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36 Megapixel Shootout: Nikon D800 vs Leica S2

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact me if you have 1/2 day for me to run around with you and your Leica S2 to compare to the Nikon D800, ideally with the Leica S 120mm. Probably will shoot at Purissima Creek.

There is essentially no difference in sensor resolution between the two.

The Leica S2 has a less than state of the art sensor, but the photosites are 51% larger in area. (23% linearly), e.g., the Leica S2 has photosites the size of the 24MP Nikon D3x.

The S2 sensor is a CCD sensor incapable of Live View, which raises a key issue I found and documented when I first reviewed the S2— the S2 resolution was compromised by autofocus error. Perhaps current firmware is better.

It’s high time Leica offered a ~80-megapixel S3, the S lenses are clearly up to the task. One wonders if Leica can find a suitable sensor.

  • Can 2-3 years of sensor development (Nikon D800) equalize the difference in Photosite size?
  • How would the Nikon D800E improve the relative results? (this will have to wait until the D800E ships).
  • Can the best glass available for Nikon (Zeiss 100/2 or Leica 100/2.8) match the none-better Leica S 120/2.5 APO-Macro?

Leica S2:7500 X 5000, 37.5 megapixels, 45 X 30 mm CCD sensor, ISO 80-1250
Nikon D800: 7360 X 4912, 36.3 megapixels, 35.9 X 24 mm CMOS sensor, ISO 50-25600

Two cameras both with ~36 megapixels: Nikon D800/D800E and Leica S2
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