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Leica M10 vs M8

The Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Leica M8 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2017 and September 2006. Both the M10 and the M8 are rangefinder-style mirrorless cameras that are based on a full frame (M10) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The M10 has a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, whereas the M8 provides 10.4 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M10   Leica M8
Leica M10 Leica M8
Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
23.8 MP, Full Frame Sensor 10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-50000 ISO 160-2500
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 1037k dots 2.5" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Leica M8? 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: Leica M10 vs M8

The physical size and weight of the Leica M10 and the Leica M8 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

Size Leica M10 vs Leica M8
Compare M10 versus M8 top
Comparison M10 or M8 rear

In this particular case, the Leica M10 and the Leica M8 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the M8 is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the M10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M10 nor the M8 are weather-sealed.

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 (as in the M10) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (M8). You can compare the optics available in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10» 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica M8« 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Leica M10-P« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
 
Leica M Typ 240« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M8 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the M10, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica M10 vs M8

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M10 features a full frame sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 43 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M10 and Leica M8 sensor measures

With 23.8MP, the M10 offers a higher resolution than the M8 (10.4MP), but the M10 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, the M10 is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 4 months) than the M8, 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 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 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 29.8 x 20 inch or 75.6 x 50.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23.8 x 16 inch or 60.5 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.8 x 13.3 inch or 50.4 x 33.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M8 are 19.7 x 13.2 inch or 50 x 33.4 cm for good quality, 15.7 x 10.5 inch or 40 x 26.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.1 x 8.8 inch or 33.3 x 22.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M10 (Typ 3656) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

M10 versus M8 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. Of the two cameras under review, the M10 provides substantially higher image quality than the M8, with an overall score that is 27 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.3 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10» Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica M8« APS-H 10.4 3936 2630-21.111.366359Leica M8
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon XTi
 
Leica M10-P« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-----Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976-----Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
 
Leica M Typ 240« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9« » Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
The M10 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The M8 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Leica M10 vs M8

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M10 and the M8 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M10 and Leica M8 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10»optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica M8«optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n Leica M8
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
 
Leica M10-P« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n Leica SL
 
Leica M Typ 240« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

The Leica M10 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 and the M8 write their files to SDXC cards. The M10 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M8 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Leica M10 vs M8

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 (Typ 3656) and Leica M8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10»Y------Y--Leica M10
 
Leica M8«Y-----2.0---Leica M8
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon XTi« »Y-----2.0---Canon XTi
 
Leica M10-P« »Y------Y--Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262« »Y-----2.0---Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica SL« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
 
Leica M Typ 240« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9« »Y-----2.0---Leica M9
 
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10

It is notable that the M10 offers wifi support, while the M8 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The M10 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the M8 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M8 was succeeded by the Leica M9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.


Review summary: Leica M10 vs M8

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica M10 better than the Leica M8 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.8 vs 10.4MP) with a 51% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (27 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • 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 4 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Leica M8:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M10 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 12:03 M8

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M10 or the M8. 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: Leica M10 vs M8

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10»--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica M8«-+ +--- Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »+80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon XTi« »+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Leica M10-P« »----4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262« »----- Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
 
Leica M Typ 240« »--4/5-- Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D80« »++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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.

Leica M10:
Check Amazon price
Leica M8:
Check Ebay offers

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 vs Leica M8

    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 Leica M8
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2017 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 6595 USD 5499
    Sensor Specs Leica M10 Leica M8
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 27.0 x 18.0 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 486 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 32.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 23.8 Megapixels 10.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3992 pixels 3936 x 2630 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 6.84 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 2.13 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-50000 ISO 160-2500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 86 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.4 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.2 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2133 663
    Screen Specs Leica M10 Leica M8
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x ..x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M10 Leica M8
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingNo Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 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
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M10 Leica M8
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB no USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M10 Leica M8
    Battery Type BP-SCL5 power pack BLI-312 power pack
    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) 591 g (20.8 oz)

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