Compared to... Canon Powershot G11

Here we're comparing the X1 to arguably the most fully-featured 'enthusiast' small-sensor compact, the Canon Powershot G11, which uses a much smaller (1/1.7", 7.6 x 5.7mm) sensor and sports a very useful 28-140mm equivalent zoom lens. The G11 is pretty similar in size and portability to the X1, so here you can see what (if anything) the X1's larger sensor buys you in terms of image quality.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Leica X1 vs. Canon Powershot G11

Camera settings:

  • Leica X1: Manual exposure, ISO 100, JPEG Super Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
  • Canon Powershot G11: Manual Exposure, ISO80, JPEG Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
Leica X1
Canon Powershot G11
4.8 MB JPEG (4272 x 2856)
Manual, 1/30sec, F7.1, ISO 100
2.5 MB JPEG (3648 x 2736
Manual, 1/60 sec, F4, ISO 80

At the cameras' respective base ISOs, the most visible difference is again the Leica's higher-than-usual sharpening but relatively low saturation. Even with a little sharpening, though, the G11 struggles to render the very finest low contrast detail, likely due to a combination of noise reduction and diffraction. (Note this G11 sample is shot at a focal length of 18mm wide open at F4; but even this gives results comparable to using F11 on APS-C, or F18 on full frame - distinctly into diffraction softening territory).