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Leica S-E Typ 006 versus Nikon D810

The Leica S-E (Typ 006) and the Nikon D810 are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and June 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (S-E Typ 006) and a full frame (D810) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 36.2 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 S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D810

The physical size and weight of the Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Nikon D810 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures 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 side – the S-E Typ 006 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D810
Compare S-E Typ 006 versus D810 top
Compare S-E Typ 006 and D810 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D810 is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Leica S-E Typ 006. Moreover, the D810 is markedly lighter (22 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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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)
Leica S-E Typ 006» 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 16,900- i
Nikon D810« 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon G3 X« » 4.8 in 3.0 in 4.1 in 25.9 oz 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i
Leica M Typ 262« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Nov 2015 5,195- i
Leica S Typ 007« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i i
Leica S Typ 006« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950- i
Leica S2« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995- i
Nikon D4S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i
Nikon D800E« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299- i
Pentax 645D« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.7 in 52.2 oz 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i

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 D810 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D810

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 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 S-E Typ 006 features a medium format sensor and the Nikon D810 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D810 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 D810 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S-E Typ 006 offers a slightly higher resolution than the D810 (36.2MP), but the S-E Typ 006 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 4.88μm for the D810) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. 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.

S-E Typ 006 versus D810 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Leica S-E Typ 006» Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----
Nikon D810« Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187
Canon G3 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
Leica M Typ 262« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976-----
Leica S Typ 007« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p----
Leica S Typ 006« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-23.912.282476
Leica S2« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-----
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395
Nikon D800E« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996
Pentax 645D« » Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D810 indeed provides for movie recording, while the S-E Typ 006 does not. The highest resolution format that the D810 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D810

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The S-E Typ 006 and the D810 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica S-E Typ 006, the Nikon D810, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera 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
Leica S-E Typ 006»optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n
Nikon D810«optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon G3 X« »- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 2000 5.9 Y Y
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n
Leica M Typ 262« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n
Leica S Typ 007« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 3.5 n n
Leica S Typ 006« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n
Leica S2« »optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 n n
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D800E« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n
Pentax 645D« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 1.1 n n
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n

Both the S-E Typ 006 and the D810 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D810 was replaced by the Nikon D850, while the S-E Typ 006 was followed by the Leica S Typ 007.

Review summary: Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D810

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica S-E Typ 006 and the Nikon D810? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


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

  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D810:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 280g or 22 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 (80 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D810 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 1 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.

S-E Typ 006 01:07 D810

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the S-E Typ 006 or the D810. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Leica S-E Typ 006»----- Sep 2014 16,900- i
Nikon D810«-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon G3 X« »Rec-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i
Leica M Typ 262« »----- Nov 2015 5,195- i
Leica S Typ 007« »----- Sep 2014 24,490 i i
Leica S Typ 006« »----- Sep 2012 21,950- i
Leica S2« »----- Sep 2008 22,995- i
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i
Nikon D800« »HiRec82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i
Nikon D800E« »-84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299- i
Pentax 645D« »---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- i
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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