Leica S2 vs Panasonic LX100 II
The Leica S2 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2008 and August 2018. The S2 is a DSLR, while the LX100 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a medium format (S2) and a Four Thirds (LX100 II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 16.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica S2||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Leica S mount lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor||16.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 80-1,250||ISO 200-25,600|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (2764k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 460k dots||3.0 LCD, 1240k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed touchscreen|
|1.5 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1410 g||115 x 66 x 65 mm, 392 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S2 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica S2 and the Panasonic LX100 II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX100 II is considerably smaller (60 percent) than the Leica S2. It is worth mentioning in this context that the S2 is splash and dust resistant, while the LX100 II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 II has a lens built in, whereas the S2 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the LX100 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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.
|Leica S2||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||49.7 oz||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|Panasonic LX100 II||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.6 in||13.8 oz||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||5.9 in||6.3 in||3.1 in||48.9 oz||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|Leica D-LUX 7||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.6 in||13.8 oz||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Leica S3||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|Leica S Typ 007||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|Leica S Typ 006||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|Leica S1||13.3 in||8.4 in||4.7 in||88.2 oz||..||n||Aug 1996||21,490|
|Nikon D3S||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Nikon D3X||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D3||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Panasonic GX9||4.9 in||2.8 in||1.9 in||14.4 oz||260||n||Feb 2018||849|
|Panasonic ZS70||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic LX100||4.5 in||2.6 in||2.2 in||13.9 oz||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|Panasonic GH2||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|Pentax 645D||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.7 in||52.2 oz||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
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 price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 LX100 II was launched at a lower price than the S2, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica S2 features a medium format sensor and the Panasonic LX100 II a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the LX100 II is 86 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 2.2. The sensor in the S2 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX100 II offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX100 II has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 37.5MP, the S2 offers a higher resolution than the LX100 II (16.8MP), but the S2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 3.32μm for the LX100 II) due to its larger sensor. However, the LX100 II is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 11 months) than the S2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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 S2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic LX100 II are 23.7 x 17.8 inches or 60.1 x 45.1 cm for good quality, 18.9 x 14.2 inches or 48.1 x 36.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 11.8 inches or 40.1 x 30.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica S2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 1250. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|Leica S1||Medium Format||26.4||5140||5140||none||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|Panasonic GX9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The LX100 II indeed provides for movie recording, while the S2 does not. The highest resolution format that the LX100 II can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the LX100 II has an electronic viewfinder (2764k dots), while the S2 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 viewfinder in the LX100 II offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the S2 (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the S2 has a higher magnification (0.86x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica S2 and Panasonic LX100 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
One feature that is present on the S2, but is missing on the LX100 II 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 reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the LX100 II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Panasonic LX100 II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The S2 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the LX100 II uses SDXC cards. The S2 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the LX100 II only has one slot. The LX100 II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the S2 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 S2 and Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the LX100 II offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the S2 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S2 (unlike the LX100 II) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The LX100 II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the S2 has been discontinued (but 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. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Panasonic websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica S2 or the Panasonic LX100 II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica S2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (37.5 vs 16.8MP) with a 52% higher linear resolution.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.86x vs 0.70x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- 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 available for much longer (launched in September 2008).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1240k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the S2 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 160x120mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the S2).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 11 months of technical progress since the S2 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LX100 II is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 10 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica S2 and the Panasonic LX100 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the S2 and the LX100 II in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|Panasonic LX100 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|Leica S Typ 007||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|Leica S1||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 1996||21,490|
|Nikon D3S||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Nikon D3X||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D3||..||+ +||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Panasonic GX9||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||849|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic LX100||+ +||85/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Panasonic GH2||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|Pentax 645D||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 100D vs Leica S2
- Canon 750D vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Canon T2i vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Fujifilm XP120 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Leica S2 vs Nikon Z6
- Leica S2 vs Olympus E-PL6
- Leica S2 vs Panasonic FZ300
- Leica X1 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Sony A900
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Sony A99 II
Specifications: Leica S2 vs Panasonic LX100 II
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 Model||Leica S2||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica S mount lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2008||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 22,995||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica S2||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||45.0 x 30.0 mm||15.7 x 11.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||1350 mm2||185.26 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.1 mm||19.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||37.5 Megapixels||16.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7500 x 5000 pixels||4736 x 3552 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||3.32 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||9.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 1,250 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica S2||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||1240k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica S2||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica S2||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica S2||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
115 x 66 x 65 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||1410 g (49.7 oz)||392 g (13.8 oz)|
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