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Leica S Typ 006 vs S3

The Leica S (Typ 006) and the Leica S3 are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and September 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a medium format sensor. The S 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.

Headline Specifications
Leica S Typ 006 versus Leica S3
Leica S Typ 006 Leica S3
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Leica S mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor 64 MP, Medium Format Sensor
no Video 4K/24p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-50,000
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g 160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S (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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica S 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 successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica S Typ 006 vs Leica S3
Compare S Typ 006 versus S3 top
Comparison S Typ 006 or S3 rear

In this particular case, the Leica S 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 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica S Typ 006 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2012 21,950i
2.
 
Leica S3 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2018 18,995 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999i
4.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
5.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
7.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 16,900i
8.
 
Leica S Typ 007 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 24,490i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
10.
 
Leica S2 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1410 g .. Y Sep 2008 22,995i
11.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
12.
 
Pentax 645D 156 mm 117 mm 119 mm 1480 g 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995i
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 S3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the S Typ 006, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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 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.

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.

Leica S Typ 006 and Leica S3 sensor measures

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 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 Typ 006). However, it should be noted that the S3 is much more recent (by 6 years) than the S 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 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 (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).

S Typ 006 versus S3 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica S Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none23.912.282476
2.
 
Leica S3 Medium Format 64.0 9800 65334K/24p........
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
4.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
5.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
6.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
7.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
8.
 
Leica S Typ 007 Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p........
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
10.
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
11.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
12.
 
Pentax 645D Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440none24.612.6126282

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The S3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the S Typ 006 does not. The highest resolution format that the S3 can use is 4K/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The S 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica S Typ 006, the Leica S3, and comparable cameras.

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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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica S Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
2.
 
Leica S3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n
4.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
7.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
8.
 
Leica S Typ 007optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 n n
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
10.
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
11.
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
12.
 
Pentax 645Doptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 1.1 n n

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the S 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 Typ 006 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).

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Connectivity comparison

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 (Typ 006) and Leica S3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica S Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica S3YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
4.
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
6.
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
7.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica S Typ 007YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
9.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
12.
 
Pentax 645DYstereo----2.0---

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 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 Typ 006 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the S 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica S Typ 006 better than the Leica S3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Leica S (Typ 006):

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).


Arguments in favor 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 affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the S Typ 006 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S3 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 1 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

S Typ 006 01:09 S3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica S 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 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 Typ 006 or the S3. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica S Typ 006.......... Sep 2012 21,950i
2.
 
Leica S3.......... Sep 2018 18,995 i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999i
4.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
5.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica SL4/5..84/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
7.
 
Leica S-E Typ 006.......... Sep 2014 16,900i
8.
 
Leica S Typ 0074/5........ Sep 2014 24,490i
9.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
10.
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995i
11.
 
Nikon D4......4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
12.
 
Pentax 645D5/5........ Mar 2010 9,995i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica S Typ 006:
Check Ebay offers
Leica S3:
Check Amazon price

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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Leica S 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica S 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 2012 September 2018
    Launch Price USD 21,950 USD 18,995
    Sensor Specs Leica S Typ 006 Leica S3
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 0.8x 0.8x
    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
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 76 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.9 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 824 ..
    Screen Specs Leica S Typ 006 Leica S3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 98% 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.87x 0.87x
    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 Typ 006 Leica S3
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus 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 Typ 006 Leica S3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Typ 006 Leica S3
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-PRO1 BP-PRO1
    Body Dimensions 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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