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Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D810

The Leica S (Typ 007) and the Nikon D810 are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and June 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (S Typ 007) and a full frame (D810) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 36.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica S Typ 007 versus Nikon D810
Leica S Typ 007 Nikon D810
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Leica S mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor 36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/24p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-6,400 ISO 64-12,800 (32 - 51,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.2 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g 146 x 123 x 82 mm, 980 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S (Typ 007) and the Nikon D810? 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 Typ 007 and the Nikon D810 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D810
Compare S Typ 007 versus D810 top
Comparison S Typ 007 or 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 Typ 007. Moreover, the D810 is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the S Typ 007. 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 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica S Typ 007 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Nikon D810 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299i
 
Canon 5DS 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Leica S3 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica M Typ 262 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica SL 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Leica S Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica S2 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Nikon D850 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i
 
Nikon D4S 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499i
 
Nikon D610 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
 
Nikon D800 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999i
 
Nikon D800E 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299i
 
Pentax 645D 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.7 in 52.2 oz 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995i
 
Sony A7R 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299i
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.

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 D810 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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 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 Typ 007 and Nikon D810 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S Typ 007 offers a slightly higher resolution than the D810 (36.2MP), but the S Typ 007 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.

The Leica S (Typ 007) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D810 are ISO 64 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 32-51200.

S Typ 007 versus D810 MP

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.

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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
 
Leica S Typ 007 Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p........
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
 
Canon 5DS Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/30p24.712.4238187
 
Leica S3 Medium Format 64.0 9800 65334K/24p........
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Leica S Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none23.912.282476
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Nikon D850 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
 
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 5440none24.612.6126282
 
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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the S Typ 007 provides a higher video resolution than the D810. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The S Typ 007 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 viewfinder in the D810 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the S Typ 007 (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the S Typ 007 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica S Typ 007, the Nikon D810, and comparable cameras.

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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
 
Leica S Typ 007optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 n n
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 5DSoptical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica S3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Leica S-E Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Leica S Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Nikon D850optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D800optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D800Eoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n
 
Pentax 645Doptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 1.1 n n
 
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 D810 has one, while the S Typ 007 does not. While the built-in flash of the D810 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Nikon D810 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the S Typ 007 and the D810 write their files to Compact Flash or SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. The S Typ 007 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the D810 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).

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 (Typ 007) and Nikon D810 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
 
Leica S Typ 007YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Canon 5DSYmonomonoY-mini3.0---
 
Leica S3YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
 
Leica S-E Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica S Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D850YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYY
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D800YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Nikon D800EYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Pentax 645DYstereo----2.0---
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-

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

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.

The S Typ 007 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the D810 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D810 was succeeded by the Nikon D850. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Leica S Typ 007 better than the Nikon D810 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica S (Typ 007):

  • 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.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/60p).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.70x).
  • Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
  • 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.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D810:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
  • 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 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 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 (87 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Typ 007 09:09 D810

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica S Typ 007 and the Nikon D810 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the S Typ 007 and the D810 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica S Typ 007.......... Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Nikon D810..86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299i
 
Canon 5DS+83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Leica S3.......... Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica SL..84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006.......... Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Leica S Typ 006.......... Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Nikon D850+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i
 
Nikon D4S....4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499i
 
Nikon D610+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
 
Nikon D800+ +82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999i
 
Nikon D800E..84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299i
 
Pentax 645D......4.5/5.. Mar 2010 9,995i
 
Sony A7R+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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 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.

Leica S Typ 007:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D810:
Check Ebay offers

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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    Specifications: Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D810

    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 Typ 007 Nikon D810
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica S mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2014 June 2014
    Launch Price USD 24,490 USD 3,299
    Sensor Specs Leica S Typ 007 Nikon D810
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Medium Format Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 45.0 x 30.0 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 1350 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 54.1 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 0.8x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 37.5 Megapixels 36.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7500 x 5000 pixels 7360 x 4912 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 4.88 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 4.20 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/24p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 64 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 32 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro II EXPEED 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 97
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 25.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 2853
    Screen Specs Leica S Typ 007 Nikon D810
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 98% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.87x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica S Typ 007 Nikon D810
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 5 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 or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-II UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Leica S Typ 007 Nikon D810
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Geotagging GPS built-in no internal GPS
    Body Specs Leica S Typ 007 Nikon D810
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-PRO1 EN-EL15
    Body Dimensions 160 x 120 x 80 mm
    (6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
    146 x 123 x 82 mm
    (5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 1260 g (44.4 oz) 980 g (34.6 oz)

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