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Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D70

The Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D70 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and January 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and an APS-C (D70) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 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.

Headline Specifications
Leica Digilux 3
versus
Nikon D70
Leica Digilux 3   Nikon D70
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Nikon F mount lenses
7.4 MP – Four Thirds sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 200-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD – 207k dots 1.8" LCD – 130k 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 charge400 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g 140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D70 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D70
Compare Digilux 3 versus D70 top
Comparison Digilux 3 or D70 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D70 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. Moreover, the D70 is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 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. 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 (D70).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 1,499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
4.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899ebay.com
5.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899ebay.com
6.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D70 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the Digilux 3, 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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 Digilux 3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D70 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D70 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 Digilux 3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D70 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Leica Digilux 3 and Nikon D70 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica Digilux 3 offers a higher resolution of 7.4 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D70. 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 5.51μm versus 7.85μm for the D70). However, it should be noted that the Digilux 3 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the D70, 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 Digilux 3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Digilux 3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D70 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 Digilux 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D70 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the Digilux 3 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D70 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

Digilux 3 versus D70 MP

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.

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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 2352none21.010.612753
2.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
3.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
4.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
5.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
6.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p18.49.5-72729
8.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
9.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
10.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
11.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.49.939448
12.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
13.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none20.810.47352
14.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.710.34551
15.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none20.410.1-4048
16.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
17.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none20.810.48052
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
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 D70 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Digilux 3 and the D70 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 D70 has a higher magnification than the one of the Digilux 3 (0.50x 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 D70 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n2.5 / 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
6.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n2.0 / 207 tilting n 1/2000s 2.0/s Y Y
8.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
9.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D100optical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-330optical n2.5 / 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-500optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-300optical n1.8 / 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L1optical n2.5 / 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The Digilux 3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D70 uses Compact Flash cards.

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 D70 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereo / mono---2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
3.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
4.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
5.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
6.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymono / mono---2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D100Y- / ----1.1---
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 D70 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s, while the Digilux 3 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the Digilux 3 and D70 can be found, respectively, in the Leica Digilux 3 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D70 Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica Digilux 3 better than the Nikon D70 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica Digilux 3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (7.4 vs 6MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (207k vs 130k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (146x87mm vs 140x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 73g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Nikon D70:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.50x vs 0.47x).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2004).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Digilux 3 comes out slightly ahead of the D70 (9 : 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 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 09:08 D70

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D70 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Digilux 3 and the D70 in practical situations. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica Digilux 3............ Sep 2006 1,499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
4.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899ebay.com
5.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899ebay.com
6.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
7.
 
Leica V-LUX 1............ Sep 2006 849ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D100......+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-30......71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-330......+o.. Jan 2006 999ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100..+ +.... Sep 2005 599ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-300......+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100..+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999ebay.com
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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.

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    Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D70
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 January 2004
    Launch Price USD 1,499 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D70
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 1,600 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 Digilux 3 Nikon D70
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x 0.50x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D70
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D70
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 1.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica Digilux 3 Nikon D70
    Battery Type BP-DC3 EN-EL3
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    140 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz) 679 g (24.0 oz)
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    Check D70 offers at
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