Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D7100
The Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D7100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and February 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (Digilux 3) and an APS-C (D7100) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D7100? 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 Digilux 3 and the Nikon D7100. 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 D7100 is notably larger (15 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. Moreover, the D7100 is markedly heavier (26 percent) than the Digilux 3. It is noteworthy in this context that the D7100 is splash and dust-proof, while the Digilux 3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 (D7100).
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D7100 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the Digilux 3, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 D7100 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D7100 is 63 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 D7100 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the D7100 offers a higher resolution than the Digilux 3 (7.4MP), but the D7100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). Yet, the D7100 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 5 months) than the Digilux 3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D7100 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D7100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D7100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 D7100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|12.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|13.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|14.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|15.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|16.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|17.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D7100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Digilux 3 does not. The highest resolution format that the D7100 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The Digilux 3 and the D7100 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 viewfinder in the D7100 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the Digilux 3 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D7100 has a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica Digilux 3 and Nikon D7100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Leica M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|15.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 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.|
One feature that is present on the D7100, but is missing on the Digilux 3 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 Nikon D7100 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Digilux 3 and the D7100 write their files to SDXC cards. The D7100 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Digilux 3 only has one slot. The D7100 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the Digilux 3 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 Digilux 3 and Nikon D7100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica M8||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D7000||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the Digilux 3 and the D7100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D7100 was replaced by the Nikon D7200, 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D7100? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica Digilux 3:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More compact: Is smaller (146x87mm vs 136x107mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 159g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- 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).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D7100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 84%.
- 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.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- 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 (0.63x vs 0.47x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 207k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (950 versus 750) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the Digilux 3 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D7100 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Nikon D7100 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Digilux 3 and the D7100 in practical situations. 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], 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.
|1.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica M8||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D C vs Leica Digilux 3
- Canon 250D vs Nikon D7100
- Canon SX50 vs Leica Digilux 3
- Canon SX730 vs Nikon D7100
- Canon XTi vs Leica Digilux 3
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Panasonic FZ300
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Panasonic GX7
- Nikon D7100 vs Nikon D810
- Nikon D7100 vs Nikon Z5
- Nikon D7100 vs Olympus E-420
- Nikon D7100 vs Sony RX0
Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Nikon D7100
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 Digilux 3||Nikon D7100|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2006||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1,499||USD 1,199|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Nikon D7100|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||7.4 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3136 x 2352 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1256|
|Screen Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Nikon D7100|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||207k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Nikon D7100|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Nikon D7100|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica Digilux 3||Nikon D7100|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||950 shots per charge|
146 x 87 x 77 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
136 x 107 x 76 mm
(5.4 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||606 g (21.4 oz)||765 g (27.0 oz)|
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