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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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica X1 and the Panasonic G2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the X1 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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)
Leica X1» 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i
Panasonic G2« 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i
Fujifilm X20« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.5 oz 270 n Jan 2013 599- i
Fujifilm X100« » 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 300 n Sep 2010 1,199- i
Leica TL2« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i
Leica D-LUX 6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699- i
Leica X2« » 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995- i
Leica D-LUX 5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699- i
Leica V-LUX 2« » 4.9 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 18.3 oz 410 n Sep 2010 849- i
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic LX5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 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.

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 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Leica X1» APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----
Panasonic G2« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
Fujifilm X20« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p----
Fujifilm X100« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----
Leica D-LUX 6« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p----
Leica X2« » APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----
Leica D-LUX 5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p----
Leica V-LUX 2« » 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i----
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
Panasonic LX5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X1, the Panasonic G2, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera 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
Leica X1»- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic G2«1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y
Fujifilm X20« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 12.0 Y Y
Fujifilm X100« »1440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Leica TL2« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 7.0 n n
Leica D-LUX 6« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y
Leica X2« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n
Leica D-LUX 5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y
Leica V-LUX 2« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 11.0 Y Y
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 3.2 Y n
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic LX5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n

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 is the bottom line? Is the Leica X1 better than the Panasonic G2 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica X1:

  • Better low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO 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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Arguments in favor 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 G2 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 7 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 07:10 G2

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, 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 expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Leica X1»-Rec--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i
Panasonic G2«-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i
Fujifilm X20« »HiRec77/1004.5/5-5/5 Jan 2013 599- i
Fujifilm X100« »-75/1004/54/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199- i
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i
Leica D-LUX 6« »--4/5-4/5 Sep 2012 699- i
Leica X2« »--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i
Leica D-LUX 5« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2010 699- i
Leica V-LUX 2« »----- Sep 2010 849- i
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic LX5« »Rec73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic G1« »HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu 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, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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