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Panasonic GX80 versus Leica M8

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 (called Panasonic GX85 in some regions) and the Leica M8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2016 and September 2006. The GX80 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GX80) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Leica provides 10.4 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: Panasonic GX80 vs Leica M8

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX80 and the Leica M8 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GX80 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GX80 vs Leica M8
Compare GX80 versus M8 top
Compare GX80 and 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 notably larger (28 percent) than the Panasonic GX80. Moreover, the M8 is substantially heavier (39 percent) than the GX80. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX80 nor the M8 are weather-sealed.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GX80) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M8).

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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GX80» 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i
Leica M8« 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499- i
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i
Leica Digilux 3« » 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GX9« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.9 in 14.4 oz 260 n Feb 2018 849 i i
Panasonic G80« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i

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 GX80 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 percent) than the M8, which puts it into a different market segment. 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: Panasonic GX80 vs Leica 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 Panasonic GX80 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 116 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.3. The sensor in the GX80 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the M8 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GX80 and Leica M8 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic GX80 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixel, compared with 10.4 MP of the Leica M8. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.77μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the GX80 is much more recent (by 9 years and 6 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

GX80 versus M8 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the GX80 provides substantially higher image quality than the M8, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 1.3 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GX80» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
Leica M8« APS-H 10.4 3936 2630-21.111.366359
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462
Leica M9« » Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469
Leica Digilux 3« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Panasonic GX9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----
Panasonic G80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The GX80 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the GX80 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GX80 vs Leica M8

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GX80 has an electronic viewfinder (2765k dots), while the M8 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic GX80 and Leica M8 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera 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))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GX80»2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Leica M8«optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 2.0 n n
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Leica M9« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.0 n n
Leica Digilux 3« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic GX9« »2760 n 3.0 1240 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic G80« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y

The GX80 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the M8 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M8 was succeeded by the Leica M9.

Review summary: Panasonic GX80 vs Leica M8

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic GX80 better than the Leica M8 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.8 vs 10.4MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
  • 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x71mm vs 139x80mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 165g or 28 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (85 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 6 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica M8:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX80 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 4 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.

GX80 17:04 M8

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GX80 or the M8 handle or perform in practice. 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. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GX80»HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i
Leica M8«-HiRec--- Sep 2006 5,499- i
Canon XTi« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i
Nikon D40X« »79/100HiRec4/5rev4/5 Mar 2007 729- i
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GX9« »Rec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 849 i i
Panasonic G80« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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