Leica SL versus Leica M Typ 240
The Leica SL (Typ 601) and the Leica M (Typ 240) are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2015 and September 2012. The SL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the M Typ 240 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The SL has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the M Typ 240 provides 23.7 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 SL vs Leica M Typ 240
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica SL and the Leica M Typ 240 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the SL – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M Typ 240 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Leica SL. Moreover, the M Typ 240 is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the SL. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
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|
|Leica SL»||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Leica M Typ 240«||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950||-|
|Canon 80D« »||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon 6D« »||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-|
|Hasselblad X1D« »||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica M Typ 262« »||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195||-|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Leica M9« »||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||-|
|Nikon D5« »||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D500« »||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Nikon D7200« »||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||-|
|Nikon D750« »||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Sony A6300« »||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||-|
|Sony RX10« »||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||-|
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 M Typ 240 was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the SL at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.
Sensor comparison: Leica SL vs Leica M Typ 240
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. 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the M Typ 240 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the SL offers a slightly higher resolution than the M Typ 240 (23.7MP), but the SL has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.00μm versus 6.01μm for the M Typ 240). However, the SL is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 years and 1 month) than the M Typ 240, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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 review, the SL has a notably higher overall DXO score than the M Typ 240 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, -0 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.
|Leica SL»||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|Leica M Typ 240«||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|Canon 80D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|Canon 6D« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Hasselblad X1D« »||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|Leica M Typ 262« »||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||-||-||-||-||-|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|Leica M9« »||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||-||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|Nikon D5« »||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|Nikon D500« »||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83|
|Nikon D7200« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87|
|Nikon D750« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Sony A6300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85|
|Sony RX10« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.9||12.6||474||69|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SL provides a higher video resolution than the M Typ 240. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the M Typ 240 is limited to 1080/25p.
Feature comparison: Leica SL vs Leica M Typ 240
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SL has an electronic viewfinder (4400k dots), while the M Typ 240 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 SL and Leica M Typ 240 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Leica M Typ 240«||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||4000||3.0||n||n|
|Canon 80D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||16.0||n||n|
|Canon 6D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||4000||4.5||n||n|
|Hasselblad X1D« »||2360||n||3.0||920||fixed||Y||2000||2.3||n||n|
|Leica M Typ 262« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||3.0||n||n|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||2000||10.0||n||n|
|Leica M9« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||4000||2.0||n||n|
|Nikon D5« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||8000||14.0||n||n|
|Nikon D500« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||n|
|Nikon D7200« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D750« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||4000||6.0||Y||n|
|Sony A6300« »||2300||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n|
|Sony RX10« »||1440||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||3200||10.0||Y||Y|
The SL is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the M Typ 240 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M Typ 240 was succeeded by the Leica M Typ 262.
Review summary: Leica SL vs Leica M Typ 240
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica SL better than the Leica M Typ 240 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Leica SL (Typ 601):
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/25p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the M Typ 240 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Leica M (Typ 240):
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More compact: Is smaller (139x80mm vs 147x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 167g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 5 points). 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the SL and the M Typ 240 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Leica SL»||-||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Leica M Typ 240«||-||-||4/5||-||-||Sep 2012||6,950||-|
|Canon 80D« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon 6D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-|
|Hasselblad X1D« »||rev||-||-||-||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica M Typ 262« »||-||-||-||-||-||Nov 2015||5,195||-|
|Leica Q Typ 116« »||-||80/100||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|Leica M9« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||-||Sep 2009||7,999||-|
|Nikon D5« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D500« »||HiRec||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Nikon D7200« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199||-|
|Nikon D750« »||HiRec||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Sony A6300« »||Rec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999||-|
|Sony RX10« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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.
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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.
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