PW

Leica M9 vs Sony H400

The Leica M9 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2009 and February 2014. The M9 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, while the H400 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (M9) and a 1/2.3-inch (H400) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 18.1 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 M9 VS Sony H400
Leica M9 Sony H400
Rangefinder camera Fixed lens compact camera
Leica M mount lenses 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
18.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 80-2500 ISO 80-3200
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, 585 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 M9 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 M9 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The M9 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the H400 is only available in black.

Size Leica M9 vs Sony H400
Compare M9 versus H400 top
Comparison M9 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 M9. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M9 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 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, 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)
Camera
Model
 
Leica M9» 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Sony H400« 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.8 in 22.2 oz 300 n Feb 2014 319 iSony H400
 
Canon SX410« » 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279iCanon SX410
 
Canon SX710« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349iCanon SX710
 
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649iCanon T5i
 
Canon T2i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699iCanon T2i
 
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799iCanon T1i
 
Leica M10-P« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Aug 2018 7,995 iLeica M10-P
 
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica T« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850iLeica T
 
Leica X Typ 113« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 350 n Sep 2014 2,295 iLeica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario« » 5.2 in 2.9 in 3.7 in 24.0 oz 450 n Jun 2013 2,850 iLeica X Vario
 
Leica M Typ 240« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950iLeica M Typ 240
 
Leica M8« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499iLeica M8
 
Sony HX400V« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.1 in 23.3 oz 300 n Feb 2014 499 iSony HX400V
 
Sony H300« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.6 in 20.8 oz 350 n Feb 2014 219 iSony H300
 
Sony H200« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 3.4 in 18.7 oz 240 n Jan 2013 249 iSony H200
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 H400 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.

 

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 M9 features a full frame sensor and the Sony H400 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the H400 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 H400 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica M9 and Sony H400 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the H400 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 18.1 MP of the M9. 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 6.91μm for the M9). However, it should be noted that the H400 is much more recent (by 4 years and 5 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The Leica M9 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 2500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

M9 versus H400 MP

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. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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 3472none22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........Sony H400
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........Canon SX410
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........Canon SX710
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon T2i
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
 
Leica M10-P Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none........Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386Leica 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 2630none21.111.366359Leica M8
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........Sony H300
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p........Sony H200

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 M9 does not. The highest resolution format that the H400 can use is 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the H400 has an electronic viewfinder (210k 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica M9, the Sony H400, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y Sony H400
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y Canon SX410
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y Canon SX710
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon T2i
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
 
Leica M10-Poptical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica T
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n Leica X Vario
 
Leica M Typ 240optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n Leica M8
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y Sony H300
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y Sony H200

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The H400 has one, while the M9 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 M9 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

 

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-H400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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
Camera
Model
 
Leica M9Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M9
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--Sony H400
 
Canon SX410-stereomono--none2.0---Canon SX410
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon SX710
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T5i
 
Canon T2iYstereononeY-mini2.0---Canon T2i
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
 
Leica M10-PYnonenone--nonenoneY--Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10Ynonenone--nonenoneY--Leica M10
 
Leica TYstereomono--none2.0Y--Leica T
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Vario
 
Leica M Typ 240Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica M Typ 240
 
Leica M8Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M8
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--Sony H300
 
Sony H200-monomono--none2.0---Sony H200

It is notable that the M9 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 M9 has been discontinued (but it 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Leica M9 better than the Sony H400 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Leica M9:

  • 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 (1/4000s 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 2009).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:

  • 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 M9 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 4 years and 5 months of technical progress since the M9 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M9 comes out slightly ahead of the H400 (11 : 10 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 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.

M9 11:10 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 M9 or the H400. 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 (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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Sony H400o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2014 319 iSony H400
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279iCanon SX410
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349iCanon SX710
 
Canon T5i..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649iCanon T5i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699iCanon T2i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799iCanon T1i
 
Leica M10-P........4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 iLeica M10-P
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850iLeica T
 
Leica X Typ 113....3.5/5..4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 iLeica X Typ 113
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850 iLeica X Vario
 
Leica M Typ 240....4/5.... Sep 2012 6,950iLeica M Typ 240
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499iLeica M8
 
Sony HX400V+ +..4/5..4/5 Feb 2014 499 iSony HX400V
 
Sony H300+..4.5/5..4/5 Feb 2014 219 iSony H300
 
Sony H200....3.5/5..3.5/5 Jan 2013 249 iSony H200
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 H400:
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 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.

~

    Specifications: Leica M9 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 M9 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 2009 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 7999 USD 319
    Sensor Specs Leica M9 Sony H400
    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 19.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5212 x 3472 pixels 5152 x 3864 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.91 μm 1.19 μm
    Pixel Density 2.09 MP/cm2 70.91 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80-2500 ISO 80-3200 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 H400
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.68x ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica M9 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 M9 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 M9 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 585 g (20.6 oz) 628 g (22.2 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 M9 vs Sony H400