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Leica X Vario vs Sony RX1R

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are two digital cameras that were officially introduced in June 2013. Both the X Vario and the RX1R are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an APS-C (X Vario) and a full frame (RX1R) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 RX1R
Leica X Vario   Sony RX1R
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 35mm f/2.0
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
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 5 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g 113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 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-RX1R? 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 Sony RX1R. 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.

The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX1R is only available in black.

Size Leica X Vario vs Sony RX1R
Compare X Vario versus RX1R top
Comparison X Vario or RX1R rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R is notably smaller (24 percent) than the Leica X Vario. Moreover, the RX1R is markedly lighter (29 percent) than the X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the RX1R are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the X Vario gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the RX1R can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1R can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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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 2,850 i
2.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799 i
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950 i
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249 i
5.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850 i
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i
7.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995 i
8.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099 i
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899 i
11.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799 i
12.
 
Sony RX1R II 113 mm 65 mm 72 mm 507 g 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
13.
 
Sony A7R 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299 i
14.
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329 i
15.
 
Sony RX1 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799 i
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 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 RX1R was somewhat cheaper (by 2 percent) than the X Vario at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. 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 RX1R a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1R is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. 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.

Leica X Vario and Sony RX1R sensor measures

With 24MP, the RX1R offers a higher resolution than the X Vario (16.1MP), but the RX1R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 4.80μm for the X Vario) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X Vario are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.6 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches 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-RX1R are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

X Vario versus RX1R 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1R offers substantially better image quality than the X Vario (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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.

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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
1.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.71320 78
2.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.62537 91
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p...... ..
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.72221 85
5.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.71082 75
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 3280none24.613.13279 89
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.81164 80
10.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.7517 64
11.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.5972 78
12.
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.93204 97
13.
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.12746 95
14.
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.81068 78
15.
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.32534 93

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the RX1R 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.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The X Vario and the RX1R 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-EV1MK for the RX1R – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X Vario and Sony RX1R along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y 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 1230 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 RX1R II2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
13.
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
14.
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Sony RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n

The X Vario is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1R comes with a built-in prime. The X Vario has a 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 optic and the RX1R offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Leica provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Sony. The RX1R offers the faster maximum aperture.

The X Vario writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1R uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R 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
1.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-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 RX1R IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the RX1R has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The X Vario does not feature such a mic input.

Both the X Vario and the RX1R have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX1R was replaced by the Sony RX1R II, 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X Vario and the Sony RX1R? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 920k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/3.5).
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 133x73mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 198g or 29 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1R is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 04:14 RX1R

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X Vario and the Sony RX1R 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X Vario or the RX1R. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

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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 2,850 i
2.
 
Sony RX1R5/5....4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799 i
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950 i
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249 i
5.
 
Leica T3/5....4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850 i
6.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i
7.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995 i
8.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099 i
10.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899 i
11.
 
Ricoh GR5/5..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799 i
12.
 
Sony RX1R II5/5..82/100..4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
13.
 
Sony A7R5/5+ +82/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299 i
14.
 
Sony A30003/5+..4/54/5 Aug 2013 329 i
15.
 
Sony RX15/5..79/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica X Vario:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX1R:
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Leica X Vario vs Sony RX1R

    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 RX1R
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date June 2013 June 2013
    Launch Price USD 2,850 USD 2,799
    Sensor Specs Leica X Vario Sony RX1R
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 35.8 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 855.62 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3272 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 5.97 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 2.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 50 - 102,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 91
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 25.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 13.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1320 2537
    Screen Specs Leica X Vario Sony RX1R
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X Vario Sony RX1R
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-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 RX1R
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X Vario Sony RX1R
    Battery Type BP-DC8 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 482 g (17.0 oz)

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

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