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Leica M8 vs Sony H400

The Leica M8 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2006 and February 2014. The M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the H400 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and a 1/2.3-inch (H400) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10.4 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.9 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 Sony H400
Leica M8 Sony H400
Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica M mount lenses 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor 19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 160-2,500 ISO 80-3,200
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
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 0.7 shutter flaps per second
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g 130 x 95 x 122 mm, 628 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M8 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400? 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 physical size and weight of the Leica M8 and the Sony H400 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M8 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the H400 is only available in black.

Size Leica M8 vs Sony H400
Compare M8 versus H400 top
Comparison M8 or H400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H400 is notably larger (11 percent) than the Leica M8. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M8 nor the H400 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H400 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 5,499i
2.
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
3.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
4.
 
Canon 400D 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 Q Typ 116 130 mm 80 mm 93 mm 640 g 300 n Jun 2015 4,249i
8.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
9.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
10.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
11.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999i
15.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499 i
16.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
17.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 H400 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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 Sony H400 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H400 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 H400 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica M8 and Sony H400 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the H400 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 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 1.19μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the H400 is much more recent (by 7 years and 5 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 Sony H400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the H400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

M8 versus H400 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
3.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
4.
 
Canon 400D 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 Q Typ 116 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
8.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
9.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
10.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
11.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
12.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
13.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
15.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
16.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
17.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The H400 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the H400 can use is 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the H400 has an electronic viewfinder (210k 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M8 and Sony H400 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
2.
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 400Doptical 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 Q Typ 1163680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 n Y
8.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony H300none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
17.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The H400 has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the H400 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The M8 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 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
1.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon 400DY-----2.0---
5.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
6.
 
Leica M Typ 262Y-----2.0---
7.
 
Leica Q Typ 116Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

It is notable that the M8 has a hotshoe, while the H400 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The H400 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. 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 Sony websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica M8 better than the Sony H400 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of 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.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • 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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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 10.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 36%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p 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 (460k vs 230k dots).
  • 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.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 5 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (11 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 11:11 H400

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M8 or the H400. 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 expert reviews 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.

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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.
 
Sony H400..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
3.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
4.
 
Canon 400D..+ ++ +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 Q Typ 1165/5..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249i
8.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
9.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
10.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
11.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D80..++ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
14.
 
Sony RX100 IV4.5/5+ +85/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999i
15.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
16.
 
Sony H300..+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 i
17.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Leica M8:
Check Ebay offers
Sony H400:
Check Amazon price

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica M8 vs Sony H400

    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 Sony H400
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date September 2006 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 5,499 USD 319
    Sensor Specs Leica M8 Sony H400
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    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 19.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3936 x 2630 pixels 5152 x 3864 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.84 μm 1.19 μm
    Pixel Density 2.13 MP/cm2 70.91 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 2,500 ISO 80 - 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 Sony H400
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    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 Sony H400
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 0.7 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica M8 Sony H400
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Leica M8 Sony H400
    Battery Type BLI-312 NP-BX1
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    130 x 95 x 122 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in)
    Camera Weight 591 g (20.8 oz) 628 g (22.2 oz)

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