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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-style 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.

Headline Specifications
Leica M8 versus Leica V-LUX 1
Leica M8 Leica V-LUX 1
Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica M mount lenses 35-420mm f/2.8-3.7
10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor 10 MP, 1/1.8" Sensor
no Video 480/30p Video
ISO 160-2,500 ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (235k dots)
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.0 LCD, 207k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g 141 x 86 x 142 mm, 734 g

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Leica M8 vs Leica V-LUX 1
Compare M8 versus V-LUX 1 top
Comparison M8 or V-LUX 1 rear

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, 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.

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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 V-LUX 1 5.6 in 3.4 in 5.6 in 25.9 oz 360 n Sep 2006 849i
 
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 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 D-LUX 6 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica V-LUX 4 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Sep 2012 949i
 
Leica D-LUX 5 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699i
 
Leica V-LUX 2 4.9 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 18.3 oz 410 n Sep 2010 849i
 
Leica M9 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
 
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 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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Leica M8 and Leica V-LUX 1 sensor measures

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.

M8 versus V-LUX 1 MP

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.

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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 V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Leica D-LUX 5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p........
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
 
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 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.

Feature comparison

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.

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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 V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
 
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 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 D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Leica D-LUX 5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 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 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.

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 V-LUX 1 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 V-LUX 1Ymonomono---2.0---
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 4YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----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.

Review summary

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 swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or 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.

M8 09:08 V-LUX 1

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.

Expert reviews

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 (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 V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
 
Leica D-LUX 6....4/5..4/5 Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica V-LUX 4.......... Sep 2012 949i
 
Leica D-LUX 5....4.5/5..4/5 Sep 2010 699i
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
 
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 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.

Leica M8:
Check Ebay offers
Leica V-LUX 1:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    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 Specifications
    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 Technology CCD CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.3x 4.8x
    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 Magnification
    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 Swivel 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 Build-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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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
    Battery Type BLI-312 BP-DC5
    Body Dimensions 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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