Nikon vs Leica images - the "Leica look" vs Nikon

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by roger_s, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. A few days ago, I posted on the digital camera forum here about why I felt justified spending more to get a Leica D-Lux 5,

    and, for the most part, I was slammed for having more money than common sense for getting a camera which is ostensibly a Leica-rebranded Panasonic Lumix LX5.

    So I had a simple shootout between my Nikon D300, 16-85 DX and the Leica D-Lux 5. Nothing too complex.

    Here's how I tried to create a level playing field:

    - Nikon at widest zoom setting of 16 mm, equivalent to 24mm FX versus Leica at widest zoom setting also equivalent to 24mm FX.

    - both lenses set at one stop below widest, hence Nikon at f5, versus Leica at f2.8

    - both set at Aperture Priority mode

    - both set for Deep Shade color balance

    - both focused on the left-hand side of the large green bush

    I attach 3 photos, and you should be able to tell which by my description.

    1) Nikon JPEG, no post processing except slight sharpening. I consider a sharpened Nikon JPEG to be a level playing field compared to an unsharpened Leica JPEG because Nikon JPEGs are reputed to be slightly soft, as I've heard.
    2) Leica D-Lux 5, darkening to match Nikon image, and extra saturation to try to match Nikon's green in the grass lawn.
    3) Leica D-Lux 5, no post processing

    The Nikon D300's color seemed almost artificial and heavy. Look at the part underneath the large tree - it is virtually dumped into black. Look at the other dark areas - underneath the left tree, and underneath the central bush. Whereas in the Leica image you can make out shadow detail in those same areas.

    For me, the Leica with saturation post-processing captures the ambient light that I saw when standing in the garden, whereas the Nikon seems ... almost garish. In the dark shade areas in the Leica photo, you can see plenty of shadow detail.

    Sure, with some post processing of RAW Nikon files, I'm sure you could draw out the shadow detail - but this quick test compares the Nikon vs Leica JPEGs using the barest amount of post-processing.

