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Leica S Typ 007 versus Nikon D850

The Leica S (Typ 007) and the Nikon D850 are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and July 2017. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (S Typ 007) and a full frame sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 37.5 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 45.4 MP.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica S Typ 007 and the Nikon D850 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 – the S Typ 007 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D850 front
S Typ 007 versus D850 top view
S Typ 007 and D850 rear side
Body view (S Typ 007 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D850 is somewhat smaller (6 percent) than the Leica S Typ 007. Moreover, the D850 is markedly lighter (20 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 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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Leica S Typ 007 (⇒ rgt) 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. YES 2014 24,490 latest check
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) 146 mm 124 mm 79 mm 1005 g 1840 YES 2017 3,299 latest check
Leica SL (⇒ lft | rgt) 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 YES 2015 7,450 latest check
Leica M Typ 262 (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. YES 2015 5,195discont. check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g .. no 2015 4,249 latest check
Leica S-E Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. YES 2014 16,900discont. check
Leica X Typ 113 (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 no 2014 2,295discont. check
Leica S Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1260 g .. YES 2012 21,950discont. check
Leica S2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 160 mm 120 mm 80 mm 1410 g .. YES 2008 22,995discont. check
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 YES 2016 6,499 latest check
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 YES 2014 3,299discont. check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 YES 2013 2,749 latest check
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g .. YES 2012 2,999discont. check
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g .. YES 2012 3,299discont. check
Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt) 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 YES 2013 2,299discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D850 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

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

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica S Typ 007 features a medium format sensor and the Nikon D850 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D850 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 D850 sensor measures
Sensor size
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Sensor size

Despite having a smaller sensor, the D850 offers a higher resolution of 45.4 megapixel, compared with 37.5 MP of the S Typ 007. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.35μm versus 6.00μm for the S Typ 007). However, it should be noted that the D850 is much more recent (by 2 years and 10 months) than the S Typ 007, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 Typ 007 versus D850 MP
Sensor resolution
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Sensor resolution

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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Leica S Typ 007 (⇒ rgt) Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000 4K/24p - - - -
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) Full Frame 45.4 8256 5504 4K/30p 26.4 14.8 2660 100
Leica SL (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p 25.0 13.4 1821 88
Leica M Typ 262 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976 no - - - -
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.7 2221 85
Leica S-E Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000 no - - - -
Leica X Typ 113 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Leica S Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000 no 23.9 12.2 824 76
Leica S2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000 no - - - -
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 20.7 5588 3712 4K/30p 25.1 12.3 2343 88
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/60p 25.7 14.8 2853 97
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280 no 24.6 13.1 3279 89
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/30p 25.3 14.4 2853 95
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/30p 25.6 14.3 2979 96
Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/60p 25.6 14.1 2746 95

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D850 provides a faster frame rate than the S Typ 007. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Leica is limited to 4K/24p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The S Typ 007 and the D850 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica S Typ 007 and Nikon D850 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Leica S Typ 007 (⇒ rgt) optical YES 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 3.5 no no
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) optical YES 3.2 2359 tilting YES 8000 9.0 no no
Leica SL (⇒ lft | rgt) 4400 YES 3.0 1040 fixed YES 8000 11.0 no no
Leica M Typ 262 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 3.0 no no
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) 3680 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 10.0 no no
Leica S-E Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 1.5 no no
Leica X Typ 113 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed no 2000 5.0 YES no
Leica S Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 1.5 no no
Leica S2 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 1.5 no no
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 2359 fixed YES 8000 14.0 no no
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 4000 5.5 no no
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 8000 4.0 12 no
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 8000 4.0 12 no
Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt) 2400 no 3.0 1230 tilting no 8000 4.0 no no

Both the S Typ 007 and the D850 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The S Typ 007 replaced the earlier Leica S Typ 006, while the D850 followed on from the Nikon D810.

Summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica S Typ 007 or the Nikon D850 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Leica S (Typ 007):

  • 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 D850:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (45.4 vs 37.5MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/30p vs 4K/24p).
  • 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 (2359k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has a higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 255g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the S Typ 007 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D850 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 2 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.

S Typ 007 02:11 D850

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the S Typ 007 or the D850 handle or perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Leica S Typ 007 (⇒ rgt) - - - - - 2014 24,490 latest check
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) HiRec 89/100 Gold 4.5/5 .. 5/5 2017 3,299 latest check
Leica SL (⇒ lft | rgt) - 84/100 4.5/5 4/5 4/5 2015 7,450 latest check
Leica M Typ 262 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - - 2015 5,195discont. check
Leica Q Typ 116 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2015 4,249 latest check
Leica S-E Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - - 2014 16,900discont. check
Leica X Typ 113 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 3.5/5 - 4/5 2014 2,295discont. check
Leica S Typ 006 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - - 2012 21,950discont. check
Leica S2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - - 2008 22,995discont. check
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 89/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 6,499 latest check
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 86/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 3,299discont. check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) - 81/100 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 2,749 latest check
Nikon D800 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 5/5 5/5 5/5 2012 2,999discont. check
Nikon D800E (⇒ lft | rgt) - 84/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2012 3,299discont. check
Sony A7R (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2013 2,299discont. check

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Other comparisons

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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