Leica M8 vs Sony RX10
The Leica M8 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and October 2013. The M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the RX10 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-H (M8) and an one-inch (RX10) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10.4 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica M8 and the Sony RX10 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 RX10 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 Sony RX10 is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Leica M8. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 is splash and dust-proof, while the M8 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX10 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 RX10 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|Leica M8||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.8 oz||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|Sony RX10||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Canon G3 X||4.8 in||3.0 in||4.1 in||25.9 oz||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|Canon 70D||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon T3||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|Canon XTi||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|Leica M10||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica M Typ 262||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.7 in||24.0 oz||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|Leica M9||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Nikon D7100||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|Nikon D3000||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D40X||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||5.4 in||3.9 in||5.2 in||29.3 oz||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Panasonic L10||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Sony RX10 II||5.1 in||3.5 in||4.0 in||28.7 oz||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|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 RX10 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 Sony RX10 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 is 76 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX10 offers a higher resolution of 20 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 2.41μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the RX10 is much more recent (by 7 years and 1 month) 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 Sony RX10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 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-RX10 are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX10 has a markedly higher DXO score than the M8 (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The RX10 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the RX10 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M8 and Sony RX10 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the RX10, 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 RX10 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX10 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX10 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.
Both the M8 and the RX10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the RX10 was followed by the Sony RX10 II. 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.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica M8 or the Sony RX10 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Leica M8:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/3200s) 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 10.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- 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 (1229k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M8 necessitates an extra lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- 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 7 years and 1 month of technical progress since the M8 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX10 is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 7 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M8 or the RX10 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Leica M8||..||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|Sony RX10||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Canon G3 X||+||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Canon 70D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon T3||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|Canon XTi||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|Leica M10||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|Leica M9||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|Nikon D7100||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|Nikon D3000||+||72/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D40X||79/100||+ +||4/5||o||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Panasonic FZ1000||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Panasonic L10||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Sony RX10 II||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? 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.
Specifications: Leica M8 vs Sony RX10
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||Sony RX10|
|Camera Type||Rangefinder camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica M mount lenses||24-200mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||September 2006||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 5,499||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Leica M8||Sony RX10|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||27.0 x 18.0 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||486 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||32.4 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.4 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3936 x 2630 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.84 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.13 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 2,500 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||59||69|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||22.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||663||474|
|Screen Specs||Leica M8||Sony RX10|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica M8||Sony RX10|
|Focus System||Manual Focus||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/3200s|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s||10 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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica M8||Sony RX10|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica M8||Sony RX10|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
129 x 88 x 102 mm
(5.1 x 3.5 x 4.0 in)
|Camera Weight||591 g (20.8 oz)||813 g (28.7 oz)|
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