PW

Leica M10 vs Nikon D3500

The Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Nikon D3500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2017 and August 2018. The M10 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the D3500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M10) and an APS-C (D3500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M10 VS Nikon D3500
Leica M10 Nikon D3500
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
23.8 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-50000 ISO 100-25600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 1037k dots 3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
210 shots per battery charge1550 shots per battery charge
139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g 124 x 97 x 70 mm, 365 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Nikon D3500? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica M10 and the Nikon D3500 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M10 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D3500 is only available in black.

Size Leica M10 vs Nikon D3500
Compare M10 versus D3500 top
Comparison M10 or D3500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3500 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Leica M10. However, the D3500 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the M10. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M10 is splash and dust resistant, while the D3500 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) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3500).

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, 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)
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10» 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Nikon D3500« 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 365 g 1550 n Aug 2018 429 iNikon D3500
 
Canon M100« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon SX730« » 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399iCanon SX730
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999iCanon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199iCanon 80D
 
Leica M-E Typ 240« » 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Jun 2019 3,999 iLeica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica M10-P« » 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 iLeica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262« » 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195iLeica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116« » 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249iLeica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M Typ 240« » 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950iLeica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9« » 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Leica M8« » 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499iLeica M8
 
Nikon D5« » 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499iNikon D5
 
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899iNikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 D3500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 93 percent) than the M10, 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.

 

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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M10 features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D3500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3500 is 57 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 and Nikon D3500 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the D3500 offers a slightly higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 23.8 MP of the M10. 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 3.91μm versus 6.00μm for the M10). However, it should be noted that the D3500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the M10, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. 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 Leica M10 (Typ 3656) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

M10 versus D3500 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

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 3992none24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Nikon D3500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........Nikon D3500
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........Canon SX730
 
Canon 1D X Mark II Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
 
Leica M-E Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p........Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359Leica M8
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M10 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3500 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10 and the D3500 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 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D3500 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the M10 has a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.57x), 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 and Nikon D3500 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 M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Nikon D3500optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3500
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIoptical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
 
Leica M-E Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n Leica M8
 
Nikon D5optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D3500 has one, while the M10 does not. While the built-in flash of the D3500 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

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 D3500 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

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 (Typ 3656) and Nikon D3500 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10Ynonenone--nonenoneY--Leica M10
 
Nikon D3500Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3500
 
Canon M100-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX730
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIYmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
 
Leica M-E Typ 240Ymononone--none2.0---Leica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica M10-PYnonenone--nonenoneY--Leica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Leica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M9
 
Leica M8Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M8
 
Nikon D5YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300

It is notable that the M10 offers wifi support, while the D3500 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the M10 and the D3500 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The M10 replaced the earlier Leica M Typ 262, while the D3500 followed on from the Nikon D3400. 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.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica M10 better than the Nikon D3500 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • 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 0.57x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
  • 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.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2017).

ilogo

Advantages of the Nikon D3500:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 295g or 45 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1550 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (93 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 7 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M10 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 7 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M10 12:07 D3500

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M10 or the D3500 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 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 (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
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Nikon D3500..75/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 iNikon D3500
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499iCanon M100
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399iCanon SX730
 
Canon 1D X Mark II..89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999iCanon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 80D+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199iCanon 80D
 
Leica M-E Typ 240.......... Jun 2019 3,999 iLeica M-E Typ 240
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 iLeica M10-P
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195iLeica M Typ 262
 
Leica Q Typ 116..80/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249iLeica Q Typ 116
 
Leica M Typ 240....4/5.... Sep 2012 6,950iLeica M Typ 240
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499iLeica M8
 
Nikon D5..89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499iNikon D5
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499iNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899iNikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499iNikon D3300
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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica M10:
Check Amazon price
Nikon D3500:
Check Amazon price

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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

~

    Specifications: Leica M10 vs Nikon D3500

    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 Nikon D3500
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2017 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 6595 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Leica M10 Nikon D3500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 23.8 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5952 x 3992 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.00 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 2.78 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-50000 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor Maestro II EXPEED 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 86 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.4 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2133 ..
    Screen Specs Leica M10 Nikon D3500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M10 Nikon D3500
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingNo Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Leica M10 Nikon D3500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB no USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Leica M10 Nikon D3500
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
    Battery Type BP-SCL5 EN-EL14a
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge1550 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 39 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    124 x 97 x 70 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 660 g (23.3 oz) 365 g (12.9 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Leica M10 vs Nikon D3500