    I've had a series of Nikon DSLRs from the D70, D80 and D300 - am have been accustomed to seeing that sort of color, but now that I've seen the Leica colors, I don't think I can go back to using the D300.
  2. Here is the slightly post-processed Leica D-Lux 5 image. Remember this is from a pocket camera with far smaller sensor.
  3. Here is the Leica image without any post-processing straight out of the camera.
  4. Not really a scene that asks any DSLR capabilities, so the downside of the small sensor will not be too apparent like this. As for the colours, it's a point of personal preference, I guess. So what is there to discuss here? If you cannot go back to a D300, by all means, starting saving for a M9, I am sure that will blow your socks off.
    I shoot RAW anyway, so I do not really see the point. Handling of most compact cameras to me is such a nuisance that I'll already prefer my DSLR just for those reasons alone.
  5. I have several camera bodies, from small to large (in both body size and sensor size) and enjoy all of them. Each has areas where it excels. IQ (in good light) is never an issue with any of them. I briefly owned a Lumix 16x P&S - IQ, as with your camera, was absolutely excellent.
    With regard to color only: your unprocessed Leica image has less color than the Nikon image. The Nikon image has more detail when put under the microscope. The Leica image appears to be sharper than the Nikon which is probably due to its smaller sensor/much larger DOF (typical for small sensor cameras). Colors can be adjusted through picture controls in-camera or during post processing. In the end, both images can be made to look pretty much identical color and exposure wise. I find I get more natural looking colors, especially greens, when I shoot with aRGB with my Nikon bodies. Try it - you may find the colors more appealing. If you are not getting the color saturation you want, try adjusting the saturation a bit.
  6. dude, get over it. it's a panasonic.
    also, you're comparing a slightly-processed DSLR shot with a heavily processed P&S shot. proof that the mind can fool the eyes into thinking anything it wants. IMO, the nikon shot has better colors compared to the unprocessed LX5+red dot shot, er, i mean D-Lux5 shot. the comparison is pointless. however, you could redeem yourself by donating your unused nikon gear to a local high school.
  7. Leica: 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 100
    Nikon: 1/60s, f/5, ISO 200 - so at ISO 100 this would be 1/30s, f/5 which is equivalent to 1/50s at f/4 - a full stop under the Leica exposure
    Or alternatively for the Leica: 1/100s, f/2.8, ISO 200 which is equivalent to 1/30s at f/5 - a full stop over the Nikon exposure.
    You are comparing to images whose exposure is a full stop apart - with the Leica image tending toward over-exposure and the Nikon image tending towards underexposure and wonder about color differences and less shadow detail in the underexposed image (or about more shadow detail in an overexposed one)?
    I am also wondering if the Leica applies some "lifting" of the shadows by default, similar to Nikon's Active D-Lighting?
    Though the images as presented don't allow to draw conclusions about this anyway - due to their difference in exposure.
    PS: since you cannot go back to using the Nikon, would you mind packing it and shipping it to me? I take whatever lens you want to include as well.
  8. They probably both look great and will make you happy with prints.
    You got a camera that makes you happy. That's awesome.
  9. You got a camera that makes you happy. That's awesome.​
    That's the most important thing.
  10. At a first sight my sister`s Leicasonic pics were more pleasant to my taste than those on my own D200 (or it was D300?). One day I copied a pair of them to my computer to see the reason... no way. It was only matter of settings.
    I`m a bit dense today to translate my thoughts but format differences related to DoF should be compared taking lens`aperture into account. Needless to say about tripod, mirror, etc., etc.
    The Leica look... I like it. When I want it I use my Nikon gear instead of Leica. My 35/1.4 Nikkor have more "Leica glow" than my modern Summicrons.
  11. BTW, there is a comment from the other thread that I like...
    "... I like the more plain appearance of the Leica branded camera better, and I enjoy having the red dot." Michael J Hoffman​
    Me too, sincerely.
  12. Part of being a photographer is looking cool. I have to admit that having nice leica hanging around my neck would look a lot cooler than my beat up and duct-taped D300, especially when I am shooting at the Calatrava where people come from all over the world to ooh and ahh over the architecture. Even the security guards there seem to be more deferential to Leica owners, although it could be my slovenly appearance and not my hacked up camera that makes them appear to disdain me.
  13. I am lost...can somebody explain?...what is the point of comparing dull, boring, untalented images???
  14. Arnulfo, this thread isn't about photos, it's about cameras. It's also apparently the second one of this thread.
    And I'd like to point out that there is something people refer to as the "Leica look" but it's caused by lenses, not the JPG processor, and the image posted does not appear to have any.
    To the OP, stop taking photos in your front yard and talking about your cameras on the internet and just go shoot some photos!
  15. I'm still as mystified as I was at your previous post: Why would anyone (other than a photojournalist) who cares about
    photography want in-camera-processed JPEGs?

