Leica M10 vs Pentax 645Z
The Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Pentax 645Z are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2017 and April 2014. The M10 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the 645Z is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (M10) and a medium format (645Z) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 51.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica M10||Pentax 645Z|
|Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Leica M mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|23.8 MP, Full Frame Sensor||51.1 MP, Medium Format Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-50000||ISO 100-204800|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 1037k dots||3.2" LCD, 1037k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|210 shots per battery charge||650 shots per battery charge|
|139 x 80 x 39 mm, 660 g||156 x 117 x 123 mm, 1550 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Pentax 645Z? 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 and the Pentax 645Z 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 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 645Z 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 Pentax 645Z is considerably larger (64 percent) than the Leica M10. Moreover, the 645Z is substantially heavier (135 percent) than the M10. 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
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.
|Leica M10»||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Pentax 645Z«||156 mm||117 mm||123 mm||1550 g||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499||Pentax 645Z|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Hasselblad X1D« »||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240« »||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P« »||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M Typ 262« »||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica SL« »||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Leica M Typ 240« »||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950||Leica M Typ 240|
|Leica M9« »||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||Leica M9|
|Leica M8« »||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||Leica M8|
|Nikon D5« »||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Pentax 645D« »||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995||Pentax 645D|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The M10 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 22 percent) than the 645Z, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Pentax 645Z a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645Z is 68 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 0.79. The sensor in the M10 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645Z offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 51.1MP, the 645Z offers a higher resolution than the M10 (23.8MP), but the 645Z has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 6.00μm for the M10). Yet, the M10 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 months) than the 645Z, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Pentax 645Z implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645Z for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 31 inch or 104.9 x 78.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 24.8 inch or 83.9 x 62.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 20.6 inch or 69.9 x 52.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M10 are 29.8 x 20 inch or 75.6 x 50.7 cm for good quality, 23.8 x 16 inch or 60.5 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 19.8 x 13.3 inch or 50.4 x 33.8 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 Pentax 645Z are ISO 100 to ISO 204800 (no boost).
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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the 645Z offers substantially better image quality than the M10 (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.1 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.
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101||Pentax 645Z|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86||Canon 5DS R|
|Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84||Leica M Typ 240|
|Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69||Leica M9|
|Leica M8||APS-H||10.4||3936||2630||none||21.1||11.3||663||59||Leica M8|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82||Pentax 645D|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 645Z indeed provides for movie recording, while the M10 does not. The highest resolution format that the 645Z can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M10 and the 645Z 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 645Z (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 645Z has a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.73x), 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 Pentax 645Z along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Leica M10||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Pentax 645Z||optical||Y||3.2||1037||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Pentax 645Z|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS R|
|Hasselblad X1D||2360||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.3||n||n||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|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|
|Leica M8||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M8|
|Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D5|
|Pentax 645D||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.1||n||n||Pentax 645D|
One feature that is present on the 645Z, but is missing on the M10 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Leica M10 and the Pentax 645Z 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M10 and the 645Z write their files to SDXC cards. The 645Z features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M10 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 (Typ 3656) and Pentax 645Z and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica M10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Pentax 645Z||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax 645Z|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS R|
|Hasselblad X1D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Hasselblad X1D|
|Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M-E Typ 240|
|Leica M10-P||Y||none||none||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M Typ 262||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M Typ 262|
|Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Leica Q Typ 116|
|Leica SL||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M Typ 240|
|Leica M9||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M9|
|Leica M8||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M8|
|Nikon D5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Pentax 645D||Y||stereo||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Pentax 645D|
It is notable that the M10 offers wifi support, while the 645Z does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645Z (unlike the M10) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the M10 and the 645Z are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The 645Z replaced the earlier Pentax 645D, while the M10 followed on from the Leica M Typ 262. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M10 and the Pentax 645Z? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 890g or 57 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (22 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the 645Z launch.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax 645Z:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (51.1 vs 23.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.73x).
- 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 flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 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 heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 645Z is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 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.
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 645Z. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 Pentax 645Z
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||Pentax 645Z|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2017||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 6595||USD 8499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M10||Pentax 645Z|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||43.8 x 32.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||1436.64 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||54.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||23.8 Megapixels||51.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5952 x 3992 pixels||8256 x 6192 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||3.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100-50000 ISO||100-204800 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||PRIME III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||86||101|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.4||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.2||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2133||4505|
|Screen Specs||Leica M10||Pentax 645Z|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M10||Pentax 645Z|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3 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||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M10||Pentax 645Z|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB no||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M10||Pentax 645Z|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
139 x 80 x 39 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
156 x 117 x 123 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||660 g (23.3 oz)||1550 g (54.7 oz)|
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