Contax N Digital vs Leica X-U Typ 113
The Contax N Digital and the Leica X-U (Typ 113) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2002 and January 2016. The N Digital is a DSLR, while the X-U Typ 113 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (N Digital) and an APS-C (X-U Typ 113) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 16.1 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 Contax N Digital and the Leica X-U (Typ 113)? 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 Contax N Digital and the Leica X-U Typ 113 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 width, height and depth measures 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 Leica X-U Typ 113 is considerably smaller (47 percent) than the Contax N Digital. It is noteworthy in this context that the X-U Typ 113 is splash and dust-proof, while the N Digital does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing. More than that, the X-U Typ 113 is water-proof up to 3m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X-U Typ 113 has a lens built in, whereas the N Digital is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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.
|1.||Contax N Digital||152 mm||138 mm||80 mm||990 g||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399|
|2.||Leica X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||115 mm||78 mm||51 mm||399 g||200||Y||Oct 2017||1,299|
|4.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|6.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|7.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999|
|8.||Canon D60||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||855 g||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999|
|9.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|10.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|12.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|13.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|14.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|15.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|16.||Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
|17.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|Note: 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 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 X-U Typ 113 was launched at a lower price than the N Digital, 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. 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 Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Leica X-U Typ 113 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X-U Typ 113 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the X-U Typ 113 offers a higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the X-U Typ 113 is much more recent (by 13 years and 10 months) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Leica X-U Typ 113 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X-U Typ 113 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inches or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inches or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inches or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica X-U (Typ 113) are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Contax N Digital||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||none||21.5||10.5||1283||59|
|2.||Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.8||13.0||1614||80|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||13.2||1649||81|
|4.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|7.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|9.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||25.1||14.1||2739||93|
|10.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|12.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|13.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|14.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|15.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The X-U Typ 113 indeed provides for movie recording, while the N Digital does not. The highest resolution format that the X-U Typ 113 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the N Digital has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X-U Typ 113 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X-U Typ 113 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Contax N Digital and Leica X-U Typ 113 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Contax N Digital||optical||Y||2.0 / 200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||9.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon D60||optical||Y||1.8 / 114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|12.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the N Digital, but is missing on the X-U Typ 113 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 N Digital writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the X-U Typ 113 uses SDXC 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 Contax N Digital and Leica X-U (Typ 113) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Contax N Digital||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 1Ds||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica M10-P||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Leica SL||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D100||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the X-U Typ 113) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the N Digital and the X-U Typ 113 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Contax and Leica. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Leica websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Contax N Digital and the Leica X-U Typ 113? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Contax N Digital:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Reasons to prefer the Leica X-U (Typ 113):
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 62%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 200k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the N Digital requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (140x79mm vs 152x138mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the N Digital).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (450 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 3m).
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 13 years and 10 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X-U Typ 113 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 7 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 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 Contax N Digital and the Leica X-U Typ 113 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the N Digital or the X-U Typ 113 perform in practice. 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.||Contax N Digital||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2002||7,399|
|2.||Leica X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark III||5/5||+||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2017||1,299|
|4.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|6.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|7.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999|
|8.||Canon D60||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||2,999|
|9.||Leica M10-P||..||..||3/5||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|10.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|12.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|13.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|14.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|15.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|16.||Nikon D100||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|17.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 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 250D vs Leica X-U Typ 113
- Contax N Digital vs Leica D-LUX 7
- Contax N Digital vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Contax N Digital vs Leica S2
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon D850
- Contax N Digital vs Olympus TG-5
- Contax N Digital vs Panasonic GX80
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Leica X-U Typ 113
- Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Nikon D3100
- Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Panasonic G80
- Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Sony A900
- Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Sony RX100
Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Leica X-U Typ 113
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||Contax N Digital||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Contax N mount lenses||35mm f/1.7|
|Launch Date||February 2002||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 7,399||USD 2,950|
|Sensor Specs||Contax N Digital||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.6 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||370.52 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.1 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3040 x 2008 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.90 μm||4.80 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||4.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||50 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 12,500 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Contax N Digital||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||200k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Contax N Digital||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Contax N Digital||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Contax N Digital||Leica X-U Typ 113|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Waterproof body (3m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||100 shots per charge||450 shots per charge|
152 x 138 x 80 mm
(6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
140 x 79 x 88 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 3.5 in)
|Camera Weight||990 g (34.9 oz)||635 g (22.4 oz)|
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