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Leica SL2-S vs Panasonic S1H

The Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in December 2020 and May 2019. Both the SL2-S and the S1H are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica SL2-S
versus
Panasonic S1H
Leica SL2-S Panasonic S1H
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica L mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/60p Video 6K/30p Video
ISO 100-50,000 (50 - 100,000) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots) Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots)
3.2 LCD, 2100k dots 3.2 LCD, 2330k dots
Fixed touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
20 shutter flaps per second 9 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
510 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
146 x 107 x 83 mm, 931 g 151 x 114 x 110 mm, 1052 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H? 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic S1H. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica SL2-S vs Panasonic S1H
Compare SL2-S versus S1H top
Comparison SL2-S or S1H rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic S1H is notably larger (10 percent) than the Leica SL2-S. Moreover, the S1H is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the SL2-S. 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 and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica SL2-S 146 mm 107 mm 83 mm 931 g 510 Y Dec 2020 4,895 i
2.
 
Panasonic S1H 151 mm 114 mm 110 mm 1052 g 400 Y May 2019 3,999 i
3.
 
Canon R6 138 mm 98 mm 88 mm 680 g 360 Y Jul 2020 2,499 i
4.
 
Leica SL2 146 mm 107 mm 42 mm 953 g 370 Y Nov 2019 5,999 i
5.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i
6.
 
Nikon D780 144 mm 116 mm 76 mm 840 g 2260 Y Jan 2020 2,299 i
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X 144 mm 147 mm 75 mm 997 g 870 Y Jan 2019 2,999 i
8.
 
Panasonic S5 133 mm 98 mm 82 mm 714 g 440 Y Sep 2020 1,999 i
9.
 
Panasonic S1 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1017 g 400 Y Feb 2019 2,499 i
10.
 
Panasonic S1R 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1016 g 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i
11.
 
Sigma fp 113 mm 70 mm 45 mm 422 g 280 Y Jul 2019 1,899 i
12.
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The S1H was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the SL2-S, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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Sensor comparison

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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the S1H is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica SL2-S and Panasonic S1H sensor measures

Even though the SL2-S has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the SL2-S has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 5.94μm for the S1H), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the SL2-S is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the S1H, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SL2-S has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

Both cameras have the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting the 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-S1H are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

SL2-S versus S1H MP

For many 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica SL2-S Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.13504 95
2.
 
Panasonic S1H Full Frame 24.0 6000 40006K/30p...... ..
3.
 
Canon R6 Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484k/60p24.214.33394 90
4.
 
Leica SL2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p...... ..
5.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.41821 88
6.
 
Nikon D780 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p...... ..
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p...... ..
8.
 
Panasonic S5 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p...... ..
9.
 
Panasonic S1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.53333 95
10.
 
Panasonic S1R Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p26.414.13525 100
11.
 
Sigma fp Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p...... ..
12.
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.03434 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 S1H provides a better video resolution than the SL2-S. It can shoot movie footage at 6K/30p, while the Leica is limited to 4K/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SL2-S and the S1H are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 5760k dots. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica SL2-S, the Panasonic S1H, and comparable cameras.

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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
1.
 
Leica SL2-S5760 Y 3.2 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
2.
 
Panasonic S1H5760 Y 3.2 2330 swivel Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
3.
 
Canon R63690 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
4.
 
Leica SL25760 Y 3.2 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
5.
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
6.
 
Nikon D780optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n n
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y
8.
 
Panasonic S52360 n 3.0 1840 full-flex Y 1/8000s 7.0 n Y
9.
 
Panasonic S15760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
10.
 
Panasonic S1R5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
11.
 
Sigma fpoptional n 3.2 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 12.0 n n
12.
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
The S1H has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SL2-S does not have a selfie-screen.

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 S1H 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 S1H write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. Moreover, both the SL2-S and the S1H support UHS-II cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s, on both slots.

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Connectivity 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 SL2-S and Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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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
1.
 
Leica SL2-SYstereomonoYYfull3.2Y-Y
2.
 
Panasonic S1HYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
3.
 
Canon R6YmonomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
4.
 
Leica SL2YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
5.
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
6.
 
Nikon D780YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Olympus E-M1XYstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y-Y
8.
 
Panasonic S5YstereomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
9.
 
Panasonic S1YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
10.
 
Panasonic S1RYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
11.
 
Sigma fpYstereomonoY-micro3.1---
12.
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic S1H (unlike the SL2-S) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the SL2-S and the S1H are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Leica and Panasonic. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica SL2-S or the Panasonic S1H – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica SL2-S:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 121g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (510 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 3.1).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the S1H).

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Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (6K/30p vs 4K/60p).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2019).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). 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.

SL2-S 07:07 S1H

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica SL2-S and the Panasonic S1H place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SL2-S and the S1H 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica SL2-S4/5....4.5/54.5/5 Dec 2020 4,895 i
2.
 
Panasonic S1H....90/100.... May 2019 3,999 i
3.
 
Canon R65/5+ +90/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2020 2,499 i
4.
 
Leica SL24/5....4.5/54/5 Nov 2019 5,999 i
5.
 
Leica SL4/5..84/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i
6.
 
Nikon D7805/5..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2020 2,299 i
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X4.5/5o..4.5/5.. Jan 2019 2,999 i
8.
 
Panasonic S54.5/5+ +88/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2020 1,999 i
9.
 
Panasonic S14.5/5+ +88/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2019 2,499 i
10.
 
Panasonic S1R4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2019 3,699 i
11.
 
Sigma fp4/5....4/54.5/5 Jul 2019 1,899 i
12.
 
Sony A9 II....90/1005/55/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica SL2-S:
Check Amazon price
Panasonic S1H:
Check Amazon price

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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.

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    Specifications: Leica SL2-S vs Panasonic S1H

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica SL2-S Panasonic S1H
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica L mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
    Launch Date December 2020 May 2019
    Launch Price USD 4,895 USD 3,999
    Sensor Specs Leica SL2-S Panasonic S1H
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/60p Video 6K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 50,000 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 100,000 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro III Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 95 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.2 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.1 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3504 ..
    Screen Specs Leica SL2-S Panasonic S1H
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.78x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 5760k dots 5760k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 2100k dots 2330k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica SL2-S Panasonic S1H
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 20 shutter flaps/s 9 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/16000sup to 1/8000s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support Dual UHS-II Dual UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Leica SL2-S Panasonic S1H
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.2 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port full HDMI full HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Leica SL2-S Panasonic S1H
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-SCL4 DMW-BLJ31
    Battery Life (CIPA)510 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 146 x 107 x 83 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 3.3 in)
    151 x 114 x 110 mm
    (5.9 x 4.5 x 4.3 in)
    Camera Weight 931 g (32.8 oz) 1052 g (37.1 oz)

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