Leica X Vario vs Nikon Df
The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2013 and November 2013. The X Vario is a fixed lens compact, while the Df is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X Vario) and a full frame (Df) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.2 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 X Vario (Typ 107) and the Nikon Df? 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 X Vario and the Nikon Df. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is considerably larger (63 percent) than the Leica X Vario. It is noteworthy in this context that the Df is splash and dust-proof, while the X Vario does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 Df 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 Df and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|2.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Leica X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950|
|5.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|6.||Leica T||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|7.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||830 g||360||n||Sep 2014||1,349|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|9.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|10.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|11.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|12.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|13.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|14.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|15.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Notes: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 X Vario features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon Df a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Df is 132 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 16.2MP, the Df offers a higher resolution than the X Vario (16.1MP), but the Df nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 4.80μm for the X Vario) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Df is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the X Vario, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The Leica X Vario (Typ 107) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Df are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the Df offers substantially better image quality than the X Vario (overall score 11 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|2.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|4.||Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|7.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|10.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|11.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|12.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|13.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The X Vario indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the Df does not. The highest resolution format that the X Vario can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the Df 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 Df in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|4.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|7.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||2359||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X Vario has one, while the Df does not. While the built-in flash of the X Vario is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Nikon Df 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 X Vario and the Df write their files to SDXC cards. The Df supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X Vario 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 X Vario (Typ 107) and Nikon Df and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon Df (unlike the X Vario) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the X Vario and the Df have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Leica and Nikon. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X Vario and the Nikon Df? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica X Vario (Typ 107):
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the Df requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x73mm vs 144x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the Df).
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2013).
Advantages of the Nikon Df:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1400 versus 450) out of a single battery charge.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Df is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 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 X Vario and the Nikon Df 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X Vario or the Df. 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 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], 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 X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|2.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Leica X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|5.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|6.||Leica T||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|7.||Leica V-LUX Typ 114||..||..||..||..||5/5||Sep 2014||1,349|
|8.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|9.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|10.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|11.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|12.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|13.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|14.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|15.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica X Vario vs Nikon Df
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 X Vario||Nikon Df|
|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||November 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 2,850||USD 2,749|
|Sensor Specs||Leica X Vario||Nikon Df|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.1 Megapixels||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3272 pixels||4928 x 3280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.35 MP/cm2||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,500 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||24.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1320||3279|
|Screen Specs||Leica X Vario||Nikon Df|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica X Vario||Nikon Df|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica X Vario||Nikon Df|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica X Vario||Nikon Df|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||450 shots per charge||1400 shots per charge|
133 x 73 x 95 mm
(5.2 x 2.9 x 3.7 in)
144 x 110 x 67 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||760 g (26.8 oz)|
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