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Canon T2i vs Leica M9

The Canon EOS Rebel T2i (called Canon 550D in some regions) and the Leica M9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2010 and September 2009. The T2i is a DSLR, while the M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T2i) and a full frame (M9) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 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 T2i versus Leica M9
Canon T2i Leica M9
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 18.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 80-2,500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.7 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 530 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 EOS Rebel T2i 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 T2i 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the T2i is only available in black.

Size Canon T2i vs Leica M9
Compare T2i versus M9 top
Comparison T2i 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 notably smaller (12 percent) than the Canon T2i. However, the M9 is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the T2i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T2i nor the M9 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 (T2i) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M9).

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 T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
2.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
3.
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
6.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
7.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
11.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
12.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
13.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
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 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 T2i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 91 percent) than the M9, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T2i features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M9 is 160 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.

Canon T2i and Leica M9 sensor measures

With 18.1MP, the M9 offers a higher resolution than the T2i (17.9MP), but the M9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.91μm versus 4.31μm for the T2i) due to its larger sensor. However, the T2i is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the M9, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M9 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon EOS Rebel T2i 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 M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

T2i versus M9 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
2.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
3.
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
6.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
7.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
8.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
9.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
10.
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
11.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
12.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
13.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
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

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The T2i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the T2i can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The T2i and the M9 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 viewfinder in the M9 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the T2i (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the M9 has a higher magnification (0.68x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon T2i 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 T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
2.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
3.
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 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 T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
10.
 
Canon 550Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
11.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
12.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
13.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 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 T2i has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the T2i is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T2i and the M9 write their files to 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 T2i 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 T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 550DYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
14.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
15.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
17.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---

Both the T2i 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 T2i was followed by the Canon T3i. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T2i and the Leica M9? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T2i:

  • 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.
  • 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (91 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 4 months after the M9).

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M9:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.68x vs 0.54x).
  • 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 on the market for longer (launched in September 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T2i emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 6 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 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.

T2i 08:06 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 T2i or the M9. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
2.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
3.
 
Canon T100..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
6.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
7.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
10.
 
Canon 550D..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
11.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
12.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
13.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
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.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon T2i:
Check Ebay offers
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 T2i 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 T2i Leica M9
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2010 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Canon T2i Leica M9
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 18.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 5212 x 3472 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 6.91 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 2.09 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 80 - 2,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 69
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 784 884
    Screen Specs Canon T2i Leica M9
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.68x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon T2i Leica M9
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 3.7 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-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 T2i Leica M9
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon T2i Leica M9
    Battery Type LP-E8 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 530 g (18.7 oz) 585 g (20.6 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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