Fujifilm X-E3 vs Leica S2
The Fujifilm X-E3 and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2017 and September 2008. The X-E3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the S2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X-E3) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The Fujifilm 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 Fujifilm X-E3 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 Fujifilm X-E3 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X-E3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), 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 (114 percent) than the Fujifilm X-E3. Moreover, the S2 is substantially heavier (318 percent) than the X-E3. It is noteworthy in this context that the S2 is splash and dust-proof, while the X-E3 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 power pack in the X-E3 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899|
|2.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E4||121 mm||73 mm||33 mm||364 g||380||n||Jan 2021||849|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T30||118 mm||83 mm||47 mm||383 g||380||n||Feb 2019||899|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||117 mm||68 mm||40 mm||361 g||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X-T20||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899|
|9.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|10.||Fujifilm X-A3||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||n||Aug 2016||399|
|11.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|12.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|16.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The X-E3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 96 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-E3 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica S2 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S2 is 267 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 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 X-E3 (24MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 3.92μm for the X-E3) due to its larger sensor. However, the X-E3 is a much more recent model (by 8 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 Fujifilm X-E3 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 X-E3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Fujifilm X-E3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. 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 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 S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|16.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The X-E3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the X-E3 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the X-E3 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 viewfinder in the X-E3 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the S2 (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the S2 has a higher magnification (0.86x vs 0.41x), 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 Fujifilm X-E3 and Leica S2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The X-E3 has a touchscreen, while the S2 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the X-E3 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Fujifilm X-E3 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 X-E3 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 X-E3 only has one slot. The X-E3 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 Fujifilm X-E3 and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the X-E3 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 X-E3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The X-E3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Fujifilm. 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 Fujifilm and Leica websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Fujifilm X-E3 and the Leica S2? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Fujifilm X-E3:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (121x74mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 1073g or 76 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- 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 (96 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 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 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.86x vs 0.41x).
- 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 individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X-E3 is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 9 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 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 Fujifilm X-E3 and the Leica S2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 X-E3 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899|
|2.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|4.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|5.||Fujifilm X-E4||4/5||..||..||..||..||Jan 2021||849|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T30||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X-T20||5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899|
|9.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|10.||Fujifilm X-A3||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2016||399|
|11.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|12.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|13.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|14.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|16.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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.
Specifications: Fujifilm X-E3 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||Fujifilm X-E3||Leica S2|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm X mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2017||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 22,995|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm X-E3||Leica S2|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.6 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.16 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 1,250 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm X-E3||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||1040k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm X-E3||Leica S2|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/32000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board 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||Fujifilm X-E3||Leica S2|
|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||Fujifilm X-E3||Leica S2|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
121 x 74 x 43 mm
(4.8 x 2.9 x 1.7 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||337 g (11.9 oz)||1410 g (49.7 oz)|
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