Leica S Typ 006 vs Nikon 1 J4
The Leica S (Typ 006) and the Nikon 1 J4 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and April 2014. The S Typ 006 is a DSLR, while the J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a medium format (S Typ 006) and an one-inch (J4) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 18.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica S Typ 006||Nikon 1 J4|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Leica S mount lenses||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor||18.2 MP, 1" Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-1,600||ISO 160-12,800|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 922k dots||3.0 LCD, 1037k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||no rear screen|
|1.5 shutter flaps per second||60 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g||100 x 60 x 29 mm, 232 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S (Typ 006) and the Nikon 1 J4? 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 S Typ 006 and the Nikon 1 J4. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the S Typ 006 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon 1 J4 is considerably smaller (69 percent) than the Leica S Typ 006. Moreover, the J4 is substantially lighter (82 percent) than the S Typ 006. It is worth mentioning in this context that the S Typ 006 is splash and dust resistant, while the J4 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. 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 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.
|Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995|
|Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900|
|Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490|
|Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995|
|Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The J4 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 97 percent) than the S 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.
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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 Typ 006 features a medium format sensor and the Nikon 1 J4 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the J4 is 91 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 37.5MP, the S Typ 006 offers a higher resolution than the J4 (18.2MP), but the S Typ 006 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 2.52μm for the J4) due to its larger sensor. However, the J4 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the S Typ 006, 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 S Typ 006 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S 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 1 J4 are 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm for good quality, 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Leica S (Typ 006) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J4 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the S Typ 006 provides substantially higher image quality than the J4, with an overall score that is 23 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.1 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..|
|Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The J4 indeed provides for movie recording, while the S Typ 006 does not. The highest resolution format that the J4 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the S Typ 006 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J4 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica S Typ 006 and Nikon 1 J4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
|Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n|
|Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the S Typ 006, but is missing on the J4 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 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 J4 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 S Typ 006 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the J4 uses micro SDXC cards. The S Typ 006 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the J4 only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 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 S (Typ 006) and Nikon 1 J4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the S Typ 006 has a hotshoe, while the J4 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S Typ 006 (unlike the J4) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the S Typ 006 and the J4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The S Typ 006 was replaced by the Leica S Typ 007, while the J4 was followed by the Nikon 1 J5. 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 how do things add up? Is the Leica S Typ 006 better than the Nikon 1 J4 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica S (Typ 006):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (37.5 vs 18.2MP) with a 43% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (23 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon 1 J4:
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 922k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 160x120mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 1028g or 82 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (97 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 6 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (13 points each). 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 S Typ 006 and the Nikon 1 J4 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the S Typ 006 or the J4. 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.
|Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|Nikon 1 J4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon G9 X||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon 70D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon 100D||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995|
|Leica SL||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900|
|Leica S Typ 007||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490|
|Leica M Typ 240||..||..||4/5||..||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995|
|Nikon 1 J5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|Nikon 1 V3||..||76/100||4.5/5||3/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|Nikon D4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Panasonic G6||+ +||..||5/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|Pentax 645D||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Leica S Typ 006 vs Nikon 1 J4
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 S Typ 006||Nikon 1 J4|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica S mount lenses||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 21,950||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Leica S Typ 006||Nikon 1 J4|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||45.0 x 30.0 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||1350 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.1 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||37.5 Megapixels||18.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7500 x 5000 pixels||5232 x 3488 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||2.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||15.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||76||53|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.9||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.2||10.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||824||426|
|Screen Specs||Leica S Typ 006||Nikon 1 J4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica S Typ 006||Nikon 1 J4|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||1.5 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||micro or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica S Typ 006||Nikon 1 J4|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica S Typ 006||Nikon 1 J4|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||232 g (8.2 oz)|
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