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Sony A6500 versus Leica M10

The Sony Alpha A6500 and the Leica M10 (Typ 3656) are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2016 and January 2017. The A6500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the M10 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A6500) and a full frame (M10) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Leica provides 23.8 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: Sony A6500 vs Leica M10

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A6500 and the Leica M10 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. 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 A6500 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony A6500 vs Leica M10
Compare A6500 versus M10 top
Compare A6500 and M10 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M10 is notably larger (38 percent) than the Sony A6500. Moreover, the M10 is substantially heavier (46 percent) than the A6500. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A6500 is splash and dust resistant, while the M10 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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 Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6500) and the Leica M Lens Catalog (M10).

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)
Sony A6500» 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Leica M10« 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i
Canon 6D Mark II« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Leica Q Typ 116« » 5.1 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 22.6 oz 300 n Jun 2015 4,249 i i
Leica M Typ 240« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.7 in 24.0 oz .. Y Sep 2012 6,950- i
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony RX10 III« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 5.0 in 37.1 oz 420 Y Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX10 II« » 5.1 in 3.5 in 4.0 in 28.7 oz 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony NEX-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- 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 A6500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 79 percent) than the M10, 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: Sony A6500 vs Leica M10

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A6500 features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M10 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the M10 is 133 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A6500 and Leica M10 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Sony A6500 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 23.8 MP of the Leica M10. 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 3.91μm versus 6.00μm for the M10). Moreover, it should be noted that the M10 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the A6500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M10 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

A6500 versus M10 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A6500» APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Leica M10« Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Leica Q Typ 116« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.7222185
Leica M Typ 240« » Full Frame 23.7 5952 39761080/25p24.013.3186084
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony RX10 III« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.112.647270
Sony RX10 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
Sony NEX-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A6500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M10 does not. The highest resolution format that the A6500 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A6500 vs Leica M10

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6500 has an electronic viewfinder (2300k dots), while the M10 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 Sony A6500 and Leica M10 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. 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
Sony A6500»2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Leica M10«optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Leica Q Typ 116« »3680 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 n n
Leica M Typ 240« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony RX10 III« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 2000 14.0 Y Y
Sony RX10 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 3200 14.0 Y Y
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n

Both the A6500 and the M10 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The A6500 replaced the earlier Sony A6300, while the M10 followed on from the Leica M Typ 262.

Review summary: Sony A6500 vs Leica M10

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A6500 or the Leica M10 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6500:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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.
  • 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 (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 139x80mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 207g or 31 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • 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 (79 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2016).

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Arguments in favor of the Leica M10 (Typ 3656):

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 922k dots).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6500 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 6 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.

A6500 14:06 M10

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A6500 or the M10. 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 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). 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)
Sony A6500»HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Leica M10«--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Leica Q Typ 116« »-80/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2015 4,249 i i
Leica M Typ 240« »--4/5-- Sep 2012 6,950- i
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Sony RX10 III« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2016 1,499- i
Sony RX10 II« »HiRec82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i
Sony NEX-7« »HiRec81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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