Leica X1 vs Sony RX1R
The Leica X1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and June 2013. Both the X1 and the RX1R are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an APS-C (X1) and a full frame (RX1R) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica X1||Sony RX1R|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|36mm f/2.8||35mm f/2.0|
|12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-3200||ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|2.7" LCD, 230k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|260 shots per battery charge||270 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g||113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R? 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 RX1R are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX1R 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 RX1R is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Leica X1. However, the RX1R is substantially heavier (58 percent) than the X1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X1 nor the RX1R are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the X1 gets 260 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the RX1R can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1R can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|Leica X1»||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995||Leica X1|
|Sony RX1R«||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||Sony RX1R|
|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 RX1R II« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7R« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||Sony A7R|
|Sony A3000« »||5.0 in||3.6 in||3.3 in||14.5 oz||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony RX1|
|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 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. The X1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 29 percent) than the RX1R, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 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 Sony RX1R a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1R is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the RX1R offers a higher resolution than the X1 (12.2MP), but the RX1R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 5.51μm for the X1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX1R is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 9 months) than the X1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 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-RX1R are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Leica X1||APS-C||12.2||4272||2856||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X1|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91||Sony RX1R|
|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 RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93||Sony RX1|
|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 cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The RX1R indeed provides for movie recording, while the X1 does not. The highest resolution format that the RX1R can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The X1 and the RX1R 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. That said, the RX1R can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X1 and Sony RX1R 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 RX1R||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1R|
|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 RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1|
|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|
Both the X1 and the RX1R have built-in prime lenses. The X1 has a 36mm f/2.8 optic and the RX1R offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Leica provides more tele-photo reach than the Sony. The RX1R offers the faster maximum aperture.
The X1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the RX1R uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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-RX1R 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 RX1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
|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 RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony RX1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1|
|Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5|
Both the X1 and the RX1R have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The X1 was replaced by the Leica X2, while the RX1R was followed by the Sony RX1R II. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X1 and the Sony RX1R? 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.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 176g or 37 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (29 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced 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.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- 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 (1229k vs 230k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/2.8).
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 9 months of technical progress since the X1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1R is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 5 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 RX1R place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X1 and the RX1R 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 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 SX70 vs Sony RX1R
- Fujifilm X30 vs Leica X1
- Fujifilm XP120 vs Sony RX1R II
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Sony RX1R
- Leica S3 vs Sony RX1R
- Leica X1 vs Olympus E-P2
- Leica X1 vs Panasonic GF6
- Olympus E-M10 vs Sony RX1R II
- Panasonic LF1 vs Sony RX1R
- Panasonic S1R vs Sony RX1R
- Sony HX80 vs Sony RX1R II
- Sony NEX-F3 vs Sony RX1R
Specifications: Leica X1 vs Sony RX1R
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 RX1R|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||36mm f/2.8||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||September 2009||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1995||USD 2799|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X1||Sony RX1R|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4272 x 2856 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.30 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-3200 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50-102400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||91|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2537|
|Screen Specs||Leica X1||Sony RX1R|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X1||Sony RX1R|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X1||Sony RX1R|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica X1||Sony RX1R|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||260 shots per charge||270 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)
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||306 g (10.8 oz)||482 g (17.0 oz)|
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