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Leica X1 vs Nikon D2Xs

The Leica X1 and the Nikon D2Xs are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and June 2006. The X1 is a fixed lens compact, while the D2Xs is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12.2 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica X1 versus Nikon D2Xs
Leica X1 Nikon D2Xs
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-800 (800 - 3,200)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
260 shots per battery charge3800 shots per battery charge
124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g 158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X1 and the Nikon D2Xs? 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

The physical size and weight of the Leica X1 and the Nikon D2Xs are illustrated 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 X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D2Xs is only available in black.

Size Leica X1 vs Nikon D2Xs
Compare X1 versus D2Xs top
Comparison X1 or D2Xs rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D2Xs is considerably larger (219 percent) than the Leica X1. It is noteworthy in this context that the D2Xs is splash and dust-proof, while the X1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X1 has a lens built in, whereas the D2Xs 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 D2Xs and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X1 gets 260 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the D2Xs can take 3800 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D2Xs 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 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 X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
2.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
3.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark III 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1155 g 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499i
5.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
6.
 
Leica D-LUX Typ 109 118 mm 66 mm 55 mm 405 g 300 n Sep 2014 1,195i
7.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
9.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Sep 2010 699i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 124 mm 80 mm 95 mm 520 g 410 n Sep 2010 849i
12.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
13.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
14.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
15.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
17.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X1 was launched at a lower price than the D2Xs, despite having a lens built in. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D2Xs is 1 percent bigger. 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 X1 and Nikon D2Xs sensor measures

Even though the D2Xs has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12.2 megapixels. This implies that the D2Xs has a lower pixel density and marginally larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 5.51μm for the X1), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the X1 is much more recent (by 3 years and 3 months) than the D2Xs, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Leica X1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D2Xs are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 800-3200.

X1 versus D2Xs MP

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 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 X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
2.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
3.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark III APS-H 10.1 3888 2592none22.711.7107871
5.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
6.
 
Leica D-LUX Typ 109 Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p........
7.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
9.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p........
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
12.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
13.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
14.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
15.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
17.
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
Neither the X1 nor the D2Xs offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D2Xs has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X1 and Nikon D2Xs along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
3.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIoptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n
5.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
6.
 
Leica D-LUX Typ 1092764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 n Y
7.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
9.
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
12.
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
13.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
16.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X1 has one, while the D2Xs does not. While the built-in flash of the X1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The X1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D2Xs uses Compact Flash cards.

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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 X1 and Nikon D2Xs 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIY-----2.0---
5.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
6.
 
Leica D-LUX Typ 109Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D2Xs (unlike the X1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the X1 and the D2Xs have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2Xs was replaced by the Nikon D3X, while the X1 was followed by the Leica X2. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica X1 better than the Nikon D2Xs or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica X1:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D2Xs requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 158x150mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D2Xs).
  • 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 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D2Xs launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D2Xs:

  • 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.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3800 versus 260) 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.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D2Xs emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 8 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 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.

X1 08:10 D2Xs

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X1 and the Nikon D2Xs place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact 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 X1 or the D2Xs. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
2.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699i
3.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark III.......... Feb 2007 4,499i
5.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
6.
 
Leica D-LUX Typ 109......4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,195i
7.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
8.
 
Leica D-LUX 6......4/54/5 Sep 2012 699i
9.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 5......4.5/54/5 Sep 2010 699i
11.
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
12.
 
Nikon D3....+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
13.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
14.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
15.
 
Nikon D2X....+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
16.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
17.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica X1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D2Xs:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica X1 vs Nikon D2Xs

    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 X1 Nikon D2Xs
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2009 June 2006
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 4,699
    Sensor Specs Leica X1 Nikon D2Xs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2856 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 5.52 μm
    Pixel Density 3.30 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 800 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 489
    Screen Specs Leica X1 Nikon D2Xs
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X1 Nikon D2Xs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica X1 Nikon D2Xs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X1 Nikon D2Xs
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-DC8 EN-EL4a
    Battery Life (CIPA)260 shots per charge3800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 60 x 32 mm
    (4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
    158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 306 g (10.8 oz) 1252 g (44.2 oz)

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