Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus E-300
The Leica M (Typ 240) and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and September 2004. The M Typ 240 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the E-300 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M Typ 240) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 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 Olympus Evolt E-300? 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 Olympus E-300 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 M Typ 240 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-300 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 Olympus E-300 is notably larger (12 percent) than the Leica M Typ 240. However, the E-300 is markedly lighter (8 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 E-300 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 Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-300).
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica M10-R||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295||amazon.com|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995||amazon.com|
|8.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195||ebay.com|
|10.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||ebay.com|
|11.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-300 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.
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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M Typ 240 features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the M Typ 240 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-300 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 23.7MP, the M Typ 240 offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the M Typ 240 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.01μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M Typ 240 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 11 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will 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 Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 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 Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|2.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|3.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|5.||Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||25.3||14.3||2924||95|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||25.2||14.2||2821||94|
|7.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||25.1||14.1||2739||93|
|8.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||24.8||13.7||2478||90|
|10.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|11.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|14.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|15.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|16.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The M Typ 240 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-300 does not. The highest resolution format that the M Typ 240 can use is 1080/25p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M Typ 240 and the E-300 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 E-300 (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 0.5x), 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 Leica M Typ 240 and Olympus E-300 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Leica M10-R||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-300 has one, while the M Typ 240 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-300 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The M Typ 240 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-300 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M Typ 240 only has one slot.
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 Olympus Evolt E-300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica M10-R||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica M10-P||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica SL||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the M Typ 240 and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, while the M Typ 240 was followed by the Leica M Typ 262. Further information on the features and operation of the M Typ 240 and E-300 can be found, respectively, in the Leica M Typ 240 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-300 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica M Typ 240 better than the Olympus E-300 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica M (Typ 240):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.7 vs 8MP) with a 75% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/25p movies.
- 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 0.5x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 134k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 147x85mm) 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: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-300:
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M Typ 240 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 4 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M Typ 240 or the E-300 perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica M10-R||4.5/5||..||4/5||..||..||4/5||Jul 2020||8,295||amazon.com|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999||amazon.com|
|7.||Leica M10-P||..||..||3/5||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995||amazon.com|
|8.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195||ebay.com|
|10.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450||ebay.com|
|11.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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- Canon XS vs Leica M Typ 240
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Olympus E-300
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Specifications: Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus E-300
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||Olympus E-300|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||September 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 6,950||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Olympus E-300|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||23.7 Megapixels||8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5952 x 3976 pixels||3264 x 2448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.01 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.77 MP/cm2||3.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||84||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1860||..|
|Screen Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Olympus E-300|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||1.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||134k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Olympus E-300|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Olympus E-300|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Olympus E-300|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
139 x 80 x 42 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||624 g (22.0 oz)|
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