Canon 550D vs Leica S Typ 006
The Canon EOS 550D (called Canon T2i in some regions) and the Leica S (Typ 006) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2010 and September 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (550D) and a medium format (S Typ 006) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 37.5 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 550D and the Leica S (Typ 006)? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 550D and the Leica S Typ 006 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 dimensions 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 S Typ 006 is considerably larger (52 percent) than the Canon 550D. Moreover, the S Typ 006 is substantially heavier (138 percent) than the 550D. It is noteworthy in this context that the S Typ 006 is splash and dust-proof, while the 550D 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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|2.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|3.||Canon 4000D||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|6.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Canon 700D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|9.||Canon 600D||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|10.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|11.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|12.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|15.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|16.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|17.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 550D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 97 percent) than the S Typ 006, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 550D features an APS-C sensor and the Leica S Typ 006 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S Typ 006 is 307 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 0.8. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 37.5MP, the S Typ 006 offers a higher resolution than the 550D (17.9MP), but the S Typ 006 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 4.31μm for the 550D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S Typ 006 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 7 months) than the 550D, 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 S Typ 006 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica S Typ 006 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S Typ 006 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 550D are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 550D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S (Typ 006) are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 S Typ 006 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 550D (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|12.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|16.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 550D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S Typ 006 does not. The highest resolution format that the 550D can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 550D and the S Typ 006 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 viewfinder in the S Typ 006 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the 550D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the S Typ 006 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 550D, the Leica S Typ 006, and comparable cameras.
|2.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|15.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 550D has one, while the S Typ 006 does not. While the built-in flash of the 550D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The 550D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S Typ 006 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The S Typ 006 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 550D only has one slot. The S Typ 006 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 550D 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 Canon EOS 550D and Leica S (Typ 006) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S Typ 006 (unlike the 550D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 550D and the S Typ 006 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 550D was replaced by the Canon 600D, while the S Typ 006 was followed by the Leica S Typ 007. 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 550D better than the Leica S Typ 006 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 550D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (129x98mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 730g or 58 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (97 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2010).
Arguments in favor of the Leica S (Typ 006):
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 45%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.54x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the 550D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the S Typ 006 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 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 Canon 550D and the Leica S Typ 006 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 550D or the S Typ 006 perform in practice. 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], 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 550D||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|2.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|3.||Canon 4000D||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|5.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|6.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Canon 700D||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|9.||Canon 600D||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|10.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|11.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|12.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|15.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|16.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|17.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 550D vs Leica S Typ 006
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 550D||Leica S Typ 006|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2010||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 21,950|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 550D||Leica S Typ 006|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||76|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||23.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||784||824|
|Screen Specs||Canon 550D||Leica S Typ 006|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 550D||Leica S Typ 006|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 550D||Leica S Typ 006|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 550D||Leica S Typ 006|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||530 g (18.7 oz)||1260 g (44.4 oz)|
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