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Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D700

The Leica S-E (Typ 006) and the Nikon D700 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and July 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (S-E Typ 006) and a full frame (D700) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica S-E Typ 006 versus Nikon D700
Leica S-E Typ 006 Nikon D700
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Leica S mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor 12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.5 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g 147 x 123 x 77 mm, 1074 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S-E (Typ 006) and the Nikon D700? 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 S-E Typ 006 and the Nikon D700 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D700
Compare S-E Typ 006 versus D700 top
Comparison S-E Typ 006 or 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 notably smaller (6 percent) than the Leica S-E Typ 006. Moreover, the D700 is markedly lighter (15 percent) than the S-E Typ 006. 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 S-E Typ 006 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 16,900 i
2.
 
Nikon D700 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999 i
3.
 
Leica S3 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2018 18,995 i
4.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195 i
5.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i
6.
 
Leica S Typ 007 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i
7.
 
Leica S Typ 006 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. Y Sep 2012 21,950 i
8.
 
Leica S2 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1410 g .. Y Sep 2008 22,995 i
9.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499 i
10.
 
Nikon D810 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299 i
11.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i
12.
 
Nikon D800 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999 i
13.
 
Nikon D3S 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199 i
14.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999 i
15.
 
Pentax 645D 156 mm 117 mm 119 mm 1480 g 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995 i
16.
 
Sony A7R 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299 i
Notes: 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 D700 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 percent) than the S-E Typ 006, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica S-E Typ 006 features a medium format sensor and the Nikon D700 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D700 is 36 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica S-E Typ 006 and Nikon D700 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S-E Typ 006 offers a higher resolution than the D700 (12.1MP), but the S-E Typ 006 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 8.43μm for the D700). However, the S-E Typ 006 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 2 months) than the D700, and its sensor will 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 the S-E Typ 006 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica S-E Typ 006 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S-E Typ 006 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D700 are 21.3 x 14.2 inches or 54.1 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.2 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.4 inches or 36 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica S-E (Typ 006) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D700 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

S-E Typ 006 versus D700 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 S-E Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none...... ..
2.
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.22303 80
3.
 
Leica S3 Medium Format 64.0 9800 65334K/24p...... ..
4.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none...... ..
5.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.41821 88
6.
 
Leica S Typ 007 Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p...... ..
7.
 
Leica S Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none23.912.2824 76
8.
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none...... ..
9.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.33074 89
10.
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.82853 97
11.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.13279 89
12.
 
Nikon D800 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.42853 95
13.
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.03253 82
14.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.22290 81
15.
 
Pentax 645D Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440none24.612.61262 82
16.
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.12746 95
The D700 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The S-E Typ 006 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The S-E Typ 006 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 viewfinder in the S-E Typ 006 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the D700 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the S-E Typ 006 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.72x), 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 S-E Typ 006 and Nikon D700 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 S-E Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
2.
 
Nikon D700optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
3.
 
Leica S3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
4.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
5.
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
6.
 
Leica S Typ 007optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 n n
7.
 
Leica S Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
8.
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
9.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
12.
 
Nikon D800optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
15.
 
Pentax 645Doptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 1.1 n n
16.
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D700 has one, while the S-E Typ 006 does not. While the built-in flash of the D700 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Nikon D700 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.

The S-E Typ 006 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the D700 uses Compact Flash cards. The S-E Typ 006 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D700 only has one slot.

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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 S-E (Typ 006) and Nikon D700 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 S-E Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D700Y----mini2.0---
3.
 
Leica S3YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
4.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
5.
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
6.
 
Leica S Typ 007YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
7.
 
Leica S Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
11.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D800YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3SYstereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
15.
 
Pentax 645DYstereo----2.0---
16.
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the S-E Typ 006 and the D700 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D700 was replaced by the Nikon D800, while the S-E Typ 006 was followed by the Leica S Typ 007. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica S-E Typ 006 better than the Nikon D700 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica S-E (Typ 006):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (37.5 vs 12.1MP) with a 76% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.72x).
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D700 launch.

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Advantages of the Nikon D700:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 186g or 15 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (82 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 S-E Typ 006 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 8 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.

S-E Typ 006 11:08 D700

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Nikon D700 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the S-E Typ 006 or the D700. 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 expert reviews 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], 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 S-E Typ 006.......... Sep 2014 16,900 i
2.
 
Nikon D700..89/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999 i
3.
 
Leica S3.......... Sep 2018 18,995 i
4.
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195 i
5.
 
Leica SL4/5..84/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i
6.
 
Leica S Typ 0074/5........ Sep 2014 24,490 i
7.
 
Leica S Typ 006.......... Sep 2012 21,950 i
8.
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995 i
9.
 
Nikon D4S5/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499 i
10.
 
Nikon D8105/5..86/1005/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299 i
11.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i
12.
 
Nikon D8005/5+ +82/1005/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999 i
13.
 
Nikon D3S5/5..89/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199 i
14.
 
Nikon D3....+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999 i
15.
 
Pentax 645D5/5........ Mar 2010 9,995 i
16.
 
Sony A7R5/5+ +82/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Leica S-E Typ 006:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D700:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D700

    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 S-E Typ 006 Nikon D700
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica S mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2014 July 2008
    Launch Price USD 16,900 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Leica S-E Typ 006 Nikon D700
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format Medium Format Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 45.0 x 30.0 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 1350 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 54.1 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 0.8x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 37.5 Megapixels 12.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7500 x 5000 pixels 4256 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 8.43 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 1.40 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 2303
    Screen Specs Leica S-E Typ 006 Nikon D700
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 98% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.87x 0.72x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica S-E Typ 006 Nikon D700
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.5 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica S-E Typ 006 Nikon D700
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica S-E Typ 006 Nikon D700
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-PRO1 EN-EL3e
    Body Dimensions 160 x 120 x 80 mm
    (6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
    147 x 123 x 77 mm
    (5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1260 g (44.4 oz) 1074 g (37.9 oz)

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