Ur-Leica Contax Camera Comparison
Leica 1600mm Vivitar Shutter count
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

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.

camera

Is the Leica S1 a good camera? The S1 has a Camera Elo of 1236. 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. – Well, the Leica S1 is more than 23 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 1996.

Headline Specifications
Leica S1
Mirrorless system camera
Leica R mount lenses
26.4 MP, Medium Format Sensor
no Video
ISO 50 - 1 600
Optical viewfinder
no LCD
0.01 shutter flaps per second
339 x 214 x 119 mm, 2 500 g


badge

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.

Leica S1 vs credit card front
S1 versus credit card top view
S1 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica S1 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 comparisons there.

scroll hint
Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica S1 13.3 in 8.4 in 4.7 in 88.2 oz .. n Aug 1996 21,490i
 
Canon RP 5.2 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 17.1 oz 250 n Feb 2019 1,299 i
 
Canon SL3 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 15.8 oz 1070 n Apr 2019 599 i
 
Fujifilm X-T30 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.5 oz 380 n Feb 2019 899 i
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
 
Leica CL 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica Q Typ 116 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica S2 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Sony A6400 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.0 in 14.2 oz 410 n Jan 2019 899 i
 
Sony A6100 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.3 in 14.0 oz 420 n Aug 2019 749 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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.

Leica S1:
Check Ebay offers

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.

Leica S1 sensor measures

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.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Leica S1 Medium Format 26.4 5140 5140none........
 
Canon RP Full Frame 26.2 6240 41604K/30p........
 
Canon SL3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/25p........
 
Fujifilm X-T30 APS-C 26.0 6240 41604K/30p........
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p........
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Sony A6400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p2413.6143183
 
Sony A6100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p........

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the S1 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

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.

scroll hint
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
 
Leica S1optical n none none none n .. 0.01 n n
 
Canon RP2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Canon SL3optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X-T302360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Sony A64002359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
 
Sony A61001440 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y n

Connection 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 S1 Pro and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
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
 
Leica S1----------
 
Canon RPYstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SL3YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
 
Fujifilm X-T30YstereomonoY-micro3.1Y-Y
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
 
Sony A6400YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY
 
Sony A6100YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYY

Expert reviews

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

scroll hint
Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica S1.......... Aug 1996 21,490i
 
Canon RP+..4.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2019 1,299 i
 
Canon SL3o79/1004/5..4/5 Apr 2019 599 i
 
Fujifilm X-T30+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2019 899 i
 
Leica M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica Q Typ 116..80/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Sony A6400+85/1004.5/5..4/5 Jan 2019 899 i
 
Sony A6100..82/1004/5..5/5 Aug 2019 749 i
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 of this and 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.

~
    Specifications Summary
    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 Specs
    Sensor Technology CCD
    Sensor Format Medium Format Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 36.0 mm
    Sensor Area 1 296 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 50.9 mm
    Crop Factor 0.85x
    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
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    LCD Size no LCD
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 0.01 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium External storage
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash no Hotshoe
    USB Connector no USB
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type external power pack
    Body Dimensions 339 x 214 x 119 mm
    (13.3 x 8.4 x 4.7 in)
    Camera Weight 2 500 g (88.2 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Leica S1 Review

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.



    If you like it, make sure you share it.

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback.