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Leica S-E Typ 006 versus Sony A7R

The Leica S-E (Typ 006) and the Sony Alpha A7R are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and October 2013. The S-E Typ 006 is a DSLR, while the A7R is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a medium format (S-E Typ 006) and a full frame (A7R) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 36.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Sony A7R

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Sony A7R 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the S-E Typ 006 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Sony A7R
Compare S-E Typ 006 versus A7R top
Compare S-E Typ 006 and A7R rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7R is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Leica S-E Typ 006. Moreover, the A7R is substantially lighter (63 percent) than the S-E Typ 006. 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 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica S-E Typ 006» 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 16,900- i Leica S-E Typ 006
Sony A7R« 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Canon 5DS« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Leica M Typ 262« » 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« » 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica S Typ 007« » 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i i Leica S Typ 007
Leica S Typ 006« » 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
Leica S2« » 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1410 g .. Y Sep 2008 22,995- i Leica S2
Nikon D4S« » 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« » 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« » 156 mm 117 mm 119 mm 1480 g 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
Sony A7R II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 625 g 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7 II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 489 g 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A7« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony RX1R« » 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R

Any camera purchase 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 A7R was launched at a markedly lower price (by 86 percent) than the S-E Typ 006, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Sony A7R

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 Sony A7R a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7R is 36 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica S-E Typ 006 and Sony A7R sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S-E Typ 006 offers a slightly higher resolution than the A7R (36.2MP), but the S-E Typ 006 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 4.88μm for the A7R) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S-E Typ 006 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the A7R, and its sensor might 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

S-E Typ 006 versus A7R MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Leica S-E Typ 006» Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----Leica S-E Typ 006
Sony A7R« Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Leica M Typ 262« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976-----Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
Leica S Typ 007« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p----Leica S Typ 007
Leica S Typ 006« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-23.912.282476Leica S Typ 006
Leica S2« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----Leica S2
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« » Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282Pentax 645D
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287Sony A7S
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A7R indeed provides for movie recording, while the S-E Typ 006 does not. The highest resolution format that the A7R can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Sony A7R

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7R has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), while the S-E Typ 006 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica S-E Typ 006 and Sony A7R in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica S-E Typ 006»optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n Leica S-E Typ 006
Sony A7R«2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n Sony A7R
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Leica M Typ 262« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n Leica SL
Leica S Typ 007« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 3.5 n n Leica S Typ 007
Leica S Typ 006« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n Leica S Typ 006
Leica S2« »optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n Leica S2
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 1.1 n n Pentax 645D
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7S
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R

One feature that is present on the S-E Typ 006, but is missing on the A7R 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 A7R uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The S-E Typ 006 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A7R only has one slot.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Leica S-E Typ 006»Y----mini2.0---Leica S-E Typ 006
Sony A7R«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Leica M Typ 262« »Y-----2.0---Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
Leica S Typ 007« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Leica S Typ 007
Leica S Typ 006« »Y----mini2.0---Leica S Typ 006
Leica S2« »Y----mini2.0---Leica S2
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« »Ystereo----2.0---Pentax 645D
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R

Both the S-E Typ 006 and the A7R have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7R was replaced by the Sony A7R II, while the S-E Typ 006 was followed by the Leica S Typ 007.

Review summary: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Sony A7R

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica S-E Typ 006 or the Sony A7R – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica S-E (Typ 006):

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • 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 price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the A7R).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7R:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x94mm vs 160x120mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 795g or 63 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (86 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2013).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7R is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

S-E Typ 006 05:13 A7R

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the S-E Typ 006 and the A7R 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica S-E Typ 006»----- Sep 2014 16,900- i Leica S-E Typ 006
Sony A7R«HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Leica M Typ 262« »----- Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica S Typ 007« »----- Sep 2014 24,490 i i Leica S Typ 007
Leica S Typ 006« »----- Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
Leica S2« »----- Sep 2008 22,995- i Leica S2
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Pentax 645D« »---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
Sony A7R II« »HiRec90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony RX1R« »--4/5rev4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R

The review scores listed above should be treated 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. 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 use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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