A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Leica X2 vs Nikon D1

The Leica X2 and the Nikon D1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2012 and June 1999. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the D1 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 2.6 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica X2
versus
Nikon D1
Leica X2   Nikon D1
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
16.1 MP – APS-C sensor 2.6 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 6,400)
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
2.7" LCD – 230k dots 2.0" LCD – 120k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g
logo
Check X2 offers at
ebay.com
logo
Check D1 offers at
ebay.com

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica X2 and the Nikon D1. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D1 is only available in black.

Size Leica X2 vs Nikon D1
Compare X2 versus D1 top
Comparison X2 or D1 rear

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 (181 percent) than the Leica X2. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1 is splash and dust-proof, while the X2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

scroll hint
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 X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D1 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499ebay.com
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S 127 mm 74 mm 54 mm 445 g 330 n Jan 2013 1,299ebay.com
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1 117 mm 67 mm 39 mm 330 g 350 n Sep 2013 399ebay.com
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Oct 2013 999ebay.com
6.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
7.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999ebay.com
17.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799ebay.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 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 X2 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica X2 and Nikon D1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the X2 offers a higher resolution of 16.1 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the D1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 146 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the X2 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the X2 is much more recent (by 12 years and 10 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Leica X2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 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 27.6 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 X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. 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 X2 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.

X2 versus D1 MP

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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
2.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.312.5132975
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p23.412.6139076
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.412.6140077
6.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.913.2169081
7.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
9.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
10.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none22.611.8103769
11.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
12.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
13.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
15.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
16.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
17.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
Neither the X2 nor the D1 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.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica X2, the Nikon D1, and comparable cameras.

scroll hint
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 X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D1optical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5/s n n
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S2360 n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1none n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6/s Y n
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E22360 n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
6.
 
Leica TLoptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Leica X1none n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
15.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0/s n n
17.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n3.0 / 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
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 X2 has one, while the D1 does not. While the built-in flash of the X2 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D1 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 X2 and Nikon D1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
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 X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D1Y- / ----FW---
3.
 
Fujifilm X100SYstereo / mono--micro2.0---
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Leica TLYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica X1Y- / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereo / mono---2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D1XY- / ----FW---
17.
 
Ricoh GRYmono / mono--micro2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1 (unlike the X2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the X2 and the D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the X2 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 X2 and the Nikon D1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Leica X2:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 2.6MP) with a 147% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 120k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 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 (124x69mm 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).
  • 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 12 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1:

  • 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 (1/16000s 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 X2 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 8 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

X2 11:08 D1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X2 and the Nikon D1 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X2 or the D1. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

scroll hint
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 X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D1......+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499ebay.com
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S5/5+ +..81/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299ebay.com
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1........4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 399ebay.com
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E24/5....80/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 999ebay.com
6.
 
Leica TL..........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
7.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
8.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X13/5....+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+..75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D1X......+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999ebay.com
17.
 
Ricoh GR5/5....79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

logo
Check X2 offers at
ebay.com
logo
Check D1 offers at
ebay.com

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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

~
    loader

    Specifications: Leica X2 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica X2 Nikon D1
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 June 1999
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 5,499
    Sensor Specs Leica X2 Nikon D1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 2.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 2000 x 1312 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 11.93 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 200 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica X2 Nikon D1
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X2 Nikon D1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica X2 Nikon D1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 X2 Nikon D1
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-DC8 EN-4
    Body Dimensions 124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 345 g (12.2 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)
    logo
    Check X2 offers at
    ebay.com
    logo
    Check D1 offers at
    ebay.com

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Leica X2 vs Nikon D1