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Leica M10-P vs Nikon D80

The Leica M10-P and the Nikon D80 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2018 and August 2006. The M10-P is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D80 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M10-P) and an APS-C (D80) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 10 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 D80
Leica M10-P Nikon D80
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
23.8 MP, Full Frame Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-50,000 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1037k dots 2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
210 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g 132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M10-P and the Nikon D80? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica M10-P and the Nikon D80. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M10-P can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D80 is only available in black.

Size Leica M10-P vs Nikon D80
Compare M10-P versus D80 top
Comparison M10-P or D80 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D80 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Leica M10-P. Moreover, the D80 is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the M10-P. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M10-P is splash and dust resistant, while the D80 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 (D80).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
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 D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D80 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 88 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. 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 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M10-P features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D80 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D80 is 56 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.

Leica M10-P and Nikon D80 sensor measures

With 23.8MP, the M10-P offers a higher resolution than the D80 (10MP), but the M10-P has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 6.11μm for the D80). However, the M10-P is a much more recent model (by 12 years) than the D80, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M10-P has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M10-P implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M10-P for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 29.8 x 20 inches or 75.6 x 50.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23.8 x 16 inches or 60.5 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.8 x 13.3 inches or 50.4 x 33.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D80 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M10-P has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D80 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

M10-P versus D80 MP

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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
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 D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
The M10-P offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D80 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10-P and the D80 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 D80 (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 0.62x), 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 M10-P, the Nikon D80, 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
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 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 D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M10-P has a touchscreen, while the D80 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Leica M10-P has 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.

The M10-P writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D80 uses SDHC cards. The M10-P supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D80 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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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 D80 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 D80Y-----2.0---
 
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 D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---

It is notable that the M10-P offers wifi support, while the D80 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The M10-P is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the D80 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D80 was succeeded by the Nikon D90. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M10-P or the Nikon D80 – 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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Reasons to prefer the Leica M10-P:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.8 vs 10MP) with a 54% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • 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 0.62x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • 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: Reflects 12 years of technical progress since the D80 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D80:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 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 (88 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M10-P is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 5 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.

M10-P 19:05 D80

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 M10-P or the D80 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
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 D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica M10-P:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D80:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica M10-P vs Nikon D80

    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 D80
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2018 August 2006
    Launch Price USD 7,995 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D80
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 23.8 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3992 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 50,000 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 524
    Screen Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D80
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.62x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D80
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D80
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector no USB USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M10-P Nikon D80
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-SCL5 EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 39 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 660 g (23.3 oz) 668 g (23.6 oz)

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