Leica X1 vs Sony HX90V
The Leica X1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and April 2015. Both the X1 and the HX90V are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an APS-C (X1) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX90V) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica X1||Sony HX90V|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|36mm f/2.8||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-3200||ISO 80-3200 (80-12800)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (638k dots)|
|2.7" LCD, 230k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|260 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g||102 x 58 x 36 mm, 245 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V? 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 HX90V 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the HX90V 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 Sony HX90V is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Leica X1. Moreover, the HX90V is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the X1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X1 nor the HX90V are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the X1 gets 260 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the HX90V can take 360 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the HX90V can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, 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.
|Leica X1»||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995||Leica X1|
|Sony HX90V«||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||360||n||Apr 2015||429||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX720« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379||Canon SX720|
|Canon G16« »||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Fujifilm X100« »||5.0 in||3.0 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||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||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2« »||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Sep 2010||699||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||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Panasonic LX5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499||Panasonic LX5|
|Sony HX99« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||449||Sony HX99|
|Sony HX95« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||370||n||Aug 2018||429||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.2 oz||370||n||Oct 2018||399||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.1 in||23.3 oz||300||n||Feb 2014||499||Sony HX400V|
|Sony NEX-3« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||10.1 oz||330||n||May 2010||699||Sony NEX-5|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The HX90V was launched at a markedly lower price (by 78 percent) than the X1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. 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. 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica X1 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony HX90V a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX90V is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the X1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX90V offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the HX90V offers a higher resolution of 18 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 1.25μm versus 5.51μm for the X1). However, it should be noted that the HX90V is much more recent (by 5 years and 7 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the HX90V has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony HX90V implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the HX90V for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inch or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inch or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inch or 41.5 x 31.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X1 are 21.4 x 14.3 inch or 54.3 x 36.3 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inch or 43.4 x 29 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inch 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 Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
|Leica X1||APS-C||12.2||4272||2856||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X1|
|Sony HX90V||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX720||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX720|
|Canon G16||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54||Canon G16|
|Fujifilm X100||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/30p||22.9||12.4||1001||73||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Panasonic LX5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.6||10.8||132||41||Panasonic LX5|
|Sony HX99||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX99|
|Sony HX95||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX400V|
|Sony NEX-3||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||1080/60i||22.2||12.2||796||69||Sony NEX-5|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The HX90V indeed provides for movie recording, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the HX90V can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the HX90V has an electronic viewfinder (638k 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X1 and Sony HX90V along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Leica X1||none||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica X1|
|Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX720||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX720|
|Canon G16||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon G16|
|Fujifilm X100||1440||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Panasonic LX5|
|Sony HX99||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Sony HX95||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX400V|
|Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5|
The HX90V is equipped with a zoom lens, while the X1 comes with a built-in prime. The HX90V has a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 optic and the X1 offers a 36mm f/2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Sony provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Leica. The X1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The X1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the HX90V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The HX90V 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 Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica X1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X1|
|Sony HX90V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX90V|
|Canon SX720||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX720|
|Canon G16||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon G16|
|Fujifilm X100||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Panasonic LX5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX5|
|Sony HX99||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX99|
|Sony HX95||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony HX95|
|Sony WX800||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony WX800|
|Sony HX400V||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX400V|
|Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5|
It is notable that the X1 has a hotshoe, while the HX90V does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX90V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The HX90V is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the X1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the X1 was succeeded 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 Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X1 and the Sony HX90V? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica X1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.5).
- 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).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 19%.
- 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 1080/60p video.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition 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 (921k 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 124x60mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 61g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (78 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX90V is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 9 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 HX90V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Superzoom 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X1 or the HX90V perform in practice. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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.
Specifications: Leica X1 vs Sony HX90V
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 HX90V|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||36mm f/2.8||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||September 2009||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1995||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X1||Sony HX90V|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2856 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.30 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-3200 ISO||80-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80-12800 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica X1||Sony HX90V|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X1||Sony HX90V|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000/s||1/2000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||10 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 HX90V|
|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|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica X1||Sony HX90V|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||260 shots per charge||360 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)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||306 g (10.8 oz)||245 g (8.6 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.