Leica M8 Comparison Review
The Leica M8 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera that was officially introduced in September 2006 and is equipped with an APS-H sensor. It offers a resolution of 10.4 megapixel.
Is the Leica M8 a good camera? The M8 has a Camera Elo of 1112. This rating puts the M8 below average of all rangefinder cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the M8 also ranks below average. – Well, the Leica M8 is more than 15 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2006.
|Leica M mount lenses|
|10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor|
|ISO 160 - 2 500|
|2.5 LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2 shutter flaps per second|
|139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Leica M8 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica M8 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|2.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|3.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|4.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|5.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|6.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|7.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|8.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|9.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|10.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|11.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Leica M8 was launched in the US market at a price of $5,499. 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 with a 35mm slide
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. 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.
The Leica M8 features an APS-H sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.3. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Leica M8 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
|4.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|5.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|11.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the M8 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica M8 and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0||n||n|
|2.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|5.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|6.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n|
|7.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
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 M8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica M8||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|5.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
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 M8 handle or perform in practice. 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. This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Leica M8||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|2.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|3.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|4.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|5.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|6.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|7.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|8.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|9.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|10.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|11.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 M8 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the M8.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the M8?
The camera has a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor at its core.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the M8?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 2500.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Leica M8?
Leica does not publish a shutter rating for the M8. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The M8's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Which battery does the M8 use?
The camera gets its power from the BLI-312, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
|Camera Model||Leica M8|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 5 499|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor|
|Sensor Size||27.0 x 18.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||486 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||32.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3 936 x 2 630 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.84 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.13 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 2 500 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||59|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||663|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Size||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|V-logging Friendliness||No front-flip|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Manual Focus|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||BLI-312 power pack|
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||591 g (20.8 oz)|
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