Leica X2 vs Panasonic GX1
The Leica X2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2012 and November 2011. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the GX1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X2) and a Four Thirds (GX1) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica X2 and the Panasonic GX1 is provided 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 X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the GX1 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 Panasonic GX1 is notably smaller (8 percent) than the Leica X2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X2 nor the GX1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the GX1 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 GX1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|2.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|3.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249|
|4.||Canon SX500||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||341 g||195||n||Aug 2012||329|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|6.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|7.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|9.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|11.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|12.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|14.||Panasonic GX7||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|15.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|16.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|17.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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 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 X2 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GX1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GX1 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 X2 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GX1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 16.1MP, the X2 offers a slightly higher resolution than the GX1 (15.8MP), but the X2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 3.77μm for the GX1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the GX1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
| DXO |
|2.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|14.||Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|15.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|16.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|17.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The GX1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the GX1 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X2 and the GX1 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. However, optional viewfinders – the EVF 2 for the X2 and the DMW-LVF2 for the GX1 – are available as accessories. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X2 and Panasonic GX1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GX1 has a touchscreen, while the X2 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the GX1 uses SDXC cards. The GX1 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X2 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 X2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the X2 and the GX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GX1 was replaced by the Panasonic GX7, while the X2 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Panasonic websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X2 or the Panasonic GX1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica X2:
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GX1 requires a separate lens.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the GX1).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1:
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p 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 (460k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X2 comes out slightly ahead of the GX1 (9 : 8 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 X2 and the Panasonic GX1 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X2 or the GX1 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|2.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|3.||Canon SX510||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||249|
|4.||Canon SX500||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2012||329|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|6.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|7.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|9.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|11.||Leica X1||3/5||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|12.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099|
|13.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|14.||Panasonic GX7||4/5||+||79/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|15.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|16.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|17.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Leica X2 vs Panasonic GX1
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 X2||Panasonic GX1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||36mm f/2.8||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2012||November 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 1,995||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X2||Panasonic GX1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.35 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||703|
|Screen Specs||Leica X2||Panasonic GX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X2||Panasonic GX1|
|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||5 shutter flaps/s||4.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X2||Panasonic GX1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica X2||Panasonic GX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||450 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
124 x 69 x 52 mm
(4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
116 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||345 g (12.2 oz)||318 g (11.2 oz)|
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