Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Olympus E-500
The Leica S-E (Typ 006) and the Olympus Evolt E-500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and September 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (S-E Typ 006) and a Four Thirds (E-500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 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 Olympus Evolt E-500? 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 S-E Typ 006 and the Olympus E-500 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-500 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Leica S-E Typ 006. Moreover, the E-500 is substantially lighter (62 percent) than the S-E Typ 006. It is worth mentioning in this context that the S-E Typ 006 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-500 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 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 S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|2.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|3.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|5.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|8.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|9.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|10.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|11.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|12.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|13.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|14.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|15.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|16.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|17.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|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 E-500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 96 percent) than the S-E Typ 006, 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 S-E Typ 006 features a medium format sensor and the Olympus E-500 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-500 is 83 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 2.0. The sensor in the S-E Typ 006 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-500 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CCD sensors.
With 37.5MP, the S-E Typ 006 offers a higher resolution than the E-500 (8MP), but the S-E Typ 006 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S-E Typ 006 is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 11 months) than the E-500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S-E Typ 006 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica S-E Typ 006 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S-E Typ 006 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 Olympus E-500 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 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 Olympus Evolt E-500 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.
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.
|1.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|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||..||..||..||..|
|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||..||..||..||..|
|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.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|13.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
|17.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The S-E Typ 006 and the E-500 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 S-E Typ 006 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the E-500 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the S-E Typ 006 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.45x), 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 S-E Typ 006, the Olympus E-500, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|2.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|3.||Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|5.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|8.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|16.||Pentax 645D||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.1||n||n|
|17.||Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the S-E Typ 006, but is missing on the E-500 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The S-E Typ 006 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the E-500 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 Olympus Evolt E-500 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.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Leica S3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||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.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-400||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Pentax 645D||Y||stereo / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony A7R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S-E Typ 006 (unlike the E-500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the S-E Typ 006 and the E-500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the S-E Typ 006 was followed 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 and Olympus websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica S-E Typ 006 better than the Olympus E-500 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica S-E (Typ 006):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (37.5 vs 8MP) with a 121% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.45x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 215k dots).
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-500:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x95mm vs 160x120mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 781g or 62 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (96 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2005).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the S-E Typ 006 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 7 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 Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Olympus E-500 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 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 S-E Typ 006 or the E-500. 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], 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|
|2.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|3.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|4.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|5.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|6.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|7.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|8.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|9.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|10.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|11.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|12.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|13.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|14.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|15.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|16.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|17.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|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.
- Canon 1D vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Canon 40D vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Canon 500D vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Canon SX520 vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Canon SX730 vs Olympus E-500
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Olympus E-500
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D3400
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Panasonic S1R
- Leica V-LUX Typ 114 vs Olympus E-500
- Nikon D780 vs Olympus E-500
- Olympus E-300 vs Olympus E-500
- Olympus E-500 vs Olympus E-M5 II
Specifications: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Olympus E-500
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||Olympus E-500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica S mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||September 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 16,900||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Olympus E-500|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||45.0 x 30.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||1350 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.1 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||37.5 Megapixels||8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7500 x 5000 pixels||3264 x 2448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||3.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Olympus E-500|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Olympus E-500|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Olympus E-500|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica S-E Typ 006||Olympus E-500|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
130 x 95 x 66 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||479 g (16.9 oz)|
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