    Both cameras are at their best shooting raw so you can process the image properly, using the right tools.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As they say, money cannot buy happiness, but if owning a Leica makes you happy, even though it might be just for a short while, I think it is worth it. In particular, a digicam is not that expensive. It is not like the OP is pouring multi-thousand dollars on some M body and lenses.
  17. I have never heard about this Leica before since I do not follow the point and shoot models however it looks like a very nice camera, well laid out and with a sensible focal range and pretty fast lens for a P&S camera. I would think it should prove to be a real nice camera and I understand Leica is great about repairs on their camera's. I do not think the cost is to much for a long term camera such as this. I did not view the photos as they are pretty large but I believe the camera will take great pictures. I think I will check it out for a possible purchase for my own use. It seems like it would be a great travel camera. I would not shoot it in RAW however. I would want a camera that produces nice images straight up as I would rather not have to photoshop pictures all the time.
  18. Roger,
    I'm not surprised by your findings. Most of casual family/vacation photographers are better off using good p/s compacts instead of a DSLRs. Getting superior results from a DSLR requires knowledge and effort and few more things. Too many people are getting DSLRs instead of o good compacts expecting "the" camera by itself will take better pictures. Don't go back to the d300, use your Leica and be happy.
  19. Shoot in low light with the Pan. . .er..Leica and compare the results to the image from a D300 shot in the same light. There is no comparison. The smaller sensor simply cannot handle that sort of situation as well as a DSLR --any brand--can. If you are willing to trade quality of smaller size and weight the Pan. . .er..Leica may be just the ticket. If that is your only criteria you might want to check out the IPhone. It's even smaller.
  20. To really achieve the Leica look it is important to always wear a tie when shooting. Also I believe your images will become more distinct if you rub a fine grade sandpaper on the lens. The look will become so distinct that you won't have to bother with good lighting, composition, or the emotional quality of your subjects - Now thats a Leica! To achieve the sort of color that is Leica Vision try using any type of color sharpie.
    In all seriousness, I love my LX3 for it being very capable and ability to shoot RAW. After shooting RAW I can adjust my contrast and color to be perfect. Still if I had to choose, I'd take the Nikon.
    Don't forget the sandpaper!
  21. Do what makes YOU happy - Forget brand names and choose the hardware that works best for you. Nikon, Canon, Leica, Panasonic are all superb cameras and in the proper hands will take superb photos. I never could understand the splitting of hairs when it comes to evaluating photos. I have seen unbelievably beautiful shots from a $100 point and shoot in the hands of someone that knows how to use it. If you like the 'look' of the Leica (aka Panasonic), then go for it and be happy.
    Have fun!
  22. Hi Roger! I'm the obnoxious guy. WHERE ARE YOUR PICTURES? The above waste-of-bandwidth shots all look like snapshots of a front lawn with a hose on it. No mystical qualities at all. Show me some evidence that you know about photography.
  23. I was slammed for having more money than common sense for getting a camera which is ostensibly a Leica-rebranded Panasonic Lumix LX5.

