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Leica M9 vs Sony H200

The Leica M9 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2009 and January 2013. The M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the H200 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (M9) and a 1/2.3-inch (H200) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 18.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 15.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica M9 versus Sony H200
Leica M9 Sony H200
Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica M mount lenses 24-633mm f/3.1-5.9
18.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 15.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 80-2,500 ISO 100-3,200
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
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 0.8 shutter flaps per second
139 x 80 x 37 mm, 585 g 123 x 83 x 87 mm, 530 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica M9 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica M9 and the Sony H200. 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 M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the H200 is only available in black.

Size Leica M9 vs Sony H200
Compare M9 versus H200 top
Comparison M9 or H200 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H200 is notably smaller (8 percent) than the Leica M9. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M9 nor the H200 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the H200 has a lens built 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 compare the optics available for the M9 and their specifications in the Leica M Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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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 M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
2.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 i
3.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
4.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
5.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
6.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
7.
 
Leica M10-R 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jul 2020 8,295 i
8.
 
Leica M10-P 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 i
9.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
11.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 139 mm 80 mm 42 mm 680 g .. Y Sep 2012 6,950i
13.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
14.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299i
15.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299i
16.
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The H200 was launched at a lower price than the M9, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica M9 features a full frame sensor and the Sony H200 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H200 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the M9 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the H200 offers a 4:3 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CCD sensors.

Leica M9 and Sony H200 sensor measures

With 18.1MP, the M9 offers a higher resolution than the H200 (15.2MP), but the M9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.91μm versus 1.36μm for the H200) due to its larger sensor. However, the H200 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 4 months) than the M9, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. 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 Leica M9 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M9 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.1 x 17.4 inches or 66.2 x 44.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.8 x 13.9 inches or 53 x 35.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.1 x 29.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony H200 are 25.9 x 14.7 inches or 65.8 x 37.2 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 11.7 inches or 52.7 x 29.8 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 9.8 inches or 43.9 x 24.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica M9 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 2500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

M9 versus H200 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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 M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
2.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........
3.
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
4.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
5.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
6.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
7.
 
Leica M10-R Full Frame 40.9 7864 5200none........
8.
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........
9.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
11.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240 Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
13.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
14.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
15.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
16.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
17.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The H200 indeed provides for movie recording, while the M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the H200 can use is 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M9 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the H200 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica M9 and Sony H200 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 M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
2.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
4.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
6.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
7.
 
Leica M10-Roptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.5 n n
8.
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n
9.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
13.
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
15.
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
16.
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y
17.
 
Sony H300none 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 H200 has one, while the M9 does not. While the built-in flash of the H200 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The M9 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H200 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 M9 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 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 M9Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Leica M10-RY------Y--
8.
 
Leica M10-PY------Y--
9.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
10.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
15.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--

It is notable that the M9 has a hotshoe, while the H200 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The H200 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the M9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M9 was succeeded by the Leica M Typ 240. 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 there a clear favorite between the Leica M9 and the Sony H200? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M9:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (18.1 vs 15.2MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
  • 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.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1500s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2 vs 0.8 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 2009).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p 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).
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M9 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the M9).
  • 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 at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M9 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

M9 12:09 H200

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M9 and the H200 in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
2.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
3.
 
Canon SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
4.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
5.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
6.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
7.
 
Leica M10-R4.5/5......4/5 Jul 2020 8,295 i
8.
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i
9.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
10.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
11.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
12.
 
Leica M Typ 2404/5....4/5.. Sep 2012 6,950i
13.
 
Leica M8....+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499i
14.
 
Nikon B500..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299i
15.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299i
16.
 
Sony H400..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300..+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 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 M9:
Check Ebay offers
Sony H200:
Check Amazon price

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 use the search menu 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.

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    Specifications: Leica M9 vs Sony H200

    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 M9 Sony H200
    Camera Type Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Leica M mount lenses 24-633mm f/3.1-5.9
    Launch Date September 2009 January 2013
    Launch Price USD 7,999 USD 249
    Sensor Specs Leica M9 Sony H200
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 18.1 Megapixels 15.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5212 x 3472 pixels 5184 x 2930 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.91 μm 1.36 μm
    Pixel Density 2.09 MP/cm2 54.10 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 2,500 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 69 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 884 ..
    Screen Specs Leica M9 Sony H200
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x
    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 M9 Sony H200
    Focus System Manual Focus Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2 shutter flaps/s 0.8 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 M9 Sony H200
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica M9 Sony H200
    Battery Type BLI-312 4xAA
    Body Dimensions 139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    123 x 83 x 87 mm
    (4.8 x 3.3 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 585 g (20.6 oz) 530 g (18.7 oz)

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