Leica M10-R vs S2
The Leica M10-R and the Leica S2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2020 and September 2008. The M10-R is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the S2 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M10-R) and a medium format (S2) sensor. The M10-R has a resolution of 40.9 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 M10-R 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 Leica M10-R 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 views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M10-R 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 (73 percent) than the Leica M10-R. Moreover, the S2 is substantially heavier (114 percent) than the M10-R. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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.||Leica M10-R||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295|
|2.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||148 mm||97 mm||70 mm||766 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|5.||Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999|
|7.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|8.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|9.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|10.||Leica X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|16.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|17.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
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 M10-R was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 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 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. 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 M10-R features a full frame sensor and the Leica S2 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S2 is 58 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 0.8. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica M10-R offers a higher resolution of 40.9 megapixels, compared with 37.5 MP of the Leica S2. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.57μm versus 6.00μm for the S2). However, it should be noted that the M10-R is much more recent (by 11 years and 9 months) than the S2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 M10-R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M10-R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.3 x 26 inches or 99.9 x 66 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.5 x 20.8 inches or 79.9 x 52.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.2 x 17.3 inches or 66.6 x 44 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica S2 are 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm for good quality, 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for very good quality, and 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica M10-R has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S2 are ISO 80 to ISO 1250 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|5.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|10.||Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|16.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|17.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10-R 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 M10-R 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 0.73x), 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 Leica M10-R, the Leica S2, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|10.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M10-R has a touchscreen, while the S2 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Leica M10-R 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 M10-R 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 M10-R only has one slot. The M10-R 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 Leica M10-R and Leica S2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|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 M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M10-R 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 M10-R) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The M10-R is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. 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 Leica website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M10-R and the Leica S2? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica M10-R:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (40.9 vs 37.5MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.5 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 750g or 53 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- 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 (64 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 9 months of technical progress since the S2 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Leica S2:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.86x vs 0.73x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- 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 around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M10-R is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 5 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M10-R or the S2. 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 expert reviews 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.
|1.||Leica M10-R||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||Jul 2020||8,295|
|2.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2019||5,750|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|5.||Leica Q2||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999|
|7.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|8.||Leica M10-P||..||..||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|9.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|10.||Leica X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|14.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|16.||Leica M9||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|17.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica M10-R vs Leica S2
|Camera Model||Leica M10-R||Leica S2|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2020||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 8,295||USD 22,995|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M10-R||Leica S2|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||40.9 Megapixels||37.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7864 x 5200 pixels||7500 x 5000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.57 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.78 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||80 - 1,250 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica M10-R||Leica S2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M10-R||Leica S2|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||4.5 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|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||Leica M10-R||Leica S2|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M10-R||Leica S2|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
139 x 80 x 39 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||660 g (23.3 oz)||1410 g (49.7 oz)|