Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon D5100
The Leica M (Typ 240) and the Nikon D5100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and April 2011. The M Typ 240 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D5100 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M Typ 240) and an APS-C (D5100) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.1 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 Leica M (Typ 240) and the Nikon D5100? 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 Leica M Typ 240 and the Nikon D5100 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M Typ 240 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D5100 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 Nikon D5100 is notably larger (12 percent) than the Leica M Typ 240. However, the D5100 is markedly lighter (18 percent) than the M Typ 240. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M Typ 240 is splash and dust resistant, while the D5100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 Leica M Lens Catalog (M Typ 240) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5100).
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.
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|2.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|3.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|4.||Leica M10-R||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999|
|6.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|7.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|9.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|10.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|11.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|12.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|13.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|14.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|15.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|16.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|17.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|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 D5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the M Typ 240, 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 Leica M Typ 240 features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D5100 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D5100 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 23.7MP, the M Typ 240 offers a higher resolution than the D5100 (16.1MP), but the M Typ 240 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.01μm versus 4.80μm for the D5100) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M Typ 240 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the D5100, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Leica M Typ 240 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M Typ 240 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 29.8 x 19.9 inches or 75.6 x 50.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23.8 x 15.9 inches or 60.5 x 40.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.8 x 13.3 inches or 50.4 x 33.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D5100 are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica M (Typ 240) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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 M Typ 240 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D5100 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|3.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|4.||Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|10.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D5100 provides a faster frame rate than the M Typ 240. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M Typ 240 and the D5100 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 M Typ 240 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D5100 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the M Typ 240 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica M Typ 240 and Nikon D5100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D5100 has one, while the M Typ 240 does not. While the built-in flash of the D5100 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The D5100 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the M Typ 240 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D5100 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M Typ 240 and the D5100 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Leica M (Typ 240) and Nikon D5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D5100 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The M Typ 240 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the M Typ 240 and the D5100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5100 was replaced by the Nikon D5200, while the M Typ 240 was followed by the Leica M Typ 262. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Nikon websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M Typ 240 or the Nikon D5100 – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Leica M (Typ 240):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.7 vs 16.1MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- 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 compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 128x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 5 months after the D5100).
Advantages of the Nikon D5100:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/25p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 120g or 18 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D5100 comes out slightly ahead of the M Typ 240 (10 : 9 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M Typ 240 or the D5100 perform in practice. 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.
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.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|2.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|3.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|4.||Leica M10-R||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||Jul 2020||8,295|
|5.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999|
|6.||Leica M10-P||..||..||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|7.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|9.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|10.||Leica M9||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|11.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|12.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|13.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|14.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|15.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|16.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|17.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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
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Specifications: Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon D5100
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||Leica M Typ 240||Nikon D5100|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||April 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 6,950||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Nikon D5100|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||23.6 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||370.52 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||23.7 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5952 x 3976 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.01 μm||4.80 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.77 MP/cm2||4.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||84||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.3||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1860||1183|
|Screen Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Nikon D5100|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Nikon D5100|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Nikon D5100|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Nikon D5100|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
139 x 80 x 42 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
128 x 97 x 79 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||560 g (19.8 oz)|
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