Canon SL3 vs Leica S2
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (called Canon 250D in some regions) and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2019 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (SL3) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 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 Rebel SL3 and the Leica S2? 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 SL3 and the Leica S2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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.
The SL3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the S2 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S2 is considerably larger (69 percent) than the Canon SL3. Moreover, the S2 is substantially heavier (214 percent) than the SL3. It is noteworthy in this context that the S2 is splash and dust-proof, while the SL3 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon SL3||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|2.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon T8i||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599|
|5.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|6.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|7.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|9.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|10.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|12.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|13.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|17.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SL3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 97 percent) than the S2, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SL3 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica S2 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S2 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 S2 offers a higher resolution than the SL3 (24MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 3.72μm for the SL3) due to its larger sensor. However, the SL3 is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 6 months) than the S2, 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 S2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica S2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S2 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 SL3 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The SL3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S2 are ISO 80 to ISO 1250 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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 S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|17.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SL3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the SL3 can use is 4K/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SL3 and the S2 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 S2 offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the SL3 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the S2 has a higher magnification (0.86x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SL3 and Leica S2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SL3 has one, while the S2 does not. While the built-in flash of the SL3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The SL3 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 S2 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Canon SL3 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 SL3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S2 uses Compact Flash or SDHC cards. The S2 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SL3 only has one slot. The SL3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the S2 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 Rebel SL3 and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SL3 offers wifi support, while the S2 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S2 (unlike the SL3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The SL3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the S2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the S2 was succeeded by the Leica S Typ 006. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL3 or the Leica S2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:
- 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/25p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- 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 (5 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x93mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 961g or 68 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (97 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 6 months of technical progress since the S2 launch.
Advantages of the Leica S2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.86x 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.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SL3 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 10 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 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 SL3 and the Leica S2 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SL3 and the S2 in practical situations. 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 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 SL3||..||o||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|2.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon T8i||4.5/5||+||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||..||..||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599|
|5.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|6.||Canon T7||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|7.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|9.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|10.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|12.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|13.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|17.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, 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 SL3 vs Leica S2
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 SL3||Leica S2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2019||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 22,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SL3||Leica S2|
|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||24 Megapixels||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 1,250 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Canon SL3||Leica S2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SL3||Leica S2|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SL3||Leica S2|
|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||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SL3||Leica S2|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
122 x 93 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||449 g (15.8 oz)||1410 g (49.7 oz)|
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