Canon 70D vs Leica SL2
The Canon EOS 70D and the Leica SL2 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2013 and November 2019. The 70D is a DSLR, while the SL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (70D) and a full frame (SL2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 46.7 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 70D and the Leica SL2? 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 70D and the Leica SL2 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 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 SL2 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Canon 70D. Moreover, the SL2 is markedly heavier (26 percent) than the 70D. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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 power pack in the SL2 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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.
|1.||Canon 70D||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|2.||Leica SL2||5.7 in||4.2 in||1.7 in||33.6 oz||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999|
|3.||Canon 80D||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G3 X||4.8 in||3.0 in||4.1 in||25.9 oz||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Canon 7D II||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon T5||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Canon 6D||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Canon 60D||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 7D||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|10.||Canon 50D||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|11.||Leica SL2-S||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.3 in||32.8 oz||510||Y||Dec 2020||4,895|
|12.||Leica Q2||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.6 in||25.3 oz||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|13.||Nikon D7100||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|14.||Panasonic S1||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.9 oz||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|15.||Panasonic S1R||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.8 oz||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699|
|16.||Panasonic S1H||5.9 in||4.5 in||4.3 in||37.1 oz||400||Y||May 2019||3,999|
|17.||Sony RX10||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|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 70D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the SL2, 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 Canon 70D features an APS-C sensor and the Leica SL2 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the SL2 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.
With 46.7MP, the SL2 offers a higher resolution than the 70D (20MP), but the SL2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.30μm versus 4.11μm for the 70D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the SL2 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 4 months) than the 70D, 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 SL2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica SL2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.8 x 27.9 inches or 106.3 x 70.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33.5 x 22.3 inches or 85 x 56.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.9 x 18.6 inches or 70.8 x 47.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 70D are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The 70D has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the 70D, the SL2 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (187MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Canon EOS 70D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica SL2 are ISO 100 to ISO 50000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-50000.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|2.||Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|5.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|7.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|11.||Leica SL2-S||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|14.||Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|15.||Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100|
|16.||Panasonic S1H||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||6K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SL2 provides a better video resolution than the 70D. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SL2 has an electronic viewfinder (5760k dots), while the 70D 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 viewfinder in the SL2 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 70D (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the SL2 has a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.59x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 70D and Leica SL2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|4.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 70D has one, while the SL2 does not. While the built-in flash of the 70D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The 70D has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the SL2 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the SL2 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Leica SL2 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 70D and the SL2 write their files to SDXC cards. The SL2 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 70D only has one slot. The SL2 supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the 70D can use UHS-I 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 70D and Leica SL2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|4.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SL2 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The 70D lacks such a headphone port.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica SL2 (unlike the 70D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The SL2 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the 70D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 70D was succeeded by the Canon 80D. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 70D better than the Leica SL2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 70D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 198g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (920 versus 370) 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 July 2013).
Arguments in favor of the Leica SL2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (46.7 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 53%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/60p vs 1080/30p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.59x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- 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: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 70D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SL2 is the clear winner of the contest (28 : 10 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 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 70D and the Leica SL2 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 70D or the SL2 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|2.||Leica SL2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2019||5,999|
|3.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|10.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|11.||Leica SL2-S||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||Dec 2020||4,895|
|12.||Leica Q2||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|13.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|14.||Panasonic S1||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|15.||Panasonic S1R||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699|
|16.||Panasonic S1H||..||..||90/100||..||..||May 2019||3,999|
|17.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 70D vs Leica SL2
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 70D||Leica SL2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica L mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2013||November 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 1,199||USD 5,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 70D||Leica SL2|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||46.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||8368 x 5584 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.11 μm||4.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.91 MP/cm2||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 50,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 50,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5+||Maestro III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||68||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.5||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.6||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||926||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 70D||Leica SL2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||2100k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 70D||Leica SL2|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||400 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/40000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 70D||Leica SL2|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 70D||Leica SL2|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||920 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
139 x 104 x 79 mm
(5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
146 x 107 x 42 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||755 g (26.6 oz)||953 g (33.6 oz)|
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