs Olympus E-620
- Leica X Vario vs Panasonic G90
- Nikon L840 vs Sony HX90V
- Olympus E-330 vs Sony HX90V
- Olympus E-M5 II vs Sony HX90V
- Pentax K-3 II vs Sony HX90V
- Sony HX90V vs Sony RX100
Specifications: Leica X Vario vs Sony HX90V
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 Vario||Sony HX90V|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-70mm f/3.5-6.4||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||June 2013||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 2850||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony HX90V|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3272 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.35 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12500 ISO||80-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80-12800 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||Sony HX90V|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony HX90V|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000/s||1/2000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony HX90V|
|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|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony HX90V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||450 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
133 x 73 x 95 mm
(5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||245 g (8.6 oz)|
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