Canon R6 vs Leica S1
The Canon EOS R6 and the Leica S1 Pro are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2020 and August 1996. Both the Canon R6 and the S1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (Canon R6) and a medium format (S1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 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 R6 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon R6 and the Leica S1. 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 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 S1 is considerably larger (436 percent) than the Canon R6. Moreover, the S1 is substantially heavier (268 percent) than the Canon R6. It is worth mentioning in this context that the Canon R6 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. 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 Canon R6 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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 R6||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||680 g||360||Y||Jul 2020||2,499|
|2.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
|3.||Canon R5||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||738 g||320||Y||Jul 2020||3,899|
|4.||Canon R||139 mm||98 mm||84 mm||660 g||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|5.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|6.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|7.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|9.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|10.||Nikon Z5||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||470||Y||Jul 2020||1,399|
|11.||Nikon Z7 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||420||Y||Oct 2020||2,999|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999|
|13.||Panasonic S5||133 mm||98 mm||82 mm||714 g||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999|
|14.||Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|15.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|16.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|17.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon R6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 88 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. 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. 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 R6 features a full frame sensor and the Leica S1 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S1 is 50 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 0.85. The sensor in the Canon R6 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 Canon R6 (20MP), but the S1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.01μm versus 6.57μm for the Canon R6) due to its larger sensor. However, the Canon R6 is a much more recent model (by 23 years and 10 months) than the S1, 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 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 R6 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 Canon R6 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS R6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S1 Pro are ISO 50 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 |
|1.||Canon R6||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4k/60p||24.2||14.3||3394||90|
|2.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon R5||Full Frame||44.8||8192||5464||8k/30p||25.3||14.6||3042||95|
|4.||Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|5.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|9.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Nikon Z5||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Nikon Z7 II||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|15.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|17.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The Canon R6 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S1 does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon R6 can use is 4k/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Canon R6 has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), while the S1 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 R6, the Leica S1, and comparable cameras.
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|11.||Nikon Z7 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One feature that differentiates the Canon R6 and the S1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Canon R6 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the S1 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The Canon R6 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 S1 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 Canon R6 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 Canon R6 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.
The Canon R6 writes its imaging data to SDXC 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 R6 and Leica S1 Pro and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Nikon Z7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the Canon R6 has a hotshoe, while the S1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The Canon R6 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the S1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the S1 was succeeded by the Leica S2. 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 there a clear favorite between the Canon R6 and the Leica S1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS R6:
- 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 4k/60p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Rear screen: Has a backside LCD (3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 0.01 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (138x98mm vs 339x214mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 1820g or 73 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (88 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 23 years and 10 months of technical progress since the S1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Leica S1 Pro:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (26.4 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- 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 count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon R6 is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 5 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. 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 R6 and the Leica S1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 Canon R6 or the S1 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 R6||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||2,499|
|2.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|3.||Canon R5||4.5/5||..||91/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2020||3,899|
|4.||Canon R||4/5||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|5.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|6.||Leica CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|7.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|9.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|10.||Nikon Z5||4/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jul 2020||1,399|
|11.||Nikon Z7 II||4.5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||2,999|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999|
|13.||Panasonic S5||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999|
|14.||Panasonic S1||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|15.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|16.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|17.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon R6 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 R6||Leica S1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon RF mount lenses||Leica R mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2020||August 1996|
|Launch Price||USD 2,499||USD 21,490|
|Sensor Specs||Canon R6||Leica S1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 36.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||1296 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||50.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||26.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||5140 x 5140 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.57 μm||7.01 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.31 MP/cm2||2.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4k/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 102,400 ISO||50 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 204,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||90||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.2||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3394||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon R6||Leica S1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon R6||Leica S1|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Manual Focus|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||0.01 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/8000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||external|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon R6||Leica S1|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 3.2||no USB|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon R6||Leica S1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
138 x 98 x 88 mm
(5.4 x 3.9 x 3.5 in)
339 x 214 x 119 mm
(13.3 x 8.4 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||2500 g (88.2 oz)|
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