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Canon SX610 vs Leica M9

The Canon PowerShot SX610 HS and the Leica M9 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2015 and September 2009. The SX610 is a fixed lens compact, while the M9 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX610) and a full frame (M9) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 18.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX610
versus
Leica M9
Canon SX610   Leica M9
Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 Leica M mount lenses
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 18.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-2,500
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
105 x 61 x 27 mm, 191 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS and the Leica M9? 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX610 and the Leica M9. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX610 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the M9 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Canon SX610 vs Leica M9
Compare SX610 versus M9 top
Comparison SX610 or M9 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M9 is considerably larger (74 percent) than the Canon SX610. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX610 nor the M9 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX610 has a lens built in, whereas the M9 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the M9 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
2.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
5.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299i
6.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
7.
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
9.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
10.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
11.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
12.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249i
13.
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
14.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
15.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
17.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
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 SX610 was launched at a lower price than the M9, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX610 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Leica M9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M9 is 2986 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the SX610 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the M9 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX610 and Leica M9 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX610 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 18.1 MP of the Leica M9. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 6.91μm for the M9). However, it should be noted that the SX610 is much more recent (by 5 years and 3 months) than the M9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX610 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

SX610 versus M9 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.211.671247
2.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.811.926062
5.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
6.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.780648
7.
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.411.883849
8.
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.811.922761
9.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
10.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
11.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
12.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.011.462045
13.
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
14.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
15.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
17.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SX610 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX610 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the M9 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX610 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX610 and Leica M9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX610none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
2.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX620none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon G5 X2360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX600none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9 Y Y
13.
 
Canon 550Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
14.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
15.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
17.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX610 has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the SX610 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX610 and the M9 write their files to SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 PowerShot SX610 HS and Leica M9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX610-- / ---micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX540-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX620-mono / mono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon G5 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon G9 X-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX600-mono / mono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Canon 550DYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
14.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
15.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereo / mono---2.0---
17.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---

It is notable that the SX610 offers wifi support, while the M9 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the SX610 and the M9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M9 was replaced by the Leica M Typ 240, while the SX610 was followed by the Canon SX620. 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX610 and the Leica M9? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the M9 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (105x61mm vs 139x80mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the M9).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 3 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.

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Advantages of the Leica M9:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with different optics.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX610 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 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.

SX610 13:10 M9

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX610 and the M9 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX610........4/54/5 Jan 2015 249i
2.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..4/575/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +..81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
5.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
6.
 
Canon SX540............ Jan 2016 399 i
7.
 
Canon SX620..........4/5 May 2016 279 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X5/5+ +..78/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
9.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
10.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279i
11.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
12.
 
Canon SX600..+....4/54/5 Jan 2014 249i
13.
 
Canon 550D..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
14.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
15.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
16.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5......4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
17.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX610:
Check Ebay offers
Leica M9:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Canon SX610 vs Leica M9

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX610 Leica M9
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens 25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2015 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Canon SX610 Leica M9
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 18.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5212 x 3472 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 6.91 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 2.09 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 2,500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 69
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 884
    Screen Specs Canon SX610 Leica M9
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX610 Leica M9
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX610 Leica M9
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX610 Leica M9
    Battery Type NB-6LH BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 105 x 61 x 27 mm
    (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 191 g (6.7 oz) 585 g (20.6 oz)

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