Leica M8 vs Panasonic LX100 II
The Leica M8 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and August 2018. The M8 is a rangefinder-focusing mirrorless camera, while the LX100 II is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and a Four Thirds (LX100 II) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10.4 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 16.8 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II? 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 Panasonic LX100 II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 LX100 II 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 Panasonic LX100 II is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Leica M8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M8 nor the LX100 II are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX100 II 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 power pack in the LX100 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, 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.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|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 D-LUX 7||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Nov 2018||1,195|
|6.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|7.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|8.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|9.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|10.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|11.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|12.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||124 mm||72 mm||47 mm||407 g||260||n||Feb 2018||849|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||115 mm||66 mm||55 mm||393 g||300||n||Sep 2014||899|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|17.||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.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 LX100 II was launched at a lower price than the M8, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M8 features an APS-H sensor and the Panasonic LX100 II a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the LX100 II is 62 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 2.2. The sensor in the M8 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX100 II offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX100 II has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the LX100 II offers a higher resolution of 16.8 megapixels, compared with 10.4 MP of the M8. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.32μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the LX100 II is much more recent (by 11 years and 11 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.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic LX100 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the LX100 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.7 x 17.8 inches or 60.1 x 45.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.9 x 14.2 inches or 48.1 x 36.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 11.8 inches or 40.1 x 30.1 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||22.8||12.7||979||72|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||22.9||12.8||1002||72|
|6.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|7.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||24.8||13.7||2478||90|
|8.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1163||74|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||Four Thirds||12.7||4112||3088||4K/30p||22.3||12.5||553||67|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|17.||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 also of capturing video footage. The LX100 II indeed provides for movie recording, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the LX100 II can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the LX100 II has an electronic viewfinder (2764k 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 Panasonic LX100 II, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica M8||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||n||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 D-LUX 7||2764||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0/s||n||Y|
|6.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||2760||n||3.0 / 1240||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||2764||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||1534||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||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 differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The LX100 II has a touchscreen, while the M8 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the LX100 II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Panasonic LX100 II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M8 and the LX100 II write their files to SDXC cards. The LX100 II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M8 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II 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.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the LX100 II 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.
The LX100 II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. 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 and Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M8 or the Panasonic LX100 II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica M8:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- 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).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.8 vs 10.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/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 (1240k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M8 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x66mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the M8).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 11 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the LX100 II is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M8 or the LX100 II. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||4.2/5||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|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 D-LUX 7||..||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Nov 2018||1,195|
|6.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|7.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|8.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|9.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|10.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|11.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|12.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|13.||Panasonic GX9||4/5||+||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||849|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic LX100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||899|
|16.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|17.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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.
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Fujifilm X-A10 vs Leica M8
- Fujifilm X-A10 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Leica M8
- Fujifilm X-Pro3 vs Leica M8
- Fujifilm X-T200 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Leica M8 vs Nikon D40X
- Leica M8 vs Nikon Df
- Leica M8 vs Sony A5000
- Nikon D800 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic G5 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Sony RX100 IV
Specifications: Leica M8 vs Panasonic LX100 II
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||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2006||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 5,499||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M8||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||27.0 x 18.0 mm||15.7 x 11.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||486 mm2||185.26 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||32.4 mm||19.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.4 Megapixels||16.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3936 x 2630 pixels||4736 x 3552 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.84 μm||3.32 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.13 MP/cm2||9.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 2,500 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 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||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1240k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M8||Panasonic LX100 II|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M8||Panasonic LX100 II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica M8||Panasonic LX100 II|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
115 x 66 x 65 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||591 g (20.8 oz)||392 g (13.8 oz)|
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