Leica S1 Contax Camera Ranking
APO-Telyt Module Vivitar Shutter count
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Leica X Vario vs Sony NEX-5N

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Alpha NEX-5N are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2013 and August 2011. The X Vario is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-5N is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 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 Sony NEX-5N
Leica X Vario Sony NEX-5N
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Sony E mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-25,600
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge460 shots per battery charge
133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g 111 x 59 x 38 mm, 269 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Alpha NEX-5N? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica X Vario and the Sony NEX-5N are illustrated 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

Size Leica X Vario vs Sony NEX-5N
Compare X Vario versus NEX-5N top
Comparison X Vario or NEX-5N rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-5N is considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Leica X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the NEX-5N 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 NEX-5N 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 NEX-5N and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X Vario gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the NEX-5N can take 460 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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

scroll hint
Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
2.
 
Sony NEX-5N 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 269 g 460 n Aug 2011 699i
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
5.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
7.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
8.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899i
11.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799i
12.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
13.
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749i
14.
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599i
15.
 
Sony NEX-C3 110 mm 60 mm 33 mm 225 g 400 n Jun 2011 599i
16.
 
Sony NEX-3 117 mm 62 mm 33 mm 297 g 330 n May 2010 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-5 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 287 g 330 n May 2010 699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision 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. 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.

ad

Sensor comparison

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-5N is 2 percent smaller. 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.

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

Leica X Vario and Sony NEX-5N sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X Vario offers a slightly higher resolution than the NEX-5N (16MP), but the X Vario nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 4.78μm for the NEX-5N) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X Vario is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 9 months) than the NEX-5N, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 Sony Alpha NEX-5N are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

X Vario versus NEX-5N MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
2.
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
5.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
7.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
8.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
11.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
12.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
13.
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
14.
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
15.
 
Sony NEX-C3 APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.2108373
16.
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068
17.
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669

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 NEX-5N 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.

ad

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X Vario and the NEX-5N 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. However, optional viewfinders – the EVF 2 for the X Vario and the FDA-EV1S for the NEX-5N – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X Vario and Sony NEX-5N in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

scroll hint
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
1.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
10.
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
11.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
12.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
14.
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
15.
 
Sony NEX-C3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
16.
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
17.
 
Sony NEX-5optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X Vario has one, while the NEX-5N does not. While the built-in flash of the X Vario is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The NEX-5N has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the X Vario does not have a selfie-screen.

The X Vario writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-5N uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

ad

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 Sony Alpha NEX-5N and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
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
1.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereomono---2.0---
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Ricoh GRYmonomono--micro2.0---
12.
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereomono--mini2.0Y--
14.
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Sony NEX-C3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the X Vario and the NEX-5N have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-5N was replaced by the Sony NEX-5R, 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 and Sony websites.

ad

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X Vario or the Sony NEX-5N – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-5N requires a separate lens.
  • 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 9 months after the NEX-5N).

ilogo

Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-5N:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • 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.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x59mm vs 133x73mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2011).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-5N is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 4 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.

X Vario 04:09 NEX-5N

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X Vario and the Sony NEX-5N place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X Vario or the NEX-5N 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. 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.

scroll hint
Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
2.
 
Sony NEX-5N3/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699i
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
5.
 
Leica T3/5....4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
6.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
7.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
8.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
10.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899i
11.
 
Ricoh GR5/5..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
12.
 
Sony RX1R5/5....4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
13.
 
Sony NEX-5R......4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2012 749i
14.
 
Sony NEX-F34/5..74/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599i
15.
 
Sony NEX-C33/5+ +74/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
16.
 
Sony NEX-3....70/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-53/5+ +71/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Leica X Vario:
Check Ebay offers
Sony NEX-5N:
Check Ebay offers

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~
    loader

    Specifications: Leica X Vario vs Sony NEX-5N

    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 Sony NEX-5N
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2013 August 2011
    Launch Price USD 2,850 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Leica X Vario Sony NEX-5N
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3272 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 77
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 23.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 12.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1320 1079
    Screen Specs Leica X Vario Sony NEX-5N
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica X Vario Sony NEX-5N
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica X Vario Sony NEX-5N
    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 Sony NEX-5N
    Battery Type BP-DC8 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge460 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    111 x 59 x 38 mm
    (4.4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 269 g (9.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Leica X Vario vs Sony NEX-5N

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.


    If you like it, make sure you share it:

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I appreciate it.