Canon XT vs Leica S3
The Canon EOS Rebel XT (called Canon 350D in some regions) and the Leica S3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2005 and September 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (XT) and a medium format (S3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8 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 EOS Rebel XT 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 XT and the Leica S3 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The XT can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), 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 (61 percent) than the Canon XT. Moreover, the S3 is substantially heavier (133 percent) than the XT. It is noteworthy in this context that the S3 is splash and dust-proof, while the XT 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|17.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XT was launched at a markedly lower price (by 95 percent) than the S3, 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.
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. 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 XT features an APS-C sensor and the Leica S3 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S3 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.
With 64MP, the S3 offers a higher resolution than the XT (8MP), but the S3 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.59μm versus 6.41μm for the XT). Yet, the S3 is a much more recent model (by 13 years and 7 months) than the XT, 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 S3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 XT are 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for good quality, 13.8 x 9.2 inches or 35.1 x 23.4 cm for very good quality, and 11.5 x 7.7 inches or 29.3 x 19.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel XT has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S3 are ISO 100 to ISO 50000 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||25.6||14.4||3143||98|
|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||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|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||23.9||12.5||2224||82|
|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 S3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XT does not. The highest resolution format that the S3 can use is 4K/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The XT and the S3 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 S3 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the XT (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the S3 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.49x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon XT, the Leica S3, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|13.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||n||n|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|17.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XT has one, while the S3 does not. While the built-in flash of the XT is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The XT writes its imaging data to Compact Flash 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 XT only has one slot.
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 XT and Leica S3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica S3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica M10||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||-||-||-|
|17.||Leica S2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the S3 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the XT does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S3 (unlike the XT) 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.
The S3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the XT has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the XT was succeeded by the Canon Xti. Further information on the features and operation of the XT and S3 can be found, respectively, in the Canon XT Manual (free pdf) or the online Leica S3 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon XT and the Leica S3? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XT:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More compact: Is smaller (127x94mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 720g or 57 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 (95 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2005).
Arguments in favor of the Leica S3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (64 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 184%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/24p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.49x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 115k dots).
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- 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: Reflects 13 years and 7 months of technical progress since the XT launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S3 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 XT and the Leica S3 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the XT and the S3 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|16.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|17.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon XT 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 XT||Leica S3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2005||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 18,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XT||Leica S3|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||8 Megapixels||64 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3456 x 2304 pixels||9800 x 6533 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||4.59 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.42 MP/cm2||4.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 50,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||Maestro II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||60||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||637||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon XT||Leica S3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||115k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XT||Leica S3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XT||Leica S3|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon XT||Leica S3|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
127 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||540 g (19.0 oz)||1260 g (44.4 oz)|
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