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Leica X2 vs Nikon D5100

The Leica X2 and the Nikon D5100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2012 and April 2011. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the D5100 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 16.1 megapixels.

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 D5100
Leica X2 Nikon D5100
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge660 shots per battery charge
124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g 128 x 97 x 79 mm, 560 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 and the Nikon D5100? 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 X2 and the Nikon D5100 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D5100 is only available in black.

Size Leica X2 vs Nikon D5100
Compare X2 versus D5100 top
Comparison X2 or D5100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5100 is considerably larger (45 percent) than the Leica X2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X2 nor the D5100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the D5100 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 D5100 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X2 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the D5100 can take 660 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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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 X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
2.
 
Nikon D5100 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749i
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S 127 mm 74 mm 54 mm 445 g 330 n Jan 2013 1,299i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1 117 mm 67 mm 39 mm 330 g 350 n Sep 2013 399i
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Oct 2013 999i
6.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
7.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
9.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
10.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
11.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
13.
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
14.
 
Nikon D5200 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749i
15.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
16.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
17.
 
Ricoh GR 117 mm 61 mm 35 mm 245 g 290 n Apr 2013 799i
Notes: 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.

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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. 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.

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 X2 and Nikon D5100 sensor measures

Even though the D5100 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 16.1 megapixels. This implies that the D5100 has a lower pixel density and marginally larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 4.79μm for the X2), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the X2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the D5100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

X2 versus D5100 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 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 X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
2.
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
6.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
7.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
9.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
10.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
11.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
13.
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
14.
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
15.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
16.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
17.
 
Ricoh GR APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.597278

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D5100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5100 can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D5100 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X2 and Nikon D5100 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 X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E22360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
6.
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon D5200optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
17.
 
Ricoh GRoptional n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
The D5100 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the X2 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Nikon D5100 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.

The X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D5100 uses SDXC cards. The D5100 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X2 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 X2 and Nikon D5100 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 X2Y----mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Fujifilm X100SYstereomono--micro2.0---
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E2YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
14.
 
Nikon D5200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Ricoh GRYmonomono--micro2.0---

Both the X2 and the D5100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5100 was replaced by the Nikon D5200, 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X2 or the Nikon D5100 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica X2:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D5100 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 128x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D5100).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the D5100).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5100:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k 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 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 (660 versus 450) out of a single battery charge.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2011).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5100 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 6 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 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 06:12 D5100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X2 and the Nikon D5100 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 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 X2 or the D5100. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
2.
 
Nikon D51005/5+ +76/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749i
3.
 
Fujifilm X100S5/5+ +81/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A1......4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 399i
5.
 
Fujifilm X-E24/5..80/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 999i
6.
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
7.
 
Leica T3/5....4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
8.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
9.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
10.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
11.
 
Nikon D56004/5..79/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
13.
 
Nikon D53004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
14.
 
Nikon D52004/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
15.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
16.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
17.
 
Ricoh GR5/5..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 799i
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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D5100:
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica X2 vs Nikon D5100

    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 D5100
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 April 2011
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Leica X2 Nikon D5100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 4.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1183
    Screen Specs Leica X2 Nikon D5100
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X2 Nikon D5100
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Leica X2 Nikon D5100
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X2 Nikon D5100
    Battery Type BP-DC8 EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge660 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    128 x 97 x 79 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 345 g (12.2 oz) 560 g (19.8 oz)

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

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