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Leica M9 versus Panasonic TZ100

The Leica M9 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 (labelled Panasonic ZS100 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2009 and January 2016. The M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the TZ100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (M9) and an one-inch (TZ100) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 18.1 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 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 M9 vs Panasonic TZ100

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica M9 and the Panasonic TZ100 is provided 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the M9 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica M9 vs Panasonic TZ100
Compare M9 versus TZ100 top
Compare M9 and TZ100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic TZ100 is considerably smaller (35 percent) than the Leica M9. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M9 nor the TZ100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the TZ100 has a lens build in, whereas the M9 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the M9 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

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, 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 M9» 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
Panasonic TZ100« 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon M3« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon 700D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon 550D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699- i Canon 550D
Canon 500D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon 500D
Leica M10-P« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica T« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Leica X Vario« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Leica M Typ 240« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
Leica M8« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
Panasonic TZ200« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic LX15« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 10.9 oz 260 n Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX15
Sony RX100 IV« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 TZ100 was launched at a lower price than the M9, despite having a lens build 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica M9 vs Panasonic TZ100

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M9 features a full frame sensor and the Panasonic TZ100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the TZ100 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.75. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica M9 and Panasonic TZ100 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the TZ100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 18.1 MP of the M9. 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 2.41μm versus 6.91μm for the M9). However, it should be noted that the TZ100 is much more recent (by 6 years and 3 months) than the M9, 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 M9 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

M9 versus TZ100 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. 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 M9» Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
Panasonic TZ100« 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970Panasonic TZ100
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
Canon 700D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon 700D
Canon 550D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon 550D
Canon 500D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon 500D
Leica M10-P« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-----Leica M10-P
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
Leica T« » APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
Leica X Vario« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078Leica X Vario
Leica M Typ 240« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084Leica M Typ 240
Leica M8« » APS-H 10.4 3936 2630-21.111.366359Leica M8
Panasonic TZ200« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic LX15« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Panasonic LX15
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The TZ100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the TZ100 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Leica M9 vs Panasonic TZ100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the TZ100 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), while the M9 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica M9 and Panasonic TZ100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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 M9»optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.0 n n Leica M9
Panasonic TZ100«1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ100
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
Canon 700D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 700D
Canon 550D« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon 550D
Canon 500D« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon 500D
Leica M10-P« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
Leica T« »- n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 4000 5.0 Y n Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
Leica X Vario« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
Leica M Typ 240« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 240
Leica M8« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 2.0 n n Leica M8
Panasonic TZ200« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic LX15« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LX15
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The TZ100 has a touchscreen, while the M9 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the TZ100 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

Both the M9 and the TZ100 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 M9»Y-----2.0---Leica M9
Panasonic TZ100«-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ100
Canon G5 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon M3« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon M3
Canon 700D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 700D
Canon 550D« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 550D
Canon 500D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon 500D
Leica M10-P« »Y------Y--Leica M10-P
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
Leica T« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
Leica X Vario« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
Leica M Typ 240« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica M Typ 240
Leica M8« »Y-----2.0---Leica M8
Panasonic TZ200« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic LX15« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic LX15
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV

Both the M9 and the TZ100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M9 was replaced by the Leica M Typ 240, while the TZ100 was followed by the Panasonic TZ200.

Review summary: Leica M9 vs Panasonic TZ100

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica M9 better than the Panasonic TZ100 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Leica M9:

  • 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 (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • 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 2009).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 18.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 5%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M9 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 139x80mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the M9).
  • 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 at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 3 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TZ100 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 8 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.

M9 08:18 TZ100

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M9 or the TZ100 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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). The full reviews are available 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 M9»--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
Panasonic TZ100«HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Panasonic TZ100
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon 700D« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon 700D
Canon 550D« »HiRec77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i Canon 550D
Canon 500D« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon 500D
Leica M10-P« »----4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica T« »--4/5-4/5 Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
Leica X Vario« »--4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 i i Leica X Vario
Leica M Typ 240« »--4/5-- Sep 2012 6,950- i Leica M Typ 240
Leica M8« »-HiRec--- Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
Panasonic TZ200« »HiRec81/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 799 i i Panasonic TZ200
Panasonic LX15« »HiRec81/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 699 i i Panasonic LX15
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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