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.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|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|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X1 and the Leica M8? 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: 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).
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.
|Leica X1»||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995||-||Leica X1|
|Leica M8«||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.8 oz||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499||-||Leica M8|
|Canon G16« »||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Canon XTi« »||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799||-||Canon XTi|
|Fujifilm X100« »||5.0 in||3.0 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||300||n||Sep 2010||1,199||-||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||n||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||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||-||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2« »||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995||-||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Sep 2010||699||-||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||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica M9« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Panasonic LX5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499||-||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10« »||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599||-||Panasonic L10|
|Sony NEX-3« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||10.1 oz||330||n||May 2010||699||-||Sony NEX-5|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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.
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 resolution advantage of the Leica X1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.3 inch or 54.3 x 36.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inch or 43.4 x 29 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inch or 36.2 x 24.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M8 are 19.7 x 13.2 inch or 50 x 33.4 cm for good quality, 15.7 x 10.5 inch or 40 x 26.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.1 x 8.8 inch or 33.3 x 22.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
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).
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.
|Leica X1»||APS-C||12.2||4272||2856||-||-||-||-||-||Leica X1|
|Leica M8«||APS-H||10.4||3936||2630||-||21.1||11.3||663||59||Leica M8|
|Canon G16« »||1/1.7||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||21.0||11.7||230||54||Canon G16|
|Canon XTi« »||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.1||11.0||664||62||Canon XTi|
|Fujifilm X100« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/30p||22.9||12.4||1001||73||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica M10« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||-||-||-||-||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica D-LUX 6« »||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||-||-||-||-||-||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5« »||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||-||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Leica V-LUX 2« »||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||-||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica M9« »||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||-||22.5||11.7||884||69||Leica M9|
|Nikon D80« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Panasonic LX5« »||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.6||10.8||132||41||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.3||10.8||429||55||Panasonic L10|
|Sony NEX-3« »||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||1080/60i||22.2||12.2||796||69||Sony NEX-5|
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.
|Leica X1»||-||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica X1|
|Leica M8«||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M8|
|Canon G16« »||optical||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y||Canon G16|
|Canon XTi« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon XTi|
|Fujifilm X100« »||1440||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica M10« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||-||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica D-LUX 6« »||-||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2« »||-||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Leica V-LUX 2« »||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica M9« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M9|
|Nikon D80« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Panasonic LX5« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10« »||optical||n||2.5||207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic L10|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||-||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||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.
|Leica X1»||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X1|
|Leica M8«||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M8|
|Canon G16« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon G16|
|Canon XTi« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XTi|
|Fujifilm X100« »||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica M10« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica D-LUX 6« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Leica V-LUX 2« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica M9« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D80« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Panasonic LX5« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L10|
|Sony NEX-3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||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 (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official 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? Is one clearly better than the other? 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.
- 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 framing and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) 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 comes out slightly ahead of the M8 (10 : 9 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. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X1 and the Leica M8 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
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 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.
|Leica X1»||-||+||-||-||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995||-||Leica X1|
|Leica M8«||-||+ +||-||-||-||Sep 2006||5,499||-||Leica M8|
|Canon G16« »||+||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549||Canon G16|
|Canon XTi« »||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799||-||Canon XTi|
|Fujifilm X100« »||-||75/100||4/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,199||-||Fujifilm X100|
|Leica M10« »||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||-||-||3.5/5||-||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica D-LUX 6« »||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||Sep 2012||699||-||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica X2« »||-||-||3/5||-||4/5||May 2012||1,995||-||Leica X2|
|Leica D-LUX 5« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4/5||Sep 2010||699||-||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Leica V-LUX 2« »||-||-||-||-||-||Sep 2010||849||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica M9« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||-||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D80« »||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Panasonic LX5« »||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499||-||Panasonic LX5|
|Panasonic L10« »||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599||-||Panasonic L10|
|Sony NEX-3« »||-||70/100||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||May 2010||599||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||+ +||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||May 2010||699||-||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.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Leica X1 vs Leica M8
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 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 Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-H Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||27.0 x 18.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||486 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||32.4 mm|
|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%|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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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