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Canon XS vs Leica S2

The Canon EOS Rebel XS (called Canon 1000D in some regions) and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2008 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (XS) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon XS versus Leica S2
Canon XS Leica S2
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-800 (100 - 1,600) ISO 80-1,250
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
126 x 98 x 65 mm, 502 g 160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1410 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XS 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon XS and the Leica S2. 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.

Size Canon XS vs Leica S2
Compare XS versus S2 top
Comparison XS or S2 rear

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 (55 percent) than the Canon XS. Moreover, the S2 is substantially heavier (181 percent) than the XS. It is noteworthy in this context that the S2 is splash and dust-proof, while the XS 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 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449 i
2.
 
Leica S2 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1410 g .. Y Sep 2008 22,995 i
3.
 
Canon T7 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 475 g 500 n Feb 2018 449 i
4.
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
5.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449 i
6.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449 i
7.
 
Canon SX20 123 mm 88 mm 87 mm 600 g .. n Aug 2009 399 i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799 i
9.
 
Canon SX10 123 mm 88 mm 87 mm 600 g .. n Sep 2008 399 i
10.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799 i
11.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299 i
12.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799 i
13.
 
Leica S3 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2018 18,995 i
14.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 16,900 i
15.
 
Leica S Typ 007 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i
16.
 
Leica S Typ 006 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2012 21,950 i
17.
 
Leica S1 339 mm 214 mm 119 mm 2500 g .. n Aug 1996 21,490 i
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 XS was launched at a markedly lower price (by 98 percent) than the S2, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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. 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 XS features an APS-C sensor and the Leica S2 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S2 is 310 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.

Canon XS and Leica S2 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S2 offers a higher resolution than the XS (10.1MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 5.71μm for the XS) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the XS, and its sensor might 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 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 XS are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Rebel XS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S2 are ISO 80 to ISO 1250 (no boost).

XS versus S2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none...... ..
2.
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none...... ..
3.
 
Canon T7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p...... ..
4.
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.4695 63
5.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.3724 63
6.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.0755 62
7.
 
Canon SX20 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000720/30p...... ..
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.5663 63
9.
 
Canon SX10 1/2.3 10.0 3648 2736480/30p...... ..
10.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.8692 61
11.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.3703 64
12.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.0664 62
13.
 
Leica S3 Medium Format 64.0 9800 65334K/24p...... ..
14.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none...... ..
15.
 
Leica S Typ 007 Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p...... ..
16.
 
Leica S Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none23.912.2824 76
17.
 
Leica S1 Medium Format 26.4 5140 5140none...... ..
The XS offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The S2 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The XS 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 XS (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 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon XS and Leica S2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
3.
 
Canon T7optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon SX20202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon SX10202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
10.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
12.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Leica S3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
14.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
15.
 
Leica S Typ 007optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 n n
16.
 
Leica S Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
17.
 
Leica S1optical n none none none n .. 0.01 n n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XS has one, while the S2 does not. While the built-in flash of the XS is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The XS writes its imaging data to SDHC 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 XS only has one slot.

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Connectivity comparison

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 XS and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
2.
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T7Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX20Ystereomono--YES2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX10Ystereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
13.
 
Leica S3YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
14.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
15.
 
Leica S Typ 007YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
16.
 
Leica S Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
17.
 
Leica S1----------

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S2 (unlike the XS) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the XS and the S2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XS was replaced by the Canon T3, while the S2 was followed 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon XS and the Leica S2? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel XS:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (126x98mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 908g or 64 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (98 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2008).

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Advantages of the Leica S2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 93%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • 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.
  • 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 0.51x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • 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 modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S2 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 7 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.

XS 07:16 S2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XS 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XS or the S2 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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449 i
2.
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995 i
3.
 
Canon T7..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i
4.
 
Canon T100..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
5.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449 i
6.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449 i
7.
 
Canon SX20..+ +73/100..4/5 Aug 2009 399 i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799 i
9.
 
Canon SX10..+ +....4/5 Sep 2008 399 i
10.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799 i
11.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299 i
12.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799 i
13.
 
Leica S3.......... Sep 2018 18,995 i
14.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006.......... Sep 2014 16,900 i
15.
 
Leica S Typ 0074/5........ Sep 2014 24,490 i
16.
 
Leica S Typ 006.......... Sep 2012 21,950 i
17.
 
Leica S1.......... Aug 1996 21,490 i
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon XS:
Check Ebay offers
Leica S2:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon XS 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon XS Leica S2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2008 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 449 USD 22,995
    Sensor Specs Canon XS Leica S2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Medium Format Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 45.0 x 30.0 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 1350 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 54.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 0.8x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 37.5 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 7500 x 5000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.71 μm 6.00 μm
    Pixel Density 3.07 MP/cm2 2.78 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 800 ISO 80 - 1,250 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 1,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs Canon XS Leica S2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x 0.86x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XS Leica S2
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XS Leica S2
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XS Leica S2
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E5 BP-PRO1
    Body Dimensions 126 x 98 x 65 mm
    (5.0 x 3.9 x 2.6 in)
    160 x 120 x 80 mm
    (6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 502 g (17.7 oz) 1410 g (49.7 oz)

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