Canon XS vs Leica M9
The Canon EOS Rebel XS (called Canon 1000D in some regions) and the Leica M9 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2008 and September 2009. The XS is a DSLR, while the M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XS) and a full frame (M9) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XS 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon XS and the Leica M9 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the XS is only available in black.
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 (10 percent) than the Canon XS. However, the M9 is markedly heavier (17 percent) than the XS. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XS 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 (XS) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M9).
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|2.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|3.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|5.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399|
|9.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|10.||Canon SX10||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Sep 2008||399|
|11.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|15.||Leica X Vario||133 mm||73 mm||95 mm||680 g||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|17.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The XS was launched at a markedly lower price (by 94 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.
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 XS features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M9 is 163 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.
With 18.1MP, the M9 offers a higher resolution than the XS (10.1MP), but the M9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.91μm versus 5.71μm for the XS) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the XS, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 resolution advantage of the Leica M9 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M9 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.1 x 17.4 inches or 66.2 x 44.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 53 x 35.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.1 x 29.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XS are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel XS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|14.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|15.||Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XS 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 XS (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 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon XS, the Leica M9, and comparable cameras.
|15.||Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XS has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the XS is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The XS writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the M9 uses SDXC cards.
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 XS and Leica M9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|15.||Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the XS and the M9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XS was replaced by the Canon T3, while the M9 was followed 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.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon XS 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.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel XS:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 83g or 14 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 (94 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Leica M9:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18.1 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 34%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- 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 0.51x).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 2 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M9 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 6 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.
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 XS or the M9. 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.
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.
|1.||Canon XS||..||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|2.||Leica M9||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|3.||Canon T7||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon T100||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|5.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|7.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|8.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399|
|9.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|10.||Canon SX10||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||Sep 2008||399|
|11.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|15.||Leica X Vario||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2013||2,850|
|16.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|17.||Leica M8||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, 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.
Specifications: Canon XS 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 Model||Canon XS||Leica M9|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Rangefinder camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2008||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 7,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XS||Leica M9|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||18.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||5212 x 3472 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.71 μm||6.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.07 MP/cm2||2.09 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 800 ISO||80 - 2,500 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|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 XS||Leica M9|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XS||Leica M9|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Manual Focus|
|Continuous Shooting||3 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 XS||Leica M9|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon XS||Leica M9|
126 x 98 x 65 mm
(5.0 x 3.9 x 2.6 in)
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||502 g (17.7 oz)||585 g (20.6 oz)|
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