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Canon T1i vs Leica M8

The Canon EOS Rebel T1i (called Canon 500D in some regions) and the Leica M8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2009 and September 2006. The T1i is a DSLR, while the M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T1i) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 10.4 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon T1i
versus
Leica M8
Canon T1i Leica M8
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
15.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor
1080/20p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 160-2,500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.4 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and the Leica M8? 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 T1i and the Leica M8. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the T1i is only available in black.

Size Canon T1i vs Leica M8
Compare T1i versus M8 top
Comparison T1i or M8 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M8 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Canon T1i. However, the M8 is markedly heavier (14 percent) than the T1i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T1i nor the M8 are weather-sealed.

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 (T1i) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M8).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799 i
2.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499 i
3.
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749 i
5.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449 i
6.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649 i
7.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849 i
8.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599 i
9.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699 i
10.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799 i
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799 i
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899 i
13.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
14.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999 i
15.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999 i
16.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 T1i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 percent) than the M8, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T1i features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 46 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon T1i and Leica M8 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T1i offers a higher resolution of 15.1 megapixels, compared with 10.4 MP of the Leica M8. 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 4.69μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the T1i is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the M8, 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 the M8 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon T1i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T1i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M8 are 19.7 x 13.2 inches or 50 x 33.4 cm for good quality, 15.7 x 10.5 inches or 40 x 26.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.1 x 8.8 inches or 33.3 x 22.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Rebel T1i 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 M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

T1i versus M8 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the T1i has a notably higher overall DXO score than the M8 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, 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 T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.5663 63
2.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.3663 59
3.
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.4695 63
4.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.0919 71
5.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.3724 63
6.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2681 61
7.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2722 62
8.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5793 65
9.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5784 66
10.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.8692 61
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.0664 62
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.8637 60
13.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.22133 86
14.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.7884 69
15.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.2524 61
16.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.8429 55

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The T1i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the T1i can use is 1080/20p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T1i and the M8 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon T1i and Leica M8 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 T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
2.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
3.
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
9.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
10.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
11.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
14.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The T1i has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the T1i is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The T1i writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the M8 uses SDXC cards.

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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 EOS Rebel T1i and Leica M8 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 T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
13.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
14.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

Both the T1i and the M8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the T1i was followed by the Canon T2i. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T1i or the Leica M8 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.1 vs 10.4MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/20p 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 (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.4 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 71g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (85 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.

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Advantages of the Leica M8:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • 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 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T1i is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 5 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

T1i 11:05 M8

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T1i and the M8 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799 i
2.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499 i
3.
 
Canon T100..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon T6i5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749 i
5.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449 i
6.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649 i
7.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849 i
8.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599 i
9.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699 i
10.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799 i
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799 i
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899 i
13.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
14.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999 i
15.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999 i
16.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon T1i:
Check Ebay offers
Leica M8:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon T1i vs Leica M8

    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 T1i Leica M8
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2009 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 5,499
    Sensor Specs Canon T1i Leica M8
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 27.0 x 18.0 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 486 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 32.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 15.1 Megapixels 10.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4752 x 3168 pixels 3936 x 2630 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.69 μm 6.84 μm
    Pixel Density 4.53 MP/cm2 2.13 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/20p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 160 - 2,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 663 663
    Screen Specs Canon T1i Leica M8
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon T1i Leica M8
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 3.4 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon T1i Leica M8
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon T1i Leica M8
    Battery Type LP-E5 BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 520 g (18.3 oz) 591 g (20.8 oz)

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