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Leica X1 vs M8

The Leica X1 and the Leica M8 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2009 and September 2006. The X1 is a fixed lens compact, while the M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X1) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The X1 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the M8 provides 10.4 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Leica X1   Leica M8
Leica X1 Leica M8
Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
36mm f/2.8 Leica M mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 10.4 MP, APS-H Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3200 ISO 160-2500
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
2.7" LCD, 230k dots 2.5" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2 shutter flaps per second
124 x 60 x 32 mm, 306 g 139 x 80 x 37 mm, 591 g

Body comparison: Leica X1 vs M8

The physical size and weight of the Leica X1 and the Leica M8 are illustrated 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.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Compare Leica X1 and Leica M8
Compare X1 versus M8 top
Compare X1 or M8 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M8 is considerably larger (49 percent) than the Leica X1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X1 nor the M8 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X1 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 X1» 4.9 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.8 oz 260 n Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
 
Leica M8« 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Fujifilm X100« » 5.0 in 3.0 in 2.1 in 15.7 oz 300 n Sep 2010 1,199- i Fujifilm X100
 
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 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 D-LUX 6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
 
Leica X2« » 4.9 in 2.7 in 2.0 in 12.2 oz 450 n May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
 
Leica D-LUX 5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
 
Leica V-LUX 2« » 4.9 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 18.3 oz 410 n Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
 
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
Sony NEX-3« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 X1 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Leica X1 vs M8

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica X1 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 31 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Leica X1 and Leica M8 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Leica X1 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 10.4 MP of the Leica 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 5.51μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the X1 is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) 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 Leica X1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200 The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (no boost).

X1 versus M8 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 X1» APS-C 12.2 4272 2856-----Leica X1
 
Leica M8« APS-H 10.4 3936 2630-21.111.366359Leica M8
 
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
 
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon XTi
 
Fujifilm X100« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.4100173Fujifilm X100
 
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica X Typ 113« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica D-LUX 6« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p----Leica D-LUX 6
 
Leica X2« » APS-C 16.1 4928 3264-----Leica X2
 
Leica D-LUX 5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p----Leica D-LUX 5
 
Leica V-LUX 2« » 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i----Leica V-LUX 2
 
Leica M9« » Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
 
Sony NEX-3« » APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5« » APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669Sony NEX-5
Neither the X1 nor the M8 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Leica X1 vs M8

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the M8 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X1 and Leica M8 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Leica X1»- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 3.0 Y n Leica X1
 
Leica M8«optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 2.0 n n Leica M8
 
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
 
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
 
Fujifilm X100« »1440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Fujifilm X100
 
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica X Typ 113« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica D-LUX 6« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y Leica D-LUX 6
 
Leica X2« »- n 2.7 230 fixed n 2000 5.0 Y n Leica X2
 
Leica D-LUX 5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Leica D-LUX 5
 
Leica V-LUX 2« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 11.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 2
 
Leica M9« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
 
Sony NEX-3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-5

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X1 has one, while the M8 does not. While the built-in flash of the X1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The X1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the M8 uses SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Leica X1 vs M8

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 X1 and Leica M8 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
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Leica X1»Y----mini2.0---Leica X1
 
Leica M8«Y-----2.0---Leica M8
 
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
 
Canon XTi« »Y-----2.0---Canon XTi
 
Fujifilm X100« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Fujifilm X100
 
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
 
Leica X Typ 113« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica D-LUX 6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 6
 
Leica X2« »Y----mini2.0---Leica X2
 
Leica D-LUX 5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Leica D-LUX 5
 
Leica V-LUX 2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Leica V-LUX 2
 
Leica M9« »Y-----2.0---Leica M9
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX5
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10
 
Sony NEX-3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-5

Both the X1 and the M8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the X1 was followed by the Leica X2. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Leica website.


Review summary: Leica X1 vs M8

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X1 or the Leica M8 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Leica X1:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 10.4MP) with a 9% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the M8 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm vs 139x80mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the M8).
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.


Advantages of the Leica M8:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with different optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X1 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 5 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.

X1 10:05 M8

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X1 and the M8 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.

Expert reviews: Leica X1 vs M8

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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 X1»-+--4/5 Sep 2009 1,995- i Leica X1
 
Leica M8«-++--- Sep 2006 5,499- i Leica M8
 
Canon G16« »+-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon XTi« »++++o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
 
Fujifilm X100« »-75/1004/54/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199- i Fujifilm X100
 
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica X Typ 113« »--3.5/5-4/5 Sep 2014 2,295 i i Leica X Typ 113
 
Leica D-LUX 6« »--4/5-4/5 Sep 2012 699- i Leica D-LUX 6
 
Leica X2« »--3/5-4/5 May 2012 1,995- i Leica X2
 
Leica D-LUX 5« »--4.5/5-4/5 Sep 2010 699- i Leica D-LUX 5
 
Leica V-LUX 2« »----- Sep 2010 849- i Leica V-LUX 2
 
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D80« »+++o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Panasonic LX5« »+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
Sony NEX-3« »-70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
 
Sony NEX-5« »++71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

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.

Leica X1:
Check Ebay offers
Leica M8:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. An 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 X1 vs Leica M8

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Leica X1 Leica M8
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Rangefinder camera
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Leica M mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2009 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 1995 USD 5499
    Sensor Specs Leica X1 Leica M8
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 27.0 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 486 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 32.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 10.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2856 pixels 3936 x 2630 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 6.84 μm
    Pixel Density 3.30 MP/cm2 2.13 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 160-2500 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 663
    Screen Specs Leica X1 Leica M8
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x
    Rear LCD Size 2.7 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X1 Leica M8
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/2000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica X1 Leica M8
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X1 Leica M8
    Battery Type BP-DC8 power pack BLI-312 power pack
    Body Dimensions 124 x 60 x 32 mm
    (4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
    139 x 80 x 37 mm
    (5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 306 g (10.8 oz) 591 g (20.8 oz)

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