Leica S1 Comparison Review
The Leica S1 Pro is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was announced in August 1996 and is equipped with a medium format sensor. It offers a resolution of 26.4 megapixel.
Is the Leica S1 a good camera? The S1 has a Camera Elo of 777. This rating puts the S1 below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (medium format cameras), the S1 also ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 2.5-star performance rating. – Well, the Leica S1 is more than 26 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 1996.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Leica R mount lenses|
|26.4 MP, Medium Format Sensor|
|ISO 50 - 1 600|
|0.01 shutter flaps per second|
|339 x 214 x 119 mm, 2 500 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Leica S1 vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica S1 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Leica S1||339 mm||214 mm||119 mm||2500 g||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon RP||133 mm||85 mm||70 mm||485 g||250||n||Feb 2019||1,299||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 250D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T30||118 mm||83 mm||47 mm||383 g||380||n||Feb 2019||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999||amazon.com|
|6.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|10.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899||amazon.com|
|11.||Sony A6100||120 mm||67 mm||59 mm||396 g||420||n||Aug 2019||749||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Leica S1 was launched in the US market at a price of $21,490. 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 with a 35mm slide
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Leica S1 features a medium format sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 0.85. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Leica S1 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
For most 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Canon RP||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||4K/30p||24.3||11.9||2977||85|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||25.2||14.2||2821||94|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|9.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.5||2224||82|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the S1 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Leica S1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica S1||optical||n||none / none||none||n||..||0.01/s||n||n|
|2.||Canon RP||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 250D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T30||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|9.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|10.||Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Sony A6100||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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 S1 Pro and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica S1||-||- / -||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon RP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon 250D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T30||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Leica S2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Sony A6400||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony A6100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the S1. 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 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]).
|1.||Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon RP||4/5||+||4/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||1,299||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 250D||..||o||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T30||5/5||+ +||5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999||amazon.com|
|6.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|8.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|10.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||4/5||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899||amazon.com|
|11.||Sony A6100||..||..||4/5||82/100||4/5||5/5||Aug 2019||749||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Leica S1 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the S1.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the S1?
The camera has a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor at its core.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the S1?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600.
Camera to camera comparisons
If you would like to see a side-by-side review with another camera, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.
|Camera Model||Leica S1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica R mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 1996|
|Launch Price||USD 21 490|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 36.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||1 296 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||50.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||26.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5 140 x 5 140 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.01 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video|
|ISO Setting||50 - 1 600 ISO|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Size||no LCD|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||0.01 shutter flaps/s|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||External storage|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||no USB|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||external power pack|
339 x 214 x 119 mm
(13.3 x 8.4 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||2 500 g (88.2 oz)|
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