Canon 7D vs Leica M10
The Canon EOS 7D and the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and January 2017. The 7D is a DSLR, while the M10 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (7D) and a full frame (M10) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 23.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 7D and the Leica M10 (Typ 3656)? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 7D and the Leica M10 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M10 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 7D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M10 is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon 7D. Moreover, the M10 is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the 7D. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (7D) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M10).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|2.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|3.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|4.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|7.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|9.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|10.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|11.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|12.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999|
|13.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|14.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|17.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 7D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 74 percent) than the M10, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 7D features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M10 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M10 is 158 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 23.8MP, the M10 offers a higher resolution than the 7D (17.9MP), but the M10 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 4.31μm for the 7D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M10 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 4 months) than the 7D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M10 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica M10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 29.8 x 20 inches or 75.6 x 50.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23.8 x 16 inches or 60.5 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.8 x 13.3 inches or 50.4 x 33.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 7D are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 7D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) are ISO 100 to ISO 50000 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the M10 offers substantially better image quality than the 7D (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.4 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|3.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|12.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The 7D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M10 does not. The highest resolution format that the 7D can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D and the M10 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the M10 has a higher magnification than the one of the 7D (0.73x vs 0.63x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 7D, the Leica M10, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|2.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|7.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|9.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|13.||Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|14.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|17.||Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 7D has one, while the M10 does not. While the built-in flash of the 7D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Leica M10 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 7D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the M10 uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 7D and Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon T2i||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica M10-P||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|14.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D7000||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M10 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 7D does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 7D (unlike the M10) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The M10 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the 7D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 7D was succeeded by the Canon 7D Mark II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 7D or the Leica M10 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (74 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).
Reasons to prefer the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):
- More detail: Has more megapixels (23.8 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.63x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 920k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 148x111mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 200g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 7D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M10 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 7D or the M10 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|2.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|3.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|4.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|7.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|9.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|10.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|11.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|12.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999|
|13.||Leica M10-P||..||..||3/5||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|14.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|15.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|17.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 7D vs Leica M10
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 7D||Leica M10|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Rangefinder camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2009||January 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 1,699||USD 6,595|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 7D||Leica M10|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||23.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||5952 x 3992 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||6.00 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||2.78 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 50,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4 (Dual)||Maestro II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||86|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.0||24.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||13.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||854||2133|
|Screen Specs||Canon 7D||Leica M10|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 7D||Leica M10|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Manual Focus|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 7D||Leica M10|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||no USB|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 7D||Leica M10|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||210 shots per charge|
148 x 111 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
139 x 80 x 39 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)||660 g (23.3 oz)|
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