Leica TL2 vs Nikon Z5
The Leica TL2 and the Nikon Z5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2017 and July 2020. Both the TL2 and the Z5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (TL2) and a full frame (Z5) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.2 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 TL2 and the Nikon Z5? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica TL2 and the Nikon Z5 is provided 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TL2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the Z5 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 Z5 is considerably larger (46 percent) than the Leica TL2. Moreover, the Z5 is substantially heavier (69 percent) than the TL2. It is noteworthy in this context that the Z5 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 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 battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient 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.
|1.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|2.||Nikon Z5||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||470||Y||Jul 2020||1,399||amazon.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X-T100||121 mm||83 mm||47 mm||448 g||430||n||May 2018||599||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T20||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A3||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||n||Aug 2016||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|8.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon Z7 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||420||Y||Oct 2020||2,999||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|12.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon Z7||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||415 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|16.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499||amazon.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Z5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the TL2, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 TL2 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon Z5 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Z5 is 131 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 24.2MP, the Z5 offers a higher resolution than the TL2 (24.1MP), but the Z5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.95μm versus 3.92μm for the TL2) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z5 is a much more recent model (by 3 years) than the TL2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the TL2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Z5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Leica TL2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z5 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Nikon Z5||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2929||95|
|10.||Nikon Z7 II||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/60p||26.3||14.7||2841||100|
|11.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||25.0||14.4||3303||94|
|12.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|13.||Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|17.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Z5 has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), which can be very helpful 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica TL2, the Nikon Z5, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Nikon Z5||3690||n||3.2 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/8000s||4.5/s||n||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X-T100||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T20||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A3||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Leica C-LUX||2330||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Leica T||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon Z7 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|11.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|12.||Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|13.||Nikon Z7||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that differentiates the Z5 and the TL2 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Z5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the TL2 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the Z5 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon Z5 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TL2 and the Z5 write their files to SDXC cards. The Z5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the TL2 only has one slot. Moreover, both cameras support UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 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 TL2 and Nikon Z5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Nikon Z5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X-T100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T20||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica C-LUX||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Nikon Z7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Nikon Z6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Nikon Z7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Nikon D3500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|15.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|17.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the Z5 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The TL2 lacks such a headphone port.
Both the TL2 and the Z5 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The TL2 replaced the earlier Leica TL, while the Z5 does not have a direct predecessor. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica TL2 or the Nikon Z5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica TL2:
- 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 (1230k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (134x69mm vs 134x101mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 276g or 41 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2017).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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 electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the TL2 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Z5 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 TL2 and the Nikon Z5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TL2 or the Z5 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 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 (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 TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950||amazon.com|
|2.||Nikon Z5||4/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jul 2020||1,399||amazon.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X-T100||4/5||+||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2018||599||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X-T20||5/5||+ +||5/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A3||..||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2016||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||3.5/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795||amazon.com|
|8.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon Z7 II||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||2,999||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|12.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon Z7||5/5||+||4.8/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D3500||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|16.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A9 II||..||..||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499||amazon.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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 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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Leica TL2 vs Nikon Z5
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 TL2||Nikon Z5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2017||July 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 1,950||USD 1,399|
|Sensor Specs||Leica TL2||Nikon Z5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||24.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||6016 x 4016 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||5.95 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica TL2||Nikon Z5|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3690k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica TL2||Nikon Z5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||4.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica TL2||Nikon Z5|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 3.2|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica TL2||Nikon Z5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
134 x 69 x 33 mm
(5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
134 x 101 x 67 mm
(5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||399 g (14.1 oz)||675 g (23.8 oz)|
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