Leica T vs Nikon D800
The Leica T (Typ 701) and the Nikon D800 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2014 and February 2012. The T Typ 701 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D800 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T Typ 701) and a full frame (D800) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.2 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica T (Typ 701) and the Nikon D800? 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 T and the Nikon D800 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 T Typ 701 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D800 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 D800 is considerably larger (94 percent) than the Leica T. Moreover, the D800 is substantially heavier (160 percent) than the T Typ 701. It is noteworthy in this context that the D800 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Leica T||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|Nikon D800||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Canon SL1||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X-A2||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.3 oz||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|Fujifilm X-T10||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.4 oz||350||n||May 2015||799|
|Leica CL||5.2 in||3.1 in||1.8 in||14.2 oz||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Leica TL2||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||14.1 oz||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Leica TL||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|Leica X Vario||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.7 in||24.0 oz||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica X2||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|Nikon D850||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D810||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon D610||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D800E||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Nikon D700||5.8 in||4.8 in||3.0 in||37.9 oz||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Ricoh GR II||4.6 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||8.9 oz||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|Sony A6000||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 T Typ 701 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the D800, 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.
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 T features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D800 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D800 is 132 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 36.2MP, the D800 offers a higher resolution than the T Typ 701 (16.2MP), but the D800 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 4.79μm for the T Typ 701) due to its larger sensor. However, the T Typ 701 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 2 months) than the D800, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Nikon D800 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D800 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inches or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inches or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inches or 62.3 x 41.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica T are 24.7 x 16.4 inches or 62.8 x 41.6 cm for good quality, 19.8 x 13.1 inches or 50.2 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.5 x 10.9 inches or 41.9 x 27.8 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 D800 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D800 offers substantially better image quality than the T Typ 701 (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.3 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D800 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica T and Nikon D800 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||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 D800 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Nikon D800 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 D800 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The D800 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the T Typ 701 only has one slot. The D800 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T Typ 701 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 D800 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the T Typ 701 offers wifi support, while the D800 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 D800 (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 D800 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D800 was replaced by the Nikon D810, 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 D800? 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):
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.2") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1300k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 146x123mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 616g or 62 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D800 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D800:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (36.2 vs 16.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 49%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
- 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 a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (900 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D800 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 13 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 T and the Nikon D800 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 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 T Typ 701 and the D800 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
|Leica T||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|Nikon D800||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Canon SL1||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Fujifilm X-A2||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|Fujifilm X-T10||+ +||80/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|Leica CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Leica TL2||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Leica TL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|Leica X Vario||..||..||4/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica X2||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|Nikon D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D810||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D800E||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Nikon D700||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Ricoh GR II||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|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 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.
Specifications: Leica T vs Nikon D800
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 D800|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014||February 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1,850||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica T||Nikon D800|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels||36.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4944 x 3278 pixels||7360 x 4912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||4.88 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.37 MP/cm2||4.20 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||75||95|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.0||25.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7||14.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1082||2853|
|Screen Specs||Leica T||Nikon D800|
|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||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1300k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica T||Nikon D800|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica T||Nikon D800|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica T||Nikon D800|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||900 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)
146 x 123 x 82 mm
(5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||1000 g (35.3 oz)|
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