Leica D-LUX 7 vs Nikon D780
The Leica D-LUX 7 and the Nikon D780 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2018 and January 2020. The D-LUX 7 is a fixed lens compact, while the D780 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (D-LUX 7) and a full frame (D780) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.8 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.3 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 Leica D-LUX 7 and the Nikon D780? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica D-LUX 7 and the Nikon D780. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D780 is considerably larger (120 percent) than the Leica D-LUX 7. It is noteworthy in this context that the D780 is splash and dust-proof, while the D-LUX 7 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX 7 has a lens built in, whereas the D780 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 D780 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D-LUX 7 gets 300 shots out of its BP-DC15 battery, while the D780 can take 2260 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b power pack. 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. 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.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|2.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Fujifilm X100F||127 mm||75 mm||52 mm||469 g||390||n||Jan 2017||1,299|
|5.||Fujifilm X100T||127 mm||74 mm||52 mm||440 g||330||n||Sep 2014||1,299|
|6.||Fujifilm X100S||127 mm||74 mm||54 mm||445 g||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||812 g||350||n||Jul 2019||1,249|
|8.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|9.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||118 mm||66 mm||55 mm||405 g||300||n||Sep 2014||1,195|
|10.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||830 g||360||n||Sep 2014||1,349|
|11.||Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999|
|13.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|14.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|16.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|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 D-LUX 7 was launched at a lower price than the D780, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica D-LUX 7 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D780 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D780 is 281 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the D-LUX 7 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D780 offers a 3:2 aspect. The D-LUX 7 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 24.3MP, the D780 offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 7 (16.8MP), but the D780 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.66μm for the D-LUX 7) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D780 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the D-LUX 7, and its sensor might 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 D-LUX 7 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D780 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D780 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.1 inches or 76.8 x 51.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 40.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica D-LUX 7 are 23.7 x 17.8 inches or 60.1 x 45.1 cm for good quality, 18.9 x 14.2 inches or 48.1 x 36.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 11.8 inches or 40.1 x 30.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The D780 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Leica D-LUX 7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D780 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|14.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D-LUX 7 has an electronic viewfinder (2764k dots), while the D780 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.70x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica D-LUX 7 and Nikon D780 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||2764||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|10.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||Y|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the D780, but is missing on the D-LUX 7 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 D-LUX 7 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 D-LUX 7 and the Nikon D780 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 D-LUX 7 and the D780 write their files to SDXC cards. The D780 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D-LUX 7 only has one slot. The D780 supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the D-LUX 7 can use UHS-I 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 7 and Nikon D780 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the D780 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The D-LUX 7 does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D780 (unlike the D-LUX 7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D-LUX 7 and the D780 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The D-LUX 7 replaced the earlier Leica D-LUX Typ 109, while the D780 followed on from the Nikon D750. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica D-LUX 7 and the Nikon D780? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica D-LUX 7:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D780 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 144x116mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D780).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2018).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D780:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.3 vs 16.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 23%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 1240k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (2260 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D780 is the clear winner of the contest (23 : 11 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica D-LUX 7 and the Nikon D780 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 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 D-LUX 7 or the D780 perform in practice. 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 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 (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.
|1.||Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|2.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Fujifilm X100F||5/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,299|
|5.||Fujifilm X100T||5/5||+||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,299|
|6.||Fujifilm X100S||5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2019||1,249|
|8.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|9.||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,195|
|10.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||..||..||..||..||5/5||Sep 2014||1,349|
|11.||Nikon D6||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499|
|12.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999|
|13.||Nikon D5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|14.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|15.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|16.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.
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.
Specifications: Leica D-LUX 7 vs Nikon D780
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 7||Nikon D780|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2018||January 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 1,195||USD 2,299|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Nikon D780|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.8 Megapixels||24.3 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4736 x 3552 pixels||6048 x 4024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.66 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.48 MP/cm2||2.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Nikon D780|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1240k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Nikon D780|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Nikon D780|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX 7||Nikon D780|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||2260 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
115 x 66 x 65 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.6 in)
144 x 116 x 76 mm
(5.7 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||392 g (13.8 oz)||840 g (29.6 oz)|
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