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Leica TL2 versus Nikon D500

The Leica TL2 and the Nikon D500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2017 and January 2016. The TL2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D500 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica TL2 vs Nikon D500

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica TL2 and the Nikon D500. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 TL2 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica TL2 vs Nikon D500
Compare TL2 versus D500 top
Compare TL2 and D500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D500 is considerably larger (83 percent) than the Leica TL2. Moreover, the D500 is substantially heavier (116 percent) than the TL2. It is noteworthy in this context that the D500 is splash and dust-proof, while the TL2 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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica TL2» 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Nikon D500« 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Canon M50« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.3 in 13.8 oz 235 n Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
Canon 200D« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon M6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.6 in 12.7 oz 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« » 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.0 in 16.5 oz 390 n Jan 2017 1,299 i i Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica CL« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Leica TL« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Leica T« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Nikon D7200« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 TL2 was somewhat cheaper (by 2 percent) than the D500 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica TL2 vs Nikon D500

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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D500 is 1 percent smaller. 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.

Leica TL2 and Nikon D500 sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the TL2 offers a higher resolution than the D500 (20.7MP), but the TL2 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 4.22μm for the D500). However, the TL2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the D500, 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.

TL2 versus D500 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Leica TL2» APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
Nikon D500« APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
Canon M50« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p----Canon M50
Canon 200D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon 200D
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica C-LUX
Leica CL« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica CL
Leica TL« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
Leica T« » APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
Nikon D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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 (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Leica TL2 vs Nikon D500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D500 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica TL2 and Nikon D500 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
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica TL2»- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 7.0 n n Leica TL2
Nikon D500«optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n Nikon D500
Canon M50« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 10.0 Y n Canon M50
Canon 200D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 200D
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
Leica CL« »2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 10.0 n n Leica CL
Leica TL« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 5.0 Y n Leica TL
Leica T« »- n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 4000 5.0 Y n Leica T
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S

One feature that is present on the D500, but is missing on the TL2 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 TL2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D500 uses SDHC or XQD cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the TL2 only has one slot.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Leica TL2»Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
Nikon D500«YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
Canon M50« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YYYCanon M50
Canon 200D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 200D
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-YFujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica C-LUX
Leica CL« »Ystereomono----Y--Leica CL
Leica TL« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
Leica T« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica T
Nikon D7500« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-YNikon D7500
Nikon D7200« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S

Both the TL2 and the D500 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The D500 replaced the earlier Nikon D300S, while the TL2 followed on from the Leica TL.

Review summary: Leica TL2 vs Nikon D500

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica TL2 or the Nikon D500 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica TL2:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 20.7MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.2") for image review and settings control.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 147x115mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 461g or 54 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the D500).

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Advantages of the Nikon D500:

  • 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 framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 1230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1240 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 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.

TL2 07:14 D500

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the TL2 or the D500. 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 table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica TL2»--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
Nikon D500«HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Canon M50« »Rec79/100--3.5/5 Feb 2018 779 i i Canon M50
Canon 200D« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Fujifilm X-A5« »Rec-4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X100F« »Rec83/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 1,299 i i Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Leica C-LUX« »----4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
Leica CL« »----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
Leica TL« »----4/5 Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
Leica T« »--4/5-4/5 Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Nikon D7200« »HiRec84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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