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Leica X Vario vs Nikon D70s

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Nikon D70s are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and April 2005. The X Vario is a fixed lens compact, while the D70s is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica X Vario
versus
Nikon D70s
Leica X Vario   Nikon D70s
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Nikon F mount lenses
16.1 MP – APS-C sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 200-1,600
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 920k dots 3.0" LCD – 130k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
133 x 73 x 95 mm, 680 g 140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g
Leica X Vario:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D70s:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Nikon D70s? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica X Vario and the Nikon D70s 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X Vario can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D70s is only available in black.

Size Leica X Vario vs Nikon D70s
Compare X Vario versus D70s top
Comparison X Vario or D70s rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D70s is considerably larger (60 percent) than the Leica X Vario. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X Vario nor the D70s are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X Vario has a lens built in, whereas the D70s 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 D70s and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X Vario gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the D70s can take 500 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3a power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
2.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 140 mm 79 mm 88 mm 635 g 450 Y Jan 2016 2,950i
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
5.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
7.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
8.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
10.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
11.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899i
16.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799i
17.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. 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 X Vario and Nikon D70s sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X Vario offers a higher resolution than the D70s (6MP), but the X Vario has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 7.85μm for the D70s). However, the X Vario is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 1 month) than the D70s, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Leica X Vario implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X Vario for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D70s are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D70s are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

X Vario versus D70s MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the X Vario provides substantially higher image quality than the D70s, with an overall score that is 28 points higher. This advantage is based on 3 bits higher color depth, 2.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
2.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.813.0161480
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
5.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
7.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
8.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
10.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
11.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
12.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
13.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
14.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
15.
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764
16.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
17.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
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 X Vario indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D70s does not. The highest resolution format that the X Vario can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D70s has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X Vario relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X Vario can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X Vario and Nikon D70s in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s n Y
5.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s n n
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D5300optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
17.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The X Vario writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D70s uses Compact Flash cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 X Vario (Typ 107) and Nikon D70s and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 113Ystereo / mono---2.0---
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
6.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon DfY- / ---mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereo / mono---2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D5300Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
11.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
15.
 
Panasonic FZ1000Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Ricoh GRYmono / mono--micro2.0---
17.
 
Sony RX1RYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Both the X Vario and the D70s have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70s was replaced by the Nikon D80, while the X Vario does not have a direct successor. 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X Vario and the Nikon D70s? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 6MP) with a 64% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (28 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2.4 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • 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 (920k vs 130k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D70s requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (133x73mm vs 140x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D70s launch.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Nikon D70s:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 450) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2005).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X Vario is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 5 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.

X Vario 13:05 D70s

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X Vario and the Nikon D70s place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 X Vario or the D70s 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
2.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
3.
 
Leica X-U Typ 1133.5/5........3.5/5 Jan 2016 2,950i
4.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
5.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
6.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
7.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
8.
 
Nikon Df4/5....81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
9.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+..75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
10.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
11.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
12.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ10004/5+ +..82/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899i
16.
 
Ricoh GR5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
17.
 
Sony RX1R5/5......4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.

Leica X Vario:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D70s:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica X Vario vs Nikon D70s

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica X Vario Nikon D70s
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2013 April 2005
    Launch Price USD 2,850 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Leica X Vario Nikon D70s
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3272 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 50
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.4 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1320 529
    Screen Specs Leica X Vario Nikon D70s
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X Vario Nikon D70s
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica X Vario Nikon D70s
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X Vario Nikon D70s
    Battery Type BP-DC8 EN-EL3a
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 73 x 95 mm
    (5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
    140 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 680 g (24.0 oz) 679 g (24.0 oz)
    Leica X Vario:
    Check Ebay offers
    Nikon D70s:
    Check Ebay offers

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