Leica M10 Full-Frame Sensor is More in Line with Top Crop Sensors: DxOMark

The Leica M10 is a $6,900 camera that some photographers swear by, but its full-frame sensor doesn’t stack up well against the top full frame sensors on the market — it’s more in line with the performance of top APS-C crop sensors. That’s what DxOMark concluded in its latest review of the camera.

Announced in January 2017, the new M10 is an M series digital rangefinder that features a slimmer form factor that’s more similar with Leica’s analog M series cameras of old.

The camera scored an overall score of 86 points at DxOMark, putting it in second place among Leica cameras just behind the Leica SL (Typ 601) full-frame mirrorless camera and its score of 88.

The M10’s sensor tested well, but it falls behind the highly acclaimed full frame sensors in new cameras such as the Sony a7R III and the Nikon D850, which were both awarded groundbreaking scores of 100. The M10 was found to be at least a 1 stop worse in both color depth and dynamic range.

In fact, the Leica M10’s sensor scores are more on par with the best APS-C chips we’ve tested in mirrorless cameras, such as the Samsung NX500 and the Sony A6300. Headline sub-scores for color depth (Portrait) and dynamic range (Landscape) are either the same or better for both the Samsung NX500 and the Sony A6300. Dynamic range is better at base ISO for these top-performing APS-C chips, too, offering half or two-thirds of a stop better performance compared to the M10 at base ISO. So while the M10’s 24Mp full-frame CMOS sensor has great specifications, it doesn’t quite hit its full potential.

How the Leica M10 compares to top full-frame sensor cameras.
How the Leica M10 compares to top APS-C crop sensor cameras.

DxOMark does note that the one advantage the Leica M10 has over the top crop sensor cameras is the fact that its physically larger sensor is able to gather more light, providing better low-light ISO performance.

“For pure sensor performance, the Leica M10’s 24Mp CMOS chip is in the same ballpark as recent Leica full-frame chips,” DxOMark concludes. “Compared to the top-performing full-frame sensors we’ve tested, the M10 lags a little behind at base ISO and throughout the sensitivity range, with image quality more in line with the best APS-C chips.”

(via DxOMark via DPReview)