Leica M8 vs V-LUX 1
The Leica M8 and the Leica V-LUX 1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public in September 2006. The M8 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the V-LUX 1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and a 1/1.8-inch (V-LUX 1) sensor. The M8 has a resolution of 10.4 megapixels, whereas the V-LUX 1 provides 10 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 M8 and the Leica V-LUX 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 M8 and the Leica V-LUX 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the V-LUX 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 Leica V-LUX 1 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Leica M8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M8 nor the V-LUX 1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 1 has a lens built in, whereas the M8 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 M8 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|3.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|4.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|5.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|7.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|11.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|12.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|13.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|14.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|15.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|16.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The V-LUX 1 was launched at a lower price than the M8, 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 M8 features an APS-H sensor and the Leica V-LUX 1 a 1/1.8-inch sensor. The sensor area in the V-LUX 1 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 4.8. The sensor in the M8 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the V-LUX 1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 10.4MP, the M8 offers a slightly higher resolution than the V-LUX 1 (10MP), but the M8 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.84μm versus 1.95μm for the V-LUX 1) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. 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 M8 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 2500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica V-LUX 1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||18.4||9.5||-727||29|
|5.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||24.8||13.7||2478||90|
|7.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||19.8||10.8||-303||43|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.8||11.1||501||43|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.5||10.4||-583||39|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|11.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|16.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The V-LUX 1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the V-LUX 1 can use is 480/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 1 has an electronic viewfinder (235k dots), while the M8 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica M8 and Leica V-LUX 1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Leica M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The V-LUX 1 has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the V-LUX 1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The V-LUX 1 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the M8 does not have a selfie-screen.
The M8 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the V-LUX 1 uses SDHC 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 M8 and Leica V-LUX 1 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.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the M8 and the V-LUX 1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the V-LUX 1 was followed by the Leica V-LUX 2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M8 and the Leica V-LUX 1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica M8:
- 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.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 207k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
Advantages of the Leica V-LUX 1:
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 480/30p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M8 necessitates an extra lens.
- 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.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M8 comes out slightly ahead of the V-LUX 1 (9 : 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 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 or the V-LUX 1 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings 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]). 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 M8||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|2.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|3.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|4.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|5.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|6.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|7.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|9.||Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|11.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|12.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|13.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|14.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|15.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|16.||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 assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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.
- Canon 5DS vs Leica M8
- Canon M5 vs Leica V-LUX 1
- Canon T5i vs Leica M8
- Fujifilm XP130 vs Leica V-LUX 1
- Leica M8 vs Leica X Vario
- Leica M8 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Leica M8 vs Ricoh GR
- Leica M8 vs Sony A77 II
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Olympus E-PL7
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Olympus E-PL9
Specifications: Leica M8 vs Leica V-LUX 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 M8||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||35-420mm f/2.8-3.7|
|Launch Date||September 2006||September 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 5,499||USD 849|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M8||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||1/1.8" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||27.0 x 18.0 mm||7.14 x 5.36 mm|
|Sensor Area||486 mm2||38.2704 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||32.4 mm||8.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.4 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3936 x 2630 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.84 μm||1.95 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.13 MP/cm2||26.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||480/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 2,500 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 3,200 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 V-LUX 1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||235k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||207k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M8||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s||2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M8||Leica V-LUX 1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica M8||Leica V-LUX 1|
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
141 x 86 x 142 mm
(5.6 x 3.4 x 5.6 in)
|Camera Weight||591 g (20.8 oz)||734 g (25.9 oz)|
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