Leica X1 vs Sony A5000
The Leica X1 and the Sony Alpha A5000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and January 2014. The X1 is a fixed lens compact, while the A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica X1||Sony A5000|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|36mm f/2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-3,200||ISO 100-16,000|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|2.7 LCD, 230k dots||3.0 LCD, 461k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||3.5 shutter flaps per second|
|260 shots per battery charge||420 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g||110 x 63 x 36 mm, 269 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X1 and the Sony Alpha A5000? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Leica X1 and the Sony A5000 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.
The X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A5000 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5000 is notably smaller (7 percent) than the Leica X1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X1 nor the A5000 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 A5000 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 A5000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the X1 gets 260 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the A5000 can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5000 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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Leica X1||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|Sony A5000||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Canon M10||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.6 oz||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon G16||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X100||5.0 in||3.0 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199|
|Leica X Typ 113||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|Leica D-LUX 6||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|Leica X2||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|Leica D-LUX 5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|Leica V-LUX 2||4.9 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||18.3 oz||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|Nikon D3300||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|Panasonic LX5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Sony RX100 IV||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony A5100||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony NEX-3N||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-3||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Sony NEX-5||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||10.1 oz||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.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5000 is 4 percent smaller. 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A5000 offers a higher resolution of 19.8 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the X1. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.25μm versus 5.51μm for the X1). However, it should be noted that the A5000 is much more recent (by 4 years and 3 months) than the X1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A5000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X1 are 21.4 x 14.3 inches or 54.3 x 36.3 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 29 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.2 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 Sony Alpha A5000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A5000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A5000 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X1 and the A5000 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. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X1, the Sony A5000, and comparable cameras.
|Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
The X1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A5000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A5000 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Sony Alpha A5000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the X1 has a hotshoe, while the A5000 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the X1 and the A5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the A5000 was followed by the Sony A5100. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X1 or the Sony A5000 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica X1:
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A5000 requires a separate lens.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 28%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- 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 (461k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 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 (420 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 3 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5000 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 4 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. 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 Sony A5000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X1 or the A5000. 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Leica X1||..||+||..||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|Sony A5000||+||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|Canon M10||..||..||..||o||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X100||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199|
|Leica X Typ 113||..||..||3.5/5||..||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|Leica X2||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Sony A5100||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony NEX-3N||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|Sony NEX-3||..||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|Sony NEX-5||+ +||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 50D vs Sony A5000
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Leica X1
- Canon 760D vs Sony A5000
- Canon G3 X vs Leica X1
- Fujifilm X-T10 vs Sony A5000
- Leica X1 vs Olympus E-M10
- Leica X1 vs Pentax K-5
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Sony A5000
- Nikon D300 vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-M5 III vs Sony A5000
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Sony A5000
- Sony A5000 vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Leica X1 vs Sony A5000
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||Sony A5000|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||36mm f/2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2009||January 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 1,995||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X1||Sony A5000|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2856 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||4.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.30 MP/cm2||5.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1089|
|Screen Specs||Leica X1||Sony A5000|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X1||Sony A5000|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X1||Sony A5000|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica X1||Sony A5000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||260 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
124 x 60 x 32 mm
(4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||306 g (10.8 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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