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Leica SL2-S vs Nikon D850 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Leica SL2-S

Leica SL2-S camera image

Nikon D850

Nikon D850
Leica SL2-S
Nikon D850
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
December 10, 2020
August 23, 2017
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D850 edges out the Leica SL2-S with a score of 82/100, compared to the SL2-S’s score of 81/100. Both cameras are similar in size, with the SL2-S measuring 146 x 107 x 83mm and the D850 measuring 146 x 124 x 79mm. The SL2-S is slightly lighter, weighing 931g, while the D850 weighs 1005g.

The Leica SL2-S, released in 2020, is a mirrorless camera with a launch price of $4895. The Nikon D850, released in 2017, is a DSLR camera with a lower launch price of $3300. The SL2-S’s mirrorless design allows for a lighter weight and smaller size. However, the D850’s DSLR design offers a more familiar experience for traditional photographers, while providing a better price point.

Considering the scores, the Nikon D850 is slightly better overall, but the Leica SL2-S offers a more compact and lightweight option for those prioritizing portability. Each camera has its advantages, and the choice depends on individual preferences and needs.

Leica SL2-S vs Nikon D850 Overview and Optics

The Leica SL2-S outperforms the Nikon D850 in optics with a score of 85/100 compared to the Nikon’s 79/100. Both cameras share several specifications, such as a CMOS sensor, full-frame sensor size, and a similar processor (Leica’s Maestro III and Nikon’s Expeed 5).

The Leica SL2-S excels with its 20 fps shooting speed, significantly faster than the Nikon D850’s 7 fps. This enables the Leica to capture fast-moving subjects with ease. Additionally, the Leica SL2-S features a Leica L lens mount, offering compatibility with a wide range of high-quality Leica lenses. Most notably, the Leica SL2-S has built-in image stabilization, ensuring steady and sharp images even in challenging shooting conditions.

On the other hand, the Nikon D850 boasts an impressive 45.7 megapixels, nearly double the Leica SL2-S’s 24.6 megapixels. This higher resolution allows for larger prints and greater cropping flexibility. The Nikon D850 also has a higher DXOMARK sensor score of 100, compared to the Leica SL2-S’s 95, indicating better overall sensor performance. However, the Nikon D850 lacks built-in image stabilization, relying on lens-based stabilization instead.

In terms of optics, the Leica SL2-S is the superior choice due to its faster shooting speed, versatile lens mount, and built-in image stabilization. These features make it a more capable camera for a variety of shooting situations. Conversely, the Nikon D850 is a strong contender for photographers who prioritize high-resolution images and have access to stabilized lenses. Ultimately, the decision between these two cameras depends on individual preferences and specific photography needs.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
24.6 MP
45.7 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
6000 x 4000 px
8256 x 5504 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
24 x 36 mm
23.9 x 35.9 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Full Frame
Full Frame
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
20 fps
7 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Leica L
Nikon F FX
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Maestro III
Expeed 5
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
60 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 16000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder Resolution
5,760,000 dots

Leica SL2-S vs Nikon D850 Video Performance

The Leica SL2-S outperforms the Nikon D850 in video capabilities with a score of 83/100 compared to the Nikon D850’s 70/100. Both cameras feature 4K video resolution and built-in time-lapse functionality, providing a solid foundation for professional videography.

The Leica SL2-S excels with a higher maximum video dimension of 4096 x 2160, compared to the Nikon D850’s 3840 x 2160. This difference allows the Leica SL2-S to capture more detail and provide a more immersive viewing experience. Furthermore, the Leica SL2-S has a maximum video frame rate of 60fps, double the Nikon D850’s 30fps. This higher frame rate enables smoother motion capture and the potential for better slow-motion effects.

In contrast, the Nikon D850 does not have any significant advantages in video capabilities over the Leica SL2-S. Its lower score reflects its inferior video dimensions and frame rate, limiting its potential for professional videographers.

Considering these differences, the Leica SL2-S is the clear winner in video performance. Its superior video dimensions and frame rate make it a more versatile and powerful tool for capturing high-quality video content. On the other hand, the Nikon D850 is still a reliable camera for video work, but it falls short when compared to the Leica SL2-S. Therefore, for videographers seeking the best possible video capabilities, the Leica SL2-S is the preferred choice.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
4096 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
60 p
30 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.

Leica SL2-S vs Nikon D850 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D850 outperforms the Leica SL2-S in features, scoring 87/100, while the Leica SL2-S scores 74/100. Both cameras share several specifications, such as a 3.2-inch screen size, the presence of a touchscreen, and the lack of a flip screen. Additionally, neither camera has GPS, but both offer WIFI and Bluetooth capabilities.

The Nikon D850 surpasses the Leica SL2-S in screen resolution, boasting 2,359,000 dots compared to the SL2-S’s 2,100,000 dots. This difference results in a crisper, clearer image on the D850’s screen, providing a better user experience when reviewing photos and navigating menus.

On the other hand, the Leica SL2-S does not have any notable advantages over the Nikon D850 with regard to features. Both cameras share similar specifications, and the D850 excels in screen resolution. The Leica SL2-S’s lower feature score reflects its inability to outshine the D850 in this aspect of comparison.

In terms of features, the Nikon D850 proves to be the superior camera, offering a higher-resolution screen that enhances user experience. The Leica SL2-S, while still a capable camera, does not provide any additional benefits in this comparison. Potential buyers should consider the Nikon D850 for its superior features, while keeping in mind that both cameras offer similar specifications in other aspects. Ultimately, the choice between these two cameras will depend on individual preferences and priorities, but the Nikon D850 stands out as the winner in terms of features.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
2,100,000 dots
2,359,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Leica SL2-S vs Nikon D850 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D850 outperforms the Leica SL2-S in storage and battery with a score of 84/100 compared to the SL2-S’s 73/100. Both cameras have two memory card slots and accept SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. However, the D850 also supports UHS-II compatible SD cards and XQD cards, offering more versatility in storage options.

The D850’s battery life is significantly longer, providing 1840 shots per charge, while the SL2-S delivers 510 shots with its BP-SCL4 battery. This makes the D850 more suitable for extended shooting sessions without needing to recharge or replace batteries.

On the other hand, the SL2-S does offer USB charging, which the D850 lacks. This could be a convenient feature for users who need to charge their camera on the go using power banks or other USB power sources.

Despite the SL2-S’s USB charging advantage, the Nikon D850’s superior storage compatibility and longer battery life make it the better choice in this comparison. The Leica SL2-S still has its merits, but the Nikon D850 excels in providing users with extended shooting capabilities and versatile storage options.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
510 shots
1,840 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
25.2 bits
26.4 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
14.1 EVs
14.8 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'

Alternatives to the Leica SL2-S and Nikon D850

Leica SL2-S vs Nikon D850 Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Leica SL2-S or the Nikon D850:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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