Leica M Typ 240 vs Sony NEX-7
The Leica M (Typ 240) and the Sony Alpha NEX-7 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and August 2011. The M Typ 240 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless, while the NEX-7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (M Typ 240) and an APS-C (NEX-7) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.7 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 Sony Alpha NEX-7? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica M Typ 240 and the Sony NEX-7 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 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 NEX-7 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 NEX-7 is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Leica M Typ 240. Moreover, the NEX-7 is substantially lighter (41 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 NEX-7 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 Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (NEX-7).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|2.||Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|6.||Fujifilm X100||126 mm||75 mm||54 mm||445 g||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199|
|7.||Leica M10-R||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295|
|8.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999|
|9.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|10.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|12.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|13.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|14.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|15.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|16.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Note: 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 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 NEX-7 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 81 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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 Sony NEX-7 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-7 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the NEX-7 offers a slightly higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 23.7 MP of the M Typ 240. 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 3.90μm versus 6.01μm for the M Typ 240). Moreover, it should be noted that the M Typ 240 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the NEX-7, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
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 NEX-7 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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.
|1.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|5.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|7.||Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||25.3||14.3||2924||95|
|8.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||25.2||14.2||2821||94|
|9.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||25.1||14.1||2739||93|
|10.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||24.8||13.7||2478||90|
|12.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|13.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the NEX-7 provides a faster frame rate than the M Typ 240. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Leica is limited to 1080/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the NEX-7 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the M Typ 240 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the NEX-7 has a higher magnification than the one of the M Typ 240 (0.73x vs 0.68x), 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 Sony NEX-7 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.||Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X100||1440||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Leica M10-R||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|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 NEX-7 has one, while the M Typ 240 does not. While the built-in flash of the NEX-7 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 NEX-7 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The M Typ 240 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the NEX-7 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Leica M (Typ 240) and Sony Alpha NEX-7 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.||Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X100||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica M10-R||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|8.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica M10-P||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica SL||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony A6400||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the NEX-7 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 NEX-7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M Typ 240 was replaced by the Leica M Typ 262, while the NEX-7 does not have a direct successor. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M Typ 240 and the Sony NEX-7? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica M (Typ 240):
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the NEX-7).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-7:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/25p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.68x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 280g or 41 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 (81 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2011).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-7 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 6 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 NEX-7 in practical situations. 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], 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|
|2.||Sony NEX-7||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|6.||Fujifilm X100||3/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199|
|7.||Leica M10-R||4.5/5||..||4/5||..||..||4/5||Jul 2020||8,295|
|8.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999|
|9.||Leica M10-P||..||..||3/5||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|10.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|12.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|13.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|14.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||4/5||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|15.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|16.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon SX740 vs Leica M Typ 240
- Canon XS vs Sony NEX-7
- Fujifilm X-T1 vs Sony NEX-7
- Leica Digilux 3 vs Sony NEX-7
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Nikon 1 J5
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Panasonic G2
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Panasonic G80
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Sony A6400
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Sony NEX-7
- Panasonic G90 vs Sony NEX-7
- Sony A7C vs Sony NEX-7
Specifications: Leica M Typ 240 vs Sony NEX-7
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 NEX-7|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||August 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 6,950||USD 1,349|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony NEX-7|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||23.7 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5952 x 3976 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.01 μm||3.90 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.77 MP/cm2||6.57 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/25p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||84||81|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.3||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1860||1016|
|Screen Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony NEX-7|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony NEX-7|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M Typ 240||Sony NEX-7|
|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||Sony NEX-7|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
139 x 80 x 42 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in)
120 x 67 x 43 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||680 g (24.0 oz)||400 g (14.1 oz)|
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