Fujifilm X-M1 vs Leica S2
The Fujifilm X-M1 and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2013 and September 2008. The X-M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the S2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X-M1) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 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-M1 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-M1 and the Leica S2 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 X-M1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, brown), 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 (145 percent) than the Fujifilm X-M1. Moreover, the S2 is substantially heavier (327 percent) than the X-M1. It is noteworthy in this context that the S2 is splash and dust-proof, while the X-M1 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.||Fujifilm X-M1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Jun 2013||699||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||331 g||410||n||Dec 2016||399||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Sep 2013||399||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Oct 2013||999||ebay.com|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||129 mm||75 mm||38 mm||350 g||350||n||Sep 2012||999||ebay.com|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||140 mm||82 mm||43 mm||450 g||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699||ebay.com|
|11.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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-M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 97 percent) than the S2, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-M1 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-M1 (16MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 4.80μm for the X-M1) due to its larger sensor. However, the X-M1 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 9 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-M1 are 24.5 x 16.3 inches or 62.2 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.7 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.3 x 10.9 inches or 41.5 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Fujifilm X-M1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S2 are ISO 80 to ISO 1250 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the X-M1 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the S2 uses a CCD imager. The X-M1 uses Fujifilm's X-Trans layout of photosites, while the S2 employs the more common Bayer array.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.5||2224||82|
|11.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||25.6||14.4||3143||98|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|15.||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 are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The X-M1 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the X-M1 can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the S2 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X-M1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Fujifilm X-M1 and Leica S2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Fujifilm X-M1||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6/s||Y||n|
|2.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6/s||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||2360||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||1440||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||n||n|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|15.||Leica S1||optical||n||none / none||none||n||..||0.01/s||n||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||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 X-M1 has one, while the S2 does not. While the built-in flash of the X-M1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The X-M1 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-M1 only has one slot. The X-M1 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-M1 and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Fujifilm X-M1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Leica S2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica S3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica S1||-||- / -||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the X-M1 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-M1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the X-M1 and the S2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The S2 was replaced by the Leica S Typ 006, while the X-M1 does not have a direct successor. 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-M1 and the Leica S2? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Fujifilm X-M1:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.6 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 1080g or 77 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (97 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 9 months of technical progress since the S2 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Leica S2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 16MP), which boosts linear resolution by 53%.
- 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.
- 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 relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X-M1 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 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 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-M1 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X-M1 and the S2 in practical situations. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.||Fujifilm X-M1||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Dec 2016||399||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||399||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999||ebay.com|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999||ebay.com|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699||ebay.com|
|11.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 4000D vs Fujifilm X-M1
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Nikon D3000
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Nikon P1000
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Sony A7S
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Sony ZV-1
- Leica S2 vs Nikon 1 J5
- Leica S2 vs Nikon D50
- Leica S2 vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Leica S2 vs Samsung NX500
- Leica S2 vs Sony A5100
- Leica S2 vs YI M1
Specifications: Fujifilm X-M1 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-M1||Leica S2|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm X mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2013||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 22,995|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||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||16 Megapixels||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 1,250 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Leica S2|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Leica S2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.6 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||Fujifilm X-M1||Leica S2|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Leica S2|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
117 x 67 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||330 g (11.6 oz)||1410 g (49.7 oz)|
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