Canon SX620 vs Leica S3
The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS and the Leica S3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2016 and September 2018. The SX620 is a fixed lens compact, while the S3 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX620) and a medium format (S3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 64 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 PowerShot SX620 HS and the Leica S3? 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 SX620 and the Leica S3 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX620 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, red), while the S3 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 S3 is considerably larger (247 percent) than the Canon SX620. It is noteworthy in this context that the S3 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX620 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX620 has a lens built in, whereas the S3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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 SX620||97 mm||57 mm||28 mm||182 g||295||n||May 2016||279|
|2.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|7.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|8.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|9.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|10.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|11.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|12.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|13.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|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 S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX620 was launched at a lower price than the S3, despite having a lens built in. 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 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 SX620 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Leica S3 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S3 is 4721 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 0.8. The sensor in the SX620 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S3 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 64MP, the S3 offers a higher resolution than the SX620 (20.2MP), but the S3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.59μm versus 1.18μm for the SX620) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S3 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 4 months) than the SX620, 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica S3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 49 x 32.7 inches or 124.5 x 83 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 39.2 x 26.1 inches or 99.6 x 66.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 32.7 x 21.8 inches or 83 x 55.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX620 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S3 are ISO 100 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 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 S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|13.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|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 S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the S3 provides a better video resolution than the SX620. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/24p, 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 S3 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX620 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX620 and Leica S3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|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 SX620 has one, while the S3 does not. While the built-in flash of the SX620 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The SX620 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S3 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The S3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX620 only has one slot. The S3 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the SX620 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 PowerShot SX620 HS and Leica S3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||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 S3 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The SX620 does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S3 (unlike the SX620) 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 S3 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the SX620 and the S3 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX620 replaced the earlier Canon SX610, while the S3 followed on from 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX620 better than the Leica S3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS:
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the S3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (97x57mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the S3).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2016).
Arguments in favor of the Leica S3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (64 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 82%.
- 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/24p vs 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- 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-II standard.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the SX620 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S3 is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 8 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 SX620 and the Leica S3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 SX620 or the S3 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 SX620||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279|
|2.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|7.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|8.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|9.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|10.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|11.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|12.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|13.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|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 S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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
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Specifications: Canon SX620 vs Leica S3
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 SX620||Leica S3|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||25-625mm f/3.2-6.6||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2016||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 279||USD 18,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX620||Leica S3|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||64 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||9800 x 6533 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.59 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||4.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 50,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||Maestro II|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX620||Leica S3|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX620||Leica S3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-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-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX620||Leica S3|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX620||Leica S3|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
97 x 57 x 28 mm
(3.8 x 2.2 x 1.1 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||182 g (6.4 oz)||1260 g (44.4 oz)|
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