Leica X1 vs Olympus E-400
The Leica X1 and the Olympus E-400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and September 2006. The X1 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-400 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X1) and a Four Thirds (E-400) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X1 and the Olympus E-400? 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 X1 and the Olympus E-400 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-400 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 Olympus E-400 is considerably larger (59 percent) than the Leica X1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X1 nor the E-400 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X1 has a lens built in, whereas the E-400 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 E-400 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|2.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|3.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Fujifilm X100||126 mm||75 mm||54 mm||445 g||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199|
|5.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|7.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|10.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|11.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|12.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|13.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|15.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 X1 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-400 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-400 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the X1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-400 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 12.2MP, the X1 offers a higher resolution than the E-400 (10MP), but the X1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.51μm versus 4.74μm for the E-400) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X1 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 11 months) than the E-400, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Leica X1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.3 inches or 54.3 x 36.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 29 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-400 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica X1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-400 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
|2.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|11.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-400 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X1 and Olympus E-400 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica X1||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Fujifilm X100||1440||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
The X1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-400 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-400 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the X1 only has one slot.
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 X1 and Olympus E-400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica X1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-400||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X100||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the X1 and the E-400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-400 was replaced by the Olympus E-410, while the X1 was followed by the Leica X2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X1 or the Olympus E-400 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Leica X1:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 10MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the E-400 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 130x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-400).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-400 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus E-400:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X1 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 6 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 X1 and the Olympus E-400 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best DSLR 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 X1 or the E-400. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.
|1.||Leica X1||3/5||..||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|2.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|3.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Fujifilm X100||3/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199|
|5.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|6.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|7.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|8.||Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|10.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|11.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|12.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|13.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|15.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||3/5||+ +||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|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, 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.
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- Canon SX50 vs Olympus E-400
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Leica X1
- Leica X1 vs Nikon Df
- Leica X1 vs Panasonic LX5
- Leica X1 vs Panasonic S1H
- Leica X1 vs Sony RX0 II
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- Olympus E-400 vs Panasonic GX9
- Olympus E-400 vs Sony A7
Specifications: Leica X1 vs Olympus E-400
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 X1||Olympus E-400|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||36mm f/2.8||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2009||September 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 1,995||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X1||Olympus E-400|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2856 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.30 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica X1||Olympus E-400|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X1||Olympus E-400|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X1||Olympus E-400|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica X1||Olympus E-400|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||260 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
124 x 60 x 32 mm
(4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
|Camera Weight||306 g (10.8 oz)||435 g (15.3 oz)|
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