Leica X2 vs Sony A7S II
The Leica X2 and the Sony Alpha 7S II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2012 and September 2015. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7S II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X2) and a full frame (A7S II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 12 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 Sony Alpha 7S II? 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 Sony A7S II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 A7S II 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 A7S II is considerably larger (42 percent) than the Leica X2. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7S II 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 A7S II 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 A7S II and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the X2 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the A7S II can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A7S II 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. 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X100S||127 mm||74 mm||54 mm||445 g||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Sep 2013||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Oct 2013||999||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|10.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A7 IV||131 mm||96 mm||80 mm||659 g||580||Y||Oct 2021||2,499||amazon.com|
|14.||Sony A7S III||127 mm||97 mm||81 mm||699 g||600||Y||Jul 2020||3,499||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499||ebay.com|
|Note: 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. The X2 was launched at a lower price than the A7S II, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 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 Sony A7S II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7S II is 129 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica X2 offers a higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Sony A7S II. 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 4.79μm versus 8.40μm for the A7S II). Moreover, it should be noted that the A7S II is much more recent (by 3 years and 4 months) than the X2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Leica X2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A7S II are 21.2 x 14.2 inches or 53.8 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.1 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.1 x 9.4 inches or 35.9 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha 7S II are ISO 100 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-409600.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||12.8||1491||78|
|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|
|13.||Sony A7 IV||Full Frame||32.7||7008||4672||4K/60p||25.4||14.7||3379||97|
|14.||Sony A7S III||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/120p||23.7||13.9||2520||86|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|17.||Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A7S II indeed provides for movie recording, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the A7S II can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7S II has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), which can be very helpful 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X2 and Sony A7S II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X100S||2360||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A1||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6/s||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Leica X1||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Sony A7 IV||3686||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7S III||9440||n||3.0 / 1440||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X2 has one, while the A7S II does not. While the built-in flash of the X2 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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 A7S II 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 X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A7S II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7S II 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 Sony Alpha 7S II 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.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||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.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony A7 IV||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Sony A7S III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7S II 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.
Both the X2 and the A7S II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The A7S II was replaced by the Sony A7S III, 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 Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica X2 better than the Sony A7S II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica X2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 12MP) with a 16% higher linear resolution.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7S II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7S II).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 370) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha 7S II:
- 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 4K/30p 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 (1229k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- 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 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the X2 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7S II is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Sony A7S II 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X2 or the A7S II perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X100S||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A1||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850||ebay.com|
|10.||Leica X1||3/5||..||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A7 IV||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2021||2,499||amazon.com|
|14.||Sony A7S III||..||+ +||5/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||3,499||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7S||4/5||..||..||86/100||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Leica X2 vs Sony A7S II
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||Sony A7S II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||36mm f/2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2012||September 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,995||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X2||Sony A7S II|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||4240 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||8.40 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.35 MP/cm2||1.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 409,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||85|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2993|
|Screen Specs||Leica X2||Sony A7S II|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X2||Sony A7S II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Image Stabilization||no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X2||Sony A7S II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica X2||Sony A7S II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||450 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
124 x 69 x 52 mm
(4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||345 g (12.2 oz)||627 g (22.1 oz)|
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