Leica CL vs Nikon D70
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Nikon D70 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2017 and January 2004. The CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D70 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica CL||Nikon D70|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Leica T mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-50000||ISO 200-1600|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||1.8" LCD, 130k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|220 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|131 x 78 x 45 mm, 403 g||140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Nikon D70? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica CL and the Nikon D70 is provided 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 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 Nikon D70 is considerably larger (52 percent) than the Leica CL. Moreover, the D70 is substantially heavier (68 percent) than the CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL nor the D70 are weather-sealed.
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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Leica CL»||5.2 in||3.1 in||1.8 in||14.2 oz||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||Leica CL|
|Nikon D70«||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999||Nikon D70|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||Canon Rebel|
|Fujifilm X-T100« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||15.8 oz||430||n||May 2018||599||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.5 oz||350||n||Jan 2017||899||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.0 oz||410||n||Aug 2016||399||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||14.1 oz||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||Leica TL|
|Leica T« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100« »||5.7 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||27.5 oz||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||Nikon D100|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D70 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 percent) than the CL, 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. 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the D70 (6MP), but the CL has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 7.85μm for the D70). However, the CL is a much more recent model (by 13 years and 9 months) than the D70, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the CL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica CL implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the CL for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inch or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inch or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.4 inch or 50.9 x 34 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D70 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D70 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Leica CL||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica CL|
|Nikon D70||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
|Canon Rebel||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||none||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Fujifilm X-T100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/15p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica TL|
|Leica T||APS-C||16.2||4944||3278||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||1082||75||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D80||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D100|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The CL indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D70 does not. The highest resolution format that the CL can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the CL has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D70 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 CL offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D70 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the D70 has a higher magnification (0.50x vs 0.49x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica CL, the Nikon D70, and comparable cameras.
|Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Leica CL|
|Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
|Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Fujifilm X-T100||2360||n||3.0||1040||full-flex||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX||2330||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7||1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL||optional||n||3.7||1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica TL|
|Leica T||optional||n||3.7||1300||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
One feature that is present on the CL, but is missing on the D70 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 CL 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 Leica CL has 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 CL writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D70 uses Compact Flash 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 CL (Typ 7323) and Nikon D70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica CL||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica CL|
|Nikon D70||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
|Canon Rebel||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Fujifilm X-T100||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-T100|
|Fujifilm X-T20||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Fujifilm X-A3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Leica C-LUX||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica C-LUX|
|Leica TL2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL|
|Leica T||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica T|
|Nikon D3500||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
It is notable that the CL offers wifi support, while the D70 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The CL is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the D70 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D70 was succeeded by the Nikon D70s. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Nikon websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Leica CL better than the Nikon D70 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica CL (Typ 7323):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 6MP) with a 100% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- 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 95%).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 130k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- 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.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (131x78mm vs 140x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 276g or 41 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 13 years and 9 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D70:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.50x vs 0.49x).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2004).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the CL is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 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 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 CL and the Nikon D70 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the CL or the D70 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 77D vs Nikon D70
- Canon 800D vs Leica CL
- Canon S120 vs Leica CL
- Fujifilm X-E2 vs Leica CL
- Leica CL vs Leica V-LUX Typ 114
- Leica CL vs Olympus E-PL6
- Leica CL vs Panasonic GF2
- Leica CL vs Panasonic TZ100
- Leica D-LUX 7 vs Nikon D70
- Nikon D70 vs Panasonic GH2
- Nikon D70 vs Panasonic GX850
- Nikon D70 vs Sony H400
Specifications: Leica CL vs Nikon D70
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 CL||Nikon D70|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2017||January 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 2795||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica CL||Nikon D70|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-50000 ISO||200-1600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||529|
|Screen Specs||Leica CL||Nikon D70|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||1.8 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica CL||Nikon D70|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/25000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica CL||Nikon D70|
|USB Connector||USB no||USB 1.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica CL||Nikon D70|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
131 x 78 x 45 mm
(5.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 in)
140 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)||679 g (24.0 oz)|
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