Ur-Leica Tamron Camera Comparison
Leica 1600mm Soligor Exif data
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Leica M8 vs Pentax Q

The Leica M8 and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and June 2011. The M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10.4 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 12 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 Pentax Q
Leica M8 Pentax Q
Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica M mount lenses Pentax Q mount lenses
10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 160-2,500 ISO 125-6,400
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
no shake reductionIn-body stabilization
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g 98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M8 and the Pentax Q? 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 Pentax Q 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the Pentax Q is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, white).

Size Leica M8 vs Pentax Q
Compare M8 versus Pentax Q top
Comparison M8 or Pentax Q rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is considerably smaller (50 percent) than the Leica M8. Moreover, the Pentax Q is substantially lighter (70 percent) than the M8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M8 nor the Pentax Q 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

scroll hint
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 5,499i
2.
 
Pentax Q 98 mm 57 mm 31 mm 180 g 230 n Jun 2011 649i
3.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
4.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
5.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica M Typ 262 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Nov 2015 5,195i
7.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
8.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
9.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
10.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
11.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
12.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
16.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 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.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 Pentax Q was launched at a markedly lower price (by 88 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.

ad

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 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 Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q is 94 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 5.6. The sensor in the M8 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the Pentax Q offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica M8 and Pentax Q sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Pentax Q offers a higher resolution of 12 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 1.53μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the Pentax Q is much more recent (by 4 years and 9 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 the M8 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Pentax Q implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Pentax Q for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

M8 versus Pentax Q MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the M8 provides substantially higher image quality than the Pentax Q, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.8 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.

scroll hint
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.
 
Pentax Q 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.211.118947
3.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
4.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
5.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
6.
 
Leica M Typ 262 Full Frame 23.7 5952 3976none........
7.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
8.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
9.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
10.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
11.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
12.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
16.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
17.
 
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 Pentax Q indeed provides for movie recording, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the Pentax Q can use is 1080/30p.

ad

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M8 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica M8, the Pentax Q, and comparable cameras.

scroll hint
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
1.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
2.
 
Pentax Qoptional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 1.5 Y Y
3.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
6.
 
Leica M Typ 262optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
7.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
8.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
17.
 
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 Pentax Q has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the Pentax Q is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Pentax Q 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 Pentax Q write their files to SDXC cards.

ad

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 Pentax Q and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
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
1.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Pentax QYmonomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
5.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
6.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
7.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

Both the M8 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the Pentax Q was followed by the Pentax Q10. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Pentax websites.

ad

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica M8 and the Pentax Q? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Leica M8:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • 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).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Pentax Q:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • 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 (460k vs 230k dots).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 411g or 70 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • 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 into a lower priced category (88 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 9 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Pentax Q is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 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 08:12 Pentax Q

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 Pentax Q. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.

scroll hint
Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
2.
 
Pentax Q3/5....4/53.5/5 Jun 2011 649i
3.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
4.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
5.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
6.
 
Leica M Typ 262.......... Nov 2015 5,195i
7.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
8.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
9.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
10.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
11.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
12.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/10071/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
16.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/10072/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica M8:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax Q:
Check Ebay offers

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.

~
    loader

    Specifications: Leica M8 vs Pentax Q

    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 Pentax Q
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses Pentax Q mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 5,499 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Leica M8 Pentax Q
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 27.0 x 18.0 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 486 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 32.4 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 10.4 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3936 x 2630 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.84 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 2.13 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 2,500 ISO 125 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.1 20.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 663 189
    Screen Specs Leica M8 Pentax Q
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M8 Pentax Q
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M8 Pentax Q
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M8 Pentax Q
    Battery Type BLI-312 D-LI68
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    98 x 57 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 591 g (20.8 oz) 180 g (6.3 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Leica M8 vs Pentax Q

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.


    If you like it, make sure you share it:

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I appreciate it.