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Canon XSi vs Leica M8

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Leica M8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and September 2006. The XSi is a DSLR, while the M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XSi) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 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 XSi versus Leica M8
Canon XSi Leica M8
Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 160-2,500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 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 XSi 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon XSi and the Leica M8 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

Size Canon XSi vs Leica M8
Compare XSi versus M8 top
Comparison XSi 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 XSi. However, the M8 is markedly heavier (13 percent) than the XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi 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 (XSi) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M8).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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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 XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
3.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
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 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
16.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XSi was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 percent) than the M8, 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. 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 XSi features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 48 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 XSi and Leica M8 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon XSi offers a higher resolution of 12.2 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 5.19μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the XSi is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the M8, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. 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 XSi implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XSi for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 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 XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

XSi 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"). 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 XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
3.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
6.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
7.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
13.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
14.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
15.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
16.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
The XSi offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The M8 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The XSi 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 XSi 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 XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
2.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
3.
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 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 XSi has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the XSi is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The XSi 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 XSi 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 XSiY----mini2.0---
2.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
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 XSi and the M8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the XSi was followed by the Canon T1i. 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 XSi and the Leica M8? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 10.4MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 67g or 11 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the M8).

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Arguments in favor 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 on the market for longer (launched in September 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the XSi emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 5 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.

XSi 08:05 M8

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the XSi or the M8. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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 XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
3.
 
Canon T6i5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
6.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
7.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
13.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
14.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
16.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon XSi:
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 XSi 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 XSi Leica M8
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 5,499
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Leica M8
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 27.0 x 18.0 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 486 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 32.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 10.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 3936 x 2630 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 6.84 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 2.13 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 160 - 2,500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 663
    Screen Specs Canon XSi 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 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Leica M8
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Manual Focus
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 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 XSi 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 XSi 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 524 g (18.5 oz) 591 g (20.8 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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