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Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D3000

The Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D3000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and July 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and an APS-C (D3000) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica Digilux 3 versus Nikon D3000
Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D3000
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Nikon F mount lenses
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 207k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g 126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D3000? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D3000 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D3000
Compare Digilux 3 versus D3000 top
Comparison Digilux 3 or D3000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3000 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. Moreover, the D3000 is markedly lighter (12 percent) than the Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the D3000 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (Digilux 3) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
2.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
3.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
4.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
5.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849i
7.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
9.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
10.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
11.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
16.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
17.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the Digilux 3, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D3000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3000 is 66 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 Digilux 3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D3000 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Leica Digilux 3 and Nikon D3000 sensor measures

With 10MP, the D3000 offers a higher resolution than the Digilux 3 (7.4MP), but the D3000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3000 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 10 months) than the Digilux 3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica Digilux 3 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica Digilux 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

Digilux 3 versus D3000 MP

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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
2.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
3.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
4.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
5.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
7.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
8.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
9.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
10.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
11.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
12.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
13.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
14.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
15.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
16.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
17.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
The Digilux 3 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D3000 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The Digilux 3 and the D3000 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D3000 has a higher magnification than the one of the Digilux 3 (0.53x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica Digilux 3 and Nikon D3000 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
7.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

The Digilux 3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3000 uses SDHC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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 Digilux 3 and Nikon D3000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
4.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
5.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L1Y-----2.0---

Both the Digilux 3 and the D3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3000 was replaced by the Nikon D3100, while the Digilux 3 does not have a direct successor. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D3000? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica Digilux 3:

  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • 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 2006).

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Advantages of the Nikon D3000:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 19%.
  • 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.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.47x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 70g or 12 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the Digilux 3 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3000 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 3 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 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.

Digilux 3 03:10 D3000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D3000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Digilux 3 or the D3000 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
2.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
3.
 
Canon 30D..+ ++ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
4.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
5.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849i
7.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
9.
 
Nikon D60..80/100+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
10.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
11.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Olympus E-30....71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
13.
 
Olympus E-330....+o.. Jan 2006 999i
14.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
16.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
17.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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.

Leica Digilux 3:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3000:
Check Ebay offers

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D3000

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D3000
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 July 2009
    Launch Price USD 1,499 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D3000
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 563
    Screen Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D3000
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D3000
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D3000
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D3000
    Battery Type BP-DC3 EN-EL9a
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz) 536 g (18.9 oz)

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