Leica SL vs Nikon D5

  • Full frame
  • 24 megapixels
  • Leica T
  • 55
    Overall
  • 30
    Imaging
  • 70
    Features
  • 76
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 21 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 50
    Overall
  • 30
    Imaging
  • 63
    Features
  • 65
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Leica SL vs Nikon D5: 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 SL belongs to a Pro Mirrorless category, the other model, Leica SL is a Pro DSLR camera. Leica SL is equipped with a 24.0 MP CMOS sensor, while Nikon D5 comes with a 21.0 MP CMOS sensor.

Both cameras we are going to look at in our overview fall into two different categories - MirrorLess and DSLR. Keeping in mind all the distinctive features of each category, it will be hard to make a detailed comparison of these two models. However, we will do our best to make this review as unbiased and detailed as possible.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Leica SL and Nikon D5 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Leica SL Key Features:

  • 24.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 50 - 50000
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 11.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 4096 x 2160 (24p), 3840 x 2160 (30p), 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60p, 30p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (120p, 60p, 30p, 24p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 147 x 104 x 39 mm
  • Weight: 847 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Also known as Leica Typ 601

Nikon D5 Key Features:

  • 21.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 102400 (Expands to 3280000)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 14.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 4K (UHD) 30p/25p/24p, 1080/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p, 720/60p/50p
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 160 x 158.5 x 92 mm
  • Weight: 1415 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D4s. Compare

Why is Leica SL a better choice than Nikon D5

Gps Built-in vs Optional Has GPS
Sensor Resolution 24.0 MP vs 21.0 MP 12.5% more pixels
Sensor Area 864 mm2 vs 855.62 mm2 1% larger pixel area
Weight 847 g vs 1415 g 568 g lighter
Max Video Resolution 4096 x 2160 vs 3840 x 2160 Higher Resolution Video
Dxo Dynamic Range 13.4 vs 12.3 Better dynamic range
Viewfinder Magnification 0.8 vs 0.72 0.08 better magnification

What are the key reasons to pick Nikon D5 over Leica SL

Continuous Shooting 14 fps vs 11 fps 3 fps faster
Number Of Focus Points 153 vs 49 104 more focus points
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots vs 1,040k dots 55.9% higher resolution screen
Battery Life 3780 shots vs 400 shots 3380 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Color Depth 25.1 vs 25 Better color depth
Dxo Low Light Iso 2434 vs 1821 Better High ISO performance

Key PROs of Leica SL and Nikon D5

Touch Screen Yes | Yes Easy control of camera functions
Screen Size 3″ | 3.2″ Large display
Screen Resolution 1,040k dots | 2,359k dots High resolution screen
Viewfinder Electronic | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Microphone Port Yes | Yes High quality audio recording option
Headphone Port Yes | Yes Better video control
Timelapse Recording Yes | Yes Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 slots | 2 slots Extra Storage Slots
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Continuous Shooting 11.0 fps | 14.0 fps Nice continuous shooting
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions

Key CONs of Leica SL and Nikon D5

Screen Type Fixed Type | Fixed Type No flexible viewing angles
Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Leica SL vs Nikon D5: 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 SL and Nikon D5 from the front view.

Leica SL
Nikon D5
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Leica SL
Nikon D5
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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, Leica SL is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 568g less than the Nikon D5. 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 SL and Nikon D5 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 SL and Nikon D5 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 SL features a 24.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor and boasts of a Maestro II processor . Nikon D5, in its turn, comes with a 21.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Leica SL and Nikon D5 by the size of their sensors.

Leica SL
Nikon D5
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Leica SL and Nikon D5 are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Leica SL and Nikon D5 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 SL and Nikon D5 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 SL Nikon D5
Portrait Photography
97%
94%
Street Photography
87%
79%
Sports Photography
95%
100%
Daily Photography
69%
68%
Landscape Photography
98%
97%

Leica SL for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D5 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (21 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Leica SL for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(36 x 24 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (147 x 104 x 39 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D5 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.8 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (3780 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (160 x 158.5 x 92 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Leica SL for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Continuous Shooting (11.0 fps)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (1821)

Disadvantages:

  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (49)
  • Small battery life (400 shots)

Nikon D5 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Continuous Shooting (14.0 fps)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (153)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (99)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2434)
  • Big battery life (3780 shots)
  • Big size (160 x 158.5 x 92 mm)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Leica SL for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (847 g)
  • Big size (147 x 104 x 39 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D5 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1415 g)
  • Big size (160 x 158.5 x 92 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Leica SL for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (13.4)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (1821)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Nikon D5 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.3)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2434)

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (21 MP)

Comparison of Leica SL vs Nikon D5: 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 SL or Nikon D5, 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 SL and Nikon D5 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Leica SL deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D5. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Leica SL vs Nikon D5 Table Of Technical Specs

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

Leica SL Nikon D5
General
Brand Leica Nikon
Model SL D5
Announced Oct 21, 2015 Jan 05, 2016
Body Type SLR-style mirrorless Large SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 36 x 24 mm 35.8 x 23.9 mm
Sensor Area 864.00 mm2 855.62 mm2
Sensor Resolution 24.0 MP 21.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 5588 x 3712
Max Native ISO 50,000 102,400
Max Boosted ISO n/a 3,280,000
Min Native ISO 50 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Leica T Nikon F
Number of Lenses 3 287
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch Yes No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center Yes Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection No Yes
Number of Focus Points 49 153
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a 99
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fixed Type
Screen Size 3″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 1,040k dots 2,359k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen Yes Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Electronic Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 4,400k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.8 0.72
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 60 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 11.0 fps 14.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Range 0 0
Flash Modes no built-in flash Auto, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing No Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted No No
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 88 88
DxO Color Depth 25.0 25.1
DxO Dynamic Range 13.4 12.3
DxO Low Light ISO 1821 2434
Video Features
Video Resolutions 4096 x 2160 (24p), 3840 x 2160 (30p), 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60p, 30p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (120p, 60p, 30p, 24p) 4K (UHD) 30p/25p/24p, 1080/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p, 720/60p/50p
Max Video Resolution 4096 x 2160 3840 x 2160
Video Formats MPEG-4 MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port Yes Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 3.0 USB 3.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No Yes
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 847 g 1415 g
Physical Dimensions 147 x 104 x 39 mm 160 x 158.5 x 92 mm
Battery Life 400 shots 3780 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model BP-SCL4 EN-EL18a
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS Built-in Optional
Storage Type Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-II supported on slot 1) Dual CompactFlash or dual XQD
Storage Slots 2 2

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