Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Nikon D50
The Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) and the Nikon D50 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and April 2005. The D-LUX Typ 109 is a fixed lens compact, while the D50 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (D-LUX Typ 109) and an APS-C (D50) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 12.7 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) and the Nikon D50? 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 Typ 109 and the Nikon D50. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D-LUX Typ 109 can be obtained in two different colors (black, grey), while the D50 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D50 is considerably larger (74 percent) than the Leica D-LUX Typ 109. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D-LUX Typ 109 nor the D50 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX Typ 109 has a lens built in, whereas the D50 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 D50 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
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.
|Leica D-LUX Typ 109||118 mm||66 mm||55 mm||405 g||300||n||Sep 2014||1,195|
|Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|Fujifilm X100T||127 mm||74 mm||52 mm||440 g||330||n||Sep 2014||1,299|
|Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|Fujifilm X100S||127 mm||74 mm||54 mm||445 g||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|Leica D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||830 g||360||n||Sep 2014||1,349|
|Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|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. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 Typ 109 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D50 is 64 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the D-LUX Typ 109 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D50 offers a 3:2 aspect. The D-LUX Typ 109 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica D-LUX Typ 109 offers a higher resolution of 12.7 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D50. 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 4.21μm versus 7.85μm for the D50). However, it should be noted that the D-LUX Typ 109 is much more recent (by 9 years and 4 months) than the D50, 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 D-LUX Typ 109 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D-LUX Typ 109 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.6 x 15.4 inches or 52.2 x 39.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.4 x 12.4 inches or 41.8 x 31.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.7 x 10.3 inches or 34.8 x 26.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D50 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 12500, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D50 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D-LUX Typ 109 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D50 does not. The highest resolution format that the D-LUX Typ 109 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D-LUX Typ 109 has an electronic viewfinder (2764k dots), while the D50 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 D-LUX Typ 109 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D50 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D-LUX Typ 109 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.50x), 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 D-LUX Typ 109, the Nikon D50, and comparable cameras.
|Leica D-LUX Typ 109||2764||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D50 has one, while the D-LUX Typ 109 does not. While the built-in flash of the D50 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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 Typ 109 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 Typ 109 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 D-LUX Typ 109 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D50 uses SD cards. The D-LUX Typ 109 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D50 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 (Typ 109) and Nikon D50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D-LUX Typ 109 offers wifi support, while the D50 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the D-LUX Typ 109 and the D50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D50 was replaced by the Nikon D40, while the D-LUX Typ 109 was followed by the Leica D-LUX 7. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica D-LUX Typ 109 or the Nikon D50 – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.7 vs 6MP) with a 42% higher linear resolution.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- 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%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.50x).
- 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 (921k vs 130k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 2.5 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.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D50 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (118x66mm vs 133x102mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D50).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D50 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D50:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 300) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2005).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D-LUX Typ 109 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 5 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 Leica D-LUX Typ 109 and the Nikon D50 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D-LUX Typ 109 or the D50. 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 expert reviews 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.
|Leica D-LUX Typ 109||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,195|
|Nikon D50||78/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X30||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|Fujifilm X100T||+||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,299|
|Fujifilm X20||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|Fujifilm X100S||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|Leica D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|Leica V-LUX Typ 114||..||..||..||..||5/5||Sep 2014||1,349|
|Leica X Typ 113||..||..||3.5/5||..||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|Nikon D60||80/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|Nikon D40||81/100||+ +||o||5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D70s||..||..||..||o||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|Nikon D70||..||+ +||..||o||..||Jan 2004||999|
|Panasonic LX100||+ +||85/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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.
Specifications: Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Nikon D50
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 Typ 109||Nikon D50|
|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||September 2014||April 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 1,195||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Nikon D50|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.7 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4112 x 3088 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.21 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.65 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12,500 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||560|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Nikon D50|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Nikon D50|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Nikon D50|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX Typ 109||Nikon D50|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
118 x 66 x 55 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 2.2 in)
133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||405 g (14.3 oz)||620 g (21.9 oz)|
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