Leica S2 vs Nikon D850

  • Medium format
  • 38 megapixels
  • Fixed lens
  • 56
    Overall
  • 38
    Imaging
  • 11
    Features
  • 68
    Size
  • 100
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 46 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 63
    Overall
  • 46
    Imaging
  • 85
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Leica S2 vs Nikon D850: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to make a detailed comparison of two cameras that fall into different categories. While the first model we are looking at, Leica S2 belongs to a Pro DSLR category, the other model, Leica S2 is a Semi-Pro DSLR camera. Both models feature different types of sensors. Thus, Leica S2 comes with CCD sensor that has a resolution of 38.0 MP resolution, while our second compared model Nikon D850 features a 46.0 MP BSI-CMOS sensor.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Leica S2 and Nikon D850 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Leica S2 Key Features:

  • 38.0 MP Medium format CCD sensor
  • ISO 80 - 1250
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 2.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 160 x 120 x 81 mm
  • Weight: 1410 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: No

Nikon D850 Key Features:

  • 46.0 MP Full frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 64 - 25600 (Expands to 32 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 7.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 146 x 124 x 79 mm
  • Weight: 1015 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Nikon D810. Compare

Why is Leica S2 a better choice than Nikon D850

Sensor Area 1350 mm2 vs 858.01 mm2 36.4% larger pixel area
Viewfinder Magnification 0.86 vs 0.75 0.11 better magnification

What are the key reasons to pick Nikon D850 over Leica S2

Wireless Connectivity Built-In vs No Better connectivity
NFC Yes vs No Easy wireless connectivity with compatible devices
Bluetooth Yes vs No Connect your camera to other devices via Bluetooth
Timelapse Recording Yes vs No Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 46.0 MP vs 38.0 MP 17.4% more pixels
Continuous Shooting 7 fps vs 2 fps 5 fps faster
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes vs No Very handy for portraits
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots vs 460k dots 80.5% higher resolution screen
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Battery Life 1840 shots vs 1000 shots 840 more frames with a single charge
Weight 1015 g vs 1410 g 395 g lighter
Environmental Sealing Yes vs No Shoot at tough conditions
Dxo Color Depth 26.4 vs 23.9 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.8 vs 12.2 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2660 vs 824 Better High ISO performance

Key PROs of Leica S2 and Nikon D850

Screen Size 3″ | 3.2″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Sensor Resolution 38.0 MP | 46.0 MP Bigger prints and more details
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Battery Life 1000 shots | 1840 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Leica S2 and Nikon D850

Continuous Shooting 2.0 fps | 7.0 fps Low continuous shooting
Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Leica S2 vs Nikon D850: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Leica S2 and Nikon D850 from the front view.

Leica S2
Nikon D850
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Leica S2
Nikon D850
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D850 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 395g less than the Leica S2. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Comparing Leica S2 and Nikon D850 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Leica S2 and Nikon D850 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Leica S2 features a 38.0 MP Medium format sized CCD sensor . Nikon D850, in its turn, comes with a 46.0 MP Full frame sized BSI-CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Leica S2 and Nikon D850 by the size of their sensors.

Leica S2
Nikon D850
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Leica S2 has a sensor area 0.6x bigger compared to Nikon D850. What does it mean? This basically means that if you these cameras them with the same aperture and focal length, the first model will give you more control in terms of the blurry background and depth of field.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Leica S2 and Nikon D850 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Leica S2 and Nikon D850 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Leica S2 Nikon D850
Portrait Photography
90%
94%
Street Photography
84%
88%
Sports Photography
71%
99%
Daily Photography
96%
68%
Landscape Photography
91%
100%

Leica S2 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Medium format (45 x 30 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (38 MP)

Disadvantages:

  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D850 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (46 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Leica S2 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Large Medium format(45 x 30 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1000 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (160 x 120 x 81 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D850 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1840 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Leica S2 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (160 x 120 x 81 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (2.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (824)

Nikon D850 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (153)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (99)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2660)
  • Big battery life (1840 shots)
  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (7.0 fps)

Leica S2 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Medium format (45 x 30 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1410 g)
  • Big size (160 x 120 x 81 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash
  • Video is not available

Nikon D850 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1015 g)
  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Leica S2 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Medium format (45 x 30 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (38 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.2)
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (824)

Nikon D850 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (46 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2660)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Comparison of Leica S2 vs Nikon D850: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Leica S2 or Nikon D850, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Leica S2 and Nikon D850 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D850 deserves a higher Total Score than the Leica S2. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Leica S2 vs Nikon D850 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Leica S2 Nikon D850
General
Brand Leica Nikon
Model S2 D850
Announced Sep 23, 2008 Aug 24, 2017
Body Type Large SLR" Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CCD BSI-CMOS
Sensor Size Medium format Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 45 x 30 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
Sensor Area 1350.00 mm2 858.01 mm2
Sensor Resolution 38.0 MP 46.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 7500 x 5000 8256 x 5504
Max Native ISO 1,250 25,600
Max Boosted ISO n/a 102,400
Min Native ISO 80 64
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Fixed lens Nikon F
Number of Lenses 0 287
Focal Length Multiplier x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No Yes
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No Yes
AF Selective No Yes
AF Center No Yes
AF Multi Area No Yes
AF Live View No Yes
AF Face Detection No Yes
AF Contrast Detection No Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points n/a 153
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a 99
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Tilting
Screen Size 3″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 460k dots 2,359k dots
Live View No Yes
Touch Screen No Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 96% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.86 0.75
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 32 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 2.0 fps 7.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance No Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Range 0 0
Flash Modes no built-in flash Front-curtain sync (normal), Rear-curtain sync, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction with slow sync, Slow sync
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing No Yes
WB Bracketing No Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No Yes
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No Yes
AF-Area No Yes
Center Weighted Yes Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 76 100
DxO Color Depth 23.9 26.4
DxO Dynamic Range 12.2 14.8
DxO Low Light ISO 824 2660
Video Features
Video Resolutions n/a 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Max Video Resolution 3840 x 2160
Video Formats n/a MPEG-4
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 3.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 1410 g 1015 g
Physical Dimensions 160 x 120 x 81 mm 146 x 124 x 79 mm
Battery Life 1000 shots 1840 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model n/a EN-EL15a
Other Features
Self Timer No Yes
Timelapse Recording No Yes
GPS
Storage Type n/a SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported) + XQD
Storage Slots 1 2

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