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Leica X2 vs Nikon D70

The Leica X2 and the Nikon D70 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2012 and January 2004. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the D70 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 X2
versus
Nikon D70
Leica X2   Nikon D70
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
16.1 MP – APS-C sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 200-1,600
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
2.7" LCD – 230k dots 1.8" 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 charge400 shots per battery charge
124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g 140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 and the Nikon D70? 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 D70 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D70 is only available in black.

Size Leica X2 vs Nikon D70
Compare X2 versus D70 top
Comparison X2 or D70 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D70 is considerably larger (82 percent) than the Leica X2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X2 nor the D70 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 D70 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 D70 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X2 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the D70 can take 400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3 power pack.

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

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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 1,995ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899ebay.com
4.
 
Fujifilm X100S 127 mm 74 mm 54 mm 445 g 330 n Jan 2013 1,299ebay.com
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A1 117 mm 67 mm 39 mm 330 g 350 n Sep 2013 399ebay.com
6.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Oct 2013 999ebay.com
7.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
8.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
11.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999ebay.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 obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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. 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. 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 more expensive and 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 D70 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 6 MP of the D70. This megapixels advantage translates into a 64 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 7.85μm for the D70). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the X2 is much more recent (by 8 years and 3 months) than the D70, 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 D70 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 X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D70 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the X2 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D70 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 D70 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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 3264none23.212.4127574
2.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
3.
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
4.
 
Fujifilm X100S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.312.5132975
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p23.412.6139076
6.
 
Fujifilm X-E2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p23.412.6140077
7.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.913.2169081
8.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
9.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
10.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
11.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none22.611.8103769
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
13.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
14.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
15.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
16.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.49.939448
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 D70 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

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D70 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X2 and Nikon D70 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 X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
4.
 
Fujifilm X100S2360 n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A1none n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6/s Y n
6.
 
Fujifilm X-E22360 n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica TLoptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Leica X1none n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D100optical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y 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.

The X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D70 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 D70 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 X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
3.
 
Canon RebelY- / ----1.1---
4.
 
Fujifilm X100SYstereo / mono--micro2.0---
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Fujifilm X-E2Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Leica TLYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
9.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica X1Y- / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereo / mono---2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D100Y- / ----1.1---
17.
 
Ricoh GRYmono / mono--micro2.0---

Both the X2 and the D70 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s, 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X2 and the Nikon D70? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Leica X2:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 6MP) with a 64% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k 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 D70 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 140x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D70).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D70:

  • 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.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2004).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X2 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 4 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 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.

X2 11:04 D70

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X2 and the Nikon D70 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X2 and the D70 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

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.

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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 X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899ebay.com
4.
 
Fujifilm X100S5/5+ +..81/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 1,299ebay.com
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A1........4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 399ebay.com
6.
 
Fujifilm X-E24/5....80/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 999ebay.com
7.
 
Leica TL..........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
8.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
10.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
11.
 
Leica X13/5....+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+..75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D100......+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999ebay.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 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 D70

    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 D70
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 January 2004
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Leica X2 Nikon D70
    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 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 1.63 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
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 50
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 529
    Screen Specs Leica X2 Nikon D70
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 130k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X2 Nikon D70
    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 SDHC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica X2 Nikon D70
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 1.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X2 Nikon D70
    Battery Type BP-DC8 EN-EL3
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    140 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 345 g (12.2 oz) 679 g (24.0 oz)
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