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Leica SL2 vs Panasonic S1R

The Leica SL2 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2019 and February 2019. Both the SL2 and the S1R are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 46.7 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica SL2 versus Panasonic S1R
Leica SL2 Panasonic S1R
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica L mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
46.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor 46.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/60p Video 4K/60p Video
ISO 100-50,000 ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200)
Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots) Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots)
3.2 LCD, 2100k dots 3.2 LCD, 2100k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fully flexible touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 9 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
370 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
146 x 107 x 42 mm, 953 g 149 x 110 x 97 mm, 1016 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica SL2 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica SL2 and the Panasonic S1R 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.

Size Leica SL2 vs Panasonic S1R
Compare SL2 versus S1R top
Comparison SL2 or S1R rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic S1R is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Leica SL2. Moreover, the S1R is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the SL2. 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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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 146 mm 107 mm 42 mm 953 g 370 Y Nov 2019 5,999 i
2.
 
Panasonic S1R 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1016 g 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i
3.
 
Leica SL2-S 146 mm 107 mm 83 mm 931 g 510 Y Dec 2020 4,895 i
4.
 
Leica Q2 130 mm 80 mm 92 mm 718 g 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 i
5.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
6.
 
Nikon Z7 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399i
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X 144 mm 147 mm 75 mm 997 g 870 Y Jan 2019 2,999 i
8.
 
Panasonic S1 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1017 g 400 Y Feb 2019 2,499 i
9.
 
Panasonic S1H 151 mm 114 mm 110 mm 1052 g 400 Y May 2019 3,999 i
10.
 
Pentax K-1 II 137 mm 110 mm 86 mm 1010 g 670 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
11.
 
Sony A99 II 143 mm 104 mm 76 mm 849 g 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The S1R was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the SL2, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica SL2 and Panasonic S1R sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 46.7 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SL2 and the S1R have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SL2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the S1R, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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.

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 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000, which can be extended to ISO 50-50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-51200.

SL2 versus S1R MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p........
2.
 
Panasonic S1R Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p26.414.13525100
3.
 
Leica SL2-S Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p........
4.
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
5.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
6.
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
8.
 
Panasonic S1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.5333395
9.
 
Panasonic S1H Full Frame 24.0 6000 40006K/30p........
10.
 
Pentax K-1 II Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60i........
11.
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (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 and the S1R 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica SL2 and Panasonic S1R in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 SL25760 Y 3.2 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
2.
 
Panasonic S1R5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
3.
 
Leica SL2-S5760 Y 3.2 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
4.
 
Leica Q23680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0 n Y
5.
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
6.
 
Nikon Z73690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y
8.
 
Panasonic S15760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
9.
 
Panasonic S1H5760 Y 3.2 2330 swivel Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
10.
 
Pentax K-1 IIoptical Y 3.2 1037 full-flex n 1/8000s 4.4 n Y
11.
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y

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 and the Panasonic S1R 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.

The SL2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S1R uses SDHC or XQD cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. Moreover, both the SL2 and the S1R 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 and Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R 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 SL2YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
2.
 
Panasonic S1RYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
3.
 
Leica SL2-SYstereomonoYYfull3.2Y-Y
4.
 
Leica Q2Ystereomono----Y-Y
5.
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
6.
 
Nikon Z7YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Olympus E-M1XYstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y-Y
8.
 
Panasonic S1YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
9.
 
Panasonic S1HYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
10.
 
Pentax K-1 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--
11.
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the SL2 and the S1R are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SL2 replaced the earlier Leica SL (Typ 601), while the S1R 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica SL2 better than the Panasonic S1R or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica SL2:

  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the S1R).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R:

  • More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2019).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S1R comes out slightly ahead of the SL2 (3 : 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. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SL2 02:03 S1R

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica SL2 and the Panasonic S1R 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 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 and the S1R 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 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.

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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 SL24/5....4.5/54/5 Nov 2019 5,999 i
2.
 
Panasonic S1R4.5/5..89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2019 3,699 i
3.
 
Leica SL2-S4/5....4.5/54.5/5 Dec 2020 4,895 i
4.
 
Leica Q2....84/1004.5/54/5 Mar 2019 4,995 i
5.
 
Leica SL4/5..84/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
6.
 
Nikon Z75/5+89/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399i
7.
 
Olympus E-M1X4.5/5o..4.5/5.. Jan 2019 2,999 i
8.
 
Panasonic S14.5/5+ +88/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2019 2,499 i
9.
 
Panasonic S1H....90/100.... May 2019 3,999 i
10.
 
Pentax K-1 II....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
11.
 
Sony A99 II....85/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i
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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica SL2:
Check Amazon price
Panasonic S1R:
Check Amazon price

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica SL2 vs Panasonic S1R

    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 Panasonic S1R
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica L mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2019 February 2019
    Launch Price USD 5,999 USD 3,699
    Sensor Specs Leica SL2 Panasonic S1R
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 46.7 Megapixels 46.7 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 8368 x 5584 pixels 8368 x 5584 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.30 μm 4.30 μm
    Pixel Density 5.41 MP/cm2 5.41 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/60p Video 4K/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 50,000 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 50,000 ISO 50 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro III Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 100
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 26.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 3525
    Screen Specs Leica SL2 Panasonic S1R
    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 2100k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fully flexible screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica SL2 Panasonic S1R
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 9 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy400 000 actuations400 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/40000sup 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 or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support Dual UHS-II Dual UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Leica SL2 Panasonic S1R
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.1 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 Panasonic S1R
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-SCL4 DMW-BLJ31
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 146 x 107 x 42 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 1.7 in)
    149 x 110 x 97 mm
    (5.9 x 4.3 x 3.8 in)
    Camera Weight 953 g (33.6 oz) 1016 g (35.8 oz)

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