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Leica X1 versus Leica TL

The Leica X1 and the Leica TL are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and November 2016. The X1 is a fixed lens compact, while the TL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The X1 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the TL provides 16.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica X1 vs Leica TL

The physical size and weight of the Leica X1 and the Leica TL are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the X1 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica X1 vs Leica TL
Compare X1 versus TL top
Compare X1 and TL rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica TL is notably larger (24 percent) than the Leica X1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X1 nor the TL are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X1 has a lens build in, whereas the TL is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

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

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 X1» 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Leica TL« 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Fujifilm X-T10« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.4 oz 350 n May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X20« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.5 oz 270 n Jan 2013 599- i Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X100« » 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 300 n Sep 2010 1,199- i Fujifilm X100
Leica TL2« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Leica T« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Leica D-LUX 6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« » 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« » 4.9 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 18.3 oz 410 n Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic LX5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1

Any camera purchase 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. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica X1 vs Leica TL

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Leica X1 and Leica TL sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the TL offers a higher resolution than the X1 (12.2MP), but the TL has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 5.51μm for the X1). Yet, the TL is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 2 months) than the X1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

X1 versus TL MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 X1» APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----Leica X1
Leica TL« APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X20« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X100« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173Fujifilm X100
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
Leica T« » APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
Leica D-LUX 6« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p----Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« » APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p----Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« » 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i----Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
Panasonic LX5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353Panasonic G1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The TL indeed provides for movie recording, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the TL can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica X1 vs Leica TL

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X1 and the TL 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 TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X1, the Leica TL, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica X1»- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y n Leica X1
Leica TL«- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 5.0 Y n Leica TL
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Fujifilm X-T10« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X20« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 12.0 Y Y Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X100« »1440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Fujifilm X100
Leica TL2« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 7.0 n n Leica TL2
Leica T« »- n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 4000 5.0 Y n Leica T
Leica D-LUX 6« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 11.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
Panasonic LX5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n Panasonic G1

Both the X1 and the TL have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2.

Review summary: Leica X1 vs Leica TL

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X1 and the Leica TL? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Leica X1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the TL requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 134x69mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the TL).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).


Reasons to prefer the Leica TL:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the TL is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 5 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.

X1 05:12 TL

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 X1 or the TL. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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 X1»-Rec--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
Leica TL«----4/5 Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Fujifilm X-T10« »HiRec80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X20« »HiRec77/1004.5/5-5/5 Jan 2013 599- i Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X100« »-75/1004/54/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199- i Fujifilm X100
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Leica T« »--4/5-4/5 Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Leica D-LUX 6« »--4/5-4/5 Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« »--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« »----- Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
Panasonic LX5« »Rec73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Panasonic G1« »HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 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 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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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