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Canon T4i vs Leica M9

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i (called Canon 650D in some regions) and the Leica M9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2012 and September 2009. The T4i is a DSLR, while the M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T4i) 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 T4i versus Leica M9
Canon T4i 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 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 80-2,500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
133 x 100 x 79 mm, 575 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 T4i 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 T4i 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the T4i is only available in black.

Size Canon T4i vs Leica M9
Compare T4i versus M9 top
Comparison T4i 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 (16 percent) than the Canon T4i. However, the M9 is slightly heavier (2 percent) than the T4i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T4i 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 (T4i) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M9).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon T4i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Canon T6s 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T5 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon T5i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon T3i 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon T2i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XSi 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799i
 
Canon XTi 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899i
 
Canon Rebel 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X Vario 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica M Typ 240 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
 
Leica M8 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. 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.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The T4i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the M9, 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 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 T4i 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 T4i and Leica M9 sensor measures

With 18.1MP, the M9 offers a higher resolution than the T4i (17.9MP), but the M9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.91μm versus 4.31μm for the T4i) due to its larger sensor. However, the T4i is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 8 months) than the M9, and its sensor will 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 T4i has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

T4i versus M9 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 consideration, the M9 has a markedly higher DXO score than the T4i (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
 
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 T4i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the T4i 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 T4i 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 T4i (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 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon T4i 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
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
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
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 T4i has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the T4i is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The T4i has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the M9 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T4i and the M9 write their files to SDXC cards. The T4i supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M9 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 T4i 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
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
 
Canon RebelY-----1.1---
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---

Both the T4i 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 T4i was followed by the Canon T5i. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T4i or the Leica M9 – 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.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T4i:

  • 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.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • 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).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 8 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica M9:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • 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 0.53x).
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 133x100mm) 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 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T4i is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.

T4i 13:07 M9

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 T4i and the M9 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon T5i..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon XSi+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica M Typ 240....4/5.... Sep 2012 6,950i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon T4i:
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. 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 T4i 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 T4i Leica M9
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2012 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 849 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Canon T4i 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 - 12,800 ISO 80 - 2,500 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 69
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 722 884
    Screen Specs Canon T4i Leica M9
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.68x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon T4i Leica M9
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 5 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 UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon T4i 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 T4i Leica M9
    Battery Type LP-E8 BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 133 x 100 x 79 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 575 g (20.3 oz) 585 g (20.6 oz)

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