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Leica M10-R vs M9

The Leica M10-R and the Leica M9 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2020 and September 2009. Both the M10-R and the M9 are rangefinder-focusing mirrorless cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The M10-R has a resolution of 40.9 megapixels, whereas the M9 provides 18.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M10-R
versus
Leica M9
Leica M10-R   Leica M9
Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
40.9 MP – Full Frame sensor 18.1 MP – Full Frame sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-50,000 ISO 80-2,500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 1037k dots 2.5" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.5 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M10-R and the Leica M9? 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-R and the Leica M9. 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Leica M10-R vs Leica M9
Compare M10-R versus M9 top
Comparison M10-R or M9 rear

In this particular case, the Leica M10-R and the Leica M9 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the M9 is markedly lighter (11 percent) than the M10-R. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M10-R is splash and dust resistant, while the M9 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

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.

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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 M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 amazon.com
2.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
4.
 
Leica M11 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 640 g 700 Y Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
5.
 
Leica SL2 146 mm 107 mm 42 mm 953 g 370 Y Nov 2019 5,999 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica Q2 130 mm 80 mm 92 mm 718 g 370 Y Mar 2019 4,995 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 amazon.com
8.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 amazon.com
9.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
11.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450ebay.com
12.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
13.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
14.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The M9 was somewhat cheaper (by 4 percent) than the M10-R at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the M9 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 M10-R and Leica M9 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Leica M10-R offers a higher resolution of 40.9 megapixels, compared with 18.1 MP of the Leica M9. 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 4.57μm versus 6.91μm for the M9). However, it should be noted that the M10-R is much more recent (by 10 years and 10 months) than the M9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 resolution advantage of the Leica M10-R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M10-R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.3 x 26 inches or 99.9 x 66 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.5 x 20.8 inches or 79.9 x 52.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.2 x 17.3 inches or 66.6 x 44 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M9 are 26.1 x 17.4 inches or 66.2 x 44.1 cm for good quality, 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 53 x 35.3 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.1 x 29.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M10-R has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M9 are ISO 80 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the M10-R is build around a CMOS sensor, while the M9 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

M10-R versus M9 MP

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"). 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 M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none25.314.3292495
2.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
3.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
4.
 
Leica M11 Full Frame 60.3 9528 6328none26.314.83376100
5.
 
Leica SL2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p25.314.3286695
6.
 
Leica Q2 Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/30p26.413.5249196
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p25.214.2282194
8.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none25.114.1273993
9.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none24.813.7247890
11.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
12.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
13.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
14.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
The M10-R offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The M9 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10-R and the M9 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 M10-R has a higher magnification than the one of the M9 (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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica M10-R and Leica M9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5/s n n
2.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
4.
 
Leica M11optical n3.0 / 2333 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5/s n n
5.
 
Leica SL25760 Y3.2 / 2100 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
6.
 
Leica Q23680 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 20.0/s n Y
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
8.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n3.0 / 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
9.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
11.
 
Leica SL4400 Y3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
12.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
13.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
14.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M10-R has a touchscreen, while the M9 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Leica M10-R 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M10-R and the M9 write their files to SDXC cards. The M10-R supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M9 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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-R and Leica M9 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica M10-RY- / -----Y--
2.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
4.
 
Leica M11Y- / ----3.2Y-Y
5.
 
Leica SL2Ystereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
6.
 
Leica Q2Ystereo / mono----Y-Y
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymono / ----2.0---
8.
 
Leica M10-PY- / -----Y--
9.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Leica SLYstereo / monoYYfull3.0Y--
12.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereo / mono---2.0---
14.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---

It is notable that the M10-R offers wifi support, while the M9 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The M10-R is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the M9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M9 was succeeded by the Leica M Typ 240. Further information on the features and operation of the M10-R and M9 can be found, respectively, in the Leica M10-R Manual (free pdf) or the online Leica M9 Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M10-R or the Leica M9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Leica M10-R:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (40.9 vs 18.1MP) with a 51% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.68x).
  • 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 (4.5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • 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 modern: Reflects 10 years and 10 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Leica M9:

  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 75g or 11 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M10-R is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 2 points). 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-R 11:02 M9

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 M10-R and the M9 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.

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], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5..4/5....4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 amazon.com
2.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
4.
 
Leica M114.5/5..4.5/5..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
5.
 
Leica SL24/5..4.5/5..4.5/54/5 Nov 2019 5,999 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica Q2....4.5/584/1004.5/54/5 Mar 2019 4,995 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica M-E Typ 240............ Jun 2019 3,999 amazon.com
8.
 
Leica M10-P....3/5....4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 amazon.com
9.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
10.
 
Leica M Typ 262............ Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
11.
 
Leica SL4/5..4/584/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450ebay.com
12.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
13.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5......4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950ebay.com
14.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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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.

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    Specifications: Leica M10-R vs Leica M9

    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-R Leica M9
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2020 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 8,295 USD 7,999
    Sensor Specs Leica M10-R Leica M9
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 40.9 Megapixels 18.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7864 x 5200 pixels 5212 x 3472 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.57 μm 6.91 μm
    Pixel Density 4.78 MP/cm2 2.09 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 50,000 ISO 80 - 2,500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 69
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 884
    Screen Specs Leica M10-R Leica M9
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.68x
    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-R Leica M9
    Focus System Manual Focus Manual Focus
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 4.5 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M10-R Leica M9
    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-R Leica M9
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-SCL5 BLI-312
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 39 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 660 g (23.3 oz) 585 g (20.6 oz)
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