Leica X Vario vs Sony RX100
The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2013 and June 2012. Both the X Vario and the RX100 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an APS-C (X Vario) and an one-inch (RX100) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica X Vario||Sony RX100|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|28-70mm f/3.5-6.4||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-12500||ISO 100-6400 (100-25600)|
|Viewfinder optional||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|450 shots per battery charge||330 shots per battery charge|
|133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g||102 x 58 x 36 mm, 240 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-RX100? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica X Vario and the Sony RX100 are illustrated 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX100 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 RX100 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Leica X Vario. Moreover, the RX100 is substantially lighter (65 percent) than the X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the RX100 are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the X Vario gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the RX100 can take 330 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Leica X Vario»||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.7 in||24.0 oz||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||Leica X Vario|
|Sony RX100«||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||330||n||Jun 2012||649||Sony RX100|
|Canon G9 X Mark II« »||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.3 oz||235||n||Jan 2017||529||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Canon G9 X« »||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||529||Canon G9 X|
|Leica X-U Typ 113« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||3.5 in||22.4 oz||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950||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||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica T« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||Leica T|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X2« »||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995||Leica X2|
|Nikon Df« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Nikon Coolpix A« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Panasonic FZ1000« »||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Ricoh GR« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||290||n||Apr 2013||799||Ricoh GR|
|Sony RX100 III« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.2 oz||320||n||May 2014||799||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX1R« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX10« »||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.9 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||749||Sony RX100 II|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The RX100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 77 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica X Vario features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 is 69 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 offers a higher resolution of 20 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 2.41μm versus 4.80μm for the X Vario). Moreover, it should be noted that the X Vario is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the RX100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inch or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inch or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inch or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X Vario are 24.6 x 16.4 inch or 62.6 x 41.6 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.7 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the X Vario provides substantially higher image quality than the RX100, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78||Leica X Vario|
|Sony RX100||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.6||12.4||390||66||Sony RX100|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63||Canon G9 X|
|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 X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X2||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X2|
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89||Nikon Df|
|Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80||Nikon Coolpix A|
|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 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|
|Sony RX10||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.9||12.6||474||69||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67||Sony RX100 II|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the RX100 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.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X Vario and the RX100 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X Vario, the Sony RX100, and comparable cameras.
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Vario|
|Sony RX100||none||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y||Canon G9 X|
|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 X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X2||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X2|
|Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n||Nikon Df|
|Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon Coolpix A|
|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 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|
|Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 II|
Both the X Vario and the RX100 have zoom lenses built in. The X Vario has a 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 optic and the RX100 offers a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Leica and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The X Vario writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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-RX100 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 RX100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX100|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon G9 X Mark II|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G9 X|
|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 X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X2||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X2|
|Nikon Df||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Df|
|Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic FZ1000|
|Ricoh GR||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Ricoh GR|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 III|
|Sony RX1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX10||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10|
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 II|
It is notable that the X Vario has a hotshoe, while the RX100 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 RX100 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX100 was succeeded by the Sony RX100 II. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Leica X Vario better than the Sony RX100 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 330) 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the RX100).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 920k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.5).
- 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 440g or 65 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (77 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 7 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 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 Vario and the Sony RX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing 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 RX100 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon T7i vs Sony RX100 V
- Fujifilm X-A7 vs Sony RX100 II
- Fujifilm XF10 vs Sony RX100 II
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Leica X Vario
- Leica V-LUX Typ 114 vs Sony RX100 III
- Nikon B600 vs Sony RX100 IV
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony RX100 IV
- Panasonic G95 vs Sony RX100 V
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony RX100 VII
- Pentax K-70 vs Sony RX100 VII
- Sony A850 vs Sony RX100 II
- Sony RX0 vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Leica X Vario vs Sony RX100
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 RX100|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-70mm f/3.5-6.4||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|Launch Date||June 2013||June 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 2850||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony RX100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3272 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.35 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12500 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-25600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||22.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1320||390|
|Screen Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony RX100|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||No viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony RX100|
|Focus 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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony RX100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica X Vario||Sony RX100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||450 shots per charge||330 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)||240 g (8.5 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.