Leica M Typ 240 vs Sony A900
The Leica M (Typ 240) and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and September 2008. The M Typ 240 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the A900 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica M Typ 240||Sony A900|
|Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Leica M mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|23.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor||24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO 200-6400||ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|No shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|139 x 80 x 42 mm, 680 g||156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M (Typ 240) and the Sony Alpha A900? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica M Typ 240 and the Sony A900. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M Typ 240 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A900 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 Sony A900 is considerably larger (64 percent) than the Leica M Typ 240. Moreover, the A900 is markedly heavier (32 percent) than the M Typ 240. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Leica M Typ 240»||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950||Leica M Typ 240|
|Sony A900«||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999||Sony A900|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 6D« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||Canon 6D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica SL« »||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||Leica M9|
|Nikon D7100« »||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||Nikon D7100|
|Sony A9« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Sony A850« »||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999||Sony A850|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A900 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 57 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A900 is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the M Typ 240 (23.7MP), but the A900 has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 6.01μm for the M Typ 240). Yet, the M Typ 240 is a much more recent model (by 4 years) than the A900, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
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 Sony Alpha A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the M Typ 240 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A900 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.3 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 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.
|Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84||Leica M Typ 240|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79||Sony A900|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69||Leica M9|
|Nikon D7100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.2||13.7||1256||83||Nikon D7100|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79||Sony A850|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The M Typ 240 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the M Typ 240 can use is 1080/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M Typ 240 and the A900 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A900 has a higher magnification than the one of the M Typ 240 (0.74x vs 0.68x), 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 Sony A900 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M Typ 240|
|Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A900|
|Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||n||n||Canon 6D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Leica SL|
|Leica M9||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M9|
|Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7100|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||Y||Sony A850|
One feature that is present on the A900, but is missing on the M Typ 240 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The M Typ 240 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A900 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 Sony Alpha A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M Typ 240|
|Sony A900||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A900|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 6D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica M Typ 262||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica SL||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Leica M9||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D7100||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7100|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A850|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A900 (unlike the M Typ 240) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the M Typ 240 and the A900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A900 was replaced by the Sony A99, 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 Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M Typ 240 or the Sony A900 – 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.
Advantages of the Leica M (Typ 240):
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/25p movies.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 215g or 24 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the A900 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A900:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.68x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- 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 (57 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A900 comes out slightly ahead of the M Typ 240 (9 : 8 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M Typ 240 and the A900 in practical situations. 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 (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.
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 50D vs Leica M Typ 240
- Canon 700D vs Leica M Typ 240
- Canon T5i vs Sony A900
- Canon XC10 vs Sony A900
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Panasonic FZ100
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Pentax KP
- Leica M8 vs Sony A900
- Nikon D5500 vs Sony A900
- Olympus E-510 vs Sony A900
- Panasonic GF7 vs Sony A900
- Sony A900 vs Sony NEX-5
Specifications: Leica M Typ 240 vs Sony A900
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||Sony A900|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 6950||USD 2999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony A900|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||23.7 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5952 x 3976 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.01 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.77 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200-6400 ISO||200-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-6400 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||84||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.3||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1860||1431|
|Screen Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony A900|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony A900|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||No shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony A900|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony A900|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
139 x 80 x 42 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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