Leica T vs Nikon D300
The Leica T (Typ 701) and the Nikon D300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2014 and August 2007. The T Typ 701 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D300 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica T (Typ 701) and the Nikon D300? 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 T and the Nikon D300. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The T Typ 701 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D300 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 D300 is considerably larger (81 percent) than the Leica T. Moreover, the D300 is substantially heavier (141 percent) than the T Typ 701. It is noteworthy in this context that the D300 is splash and dust-proof, while the T Typ 701 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 power pack in the T Typ 701 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|2.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|3.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|6.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|7.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|8.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|9.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|10.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|11.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|12.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|13.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|14.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699|
|15.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|17.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D300 was somewhat cheaper (by 3 percent) than the T Typ 701 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 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 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D300 is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Leica T offers a higher resolution of 16.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon D300. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 5.53μm for the D300). However, it should be noted that the T Typ 701 is much more recent (by 6 years and 8 months) than the D300, 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 the T Typ 701 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica T implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T Typ 701 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.7 x 16.4 inches or 62.8 x 41.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.8 x 13.1 inches or 50.2 x 33.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.5 x 10.9 inches or 41.9 x 27.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D300 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica T (Typ 701) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D300 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
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 T Typ 701 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D300 (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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.
|9.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|13.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The T Typ 701 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D300 does not. The highest resolution format that the T Typ 701 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D300 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the T Typ 701 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the T Typ 701 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica T and Nikon D300 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n|
|6.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|7.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|8.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|15.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The T Typ 701 has a touchscreen, while the D300 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Nikon D300 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.
The T Typ 701 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D300 uses Compact Flash cards.
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 T (Typ 701) and Nikon D300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D300||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D7000||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D700||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D2Xs||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the T Typ 701 offers wifi support, while the D300 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D300 (unlike the T Typ 701) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the T Typ 701 and the D300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D300 was replaced by the Nikon D300S, while the T Typ 701 was followed by the Leica TL. 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 there a clear favorite between the Leica T and the Nikon D300? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica T (Typ 701):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.2 vs 12.2MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 922k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 147x114mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 541g or 58 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D300 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D300:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1000 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T Typ 701 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 10 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 T and the Nikon D300 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR 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 T Typ 701 or the D300. 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 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|2.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|3.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|4.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|5.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|6.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|7.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|8.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|9.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|10.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|11.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|12.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|13.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|14.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699|
|15.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|16.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|17.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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.
Specifications: Leica T vs Nikon D300
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 T||Nikon D300|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014||August 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 1,850||USD 1,799|
|Sensor Specs||Leica T||Nikon D300|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4944 x 3278 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||5.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.37 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||75||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.0||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1082||679|
|Screen Specs||Leica T||Nikon D300|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica T||Nikon D300|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica T||Nikon D300|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica T||Nikon D300|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||1000 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
134 x 69 x 33 mm
(5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
147 x 114 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||925 g (32.6 oz)|
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