Leica SL2-S vs Panasonic LX100 II
The Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in December 2020 and August 2018. The SL2-S is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the LX100 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (SL2-S) and a Four Thirds (LX100 II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica SL2-S 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.
The physical size and weight of the Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic LX100 II are illustrated 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 (51 percent) than the Leica SL2-S. It is worth mentioning in this context that the SL2-S 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 SL2-S is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica SL2-S||146 mm||107 mm||83 mm||931 g||510||Y||Dec 2020||4,895|
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|3.||Canon R6||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||680 g||360||Y||Jul 2020||2,499|
|4.||Leica SL2||146 mm||107 mm||42 mm||953 g||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|6.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|7.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|8.||Olympus E-M1X||144 mm||147 mm||75 mm||997 g||870||Y||Jan 2019||2,999|
|9.||Panasonic S5||133 mm||98 mm||82 mm||714 g||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999|
|10.||Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|11.||Panasonic S1R||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1016 g||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699|
|12.||Panasonic S1H||151 mm||114 mm||110 mm||1052 g||400||Y||May 2019||3,999|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||124 mm||72 mm||47 mm||407 g||260||n||Feb 2018||849|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|17.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 LX100 II was launched at a lower price than the SL2-S, 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 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica SL2-S features a full frame sensor and the Panasonic LX100 II a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the LX100 II is 79 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.2. The sensor in the SL2-S 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.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the SL2-S offers a higher resolution than the LX100 II (16.8MP), but the SL2-S nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 3.32μm for the LX100 II) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the SL2-S is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 3 months) than the LX100 II, 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 SL2-S implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL2-S for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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.
Unlike the LX100 II, the SL2-S has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (96MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Leica SL2-S has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000, which can be extended to ISO 50-100000. 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.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica SL2-S||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon R6||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4k/60p||24.2||14.3||3394||90|
|4.||Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|7.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Olympus E-M1X||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|11.||Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100|
|12.||Panasonic S1H||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||6K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|17.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SL2-S provides a higher frame rate than the LX100 II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the SL2-S offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the LX100 II (5760k vs 2764k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica SL2-S and Panasonic LX100 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One feature that is present on the SL2-S, 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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic LX100 II both have 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SL2-S and the LX100 II write their files to SDXC cards. The SL2-S 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 SL2-S supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the LX100 II can use UHS-I 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 SL2-S and Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the SL2-S has a microphone port, which is missing on the LX100 II. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the SL2-S and the LX100 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The LX100 II replaced the earlier Panasonic LX100, while the SL2-S does not have a direct predecessor. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic LX100 II? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica SL2-S:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 16.8MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (5760k vs 2764k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- 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 (2100k vs 1240k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 11 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (510 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
- More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
- 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: Reflects 2 years and 3 months of technical progress since the LX100 II launch.
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the SL2-S necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 146x107mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the SL2-S).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2018).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SL2-S is the clear winner of the match-up (25 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 SL2-S and the Panasonic LX100 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 SL2-S 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Leica SL2-S||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Dec 2020||4,895|
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|3.||Canon R6||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||2,499|
|4.||Leica SL2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2019||5,999|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|6.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|7.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|8.||Olympus E-M1X||4.5/5||o||..||4.5/5||..||Jan 2019||2,999|
|9.||Panasonic S5||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999|
|10.||Panasonic S1||4.5/5||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|11.||Panasonic S1R||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699|
|12.||Panasonic S1H||..||..||90/100||..||..||May 2019||3,999|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||4/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||849|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|17.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Leica SL2-S 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 SL2-S||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica L mount lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|Launch Date||December 2020||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 4,895||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica SL2-S||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||15.7 x 11.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||185.26 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||19.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||16.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 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||4K/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 100,000 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro III||Venus|
|Screen Specs||Leica SL2-S||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots||2764k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2100k dots||1240k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica SL2-S||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens-based stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||Dual UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica SL2-S||Panasonic LX100 II|
|USB Connector||USB 3.2||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||full 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|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica SL2-S||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||510 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
146 x 107 x 83 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 3.3 in)
115 x 66 x 65 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||931 g (32.8 oz)||392 g (13.8 oz)|
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