Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon D3500
The Leica D-LUX 5 and the Nikon D3500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and August 2018. The D-LUX 5 is a fixed lens compact, while the D3500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (D-LUX 5) and an APS-C (D3500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica D-LUX 5||Nikon D3500|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|24-90mm f/2.0-3.3||Nikon F mount lenses|
|10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|720/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 80-3200 (80-12800)||ISO 100-25600|
|Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|400 shots per battery charge||1550 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 65 x 43 mm, 271 g||124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Nikon D3500? 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 D-LUX 5 and the Nikon D3500 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 Nikon D3500 is considerably larger (68 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D-LUX 5 nor the D3500 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX 5 has a lens built in, whereas the D3500 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D3500 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Leica D-LUX 5»||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Sep 2010||699||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Nikon D3500«||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X-A7« »||4.7 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||11.3 oz||440||n||Sep 2019||499||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||4.8 in||2.9 in||1.7 in||11.9 oz||350||n||Sep 2017||899||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X10« »||4.6 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||12.3 oz||270||n||Sep 2011||599||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Sep 2012||699||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3« »||4.9 in||3.2 in||3.7 in||19.0 oz||410||n||Dec 2011||949||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2« »||4.9 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||18.3 oz||410||n||Sep 2010||849||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1« »||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1« »||5.6 in||3.4 in||5.6 in||25.9 oz||360||n||Sep 2006||849||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||Nikon D3300|
|Olympus XZ-1« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.7 oz||320||n||Jan 2011||499||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499||Panasonic LX5|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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. 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.
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 D-LUX 5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Nikon D3500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3500 is 698 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 1.5. The sensor in the D-LUX 5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D3500 offers a 3:2 aspect. The D-LUX 5 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.
With 24MP, the D3500 offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 5 (10MP), but the D3500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 2.14μm for the D-LUX 5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3500 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 11 months) than the D-LUX 5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica D-LUX 5 are 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica D-LUX 5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Nikon D3500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X-A7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X10||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.5||11.3||245||50||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1||APS-C||12.2||4272||2856||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Nikon D3400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Olympus XZ-1||1/1.7||10.1||3664||2752||720/30p||18.8||10.4||117||34||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.6||10.8||132||41||Panasonic LX5|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D3500 provides a better video resolution than the D-LUX 5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 720/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D3500 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the D-LUX 5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica D-LUX 5 and Nikon D3500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X-A7||none||n||3.5||2760||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1||none||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0||207||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0||614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Panasonic LX5|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D-LUX 5 and the D3500 write their files to SDXC cards. The D3500 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D-LUX 5 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 D-LUX 5 and Nikon D3500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Nikon D3500||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X-A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Nikon D3400||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX5|
The D3500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D-LUX 5 was succeeded by the Leica D-LUX 6. 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 what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica D-LUX 5 or the Nikon D3500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica D-LUX 5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D3500 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 124x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D3500).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced 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 definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1550 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D-LUX 5 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3500 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 8 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Nikon D3500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D-LUX 5 or the D3500. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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.
- Canon 250D vs Nikon D3500
- Canon 750D vs Nikon D3500
- Canon XC10 vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon D5300
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon D750
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon Z6
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Ricoh WG-60
- Leica D-LUX 6 vs Nikon D3500
- Leica TL vs Nikon D3500
- Nikon D3500 vs Sony NEX-C3
Specifications: Leica D-LUX 5 vs Nikon D3500
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 D-LUX 5||Nikon D3500|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-90mm f/2.0-3.3||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Nikon D3500|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.14 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.59 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80-3200 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80-12800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Nikon D3500|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Nikon D3500|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Nikon D3500|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Nikon D3500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||1550 shots per charge|
110 x 65 x 43 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||271 g (9.6 oz)||365 g (12.9 oz)|
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