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Leica X2 vs Sony A900

The Leica X2 and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2012 and September 2008. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the A900 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X2) and a full frame (A900) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica X2 versus Sony A900
Leica X2 Sony A900
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
36mm f/2.8 Sony A mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 200-3,200 (100 - 6,400)
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
no shake reductionIn-body stabilization
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
450 shots per battery charge880 shots per battery charge
124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g 156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 and the Sony Alpha A900? 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica X2 and the Sony A900. 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.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A900 is only available in black.

Size Leica X2 vs Sony A900
Compare X2 versus A900 top
Comparison X2 or A900 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A900 is considerably larger (113 percent) than the Leica X2. It is noteworthy in this context that the A900 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 A900 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

Concerning battery life, the X2 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the A900 can take 880 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica X2 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Sony A900 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999i
 
Fujifilm X100S 5.0 in 2.9 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 330 n Jan 2013 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X-A1 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.6 oz 350 n Sep 2013 399i
 
Fujifilm X-E2 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Oct 2013 999i
 
Leica TL 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica T 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X Typ 113 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica X1 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Ricoh GR 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 290 n Apr 2013 799i
 
Sony A9 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499i
 
Sony A99 II 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A7S II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999i
 
Sony A99 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony A850 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 A900, despite having a lens built in. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica X2 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A900 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A900 is 133 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.

Leica X2 and Sony A900 sensor measures

With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the X2 (16.1MP), but the A900 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.79μm for the X2) due to its larger sensor. However, the X2 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 8 months) than the A900, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A900 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A900 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inches or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 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.

The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.

X2 versus A900 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Sony A900 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.712.3143179
 
Fujifilm X100S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Fujifilm X-A1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........
 
Fujifilm X-E2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
 
Sony A9 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
 
Sony A7S II Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
 
Sony A99 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589
 
Sony A850 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.812.2141579
Neither the X2 nor the A900 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A900 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X2, the Sony A900, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony A900optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Fujifilm X100S2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-A1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-E22360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
 
Ricoh GRoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Sony A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Sony A7S II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A992359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y
 
Sony A850optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X2 has one, while the A900 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 X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A900 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the X2 only has one slot.

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Connectivity comparison

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 A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Sony A900Y----mini2.0---
 
Fujifilm X100SYstereomono--micro2.0---
 
Fujifilm X-A1Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Fujifilm X-E2YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
 
Ricoh GRYmonomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Sony A7S IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A99YstereomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Sony A850Y----mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A900 (unlike the X2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the X2 and the A900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A900 was replaced by the Sony A99, 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica X2 better than the Sony A900 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica X2:

  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A900 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A900).
  • 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 modern: Reflects 3 years and 8 months of technical progress since the A900 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A900:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 23%.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 450) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A900 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 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.

X2 07:13 A900

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X2 and the Sony A900 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X2 or the A900. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Sony A900+ ++ +4.5/54/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999i
 
Fujifilm X100S+ +81/1004.5/54/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299i
 
Fujifilm X-A1....4.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2013 399i
 
Fujifilm X-E2..80/1004.5/5..5/5 Oct 2013 999i
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X Typ 113....3.5/5..4/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica X1..+....4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A+75/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Ricoh GR..79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
 
Sony A9+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499i
 
Sony A99 II..85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A7S II+..4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999i
 
Sony A99..84/1004.5/5o4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony A850..75/100..4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999i
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A900:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu 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.

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    Specifications: Leica X2 vs Sony A900

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica X2 Sony A900
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Leica X2 Sony A900
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 24.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 6048 x 4032 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1431
    Screen Specs Leica X2 Sony A900
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X2 Sony A900
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or MS cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Leica X2 Sony A900
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X2 Sony A900
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-DC8 NP-FM500H
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge880 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    156 x 117 x 82 mm
    (6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 345 g (12.2 oz) 895 g (31.6 oz)

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