Canon R6 vs Leica SL
The Canon EOS R6 and the Leica SL (Typ 601) are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2020 and October 2015. Both the Canon R6 and the SL are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 24 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 SL (Typ 601)? 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 R6 and the Leica SL 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 size 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 SL is notably larger (13 percent) than the Canon R6. Moreover, the SL is markedly heavier (25 percent) than the Canon R6. 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 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 SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|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 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|6.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|9.||Leica SL2||146 mm||107 mm||42 mm||953 g||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999|
|10.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|11.||Nikon Z5||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||470||Y||Jul 2020||1,399|
|12.||Nikon Z7 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||420||Y||Oct 2020||2,999|
|13.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999|
|14.||Panasonic S5||133 mm||98 mm||82 mm||714 g||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999|
|15.||Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|16.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|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.|
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 Canon R6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 66 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.
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. 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SL offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the Canon R6. This megapixels advantage translates into a 10 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SL has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 6.57μm for the Canon R6). Moreover, it should be noted, that the Canon R6 is much more recent (by 4 years and 8 months) than the SL, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. 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 resolution advantage of the Leica SL implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 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 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|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 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|7.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|8.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|9.||Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|11.||Nikon Z5||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Nikon Z7 II||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/60p||26.3||14.7||2841||100|
|13.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|16.||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. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the Canon R6 provides a higher frame rate than the SL. It can shoot video footage at 4k/60p, while the Leica is limited to 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the SL offers a higher resolution than the one in the Canon R6 (4400k vs 3690k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon R6 and Leica SL in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|10.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|12.||Nikon Z7 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||Y|
|16.||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 SL is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Canon R6 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the SL 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 SL 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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 and the Leica SL both have 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 Canon R6 and the SL write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. Both the Canon R6 and the SL support UHS-II cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s (the second slot of the SL only offers slower UHS-I transfer rates, though).
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 SL (Typ 601) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon Z7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|16.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica SL (unlike the Canon R6) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the SL has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The Canon R6 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SL has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SL was succeeded by the Leica SL2. 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 is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon R6 and the Leica SL? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS R6:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4k/60p versus 4K/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1040k dots).
- 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (138x98mm vs 147x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 167g or 20 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (66 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 8 months of technical progress since the SL launch.
Reasons to prefer the Leica SL (Typ 601):
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (4400k vs 3690k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.76x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2015).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon R6 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 11 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 SL 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Canon R6 or the SL. 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 R6||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||2,499|
|2.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|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 1D X Mark II||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|6.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|9.||Leica SL2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2019||5,999|
|10.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|11.||Nikon Z5||4/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jul 2020||1,399|
|12.||Nikon Z7 II||4.5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||2,999|
|13.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999|
|14.||Panasonic S5||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999|
|15.||Panasonic S1||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|16.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|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.|
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. 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 SL
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 SL|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon RF mount lenses||Leica L mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2020||October 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 2,499||USD 7,450|
|Sensor Specs||Canon R6||Leica SL|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.57 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.31 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4k/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 102,400 ISO||50 - 50,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 204,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC X||Maestro II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||90||88|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.2||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.3||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3394||1821|
|Screen Specs||Canon R6||Leica SL|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots||4400k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon R6||Leica SL|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/8000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon R6||Leica SL|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.2||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon R6||Leica SL|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
138 x 98 x 88 mm
(5.4 x 3.9 x 3.5 in)
147 x 104 x 39 mm
(5.8 x 4.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||847 g (29.9 oz)|
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