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Leica S Typ 006 versus Sony A7

The Leica S (Typ 006) and the Sony Alpha A7 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and October 2013. The S Typ 006 is a DSLR, while the A7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a medium format (S Typ 006) and a full frame (A7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 Typ 006 vs Sony A7

The physical size and weight of the Leica S Typ 006 and the Sony A7 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 Typ 006 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica S Typ 006 vs Sony A7
Compare S Typ 006 versus A7 top
Compare S Typ 006 and A7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Leica S Typ 006. Moreover, the A7 is substantially lighter (62 percent) than the S 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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 Typ 006» 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
Sony A7« 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica S-E Typ 006« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 16,900- i Leica S-E Typ 006
Leica S Typ 007« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i i Leica S Typ 007
Leica M Typ 240« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
Leica S2« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995- i Leica S2
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Pentax 645D« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.7 in 52.2 oz 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
Samsung NX1« » 5.5 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 19.4 oz 500 Y Sep 2014 1,499- i Samsung NX1
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A7 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 92 percent) than the S 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica S Typ 006 vs Sony A7

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica S Typ 006 features a medium format sensor and the Sony A7 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 is 37 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 Typ 006 and Sony A7 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S Typ 006 offers a higher resolution than the A7 (24MP), but the S Typ 006 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 5.97μm for the A7) due to its larger sensor. However, the A7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the S Typ 006, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S Typ 006 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

S Typ 006 versus A7 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A7 offers substantially better image quality than the S Typ 006 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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 Typ 006» Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-23.912.282476Leica S Typ 006
Sony A7« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
Leica S-E Typ 006« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----Leica S-E Typ 006
Leica S Typ 007« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p----Leica S Typ 007
Leica M Typ 240« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084Leica M Typ 240
Leica S2« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----Leica S2
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
Pentax 645D« » Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282Pentax 645D
Samsung NX1« » APS-C 28.0 6480 43204K/30p24.213.2136383Samsung NX1
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 A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A7 indeed provides for movie recording, while the S Typ 006 does not. The highest resolution format that the A7 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica S Typ 006 vs Sony A7

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A7 has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), while the S 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica S Typ 006 and Sony A7 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, 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 Typ 006»optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n Leica S Typ 006
Sony A7«2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n Leica SL
Leica S-E Typ 006« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n Leica S-E Typ 006
Leica S Typ 007« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 3.5 n n Leica S Typ 007
Leica M Typ 240« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 240
Leica S2« »optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n Leica S2
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
Pentax 645D« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 1.1 n n Pentax 645D
Samsung NX1« »2360 Y 3.0 1036 tilting Y 8000 15.0 Y n Samsung NX1
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 A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n Sony A7R
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Sony RX1

One feature that is present on the S Typ 006, but is missing on the A7 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 Typ 006 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the A7 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The S Typ 006 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A7 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 Typ 006»Y----mini2.0---Leica S Typ 006
Sony A7«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
Leica SL« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
Leica S-E Typ 006« »Y----mini2.0---Leica S-E Typ 006
Leica S Typ 007« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Leica S Typ 007
Leica M Typ 240« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica M Typ 240
Leica S2« »Y----mini2.0---Leica S2
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
Pentax 645D« »Ystereo----2.0---Pentax 645D
Samsung NX1« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0YYYSamsung NX1
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
Sony A7S« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

Both the S Typ 006 and the A7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The S Typ 006 was replaced by the Leica S Typ 007, while the A7 was followed by the Sony A7 II.

Review summary: Leica S Typ 006 vs Sony A7

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica S Typ 006 and the Sony A7? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica S (Typ 006):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (37.5 vs 24MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • 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 (5 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 786g or 62 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 (92 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 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.

S Typ 006 07:18 A7

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the S Typ 006 or the A7. 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 detailed reviews can be accessed 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 Typ 006»----- Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
Sony A7«HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica S-E Typ 006« »----- Sep 2014 16,900- i Leica S-E Typ 006
Leica S Typ 007« »----- Sep 2014 24,490 i i Leica S Typ 007
Leica M Typ 240« »--4/5-- Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
Leica S2« »----- Sep 2008 22,995- i Leica S2
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Pentax 645D« »---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
Samsung NX1« »-87/1005/54.5/55/5 Sep 2014 1,499- i Samsung NX1
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 A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1

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. 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, 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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