Leica V-LUX 1 vs Nikon D3500
The Leica V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D3500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and August 2018. The V-LUX 1 is a fixed lens compact, while the D3500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.8-inch (V-LUX 1) and an APS-C (D3500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 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 V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D3500? 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 V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D3500. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D3500 are of equal size. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V-LUX 1 nor the D3500 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 1 has a lens built in, whereas the D3500 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D3500 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
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, 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 V-LUX 1||5.6 in||3.4 in||5.6 in||25.9 oz||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|Nikon D3500||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Canon M100||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Fujifilm X-A7||4.7 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||11.3 oz||440||n||Sep 2019||499|
|Fujifilm X-E3||4.8 in||2.9 in||1.7 in||11.9 oz||350||n||Sep 2017||899|
|Leica Q Typ 116||5.1 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||22.6 oz||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Leica X Vario||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.7 in||24.0 oz||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica D-LUX 6||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|Leica V-LUX 4||4.9 in||3.4 in||4.3 in||20.7 oz||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|Leica V-LUX 3||4.9 in||3.2 in||3.7 in||19.0 oz||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|Leica D-LUX 5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|Leica V-LUX 2||4.9 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||18.3 oz||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|Leica X1||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|Nikon D3400||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|Nikon D3300||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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. 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 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 V-LUX 1 features a 1/1.8-inch sensor and the Nikon D3500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3500 is 866 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.8 and 1.5. The sensor in the V-LUX 1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D3500 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the D3500 offers a higher resolution than the V-LUX 1 (10MP), but the D3500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 1.95μm for the V-LUX 1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3500 is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 11 months) than the V-LUX 1, 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 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 Nikon D3500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica V-LUX 1 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica V-LUX 1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
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. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D3500 provides a better video resolution than the V-LUX 1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Leica is limited to 480/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the V-LUX 1 has an electronic viewfinder (235k dots), while the D3500 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica V-LUX 1 and Nikon D3500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0||207||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y|
|Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
The V-LUX 1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D3500 uses SDXC cards. The D3500 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the V-LUX 1 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 V-LUX 1 and Nikon D3500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
The D3500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the V-LUX 1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the V-LUX 1 was succeeded by the Leica V-LUX 2. 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 V-LUX 1 or the Nikon D3500 – 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 V-LUX 1:
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D3500 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
- 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 video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 480/30p).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 207k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1550 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 11 months of technical progress since the V-LUX 1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3500 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 7 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 V-LUX 1 and the Nikon D3500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the V-LUX 1 or the D3500 perform in practice. 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.
|Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|Nikon D3500||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Fujifilm X-A7||..||81/100||4/5||..||3.5/5||Sep 2019||499|
|Fujifilm X-E3||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899|
|Leica Q Typ 116||..||80/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Leica X Vario||..||..||4/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|Leica X1||..||+||..||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|Nikon D3400||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|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.
- Canon 1200D vs Leica V-LUX 1
- Canon 60D vs Leica V-LUX 1
- Canon SX530 vs Nikon D3500
- Canon T3 vs Leica V-LUX 1
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Nikon D610
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Ricoh GR III
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Sony A7S II
- Nikon D2X vs Nikon D3500
- Nikon D3500 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Nikon D3500 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Nikon D3500 vs Ricoh GR
- Nikon D3500 vs Ricoh WG-6
Specifications: Leica V-LUX 1 vs Nikon D3500
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 V-LUX 1||Nikon D3500|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||35-420mm f/2.8-3.7||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2006||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 849||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Leica V-LUX 1||Nikon D3500|
|Sensor Format||1/1.8" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.14 x 5.36 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||38.2704 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||8.9 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.95 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||26.08 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||480/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Leica V-LUX 1||Nikon D3500|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||235k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||207k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica V-LUX 1||Nikon D3500|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica V-LUX 1||Nikon D3500|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica V-LUX 1||Nikon D3500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||1550 shots per charge|
141 x 86 x 142 mm
(5.6 x 3.4 x 5.6 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||734 g (25.9 oz)||365 g (12.9 oz)|
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