Leica M10 vs Pentax MX-1
The Leica M10 (Typ 3656) and the Pentax MX-1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2017 and January 2013. The M10 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the MX-1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (M10) and a 1/1.7-inch (MX-1) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 23.8 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 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 (Typ 3656) and the Pentax MX-1? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica M10 and the Pentax MX-1. 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 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the MX-1 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 MX-1 is considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Leica M10. It is worth mentioning in this context that the M10 is splash and dust resistant, while the MX-1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the MX-1 has a lens built in, whereas the M10 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the M10 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Leica M-E Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||3,999|
|8.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|10.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|11.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|12.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|13.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|14.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|15.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|16.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The MX-1 was launched at a lower price than the M10, despite having a lens built in. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 Pentax MX-1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the MX-1 is 95 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 4.5. The sensor in the M10 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the MX-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 23.8MP, the M10 offers a higher resolution than the MX-1 (12MP), but the M10 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 1.89μm for the MX-1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M10 is a much more recent model (by 4 years) than the MX-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M10 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 inches or 75.6 x 50.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23.8 x 16 inches or 60.5 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.8 x 13.3 inches or 50.4 x 33.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Pentax MX-1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 MX-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the M10 provides substantially higher image quality than the MX-1, with an overall score that is 37 points higher. This advantage is based on 4 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.4 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|7.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|11.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|12.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|14.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The MX-1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M10 does not. The highest resolution format that the MX-1 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M10 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the MX-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica M10, the Pentax MX-1, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|7.||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|
|10.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|12.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The MX-1 has one, while the M10 does not. While the built-in flash of the MX-1 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 MX-1 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 MX-1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 MX-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica M-E Typ 240||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M10 has a hotshoe, while the MX-1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The M10 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the MX-1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the MX-1 from Pentax. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M10 or the Pentax MX-1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (23.8 vs 12MP) with a 43% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (37 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (4 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 (3.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 920k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the MX-1 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax MX-1:
- 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 1080/30p video.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M10 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x61mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the M10).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M10 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 12 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 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 MX-1. 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 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||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|2.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Leica M-E Typ 240||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2019||3,999|
|8.||Leica M10-P||..||..||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|9.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|10.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|11.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|12.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|13.||Leica M8||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|14.||Nikon D5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|15.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|16.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. 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 vs Pentax MX-1
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 MX-1|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||January 2017||January 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 6,595||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M10||Pentax MX-1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||23.8 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5952 x 3992 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.00 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.78 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||86||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.4||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.2||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2133||208|
|Screen Specs||Leica M10||Pentax MX-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M10||Pentax MX-1|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||1 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||no shake reduction||In-body stabilization|
|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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M10||Pentax MX-1|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M10||Pentax MX-1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
139 x 80 x 39 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
122 x 61 x 51 mm
(4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||660 g (23.3 oz)||391 g (13.8 oz)|
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