Leica S3 vs Panasonic TS7
The Leica S3 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7 (labelled Panasonic FT7 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2018 and May 2018. The S3 is a DSLR, while the TS7 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a medium format (S3) and a 1/2.3-inch (TS7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 64 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica S3||Panasonic TS7|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Leica S mount lenses||28-128mm f/3.3-5.9|
|64 MP, Medium Format Sensor||20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|4K/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-50,000||ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (1170k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 922k dots||3.0 LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Waterproof body (31m)|
|160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g||117 x 76 x 37 mm, 319 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S3 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica S3 and the Panasonic TS7. 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.
The TS7 can be obtained in three different colors (black, blue, orange), while the S3 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic TS7 is considerably smaller (54 percent) than the Leica S3. 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. More than that, the TS7 is water-proof up to 31m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the TS7 has a lens built in, whereas the S3 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 TS7 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999|
|Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499|
|Panasonic ZS80||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|Ricoh WG-6||118 mm||66 mm||33 mm||246 g||340||Y||Feb 2019||399|
|Sony RX10 IV||133 mm||94 mm||145 mm||1095 g||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699|
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.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The TS7 was launched at a lower price than the S3, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 S3 features a medium format sensor and the Panasonic TS7 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TS7 is 98 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 5.6. The sensor in the S3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the TS7 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 64MP, the S3 offers a higher resolution than the TS7 (20.2MP), but the S3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.59μm versus 1.18μm for the TS7) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the TS7, and its sensor might 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 the S3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica S3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 49 x 32.7 inches or 124.5 x 83 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 39.2 x 26.1 inches or 99.6 x 66.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 32.7 x 21.8 inches or 83 x 55.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic TS7 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica S3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|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 S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the TS7 provides a faster frame rate than the S3. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Leica is limited to 4K/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the TS7 has an electronic viewfinder (1170k dots), while the S3 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 TS7 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the S3 (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the S3 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.45x), 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 S3 and Panasonic TS7 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|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|
|Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the S3, but is missing on the TS7 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 TS7 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 S3 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the TS7 uses SDXC cards. The S3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the TS7 only has one slot. The S3 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the TS7 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 S3 and Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|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||-||-||-|
|Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the S3 has a hotshoe, while the TS7 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S3 (unlike the TS7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the S3 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the S3 and the TS7 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The TS7 replaced the earlier Panasonic TS6, while the S3 followed on from the Leica S Typ 007. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica S3 and the Panasonic TS7? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica S3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (64 vs 20.2MP) with a 82% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.45x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1300s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 4 months after the TS7).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/30p versus 4K/24p).
- 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 98%).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the S3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x76mm 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 S3).
- 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.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 31m).
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2018).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S3 is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 15 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 S3 and the Panasonic TS7 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the S3 and the TS7 in practical situations. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|Panasonic TS7||+||..||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Leica Q2||..||84/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999|
|Leica M10-P||..||..||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|Leica M10||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|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 S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|Nikon D6||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499|
|Panasonic ZS80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||..||Feb 2019||449|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic FZ80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|Ricoh WG-6||..||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2019||399|
|Sony RX10 IV||+||84/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Sep 2017||1,699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Leica S3
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Panasonic TS7
- Canon 80D vs Panasonic TS7
- Canon G9 X vs Panasonic TS7
- Canon Rebel vs Panasonic TS7
- Canon SL3 vs Leica S3
- Canon T1i vs Leica S3
- Leica S3 vs Nikon D3S
- Leica S3 vs Panasonic GH2
- Leica S3 vs Pentax MX-1
- Olympus E-30 vs Panasonic TS7
- Panasonic TS7 vs Sony A9 II
Specifications: Leica S3 vs Panasonic TS7
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 S3||Panasonic TS7|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica S mount lenses||28-128mm f/3.3-5.9|
|Launch Date||September 2018||May 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 18,995||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Leica S3||Panasonic TS7|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||45.0 x 30.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||1350 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.1 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||64 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||9800 x 6533 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.59 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.74 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||Venus|
|Screen Specs||Leica S3||Panasonic TS7|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1170k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica S3||Panasonic TS7|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica S3||Panasonic TS7|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Leica S3||Panasonic TS7|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Waterproof body (31m)|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
117 x 76 x 37 mm
(4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||319 g (11.3 oz)|
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