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Leica M Typ 240 versus Nikon D700

The Leica M (Typ 240) and the Nikon D700 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and July 2008. The M Typ 240 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D700 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 12.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon D700

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica M Typ 240 and the Nikon D700. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the M Typ 240 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon D700
Compare M Typ 240 versus D700 top
Compare M Typ 240 and D700 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D700 is considerably larger (63 percent) than the Leica M Typ 240. Moreover, the D700 is substantially heavier (58 percent) than the M Typ 240. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (M Typ 240) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D700).

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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica M Typ 240» 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
Nikon D700« 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Leica M10-P« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Sony RX10« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D700 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 57 percent) than the M Typ 240, 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: Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon D700

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.0 (M Typ 240) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M Typ 240 and Nikon D700 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Leica M Typ 240 offers a higher resolution of 23.7 megapixel, compared with 12.1 MP of the Nikon D700. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.01μm versus 8.43μm for the D700). However, it should be noted that the M Typ 240 is much more recent (by 4 years and 2 months) than the D700, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

M Typ 240 versus D700 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the M Typ 240 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D700 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.3 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Leica M Typ 240» Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084Leica M Typ 240
Nikon D700« Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Leica M10-P« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-----Leica M10-P
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976-----Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
Leica M9« » Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Sony RX10« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469Sony RX10

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The M Typ 240 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D700 does not. The highest resolution format that the M Typ 240 can use is 1080/25p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon D700

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M Typ 240 and the D700 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M Typ 240 and Nikon D700 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica M Typ 240»optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 240
Nikon D700«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Leica M10-P« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n Leica SL
Leica M9« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.0 n n Leica M9
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3
Sony RX10« »1440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 10.0 Y Y Sony RX10

One feature that is present on the D700, but is missing on the M Typ 240 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.

Both the M Typ 240 and the D700 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D700 was replaced by the Nikon D800, while the M Typ 240 was followed by the Leica M Typ 262.

Review summary: Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon D700

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica M Typ 240 better than the Nikon D700 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica M (Typ 240):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.7 vs 12.1MP) with a 40% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/25p movies.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 147x123mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 394g or 37 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D700 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D700:

  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (57 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in July 2008).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M Typ 240 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 6 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.

M Typ 240 08:06 D700

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the M Typ 240 and the D700 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 expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica M Typ 240»--4/5-- Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
Nikon D700«89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Leica M10-P« »----- Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« »----- Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Nikon D800« »HiRec82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Sony RX10« »Rec80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Sony RX10

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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