Leica M10-R vs Nikon D810
The Leica M10-R and the Nikon D810 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2020 and June 2014. The M10-R is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D810 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 36.2 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 D810? 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 D810 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 D810 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 D810 is considerably larger (61 percent) than the Leica M10-R. Moreover, the D810 is substantially heavier (48 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 (D810).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|1.||Leica M10-R||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295|
|2.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||148 mm||97 mm||70 mm||766 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|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 X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950|
|10.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|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 D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|14.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|15.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|16.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|17.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D810 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the M10-R, 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.
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. 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 D810 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Leica M10-R offers a higher resolution of 40.9 megapixels, compared with 36.2 MP of the Nikon D810. 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 4.88μm for the D810). However, it should be noted that the M10-R is much more recent (by 6 years) than the D810, 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 Nikon D810 are 36.8 x 24.6 inches or 93.5 x 62.4 cm for good quality, 29.4 x 19.6 inches or 74.8 x 49.9 cm for very good quality, and 24.5 x 16.4 inches or 62.3 x 41.6 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 D810 are ISO 64 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 32-51200.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|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 X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|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 D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|14.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|15.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|16.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|17.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D810 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M10-R does not. The highest resolution format that the D810 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10-R and the D810 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 D810 (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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M10-R and Nikon D810 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|9.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||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 D810 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Leica M10-R and the Nikon D810 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 D810 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The D810 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M10-R only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 D810 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D810 (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 D810 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D810 was succeeded by the Nikon D850. 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? Is the Leica M10-R better than the Nikon D810 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica M10-R:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (40.9 vs 36.2MP) with a 7% higher linear resolution.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.70x).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 146x123mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 320g or 33 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the D810 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D810:
- 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1037k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- 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 (60 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2014).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D810 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 7 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 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-R or the D810 perform in practice. 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. 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.
|1.||Leica M10-R||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||Jul 2020||8,295|
|2.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|3.||Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2019||5,750|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|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 X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|10.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|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 D850||4.5/5||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|14.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|15.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|16.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|17.||Nikon D800E||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Leica M10-R vs Nikon D810
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 D810|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2020||June 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 8,295||USD 3,299|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D810|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||40.9 Megapixels||36.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7864 x 5200 pixels||7360 x 4912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.57 μm||4.88 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.78 MP/cm2||4.20 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||64 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||32 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||97|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2853|
|Screen Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D810|
|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||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D810|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||4.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D810|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 3.0|
|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||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica M10-R||Nikon D810|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||1200 shots per charge|
139 x 80 x 39 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
146 x 123 x 82 mm
(5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||660 g (23.3 oz)||980 g (34.6 oz)|
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