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Leica M10-P vs Nikon D5500

The Leica M10-P and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2018 and January 2015. The M10-P is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D5500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M10-P) and an APS-C (D5500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica M10-P versus Nikon D5500
Leica M10-P Nikon D5500
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
23.8 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-50,000 ISO 100-25,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1037k dots 3.2 LCD, 1037k dots
Fixed touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
210 shots per battery charge820 shots per battery charge
139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g 124 x 97 x 70 mm, 420 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M10-P and the Nikon D5500? 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 M10-P and the Nikon D5500 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M10-P can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D5500 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, red).

Size Leica M10-P vs Nikon D5500
Compare M10-P versus D5500 top
Comparison M10-P or D5500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5500 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Leica M10-P. However, the D5500 is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the M10-P. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M10-P is splash and dust resistant, while the D5500 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 (M10-P) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5500).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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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
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899i
 
Canon M5 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 i
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 i
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D3400 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D5500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the M10-P, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M10-P features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D5500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D5500 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Leica M10-P and Nikon D5500 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the D5500 offers a slightly higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 23.8 MP of the M10-P. 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 3.91μm versus 6.00μm for the M10-P). Moreover, it should be noted that the M10-P is much more recent (by 3 years and 7 months) than the D5500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The Leica M10-P has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

M10-P versus D5500 MP

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 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
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
 
Canon M5 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none........
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p........
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D5500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M10-P does not. The highest resolution format that the D5500 can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10-P and the D5500 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 M10-P offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D5500 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the M10-P has a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.57x), 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 M10-P and Nikon D5500 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon M52360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Leica M10-Roptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5 n n
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D5500 has one, while the M10-P does not. While the built-in flash of the D5500 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The D5500 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 M10-P does not have a selfie-screen.

The Leica M10-P and the Nikon D5500 both have 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 M10-P and the D5500 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.

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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 M10-P and Nikon D5500 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
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Canon M5YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Leica M10-RY------Y--
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono----2.0---
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--

The M10-P is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the D5500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D5500 was succeeded by the Nikon D5600. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica M10-P better than the Nikon D5500 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Leica M10-P:

  • 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.
  • 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 (0.73x vs 0.57x).
  • 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 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D5500 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5500:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • 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.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 240g or 36 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (820 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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 around for much longer (launched in January 2015).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). 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 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.

M10-P 09:09 D5500

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M10-P and the D5500 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
 
Canon M5+82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i
 
Leica M10-R........4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 i
 
Leica M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 i
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica TL2....4/5..4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica Q Typ 116..80/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
 
Leica M Typ 240....4/5.... Sep 2012 6,950i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Nikon D5600..79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D5300+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica M10-P:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D5500:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. 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 M10-P vs Nikon D5500

    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 M10-P Nikon D5500
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2018 January 2015
    Launch Price USD 7,995 USD 899
    Sensor Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D5500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 23.8 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3992 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 50,000 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro II EXPEED 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 84
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1438
    Screen Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D5500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D5500
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer 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 M10-P Nikon D5500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D5500
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-SCL5 EN-EL14a
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge820 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 39 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 660 g (23.3 oz) 420 g (14.8 oz)

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