Canon 20D vs Leica SL
The Canon EOS 20D and the Leica SL (Typ 601) are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2004 and October 2015. The 20D is a DSLR, while the SL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (20D) and a full frame (SL) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Canon 20D||Leica SL|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Leica T mount lenses|
|8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)||ISO 50-50000|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (4400k dots)|
|1.8" LCD, 118k dots||3.0" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|700 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|144 x 106 x 72 mm, 770 g||147 x 104 x 39 mm, 847 g|
Body comparison: Canon 20D vs Leica SL
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Leica SL. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 20D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 20D and the Leica SL are of equal size. However, the SL is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the 20D. It is noteworthy in this context that the SL is splash and dust-proof, while the 20D 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 20D»||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Leica SL«||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||-||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899||-||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||n||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950||-||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D200« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
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 20D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the SL, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 20D vs Leica SL
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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 Canon 20D features an APS-C sensor and the Leica SL a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the SL is 156 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the SL offers a higher resolution than the 20D (8.2MP), but the SL has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 6.42μm for the 20D). Yet, the SL is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 2 months) than the 20D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon EOS 20D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica SL (Typ 601) are ISO 50 to ISO 50000 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the SL offers substantially better image quality than the 20D (overall score 26 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.1 bits higher color depth, 2.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 20D»||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Leica SL«||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 60D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||-||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.1||11.3||703||64||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT« »||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||-||21.8||10.8||637||60||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.1||10.9||571||57||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Leica M10« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240« »||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D200« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SL indeed provides for movie recording, while the 20D does not. The highest resolution format that the SL can use is 4K/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 20D vs Leica SL
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SL has an electronic viewfinder (4400k dots), while the 20D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 20D, the Leica SL, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 20D»||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Canon 20D|
|Leica SL«||4400||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||8000||11.0||n||n||Leica SL|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||8000||10.0||Y||n||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 60D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||8000||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||6.3||Y||n||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||6.5||Y||n||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT« »||optical||n||1.8||115||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||4000||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Leica M10« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||4000||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240« »||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||4000||3.0||n||n||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D200« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D200|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 20D has one, while the SL does not. While the built-in flash of the 20D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The 20D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the SL uses SDXC cards. The SL features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 20D only has one slot.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 20D vs Leica SL
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 20D and Leica SL (Typ 601) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 20D»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 20D|
|Leica SL«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 60D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Leica M10« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D200« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D200|
It is notable that the SL offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 20D does not offer wifi capability.
The SL is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the 20D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 20D was succeeded by the Canon 30D.
Review summary: Canon 20D vs Leica SL
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 20D or the Leica SL – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 20D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2004).
Arguments in favor of the Leica SL (Typ 601):
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 71%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (26 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 118k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 1.1).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 2 months of technical progress since the 20D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 6 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 20D and the SL in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Canon 20D vs Leica SL
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 20D»||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Leica SL«||-||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||Rec||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||Rec||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 60D« »||Rec||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D« »||HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||-||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||HiRec||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XT« »||80/100||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Feb 2005||899||-||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Leica M10« »||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 240« »||-||-||4/5||-||-||Sep 2012||6,950||-||Leica M Typ 240|
|Nikon D200« »||HiRec||HiRec||rev||5/5||-||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An 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: Canon 20D vs Leica SL
|Camera Model||Canon 20D||Leica SL|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica T mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2004||October 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1499||USD 7450|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||36.0 x 15.0 mm|
|MP Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Size||6.42 μm||6.00 μm|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||50-50000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Resolution||n/a||4400k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||full HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||BP-511A power pack||BP-SCL4 power pack|
|Battery Life||700 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
144 x 106 x 72 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
147 x 104 x 39 mm
(5.8 x 4.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||770 g (27.2 oz)||847 g (29.9 oz)|
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