Canon SX70 vs Leica S2
The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2018 and September 2008. The SX70 is a fixed lens compact, while the S2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX70) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 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 PowerShot SX70 HS 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon SX70 and the Leica S2 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 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 S2 is considerably larger (66 percent) than the Canon SX70. It is noteworthy in this context that the S2 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX70 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX70 has a lens built in, whereas the S2 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. 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 SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|2.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon SX1||128 mm||88 mm||88 mm||615 g||..||n||Sep 2008||599|
|10.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|14.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
|15.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|17.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|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 SX70 was launched at a lower price than the S2, 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX70 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Leica S2 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S2 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 SX70 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S2 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 37.5MP, the S2 offers a higher resolution than the SX70 (20.2MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 1.18μm for the SX70) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX70 is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 11 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 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 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 SX70 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 SX70 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S2 are ISO 80 to ISO 1250 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.5||2224||82|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|10.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||25.6||14.4||3143||98|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|14.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX70 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX70 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX70 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the S2 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX70 and Leica S2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX70||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX1||202||n||2.8 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||4.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|14.||Leica S1||optical||n||none / none||none||n||..||0.01||n||n|
|15.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX70 has one, while the S2 does not. While the built-in flash of the SX70 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The SX70 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 SX70 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 SX70 only has one slot. The SX70 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 PowerShot SX70 HS and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX70||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Leica S2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica S3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Leica S1||-||- / -||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX70 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 SX70) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The SX70 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX70 and the Leica S2? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the S2 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (127x91mm 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 S2).
- 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 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 at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 11 months of technical progress since the S2 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Leica S2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX70 comes out slightly ahead of the S2 (16 : 15 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 SX70 and the Leica S2 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 SX70 or the S2 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 SX70||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|2.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon SX1||..||+ +||..||+||..||3.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|10.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|11.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|12.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|13.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|14.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|15.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|17.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 10D vs Canon SX70
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- Canon 250D vs Leica S2
- Canon 750D vs Leica S2
- Canon SX70 vs Canon SX700
- Canon SX70 vs Leica M Typ 240
- Canon SX70 vs Olympus E-420
- Canon SX70 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon SX70 vs Panasonic G80
- Leica S2 vs Nikon D7000
- Leica S2 vs Olympus E-PL3
- Leica S2 vs Panasonic LX10
Specifications: Canon SX70 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 SX70||Leica S2|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2018||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 22,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX70||Leica S2|
|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||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 1,250 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX70||Leica S2|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX70||Leica S2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-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 SX70||Leica S2|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro 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 SX70||Leica S2|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
127 x 91 x 117 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||608 g (21.4 oz)||1410 g (49.7 oz)|
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