PW

Leica S2 versus Canon 5DS R

The Leica S2 and the Canon EOS 5DS R are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2008 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (S2) and a full frame (5DS R) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 50.3 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 S2 vs Canon 5DS R

The physical size and weight of the Leica S2 and the Canon 5DS R are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions 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 S2 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Leica S2 vs Canon 5DS R
Compare S2 versus 5DS R top
Compare S2 and 5DS R rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5DS R is notably smaller (8 percent) than the Leica S2. Moreover, the 5DS R is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the S2. 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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)
Leica S2» 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995- i
Canon 5DS R« 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 6D Mark II« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i
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 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i
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-E Typ 006« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 16,900- i
Leica S Typ 006« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950- i
Nikon D850« » 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i
Pentax 645D« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.7 in 52.2 oz 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 5DS R was launched at a markedly lower price (by 84 percent) than the S2, 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 S2 vs Canon 5DS R

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 S2 features a medium format sensor and the Canon 5DS R a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 5DS R 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 S2 and Canon 5DS R sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the 5DS R offers a higher resolution of 50.3 megapixel, compared with 37.5 MP of the S2. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.14μm versus 6.00μm for the S2). However, it should be noted that the 5DS R is much more recent (by 6 years and 4 months) than the S2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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.

S2 versus 5DS R MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Leica S2» Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----
Canon 5DS R« Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871
Leica S Typ 007« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p----
Leica S-E Typ 006« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----
Leica S Typ 006« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-23.912.282476
Nikon D850« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081
Pentax 645D« » Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The 5DS R indeed provides for movie recording, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the 5DS R can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica S2 vs Canon 5DS R

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The S2 and the 5DS R 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica S2 and Canon 5DS R along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera 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
Leica S2»optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n
Canon 5DS R«optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n
Leica S Typ 007« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 3.5 n n
Leica S-E Typ 006« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n
Leica S Typ 006« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n
Nikon D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n n
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n
Pentax 645D« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 1.1 n n

The 5DS R is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the S2 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the S2 was succeeded by the Leica S Typ 006.

Review summary: Leica S2 vs Canon 5DS R

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica S2 and the Canon 5DS R? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Leica S2:

  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).

ilogo

Advantages of the Canon EOS 5DS R:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (50.3 vs 37.5MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
  • 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.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 480g or 34 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (84 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 4 months of technical progress since the S2 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5DS R is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 2 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.

S2 02:09 5DS R

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the S2 or the 5DS R handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Leica S2»----- Sep 2008 22,995- i
Canon 5DS R«Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark III« »---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i
Leica S Typ 007« »----- Sep 2014 24,490 i i
Leica S-E Typ 006« »----- Sep 2014 16,900- i
Leica S Typ 006« »----- Sep 2012 21,950- i
Nikon D850« »HiRec89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i
Pentax 645D« »---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. 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.

vs

    You are here  »   »