    So I had a simple shootout between my Nikon D300, 16-85 DX and the Leica D-Lux 5. Nothing too complex.​
    That makes absolutely no sense. The answer to the Panasonic vs. Leica comment is to do a Panasonic vs. Leica shoot. The Nikon vs. Leica is meaningless in that context.
  24. I am not sure what qualities as an acceptable scene or subject for a test shot, but I do know that no matter what use for a test subject, it is never the right one either!!!
    Charles, I always test my new cameras regardless of make (including Nikon) or type to the current Nikon bodies I own because I know what results they give me. So what.
    For anyone interested, here is an interesting review on the Leica (there are numerous on the web, and they all seem to be favorable):
    Seems like a pretty cool and capable camera. And while it is based on a Lumix model, it is not identical and comes with a 3 year warranty and Adobe Lightroom amongst other things. IQ at higher ISOs appears to be pretty darn good too!
    I don't recall reading that the OP traded in his Nikon DSLR for this body - looks like he is adding this to his collection. I think that is a great idea!
  25. I'd suggest that if you want the "real" leica experience--get yourself an M9 and 0.95 Noctilux.
    Then you get to see some real bokeh...:) :)
  26. How do focus something with only a .95 f-stop on a full frame sensor? My god thatt has to be an exercise in patience. I know I would be constantly going in and out of focus. But then again, I am yet to try rangefinder focusing, can you loan me an M9 so I can try it? Please?
  27. I think d300 is quiet good.I know Leica is actually a very good camera but somehow I have never been able to use it as comfortably as Nikon.
  28. Here are my 2 cents! When people here post a critique or advice about anything and they don't even have 1 image in their gallery to show everyone what kind of photographer they are I usually find it a bit weird. I also find it weird that if they do have a gallery and they claim to be a Leica owner most if not all their images are made with another camera. Not to say that there are numerous amazing photographers on here that don't like to post their images but for the most part they show nothing to be judged by. I can't speak too broadly myself, i only have a handful of black and white images here in my "free" gallery but that's basically because I'm too cheap to pay for the yearly membership. Perhaps this year I will! I also shoot more people and products than scenery so I have to be careful with model releases and product liability.
    Please no bashing, it's only 2 cents worth.
  29. If you want to get rid of your DSLR's and lenses for a point&shoot then be my guest, and while your at it why not also trade in your Porsche 911 for a Ford Focus!
  30. Ford Focus.... Auto or manual?
  31. I second Charles suggestion. Compare the D-Lux5 with the LX5. Both are made in Japan on the same assembly line.
    The Leica X1 is a neat little camera, although for half the price and 3 times the cache, I would definitely go with the soon to be released Fuji X100.
  32. Evening everyone. Can't believe what I was reading!? The comparison it's so absurd, that I'm surprised it has so many replies. What's next? Nokia N8 versus Nikon D3? What can I say... some people have the cameras they deserve...
  33. I would buy a Ford Focus before a Porsche. I guess if I could afford a hobby car I would like an one of those old Turtle back Porsches. I see them driving around every Sunday. Rich old guys headed out to breadfast at San Juan Oaks Golf Course. However with kids in college I definately would go for the Ford Focus.
  34. dude, get over it. it's a panasonic.​
    Glad someone said this. I don't know why the OP is posting this question in a Nikon forum. Lately so many people have come to the Nikon forum with "Nikon vs. Canon" and now this "Why I feel justified for spending too much money on a Panasonic with the word LUMIX crossed out and LEICA written in crayon".
    Really people, get over it. Leica was king with rangefinder film bodies. But any fool knows a Leica digital camera is merely a Panasonic with a fancy badge.
    Just as the Leica SLR bodies were mostly made by Minolta...
    As Shun said, if it makes you happy to buy a Leica, go right ahead, all the power to you...
  35. I don't like either picture.
    There, I said it.
    The Leica shot has more contrast, saturation, and 'pop', but still looks much flatter. Which is what we would expect from a point and shoot. The Nikon shot lacks sharpness. Which is what we would expect from a 16-85 shot on the wide end without stopping down.
    If these were the photos the manufacturers used to promote their products, I wouldn't buy either camera.
    I believe that the Leica is an awesome camera. A friend has the last generation superzoom Leica, and it's much better than what Canon and Nikon put out last year. But if you're looking for validation from the forum, you'll need to shoot some better photos.
  36. When I took her photograph yesterday I heard "Leica" but her real name is "Leika" :)
  37. Roger, it can be hard to post images that look good on everyone's monitor. So some may see the image a little different than others. I ran into that problem a while back. I know Leica's old film camera's are supposed to be great. I don't know about their digital ones. It may be Panasonic trying to paste a Leica name on its product to make more money. I'm thiking of buying one of their old film ones from
