Leica Q2 vs Nikon Z50
The Leica Q2 and the Nikon Z50 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2019 and October 2019. The Q2 is a fixed lens compact, while the Z50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (Q2) and an APS-C (Z50) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 46.7 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica Q2||Nikon Z50|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|28mm f/1.7||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|46.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor||20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 50-50000||ISO 100-51200 (100-204800)|
|Electronic viewfinder (3680k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.2" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|20 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|370 shots per battery charge||320 shots per battery charge|
|130 x 80 x 92 mm, 718 g||127 x 94 x 60 mm, 450 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Q2 and the Nikon Z50? 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 Q2 and the Nikon Z50. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Z50 is notably larger (15 percent) than the Leica Q2. 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 and possibly misleading, as the Q2 has a lens built in, whereas the Z50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the Z50 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Leica Q2»||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.6 in||25.3 oz||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995||Leica Q2|
|Nikon Z50«||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||15.9 oz||320||Y||Oct 2019||859||Nikon Z50|
|Canon R« »||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.3 in||23.3 oz||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299||Canon R|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R« »||6.3 in||3.8 in||2.6 in||27.3 oz||400||Y||Sep 2018||4,499||Fujifilm GFX 50R|
|Hasselblad X1D II« »||5.8 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||27.0 oz||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750||Hasselblad X1D II|
|Leica M-E Typ 240« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||22.6 oz||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Nikon Z7« »||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399||Nikon Z7|
|Nikon D5500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Sony A6400« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.0 in||14.2 oz||410||n||Jan 2019||899||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.3 in||14.0 oz||420||n||Aug 2019||749||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||Sony A6300|
|Zeiss ZX1« »||5.6 in||3.7 in||1.8 in||28.2 oz||250||n||Sep 2018||4,199||Zeiss ZX1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica Q2 features a full frame sensor and the Nikon Z50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the Z50 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 46.7MP, the Q2 offers a higher resolution than the Z50 (20.7MP), but the Q2 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.30μm versus 4.22μm for the Z50) due to its larger sensor. However, the Z50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the Q2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica Q2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Q2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.8 x 27.9 inch or 106.3 x 70.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33.5 x 22.3 inch or 85 x 56.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.9 x 18.6 inch or 70.8 x 47.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Z50 are 27.8 x 18.6 inch or 70.7 x 47.1 cm for good quality, 22.3 x 14.8 inch or 56.6 x 37.7 cm for very good quality, and 18.6 x 12.4 inch or 47.1 x 31.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Z50 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Leica Q2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z50 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-204800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96||Leica Q2|
|Nikon Z50||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon Z50|
|Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89||Canon R|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm GFX 50R|
|Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..||Hasselblad X1D II|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99||Nikon Z7|
|Nikon D5500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Sony A6400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24||13.6||1431||83||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Zeiss ZX1|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Q2 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the Z50 (3680k vs 2360k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica Q2, the Nikon Z50, and comparable cameras.
|Leica Q2||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||20.0||n||Y||Leica Q2|
|Nikon Z50||2360||n||3.2||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Nikon Z50|
|Canon R||3690||Y||3.2||2100||swivel||Y||1/8000s||8.0||n||n||Canon R|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||3690||n||3.2||2360||tilting||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Fujifilm GFX 50R|
|Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n||Hasselblad X1D II|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Nikon Z7||3690||Y||3.2||2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||Y||Nikon Z7|
|Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Zeiss ZX1||6221||n||4.3||2765||fixed||Y||1/1000s||3.0||n||n||Zeiss ZX1|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The Z50 has one, while the Q2 does not. While the built-in flash of the Z50 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The Z50 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the Q2 does not have a selfie-screen.
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 Q2 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 Q2 and the Nikon Z50 both have 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 Q2 and the Z50 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras support UHS-II cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s.
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 Q2 and Nikon Z50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica Q2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||none||Y||-||Y||Leica Q2|
|Nikon Z50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z50|
|Canon R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y||Canon R|
|Fujifilm GFX 50R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm GFX 50R|
|Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||none||3.0||Y||-||-||Hasselblad X1D II|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Nikon Z7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z7|
|Nikon D5500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Sony A6400||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Zeiss ZX1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Zeiss ZX1|
It is notable that the Z50 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The Q2 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the Q2 and the Z50 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The Q2 replaced the earlier Leica Q Typ 116, while the Z50 does not have a direct predecessor. 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 the Leica Q2 better than the Nikon Z50 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica Q2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (46.7 vs 20.7MP) with a 50% higher linear resolution.
- 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.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3680k vs 2360k dots).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.68x).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 11 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the Z50 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x80mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2019).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z50:
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (7 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Q2 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 9 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 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 Q2 and the Nikon Z50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Q2 or the Z50 perform in practice. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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 make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Leica Q2 vs Nikon Z50
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 Q2||Nikon Z50|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/1.7|
|Launch Date||March 2019||October 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 4995||USD 859|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Q2||Nikon Z50|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||46.7 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8368 x 5584 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.30 μm||4.22 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.41 MP/cm2||5.60 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||50-50000 ISO||100-51200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-204800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||96||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.4||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2491||..|
|Screen Specs||Leica Q2||Nikon Z50|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3680k dots||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Q2||Nikon Z50|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/40000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica Q2||Nikon Z50|
|USB Connector||USB no||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica Q2||Nikon Z50|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
130 x 80 x 92 mm
(5.1 x 3.1 x 3.6 in)
127 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||718 g (25.3 oz)||450 g (15.9 oz)|
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