Leica X2 vs Pentax KP
The Leica X2 and the Pentax KP are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2012 and January 2017. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the KP is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 24.1 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 Pentax KP? 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 X2 and the Pentax KP 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.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax KP is considerably larger (56 percent) than the Leica X2. It is noteworthy in this context that the KP is splash and dust-proof, while the X2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the KP is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|2.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099|
|3.||Fujifilm X100S||127 mm||74 mm||54 mm||445 g||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Sep 2013||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|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 X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|12.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649|
|13.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749|
|14.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099|
|15.||Pentax K-3||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||131 mm||97 mm||73 mm||760 g||740||Y||Sep 2012||1,099|
|17.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the KP is 1 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the KP offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the X2. 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 3.90μm versus 4.79μm for the X2). However, it should be noted that the KP is much more recent (by 4 years and 8 months) than the X2, 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 KP has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax KP implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the KP for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20 inches or 76.4 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16 inches or 61.1 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.3 inches or 50.9 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X2 are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the X2, the KP has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax KP are ISO 100 to ISO 819200 (no boost).
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|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|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|14.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/25p||23.8||14.1||1235||82|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The KP indeed provides for movie recording, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the KP can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the KP has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X2 and Pentax KP in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X100S||2360||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A1||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|6.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|7.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|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 X1||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n|
|12.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4||Y||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the KP is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Pentax KP has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the KP uses SDXC cards. The KP 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 Pentax KP and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Fujifilm X100S||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica X1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Pentax K-3||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the KP offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the X2 does not provide wifi capability.
The KP is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the X2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the X2 from Leica. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Pentax websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X2 or the Pentax KP – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Leica X2:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the KP requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 132x101mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the KP).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 390) on a single battery charge.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2012).
Advantages of the Pentax KP:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- Easier framing: Has an optical 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 8 months of technical progress since the X2 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the KP is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 7 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 X2 and the Pentax KP place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 X2 and the KP in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099|
|3.||Fujifilm X100S||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A1||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|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 X1||3/5||..||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099|
|12.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649|
|13.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|14.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099|
|15.||Pentax K-3||4/5||..||..||83/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|16.||Pentax K-5 II||5/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,099|
|17.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 Pentax KP
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||Pentax KP|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||36mm f/2.8||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2012||January 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 1,995||USD 1,099|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X2||Pentax KP|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||24.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||6016 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||3.90 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.35 MP/cm2||6.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||100 - 819,200 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica X2||Pentax KP|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X2||Pentax KP|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/24000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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||Pentax KP|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica X2||Pentax KP|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||450 shots per charge||390 shots per charge|
124 x 69 x 52 mm
(4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
132 x 101 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||345 g (12.2 oz)||703 g (24.8 oz)|
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