Canon 1D Mark II N vs Leica S1
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and the Leica S1 Pro are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2005 and August 1996. The 1D Mark II N is a DSLR, while the S1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-H (1D Mark II N) and a medium format (S1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 26.4 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 Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and the Leica S1 Pro? 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 Canon 1D Mark II N and the Leica S1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S1 is considerably larger (194 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark II N. Moreover, the S1 is substantially heavier (60 percent) than the 1D Mark II N. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark II N is splash and dust resistant, while the S1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1D Mark II N) and the Leica R Lens Catalog (S1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the S1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark II N has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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.||Canon 1D Mark II N||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1535 g||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|14.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|16.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899||amazon.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 obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 1D Mark II N was launched at a markedly lower price (by 81 percent) than the S1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D Mark II N features an APS-H sensor and the Leica S1 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S1 is 136 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 0.85. The sensor in the 1D Mark II N has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the S1 offers a 1:1 aspect.
With 26.4MP, the S1 offers a higher resolution than the 1D Mark II N (8.2MP), but the S1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.01μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II N). Yet, the 1D Mark II N is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 11 months) than the S1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica S1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.7 x 25.7 inches or 65.3 x 65.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 20.6 inches or 52.2 x 52.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.1 x 17.1 inches or 43.5 x 43.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1D Mark II N are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II N has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S1 Pro are ISO 50 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the 1D Mark II N is build around a CMOS sensor, while the S1 uses a CCD imager. 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 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.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|2.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|5.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|9.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|10.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|16.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.5||2224||82|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1D Mark II N and the S1 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D Mark II N, the Leica S1, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5/s||n||n|
|2.||Leica S1||optical||n||none / none||none||n||..||0.01/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||n|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the 1D Mark II N, but is missing on the S1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 1D Mark II N writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SD cards, while the S1 uses external storage.
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 Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and Leica S1 Pro and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica S1||-||- / -||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 5D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|14.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Leica S2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony A6400||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the 1D Mark II N has a hotshoe, while the S1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark II N (unlike the S1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D Mark II N and the S1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The S1 was replaced by the Leica S2, while the 1D Mark II N was followed by the Canon 1D Mark III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon 1D Mark II N better than the Leica S1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Rear screen: Has a backside LCD (2.5") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.5 vs 0.01 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (156x158mm vs 339x214mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 935g or 37 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (81 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the S1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Leica S1 Pro:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (26.4 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 73%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 1996).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark II N is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 5 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 Canon 1D Mark II N and the Leica S1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1D Mark II N and the S1 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 hands-on reviews by experts 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.||Canon 1D Mark II N||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2005||3,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||4/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||4,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|14.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|16.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||4/5||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899||amazon.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon 77D
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon G7 X Mark III
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Leica C-LUX
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Olympus E-30
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Panasonic GH3
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Sony A900
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Leica S1
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Leica S1
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Leica S1
- Leica S1 vs Leica TL2
- Leica S1 vs Sigma fp L
- Leica S1 vs Sony A7 III
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark II N vs Leica S1
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||Canon 1D Mark II N||Leica S1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica R mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2005||August 1996|
|Launch Price||USD 3,999||USD 21,490|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Leica S1|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.7 x 19.1 mm||36.0 x 36.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||548.17 mm2||1296 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||34.5 mm||50.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||26.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||5140 x 5140 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.17 μm||7.01 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.49 MP/cm2||2.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||50 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||975||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Leica S1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Leica S1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Manual Focus|
|Continuous Shooting||8.5 shutter flaps/s||0.01 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SD cards||external|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Leica S1|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||no USB|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Leica S1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
339 x 214 x 119 mm
(13.3 x 8.4 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1565 g (55.2 oz)||2500 g (88.2 oz)|
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