Leica D-LUX 5 vs S2
The Leica D-LUX 5 and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and September 2008. The D-LUX 5 is a fixed lens compact, while the S2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (D-LUX 5) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The D-LUX 5 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the S2 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 Leica D-LUX 5 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Leica S2. 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.
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 (169 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 5. It is noteworthy in this context that the S2 is splash and dust-proof, while the D-LUX 5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX 5 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|2.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|6.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|7.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|8.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|9.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|11.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|14.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|15.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|16.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D-LUX 5 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 Leica D-LUX 5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Leica S2 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S2 is 2835 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 0.8. The sensor in the D-LUX 5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S2 offers a 3:2 aspect. The D-LUX 5 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 37.5MP, the S2 offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 5 (10MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 2.14μm for the D-LUX 5) due to its larger sensor. However, the D-LUX 5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the S2, and its sensor might 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 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 Leica D-LUX 5 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica D-LUX 5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|7.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D-LUX 5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the D-LUX 5 can use is 720/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the S2 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the D-LUX 5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica D-LUX 5 and Leica S2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|9.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0||207||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D-LUX 5 has one, while the S2 does not. While the built-in flash of the D-LUX 5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The D-LUX 5 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 D-LUX 5 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 Leica D-LUX 5 and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S2 (unlike the D-LUX 5) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D-LUX 5 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 D-LUX 5 was followed by the Leica D-LUX 6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica D-LUX 5 better than the Leica S2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Leica D-LUX 5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/60p movies.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 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 (110x65mm 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 11 months after the S2).
Advantages of the Leica S2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 98%.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the S2 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 11 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Leica D-LUX 5 and the Leica S2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 D-LUX 5 and the S2 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.||Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|2.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|6.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|7.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|8.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|9.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|10.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|11.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|14.||Leica X1||3/5||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|15.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|16.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica D-LUX 5 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||Leica D-LUX 5||Leica S2|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-90mm f/2.0-3.3||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 22,995|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Leica S2|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.14 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.59 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 1,250 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Leica S2|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||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||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Leica S2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-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||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||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||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Leica S2|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
110 x 65 x 43 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||271 g (9.6 oz)||1410 g (49.7 oz)|
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