Leica X1 vs. Nikon D300s ISO comparison

Leica X1 has a 12.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor and I wanted to compare its ISO performance to a APS-C type DSLR camera. I chose the Nikon D300s because both cameras were announced around the same time back in 2009 (the ISO of the latest Nikon D7000 goes up to 25,600). About the test:

  • All images are 100% crops taken at f/2.8 (I used the Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 lens on the D300s which on a DX sensor equals aprox. 35mm).
  • The native ISO range of the D300s is 200-3200 (the camera has also Lo-1 ISO 100 and Hi-1 ISO 6400 settings)
  • The native ISO range of the X1 is 100-3200.
  • The high ISO performance seems to be identical for both cameras.
  • Leica X1 has an advantage at its native ISO 100.

Images after the break:

Nikon D300s Leica X1

ISO 160 (Lo 0.3)

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 3200

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  • mister le

    nicely done.

  • Same

    Aren’t they pretty much the same sensor? (I do not mean in size I mean literally didn’t like choose that sensor to put in the X1)

  • Nobody Special

    So it looks like the X1 images are ‘better’, and I’m assuming both were mounted on tripods. yes?

    The real advantage is the X1 physical size, which is rather bizarre to have such a huge difference – even given the cameras are completely opposite in terms of design, finction/capability. ‘If’ the X1 had lens interchangeability then they’d really have something, but it doesn’t. I’d like to see the difference between the D7000, which for me is really tempting, against the X1.

  • Dan Chip

    X1 FTW!

  • They look pretty similar to me. The D300s is not as good as I thought though 🙁

  • jerl

    They look essentially the same to me- the noise seems to stick out a bit more on the D300s, but the colors are more saturated. Once you equalize the two, I think they should look the same.

    Not unexpected since similar sized sensors of the same generation usually perform about the same.

  • It’s like comparing apples and oranges unless the lenses have parity.

  • You haven’t said whether these are JPEGs out of camera or converted from RAW. Also there’s obvious noise reduction going on… let’s hope that they’re at least in equal amounts.

    Also, you can’t compare noise without considering detail.

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