Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D3500
The Leica S (Typ 007) and the Nikon D3500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2014 and August 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (S Typ 007) and an APS-C (D3500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica S Typ 007||Nikon D3500|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Leica S mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-6400||ISO 100-25600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3.5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g||124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S (Typ 007) and the Nikon D3500? 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 007 and the Nikon D3500. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3500 is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Leica S Typ 007. Moreover, the D3500 is substantially lighter (71 percent) than the S Typ 007. It is worth mentioning in this context that the S Typ 007 is splash and dust resistant, while the D3500 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Leica S Typ 007»||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490||Leica S Typ 007|
|Nikon D3500«||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Fujifilm X-A7« »||4.7 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||11.3 oz||440||n||Sep 2019||499||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||4.8 in||2.9 in||1.7 in||11.9 oz||350||n||Sep 2017||899||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Leica S3« »||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995||Leica S3|
|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 SL« »||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Leica S-E Typ 006« »||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900||Leica S-E Typ 006|
|Leica S Typ 006« »||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950||Leica S Typ 006|
|Leica S2« »||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||49.7 oz||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995||Leica S2|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D4S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D810« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||Nikon D3300|
|Pentax 645D« »||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.7 in||52.2 oz||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995||Pentax 645D|
|Sony A7R« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||Sony A7R|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 98 percent) than the S Typ 007, 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica S Typ 007 features a medium format sensor and the Nikon D3500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3500 is 73 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 37.5MP, the S Typ 007 offers a higher resolution than the D3500 (24MP), but the S Typ 007 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 3.91μm for the D3500) due to its larger sensor. However, the D3500 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 11 months) than the S Typ 007, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 007 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S Typ 007 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.5 x 25 inch or 95.3 x 63.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.7 inch or 63.5 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3500 are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica S (Typ 007) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Leica S Typ 007|
|Nikon D3500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Fujifilm X-A7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Leica S3|
|Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..||Leica S-E Typ 006|
|Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76||Leica S Typ 006|
|Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..||Leica S2|
|Nikon D3400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D3300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82||Pentax 645D|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
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, but the S Typ 007 provides a higher video resolution than the D3500. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The S Typ 007 and the D3500 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 Typ 007 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the D3500 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the S Typ 007 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica S Typ 007 and Nikon D3500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n||Leica S Typ 007|
|Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Fujifilm X-A7||none||n||3.5||2760||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica S3|
|Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Leica SL|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n||Leica S-E Typ 006|
|Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n||Leica S Typ 006|
|Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n||Leica S2|
|Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Pentax 645D||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.1||n||n||Pentax 645D|
|Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
One feature that is present on the S Typ 007, but is missing on the D3500 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 S Typ 007 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the D3500 uses SDXC cards. The S Typ 007 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3500 only has one slot. The S Typ 007 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the D3500 can use UHS-I cards (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 007) and Nikon D3500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica S Typ 007|
|Nikon D3500||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3500|
|Canon M100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Fujifilm X-A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-A7|
|Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Leica S3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica S3|
|Leica M Typ 262||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica SL||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica S-E Typ 006|
|Leica S Typ 006||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica S Typ 006|
|Leica S2||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica S2|
|Nikon D3400||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D4S||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D810||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D3300||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Pentax 645D||Y||stereo||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax 645D|
|Sony A7R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
It is notable that the S Typ 007 has a microphone port, which is missing on the D3500. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S Typ 007 (unlike the D3500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the S Typ 007 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the S Typ 007 and the D3500 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The S Typ 007 replaced the earlier Leica S Typ 006, while the D3500 followed on from the Nikon D3400. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica S Typ 007 or the Nikon D3500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica S (Typ 007):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (37.5 vs 24MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- 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 0.57x).
- 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.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2014).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3500:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x97mm vs 160x120mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 895g or 71 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (98 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 11 months of technical progress since the S Typ 007 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S Typ 007 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 7 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 S Typ 007 and the Nikon D3500 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 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 S Typ 007 or the D3500 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.
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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, 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? 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
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- Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D90
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Olympus E-P3
- Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D40
- Nikon D3500 vs Nikon D60
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- Nikon D3500 vs Olympus E-30
- Nikon D3500 vs Panasonic FZ1000
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Specifications: Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D3500
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 007||Nikon D3500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica S mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 24490||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Leica S Typ 007||Nikon D3500|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||45.0 x 30.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||1350 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.1 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||37.5 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7500 x 5000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||EXPEED 4|
|Screen Specs||Leica S Typ 007||Nikon D3500|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica S Typ 007||Nikon D3500|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica S Typ 007||Nikon D3500|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Leica S Typ 007||Nikon D3500|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||365 g (12.9 oz)|
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