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Leica M Typ 262 vs Sony A900

The Leica M (Typ 262) and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2015 and September 2008. The M Typ 262 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.

Headline Specifications
Leica M Typ 262 versus Sony A900
Leica M Typ 262 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
no Video no Video
ISO 200-6,400 ISO 200-3,200 (100 - 6,400)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k 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 reductionIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed 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 262) 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Leica M Typ 262 and the Sony A900 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M Typ 262 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A900 is only available in black.

Size Leica M Typ 262 vs Sony A900
Compare M Typ 262 versus A900 top
Comparison M Typ 262 or A900 rear

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 262. Moreover, the A900 is markedly heavier (32 percent) than the M Typ 262. 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
2.
 
Sony A900 156 mm 117 mm 82 mm 895 g 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999i
4.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 i
5.
 
Leica Q2 130 mm 80 mm 92 mm 718 g 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 i
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
7.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
8.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
10.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
12.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
13.
 
Sony A9 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499i
14.
 
Sony A99 II 143 mm 104 mm 76 mm 849 g 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i
15.
 
Sony A7S II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999i
16.
 
Sony A99 147 mm 111 mm 78 mm 812 g 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799i
17.
 
Sony A850 156 mm 117 mm 82 mm 895 g 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999i
Notes: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A900 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 42 percent) than the M Typ 262, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.

Leica M Typ 262 and Sony A900 sensor measures

With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the M Typ 262 (23.7MP), but the A900 has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 6.01μm for the M Typ 262). Yet, the M Typ 262 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 2 months) 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M Typ 262 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Leica M (Typ 262) 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.

M Typ 262 versus A900 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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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.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
2.
 
Sony A900 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.712.3143179
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
4.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none........
5.
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p........
7.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........
8.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
10.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
12.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
13.
 
Sony A9 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
14.
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
15.
 
Sony A7S II Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
16.
 
Sony A99 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589
17.
 
Sony A850 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.812.2141579
Neither the M Typ 262 nor the A900 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M Typ 262 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 262 (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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica M Typ 262, the Sony A900, and comparable cameras.

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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.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
2.
 
Sony A900optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n
4.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5 n n
5.
 
Leica Q23680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0 n Y
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
7.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
8.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
10.
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
13.
 
Sony A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
14.
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
15.
 
Sony A7S II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
16.
 
Sony A992359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y
17.
 
Sony A850optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y

One feature that is present on the A900, but is missing on the M Typ 262 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 262 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 262 only has one slot.

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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 Leica M (Typ 262) and Sony Alpha A900 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.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Sony A900Y----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
4.
 
Leica M10-RY------Y--
5.
 
Leica Q2Ystereomono----Y-Y
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
7.
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
8.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
11.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
13.
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
14.
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
15.
 
Sony A7S IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony A99YstereomonoYYmini2.0---
17.
 
Sony A850Y----mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A900 (unlike the M Typ 262) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the M Typ 262 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 262 was followed by the Leica M10. 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M Typ 262 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.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M (Typ 262):

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • 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 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the A900 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A900:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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 (42 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A900 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 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.

M Typ 262 05:10 A900

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M Typ 262 or the A900. 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 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.

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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.
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
2.
 
Sony A900..+ ++ +4.5/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999i
3.
 
Canon 1D X Mark II....89/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999i
4.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5......4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 i
5.
 
Leica Q2....84/1004.5/54/5 Mar 2019 4,995 i
6.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
7.
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
8.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
9.
 
Leica Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
10.
 
Leica SL4/5..84/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
11.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
12.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +90/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
13.
 
Sony A95/5+ +89/1005/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499i
14.
 
Sony A99 II....85/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i
15.
 
Sony A7S II5/5+..4.5/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999i
16.
 
Sony A995/5..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
17.
 
Sony A8503/5..75/100..4.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Leica M Typ 262:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A900:
Check Ebay offers

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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Leica M Typ 262 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica M Typ 262 Sony A900
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2015 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 5,195 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Leica M Typ 262 Sony A900
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    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 no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 6,400 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1431
    Screen Specs Leica M Typ 262 Sony A900
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x 0.74x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M Typ 262 Sony A900
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-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 262 Sony A900
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 262 Sony A900
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-SCL2 NP-FM500H
    Body Dimensions 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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