Leica S3 vs Nikon B600
The Leica S3 and the Nikon Coolpix B600 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2018 and January 2019. The S3 is a DSLR, while the B600 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a medium format (S3) and a 1/2.3-inch (B600) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 64 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica S3||Nikon B600|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Leica S mount lenses||24-1440mm f/3.3-6.5|
|64 MP, Medium Format Sensor||15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|4K/24p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-50000||ISO 125-6400|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||7.4 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g||122 x 82 x 99 mm, 500 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica S3 and the Nikon Coolpix B600? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica S3 and the Nikon B600 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The B600 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the S3 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 B600 is considerably smaller (48 percent) than the Leica S3. It is worth mentioning in this context that the S3 is splash and dust resistant, while the B600 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B600 has a lens built in, whereas the S3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 S3»||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995||Leica S3|
|Nikon B600«||4.8 in||3.2 in||3.9 in||17.6 oz||280||n||Jan 2019||349||Nikon B600|
|Leica Q2« »||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.6 in||25.3 oz||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995||Leica Q2|
|Leica M-E Typ 240« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|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 007« »||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490||Leica S Typ 007|
|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 D6« »||6.3 in||6.4 in||3.6 in||44.8 oz||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499||Nikon D6|
|Nikon A1000« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.6 in||11.6 oz||250||n||Jan 2019||429||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000« »||5.7 in||4.7 in||7.1 in||49.9 oz||250||n||Jul 2018||999||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon B500« »||4.5 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||19.1 oz||600||n||Jan 2016||299||Nikon B500|
|Nikon L840« »||4.4 in||3.1 in||3.8 in||19.0 oz||590||n||Feb 2015||299||Nikon L840|
|Sony WX800« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.2 oz||370||n||Oct 2018||399||Sony WX800|
|Sony RX10 IV« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||5.7 in||38.6 oz||400||Y||Sep 2017||1,699||Sony RX10 IV|
|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 B600 was launched at a lower price than the S3, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 S3 features a medium format sensor and the Nikon B600 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the B600 is 98 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.8 and 5.6. The sensor in the S3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the B600 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 64MP, the S3 offers a higher resolution than the B600 (15.9MP), but the S3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.59μm versus 1.33μm for the B600) due to its larger sensor. However, the B600 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the S3, 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 S3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 49 x 32.7 inch or 124.5 x 83 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 39.2 x 26.1 inch or 99.6 x 66.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 32.7 x 21.8 inch or 83 x 55.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon B600 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica S3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix B600 are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Leica S3|
|Nikon B600||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon B600|
|Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96||Leica Q2|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||..||..||..||..||Leica S-E Typ 006|
|Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Leica S Typ 007|
|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 D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D6|
|Nikon A1000||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon B500||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon B500|
|Nikon L840||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon L840|
|Sony WX800||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony WX800|
|Sony RX10 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony RX10 IV|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the S3 provides a higher video resolution than the B600. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the S3 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B600 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica S3, the Nikon B600, and comparable cameras.
|Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica S3|
|Nikon B600||none||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B600|
|Leica Q2||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||20.0||n||Y||Leica Q2|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|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 007||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||n||n||Leica S Typ 007|
|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 D6||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D6|
|Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0||1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon B500||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Nikon L840||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon L840|
|Sony WX800||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony WX800|
|Sony RX10 IV||2359||Y||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y||Sony RX10 IV|
One feature that is present on the S3, but is missing on the B600 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 S3 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the B600 uses SDXC cards. The S3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the B600 only has one slot. The S3 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the B600 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 S3 and Nikon Coolpix B600 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica S3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica S3|
|Nikon B600||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon B600|
|Leica Q2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||none||Y||-||Y||Leica Q2|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica S-E Typ 006|
|Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica S Typ 007|
|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 D6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon D6|
|Nikon A1000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon B500||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Nikon L840||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon L840|
|Sony WX800||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony WX800|
|Sony RX10 IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX10 IV|
It is notable that the S3 has a hotshoe, while the B600 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 S3 (unlike the B600) 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 S3 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the S3 and the B600 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The S3 replaced the earlier Leica S Typ 007, while the B600 followed on from the Nikon B500. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Leica S3 or the Nikon B600 – 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 S3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (64 vs 15.9MP) with a 104% higher linear resolution.
- 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 1080/30p).
- 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.
- 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.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 on the market for longer (launched in September 2018).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix B600:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the S3 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x82mm vs 160x120mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the S3).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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 at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the S3 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 9 points). 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica S3 and the Nikon B600 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 S3 and the B600 in practical situations. 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 above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1300D vs Nikon B600
- Canon G1 X vs Nikon B600
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Leica S3
- Canon SX520 vs Leica S3
- Leica M Typ 262 vs Nikon B600
- Leica S3 vs Nikon A1000
- Leica S3 vs Ricoh GR II
- Nikon B600 vs Panasonic FZ150
- Nikon B600 vs Panasonic G9
- Nikon B600 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Nikon B600 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Nikon B600 vs Ricoh GR II
Specifications: Leica S3 vs Nikon B600
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 S3||Nikon B600|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica S mount lenses||24-1440mm f/3.3-6.5|
|Launch Date||September 2018||January 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 18995||USD 349|
|Sensor Specs||Leica S3||Nikon B600|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||45.0 x 30.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||1350 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.1 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||64 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||9800 x 6533 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.59 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.74 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-50000 ISO||125-6400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica S3||Nikon B600|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|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 S3||Nikon B600|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||7.4 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 S3||Nikon B600|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Leica S3||Nikon B600|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
122 x 82 x 99 mm
(4.8 x 3.2 x 3.9 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||500 g (17.6 oz)|
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