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Leica M8 versus Olympus E-M10

The Leica M8 and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and January 2014. The M8 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-M10 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and a Four Thirds (E-M10) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10.4 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica M8 vs Olympus E-M10

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica M8 and the Olympus E-M10 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the M8 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica M8 vs Olympus E-M10
Compare M8 versus E-M10 top
Compare M8 and E-M10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M10 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Leica M8. Moreover, the E-M10 is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the M8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M8 nor the E-M10 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 find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Leica M Lens Catalog (M8) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-M10).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica M8» 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
Olympus E-M10« 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Canon 1100D« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Canon 400D« » 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Leica M10« » 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« » 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
Leica M9« » 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
Nikon D3000« » 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« » 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Olympus E-M10 II« » 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-PL7« » 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-P5« » 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-PL6« » 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« » 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
Panasonic L10« » 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-M10 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica M8 vs Olympus E-M10

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 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 Olympus E-M10 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M10 is 54 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 2.0. The sensor in the M8 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-M10 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica M8 and Olympus E-M10 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-M10 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 10.4 MP of the M8. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the E-M10 is much more recent (by 7 years and 4 months) than the M8, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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.

M8 versus E-M10 MP

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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-M10 offers substantially better image quality than the M8 (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Leica M8» APS-H 10.4 3936 2630-21.111.366359Leica M8
Olympus E-M10« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472Olympus E-M10
Canon 1100D« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon 1100D
Canon 400D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon 400D
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976-----Leica M Typ 262
Leica M9« » Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-P5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-PL6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972Olympus E-PL5
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The E-M10 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-M10 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica M8 vs Olympus E-M10

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M10 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica M8, the Olympus E-M10, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Leica M8»optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 2.0 n n Leica M8
Olympus E-M10«1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10
Canon 1100D« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1100D
Canon 400D« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 400D
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 262
Leica M9« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.0 n n Leica M9
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-P5« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 9.0 Y Y Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-PL6« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL5
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The E-M10 has a touchscreen, while the M8 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Both the M8 and the E-M10 write their imaging data to SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Leica M8»Y-----2.0---Leica M8
Olympus E-M10«Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10
Canon 1100D« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon 1100D
Canon 400D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 400D
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« »Y-----2.0---Leica M Typ 262
Leica M9« »Y-----2.0---Leica M9
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
Olympus E-M10 II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-PL7« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-P5« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-PL6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL5
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10

Both the M8 and the E-M10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the E-M10 was followed by the Olympus E-M10 II.

Review summary: Leica M8 vs Olympus E-M10

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M8 or the Olympus E-M10 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M8:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2006).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus OM-D E-M10:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 10.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 (1037k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (119x82mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 195g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 4 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-M10 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 4 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.

M8 04:19 E-M10

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 E-M10 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Leica M8»-HiRec--- Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
Olympus E-M10«-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i Olympus E-M10
Canon 1100D« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Canon 400D« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica M Typ 262« »----- Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
Nikon D3000« »Rec72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D40X« »79/100HiRec4/5rev4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i Olympus E-M10 II
Olympus E-PL7« »Rec-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i Olympus E-PL7
Olympus E-P5« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i Olympus E-P5
Olympus E-PL6« »----- May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
Olympus E-PL5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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