Leica S-E Typ 006 vs S3
The Leica S-E (Typ 006) and the Leica S3 are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and September 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a medium format sensor. The S-E Typ 006 has a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, whereas the S3 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 Leica S-E (Typ 006) 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Leica S3 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
In this particular case, the Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Leica S3 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. Moreover, the two cameras also share the same weight. 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 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|3.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995||ebay.com|
|12.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||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 S-E Typ 006 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the S3, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a medium format sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 0.8. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the S3 offers a higher resolution of 64 megapixels, compared with 37.5 MP of the S-E Typ 006. This megapixels advantage translates into a 31 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the S3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.59μm versus 6.00μm for the S-E Typ 006). However, it should be noted that the S3 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the S-E Typ 006, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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 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 Leica S-E Typ 006 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 S-E (Typ 006) 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).
In terms of underlying technology, the S-E Typ 006 is build around a CCD sensor, while the S3 uses a CMOS imager. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|2.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||25.6||14.4||3143||98|
|3.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||24.8||13.7||2478||90|
|5.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|8.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.5||2224||82|
|9.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|10.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|11.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
|12.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|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 S-E Typ 006 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 range of features. The S-E Typ 006 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (98%), as well as the same magnification (0.87x). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica S-E Typ 006 and Leica S3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|2.||Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||n||n|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Pentax 645D||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.1/s||n||n|
|12.||Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the S-E Typ 006 and the S3 write their files to Compact Flash or SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. The S3 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the S-E Typ 006 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 S-E (Typ 006) and Leica S3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica S3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica SL||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica S2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D4S||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Pentax 645D||Y||stereo / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Sony A7R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
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 S-E Typ 006 does not provide wifi capability.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
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 S-E Typ 006 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the S-E Typ 006 was succeeded by the Leica S Typ 007. 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 there a clear favorite between the Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Leica S3? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica S-E (Typ 006):
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2014).
Advantages of the Leica S3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (64 vs 37.5MP), which boosts linear resolution by 31%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/24p video.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the S-E Typ 006 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S3 is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 2 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 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 S-E Typ 006 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the S-E Typ 006 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|3.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995||ebay.com|
|12.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, 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.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Fujifilm X-T30 vs Leica S3
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Leica S3
- Leica M10-P vs Leica S3
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D3
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon P900
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon Z6
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Panasonic G2
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Ricoh WG-60
- Leica S3 vs Nikon B500
- Leica S3 vs Nikon Z6 II
- Leica S3 vs Panasonic G10
Specifications: Leica S-E Typ 006 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||Leica S-E Typ 006||Leica S3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica S mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 16,900||USD 18,995|
|Sensor Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Leica S3|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||45.0 x 30.0 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||1350 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.1 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||37.5 Megapixels||64 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7500 x 5000 pixels||9800 x 6533 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||4.59 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||4.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 50,000 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Leica S3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||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||1.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Leica S3|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini 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||Leica S-E Typ 006||Leica S3|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||1260 g (44.4 oz)|
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