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Leica M8 vs Nikon D100

The Leica M8 and the Nikon D100 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2006 and February 2002. The M8 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the D100 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and an APS-C (D100) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10.4 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 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
Nikon D100
Leica M8   Nikon D100
Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.4 MP – APS-H sensor 6 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 160-2,500 ISO 200-800 (200 - 1,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD – 230k dots 1.8" LCD – 118k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g 144 x 116 x 81 mm, 780 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M8 and the Nikon D100? 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 Nikon D100 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D100 is only available in black.

Size Leica M8 vs Nikon D100
Compare M8 versus D100 top
Comparison M8 or D100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D100 is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Leica M8. Moreover, the D100 is markedly heavier (32 percent) than the M8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M8 nor the D100 are weather-sealed.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (M8) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D100).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999ebay.com
6.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
8.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D500 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 amazon.com
10.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 percent) than the M8, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 Nikon D100 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D100 is 24 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M8 and Nikon D100 sensor measures

With 10.4MP, the M8 offers a higher resolution than the D100 (6MP), but the M8 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.84μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, the M8 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 6 months) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M8 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica M8 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M8 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.7 x 13.2 inches or 50 x 33.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.7 x 10.5 inches or 40 x 26.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.1 x 8.8 inches or 33.3 x 22.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 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 Nikon D100 are ISO 200 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-1600.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

M8 versus D100 MP

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"). 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
1.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
2.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.49.939448
3.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
4.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
5.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
6.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none24.813.7247890
8.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
9.
 
Nikon D500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
10.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
11.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
12.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
13.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
14.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
15.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
16.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.
Neither the M8 nor the D100 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M8 and the D100 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 Nikon D100, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
2.
 
Nikon D100optical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon 400Doptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
6.
 
Leica M10optical n3.0 / 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s n n
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s n n
8.
 
Leica M9optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0/s n n
9.
 
Nikon D500optical Y3.2 / 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
10.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 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 feature that is present on the D100, 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 D100 uses Compact Flash 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 Nikon D100 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D100Y- / ----1.1---
3.
 
Canon 1100DYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon 400DY- / ----2.0---
5.
 
Canon 10DY- / ----1.1---
6.
 
Leica M10Y- / -----Y--
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Leica M9Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D500Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0YYY
10.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the M8 and the D100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the M8 was followed by the Leica M9. Further information on the features and operation of the M8 and D100 can be found, respectively, in the Leica M8 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D100 Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M8 and the Nikon D100? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M8:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10.4 vs 6MP) with a 31% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 118k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 144x116mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 189g or 24 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D100:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2002).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M8 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 6 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M8 14:06 D100

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 D100. 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 (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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D100......+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 1100D..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 400D..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 10D......+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999ebay.com
6.
 
Leica M104.5/5......4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595ebay.com
7.
 
Leica M Typ 262............ Nov 2015 5,195ebay.com
8.
 
Leica M9........4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D5005/5+ +4.7/591/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 amazon.com
10.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999ebay.com
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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 Nikon D100

    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 Nikon D100
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 February 2002
    Launch Price USD 5,499 USD 1,999
    Sensor Specs Leica M8 Nikon D100
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 27.0 x 18.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 486 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 32.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.4 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3936 x 2630 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.84 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 2.13 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 2,500 ISO 200 - 800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200 - 1,600 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 Nikon D100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 1.8inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 118k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M8 Nikon D100
    Focus System Manual Focus Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Leica M8 Nikon D100
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 1.1
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M8 Nikon D100
    Battery Type BLI-312 EN-EL3
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    144 x 116 x 81 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 591 g (20.8 oz) 780 g (27.5 oz)
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