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Canon SX620 vs Leica M9

The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS and the Leica M9 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2016 and September 2009. The SX620 is a fixed lens compact, while the M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX620) 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 SX620
versus
Leica M9
Canon SX620   Leica M9
Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
25-625mm f/3.2-6.6 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
97 x 57 x 28 mm, 182 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 SX620 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 SX620 and the Leica M9. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX620 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, red), while the M9 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Canon SX620 vs Leica M9
Compare SX620 versus M9 top
Comparison SX620 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 (101 percent) than the Canon SX620. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX620 nor the M9 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX620 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
2.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999 i
3.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
5.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399 i
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699 i
7.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
8.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
9.
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799 i
10.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529 i
11.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279 i
12.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249 i
13.
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699 i
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 2,850 i
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950 i
17.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 SX620 was launched at a lower price than the M9, despite having a lens built in. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX620 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 SX620 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the M9 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX620 and Leica M9 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX620 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 SX620 is much more recent (by 6 years and 8 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 SX620 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).

SX620 versus M9 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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 SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p...... ..
2.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.7884 69
3.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
4.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.5522 65
5.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p...... ..
7.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
8.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
9.
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p...... ..
10.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.3495 63
11.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p...... ..
12.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p...... ..
13.
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5784 66
14.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.22133 86
15.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.71320 78
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.31860 84
17.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.3663 59

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX620 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX620 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 SX620 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX620 and Leica M9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(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 SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
2.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
3.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
10.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
13.
 
Canon 550Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
14.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
15.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
17.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX620 has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the SX620 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX620 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 SX620 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
12.
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Canon 550DYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
14.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
15.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
17.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---

It is notable that the SX620 offers wifi support, while the M9 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The SX620 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the M9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M9 was succeeded by the Leica M Typ 240. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX620 or the Leica M9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX620 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 (97x57mm 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 6 years and 8 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 count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX620 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. 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.

SX620 13:10 M9

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX620 or the M9. 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 expert reviews 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], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
2.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999 i
3.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
5.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399 i
6.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i
7.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
8.
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
9.
 
Canon G5 X5/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i
10.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529 i
11.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279 i
12.
 
Canon SX610......4/54/5 Jan 2015 249 i
13.
 
Canon 550D..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699 i
14.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
15.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i
16.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950 i
17.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Canon SX620:
Check Amazon price
Leica M9:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon SX620 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 SX620 Leica M9
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens 25-625mm f/3.2-6.6 Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2016 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 279 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Canon SX620 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 SX620 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 SX620 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 SX620 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 SX620 Leica M9
    Battery Type NB-13L BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 97 x 57 x 28 mm
    (3.8 x 2.2 x 1.1 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 182 g (6.4 oz) 585 g (20.6 oz)

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