Leica M10-R vs Nikon D4S
The Leica M10-R and the Nikon D4S are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2020 and February 2014. The M10-R is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D4S is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 40.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.2 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 M10-R and the Nikon D4S? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Leica M10-R and the Nikon D4S 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 M10-R can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D4S 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 Nikon D4S is considerably larger (126 percent) than the Leica M10-R. Moreover, the D4S is substantially heavier (105 percent) than the M10-R. 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (M10-R) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D4S).
As can be seen in the images above, the D4S has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Leica M10-R||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295|
|2.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|3.||Canon R5||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||738 g||320||Y||Jul 2020||3,899|
|4.||Leica SL2||146 mm||107 mm||42 mm||953 g||370||Y||Nov 2019||5,999|
|5.||Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999|
|7.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|8.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|10.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|12.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|13.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|14.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|15.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|16.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|17.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 D4S was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 22 percent) than the M10-R, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Leica M10-R offers a higher resolution of 40.9 megapixels, compared with 16.2 MP of the Nikon D4S. 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 7.29μm for the D4S). However, it should be noted that the M10-R is much more recent (by 6 years and 4 months) than the D4S, 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 the M10-R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 Nikon D4S are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 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 Nikon D4S are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-409600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|3.||Canon R5||Full Frame||44.8||8192||5464||8k/30p||25.3||14.6||3042||95|
|4.||Leica SL2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|12.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|13.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|14.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|15.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|16.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|17.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D4S indeed provides for movie recording, while the M10-R does not. The highest resolution format that the D4S can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10-R and the D4S 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 D4S (0.73x vs 0.70x), 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-R, the Nikon D4S, and comparable cameras.
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M10-R has a touchscreen, while the D4S has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Leica M10-R and the Nikon D4S 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.
The M10-R writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D4S uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. The D4S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M10-R only has one slot.
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 Nikon D4S and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M10-R offers wifi support, while the D4S does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D4S (unlike the M10-R) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The M10-R is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the D4S has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D4S was succeeded by the Nikon D5. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M10-R or the Nikon D4S – 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.
Arguments in favor of the Leica M10-R:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (40.9 vs 16.2MP) with a 59% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.70x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 690g or 51 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D4S launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D4S:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3020 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
- 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 released into a lower priced segment (22 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D4S emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 10 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 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.
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-R and the D4S in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|1.||Leica M10-R||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||Jul 2020||8,295|
|2.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|3.||Canon R5||4.5/5||..||91/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2020||3,899|
|4.||Leica SL2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2019||5,999|
|5.||Leica Q2||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999|
|7.||Leica M10-P||..||..||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|8.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|10.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|12.||Leica M9||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|13.||Nikon D5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|14.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|15.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|16.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|17.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica M10-R vs Nikon D4S
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 M10-R||Nikon D4S|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2020||February 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 8,295||USD 6,499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D4S|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||40.9 Megapixels||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7864 x 5200 pixels||4928 x 3280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.57 μm||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.78 MP/cm2||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 409,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3074|
|Screen Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D4S|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D4S|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||4.5 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D4S|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D4S|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||3020 shots per charge|
139 x 80 x 39 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
160 x 157 x 91 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||660 g (23.3 oz)||1350 g (47.6 oz)|
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