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Leica X1 versus Panasonic G2

The Leica X1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and March 2010. The X1 is a fixed lens compact, while the G2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X1) and a Four Thirds (G2) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 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 Panasonic G2

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica X1 and the Panasonic G2. 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 Panasonic G2
Compare X1 versus G2 top
Compare X1 and G2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G2 is notably larger (40 percent) than the Leica X1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X1 nor the G2 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 G2 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the G2 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X1 gets 260 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the G2 can take 360 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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
Panasonic G2« 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Fujifilm X100« » 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 300 n Sep 2010 1,199- i Fujifilm X100
Leica X Typ 113« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
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 G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic LX5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GH1« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 1,499- i Panasonic GH1
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1
Sony NEX-3« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 Panasonic G2

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica X1 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic G2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G2 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 G2 offers a 4:3 aspect.

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

Leica X1 and Panasonic G2 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the X1 offers a slightly higher resolution than the G2 (12MP), but the X1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.51μm versus 4.33μm for the G2) due to its larger sensor. However, the G2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the X1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

X1 versus G2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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
Panasonic G2« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Fujifilm X100« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173Fujifilm X100
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
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 G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
Panasonic LX5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264Panasonic GH1
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353Panasonic G1
Sony NEX-3« » APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« » APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669Sony NEX-5

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The G2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the G2 can use is 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica X1 vs Panasonic G2

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G2 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful 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 Panasonic G2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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
Panasonic G2«1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Fujifilm X100« »1440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Fujifilm X100
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
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 G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
Panasonic LX5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH1
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n Panasonic G1
Sony NEX-3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-5

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G2 has a touchscreen, while the X1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The X1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the G2 uses SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Leica X1»Y----mini2.0---Leica X1
Panasonic G2«Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
Fujifilm X100« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Fujifilm X100
Leica X Typ 113« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
Leica D-LUX 6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 6
Leica X2« »Y----mini2.0---Leica X2
Leica D-LUX 5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 5
Leica V-LUX 2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 2
Panasonic G3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
Panasonic GH2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GH2
Panasonic LX5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GH1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Panasonic GH1
Panasonic G1« »Y----mini2.0---Panasonic G1
Sony NEX-3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-5

Both the X1 and the G2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the G2 was followed by the Panasonic G3.

Review summary: Leica X1 vs Panasonic G2

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica X1 better than the Panasonic G2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica X1:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: Larger pixels generate images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the G2 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 124x84mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the G2).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2009).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • 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.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (10 points each). 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.

X1 10:10 G2

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the X1 and the G2 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 rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews 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
Panasonic G2«-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Fujifilm X100« »-75/1004/54/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199- i Fujifilm X100
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
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 G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic LX5« »Rec73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Panasonic GH1« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 1,499- i Panasonic GH1
Panasonic G1« »HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1
Sony NEX-3« »-70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »HiRec71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 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 cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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