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Leica M8 vs S Typ 007

The Leica M8 and the Leica S (Typ 007) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and September 2014. The M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the S Typ 007 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and a medium format (S Typ 007) sensor. The M8 has a resolution of 10.4 megapixels, whereas the S Typ 007 provides 37.5 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Leica M8 versus Leica S Typ 007
Leica M8 Leica S Typ 007
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor 37.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor
no Video 4K/24p Video
ISO 160-2,500 ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g 160 x 120 x 80 mm, 1260 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M8 and the Leica S (Typ 007)? 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 M8 and the Leica S Typ 007 is provided 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the S Typ 007 is only available in black.

Size Leica M8 vs Leica S Typ 007
Compare M8 versus S Typ 007 top
Comparison M8 or S Typ 007 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S Typ 007 is considerably larger (73 percent) than the Leica M8. Moreover, the S Typ 007 is substantially heavier (113 percent) than the M8. It is noteworthy in this context that the S Typ 007 is splash and dust-proof, while the M8 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. 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica M8 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Leica S Typ 007 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Canon T3 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon XTi 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Leica S3 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica M10 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M Typ 262 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica SL 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Leica S Typ 006 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica S2 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 49.7 oz .. Y Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Nikon D3000 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599i
 
Nikon D5000 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D40X 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Panasonic L10 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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 M8 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 78 percent) than the S Typ 007, 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M8 features an APS-H sensor and the Leica S Typ 007 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S Typ 007 is 178 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 0.8. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M8 and Leica S Typ 007 sensor measures

With 37.5MP, the S Typ 007 offers a higher resolution than the M8 (10.4MP), but the S Typ 007 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). Yet, the S Typ 007 is a much more recent model (by 8 years) than the M8, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that 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 Leica S Typ 007 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S Typ 007 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.5 x 25 inches or 95.3 x 63.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.7 inches or 63.5 x 42.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M8 are 19.7 x 13.2 inches or 50 x 33.4 cm for good quality, 15.7 x 10.5 inches or 40 x 26.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.1 x 8.8 inches or 33.3 x 22.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M8 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 2500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica S (Typ 007) are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

M8 versus S Typ 007 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Leica S Typ 007 Medium Format 37.5 7500 50004K/24p........
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Leica S3 Medium Format 64.0 9800 65334K/24p........
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
 
Leica S-E Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Leica S Typ 006 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none23.912.282476
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
Leica S2 Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000none........
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The S Typ 007 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the S Typ 007 can use is 4K/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M8 and the S Typ 007 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica M8, the Leica S Typ 007, and comparable cameras.

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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
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Leica S Typ 007optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 n n
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Leica S3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Leica S-E Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Leica S Typ 006optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
 
Leica S2optical Y 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 1.5 n n
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the S Typ 007, but is missing on the M8 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 M8 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S Typ 007 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The S Typ 007 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M8 only has one slot. The S Typ 007 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the M8 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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 M8 and Leica S (Typ 007) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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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
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Leica S Typ 007YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Leica S3YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
 
Leica S-E Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica S Typ 006Y----mini2.0---
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Leica S2Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

It is notable that the S Typ 007 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the M8 does not provide wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Leica S Typ 007 (unlike the M8) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the S Typ 007 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.

The S Typ 007 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the M8 has been discontinued (but 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

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M8 and the Leica S Typ 007? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Leica M8:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 669g or 53 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (78 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2006).


Arguments in favor of the Leica S (Typ 007):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (37.5 vs 10.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 90%.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/24p video.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • 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.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-II standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years of technical progress since the M8 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S Typ 007 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 5 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.

M8 05:18 S Typ 007

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M8 or the S Typ 007. 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 hands-on reviews by experts 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Leica S Typ 007.......... Sep 2014 24,490 i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Leica S3.......... Sep 2018 18,995 i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica SL..84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
 
Leica S-E Typ 006.......... Sep 2014 16,900i
 
Leica S Typ 006.......... Sep 2012 21,950i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
Leica S2.......... Sep 2008 22,995i
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica M8:
Check Ebay offers
Leica S Typ 007:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica M8 vs Leica S Typ 007

    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 M8 Leica S Typ 007
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Leica S mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 September 2014
    Launch Price USD 5,499 USD 24,490
    Sensor Specs Leica M8 Leica S Typ 007
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor Medium Format Sensor
    Sensor Size 27.0 x 18.0 mm 45.0 x 30.0 mm
    Sensor Area 486 mm2 1350 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 32.4 mm 54.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3x 0.8x
    Sensor Resolution 10.4 Megapixels 37.5 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3936 x 2630 pixels 7500 x 5000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.84 μm 6.00 μm
    Pixel Density 2.13 MP/cm2 2.78 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 4K/24p Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 2,500 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.1 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 663 ..
    Screen Specs Leica M8 Leica S Typ 007
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 98%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.87x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M8 Leica S Typ 007
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support no UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Leica M8 Leica S Typ 007
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Geotagging no internal GPS GPS built-in
    Body Specs Leica M8 Leica S Typ 007
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BLI-312 BP-PRO1
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    160 x 120 x 80 mm
    (6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 591 g (20.8 oz) 1260 g (44.4 oz)

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