Leica V-LUX 2 vs Nikon D1
The Leica V-LUX 2 and the Nikon D1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and June 1999. The V-LUX 2 is a fixed lens compact, while the D1 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (V-LUX 2) and an APS-C (D1) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 14 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 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 2 and the Nikon D1? 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 V-LUX 2 and the Nikon D1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D1 is considerably larger (142 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 2. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1 is splash and dust-proof, while the V-LUX 2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 2 has a lens built in, whereas the D1 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 D1 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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 V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D1||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949||ebay.com|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 V-LUX 2 was launched at a lower price than the D1, despite having a lens built in. 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 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica V-LUX 2 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D1 is 1221 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the V-LUX 2 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica V-LUX 2 offers a higher resolution of 14 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the Nikon D1. 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 1.41μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, it should be noted that the V-LUX 2 is much more recent (by 11 years and 3 months) than the D1, 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 V-LUX 2 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica V-LUX 2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the V-LUX 2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.6 x 16.2 inches or 54.9 x 41.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.4 x 10.8 inches or 36.6 x 27.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica V-LUX 2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.
In terms of underlying technology, the V-LUX 2 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D1 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||12.8||1491||78|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.8||11.1||501||43|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.7||11.0||430||42|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|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 V-LUX 2 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D1 does not. The highest resolution format that the V-LUX 2 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 2 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the D1 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica V-LUX 2 and Nikon D1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D1||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX30||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.6/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX20||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The V-LUX 2 has one, while the D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the V-LUX 2 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The V-LUX 2 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The V-LUX 2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D1 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 V-LUX 2 and Nikon D1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon SX30||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon SX20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D300||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D2Xs||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the V-LUX 2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the V-LUX 2 and the D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the V-LUX 2 was followed by the Leica V-LUX 3. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Leica V-LUX 2 or the Nikon D1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Leica V-LUX 2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (14 vs 2.6MP) with a 126% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (460k vs 120k dots).
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x80mm vs 157x153mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D1).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.
Advantages of the Nikon D1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- 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 June 1999).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V-LUX 2 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 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 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 V-LUX 2 and the Nikon D1 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the V-LUX 2 or the D1. 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 (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 V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D1||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jun 1999||5,499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||..||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949||ebay.com|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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.
- Canon SX730 vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Fujifilm X-E1 vs Nikon D1
- Fujifilm X30 vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Panasonic G7
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Sony HX80
- Nikon A1000 vs Nikon D1
- Nikon D1 vs Nikon D70
- Nikon D1 vs Nikon P1000
- Nikon D1 vs Olympus E-PL7
- Nikon D1 vs Sony NEX-6
Specifications: Leica V-LUX 2 vs Nikon D1
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 2||Nikon D1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||25-600mm f/2.8-5.2||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||June 1999|
|Launch Price||USD 849||USD 5,499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Nikon D1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14 Megapixels||2.6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4320 x 3240 pixels||2000 x 1312 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.41 μm||11.93 μm|
|Pixel Density||49.86 MP/cm2||0.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Nikon D1|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||120k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Nikon D1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||1.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Nikon D1|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||Firewire|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica V-LUX 2||Nikon D1|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
124 x 80 x 95 mm
(4.9 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
157 x 153 x 85 mm
(6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||520 g (18.3 oz)||1100 g (38.8 oz)|
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