  38. If you'd like to post 700-pixels-on-the-long-side versions of your photos, I'll be happy to take a look. I don't feel like downloading megabytes of data.
  39. Evening everyone. Can't believe what I was reading!? The comparison it's so absurd, that I'm surprised it has so many replies.​
    It's called trolling.
  40. "It's called trolling."​
    In my day trolling meant something... what it meant, I can't remember. But it was before the internet was tubes, when we had it trucked in. This isn't trolling. No self respecting troll ever bites his own bait.
    I believe Roger is sincere. It's his money and if he's happy with his choice and prefers a camera that delivers satisfactory JPEGs without further editing, that's okay with me. That's just the sort of P&S digicam I'd like... with an f/2.8 or faster midrange zoom... for $500 or less. It probably won't have a red dot on it.
  41. Of course there are a lot of replies. We are all addicted to photo forums, including Andy, who told the poster to get out and shoot rather than write about it. Andy needs to take his own advice.
  42. honestly, while i can see some differences between the two images, not sure which one is "better". the important point is that you are happy with the so-called "leica" look and have deep pockets. like dieter, i too would be happy to receive your nikon equipment if you no longer use it. besides, i do believe there's something called the "nikon look"
  43. LOL, David - I've been stuck at my desk and looking for procrastination opportunities :) But I just finished what I was working on and I'm heading out to visit family, and I'll take a Nikon with me.
  44. LOL, 42 responses...
    i kind of feel sorry for roger who did bait his own hook. the thing is this: a DLux5 or LX5 is a nice camera. no, it's not a DSLR. But it can take nice pictures and in some situations, may be preferable to a DSLR. that's about it.
  45. This is an argument that would just go on and on. Why can't we just agree on beauty being subjective?
  46. Andy, it was all in good fun, good shooting.
  47. Do what makes YOU happy - Forget brand names​
    I don't think the second part is consistent, in this instance, with the good advice of the first part.
  48. I'm going for "Leica look" myself. I will be wearing : khaki safari vest, australian outback leather hat, oversized above knee shorts and white velcro strap sneakers with matching knee high socks. If I have any money left I may even buy a camera to complete my outfit.
  49. Thomas, that sounds more like the Canon look. I always thought of this or perhaps this as the typical Leica look. And this is the typical Pentax look.
    This is closer to the typical Nikon look. We have a better sense of humor.
  50. Charles B +1. The test photos do not validate his Leica vs Panasonic decision
    I don't believe the OP is trolling. I believe he has some valid points if I remember his 1st 2 threads properly. I believe the camera bundled with the extra warranty and software is worth a premium. I'm doing this all by memory, but I believe the Panasonic was valued around $400 US. It's an $80 - $100 extra to get 2 yrs extended warranty (total 3 yrs) on a laptop computer in that price range. Plus, the Leica came with LR3 - a $250 value. So take the Panasonic + extra warranty + LR 3 and we're at $750 or so compared with the Leica version at $800.
    No big deal. $50 extra for the 'Leica' experience.
    Roger S - Enjoy your Leica.
  51. No big deal. $50 extra for the 'Leica' experience.​
    Okay, but I still fail to see the 'Leica experience' here. This is a Panasonic-manufactured camera. Not even exclusively manufactured since Panasonic sells the very same product under its own brand.
    Don't get me wrong, I like Leicas. The real ones that is.
  52. There's something fishy here, the two images are exactly the same, not a leaf moves between them nor does a single pixel shift when comparing the two. What's with that? It would be impossible to frame the shots from two different cameras with different lenses etc. exactly the same without any change in distortion, slightly different focal length lenses, etc. ????
  53. I stumbled upon this thread today at work, so I'll read it on the way home tonight, but I want to second Mark L C above.
    I bought the Leica D-Lux5 instead of the Panasonic version mainly because I got a full version of LR3 (Which I intended to buy anyway) in the package. The very small premium of USD 40-50 was financed by not visiting the local waterhole the following Saturday - which was not that much of a sacrifice... And I am a cheapskate ;)
  54. Could Roger really be Ken Rockwell just pulling our collective legs?
  55. Could be, James, could be.​
    Ummmm... ummmmmm... WTH.
  56. The Leica shot looks better to me. It has a great JPEG processing engine. I don't see anything wrong with using JPEG's straight out of the camera.
  57. Leica is Better than nikon?... YES it is true
    ... i am going to throw my D300s and get Leica one
  58. I have a question please , is there anyone who can modify a Nikon DSLR to so the camera can operate a Leica lens aperture please. Perhaps a D3X body, I am aware Leitax has adaptors. I am not familiar with Nikon using a 5DII at present.
    Thank you, Manfred
    Moderator note: Please feel free to start a new thread with your question. This two-year-old thread is unlikely to receive the information you want.

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