Leica M10 DxO Score
Old 12-16-2017   #1
ptpdprinter
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Leica M10 DxO Score

This should stir up some controversy:

"For pure sensor performance, the Leica M10’s 24Mp CMOS chip is in the same ballpark as recent Leica full-frame chips. Its odd behavior for both color and dynamic range is worth looking out for, and it’s fair to say that although sensor quality is good, it could be improved with better implementation. 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. So better image quality is available and the M10 isn’t cheap, but first-class engineering that meets the Leica standard never is. However, a digital camera with similar proportions to analog M cameras will be hugely appealing to Leica enthusiasts. Add to that compatibility with almost all Leica lenses ever made, as well as its simplicity of operation, and the M10 will be an attractive proposition to those who appreciate the quality of the Leica system."

Full details here.
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Old 12-16-2017   #2
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I would challenge anyone to be dissatisfied with the real world sensor performance of the M10, however if you compare it to the state-of-the-art offerings from Sony it's clearly no BSI sensor. With the way the M10 is intended to be used I think the sensor is actually well suited to the camera itself. If you need the best-on-paper IQ and are spending this kind of money, and not buying a GFX, then I would question your actions anyway. If you want to shoot a Leica and shoot RF style, then buying a D850 wouldn't make sense just because it'll produce a lower noise image. The other parts of the DXO review acknowledge that the M10 doesn't really need to score high to be an excellent offering from Leica. If you're into nuance this review shouldn't bother you at all!

My only controversial takeway is one that is evergreen. Leica clearly saves money by using older components in every model, and should pass those savings on to consumers. Of course, they seem to sell every camera they make, so this is unlikely.
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Old 12-16-2017   #3
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Recently, I went shopping for a "full-frame" camera to replace my aging APS-C cameras.

For the "full-frame" dSLR, I narrowed my choice to a Nikon D850.

For the "full-frame" mirrorless camera, I narrowed my choice to a Leica M10.

I liked the image quality of the D850.

I liked the ergonomics of the M10.

I could not afford them both.

I purchased the M10.

For the first time, I did not feel buyer's remorse because I knew that if I did not like the M10, I could sell it for a small loss, buy the D850, and still have money left over.
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Old 12-16-2017   #4
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The sensor tech is not what Leica brings to the table. It's the rangefinder and intentionally no frills usage. That's why I bought one and not a DSLR.

But, this does kinda call into question the SL for not having a higher spec sensor.
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Old 12-16-2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
This should stir up some controversy:
Why should it? Can't argue against the numbers. However, that doesn't say anything about the camera as a whole. If one wants a digital rangefinder camera, this is currently by far the best, you can get. Sadly, it is also more or less the only one... If it weren't, then the DXO tests for digital rangefinders would be more interesting.
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Old 12-16-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
I would challenge anyone to be dissatisfied with the real world sensor performance of the M10
Indeed, it is a pretty good package IQ-wise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
If you need the best-on-paper IQ and are spending this kind of money, and not buying a GFX, then I would question your actions anyway.
Well, I have that one also and only numbers for sensor quality count, then the GFX is in a whole different class, than the Leica. However, both cameras really have their place and currently, I wouldn't give away either of them (as well as my µFT Pen-F, which is also a fantastic camera). They are all different system with different purpose, strengths and weaknesses.

If one looks only to a few measured values of these different systems, that is like buying books by cover-color and weight.
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Old 12-16-2017   #7
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I wonder what fraction of users actually can make use of this "scoring" data?
Is it any more useful than anecdotal data to the average photographer or just clouds the choice?

Look at an image at base iso. Look at an image at the highest iso "you" feel is useful... viola! Make a judgement!
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Old 12-16-2017   #8
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Just acquired a Q. Can't shoot past ISO 3200, can't lift shadow more than 2 stops, or the banding becomes too evident. The current Fuji sensors, being APS-C sized, generate files that are far more manipulable.

Quirky and limited, that's OK with us Leica shooters...I learnt to take it "messy"...learnt to take the limitation as a virtue. Don't need higher ISO anyway. But why is it so only with a Leica?

Hope the next Q would have the far-from-best M10 sensor.

*Sigh*
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Old 12-16-2017   #9
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This just reflects what others have already said but I think in 2017, we've got to the point where all sensors are incredibly good. Been like that for a while. For the style of photography that most Leica users will tend to shoot (not to typecast too much here), a sensor that's only 98% as good as model X is hardly a deal breaker. Ergonomics, simplicity and lens mount matter more.

Not everyone prefers a RF of course, but those that do, and value the ergonomics, the M10 is a brilliant camera. My day job is retouching and design. I work on other photographer's photos every day... from Sonys, Hasselblads, Phase One, Leicas and yes, mainly Canons and Nikons ;-) I do pixel peep because it's my job, and of course I can see a tangible difference from a top end MF camera back, but in all honesty, the different 99% of the time is negligible and not relevant in most real-world situations. Anyway, just my 2c :-)
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Old 12-16-2017   #10
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I think the sensor battle ran out of puff a while ago ... they are all very good these days. More than good enough for me at least.
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Old 12-16-2017   #11
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So much hype about low light shooting with digital sensors. Beyond ISO 1600 I can’t see what it is I’m supposed to be shooting with my eyes anyway, and as I don’t do much surveillance work I don’t see the appeal.
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Old 12-16-2017   #12
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First, I have no idea what DxO is bulging at. Can't masturbate this smart.
Second, I, personally, like images from all digital M sensors. M8, M9, M240 and M10. I also like Q images. They are qute.
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Old 12-16-2017   #13
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I haven't had any DR problems. At 100 I have yet to hit limit in shadow recovery, I've gotten close to 5 stops in shadows.

I also find the ISO good up to about 10-12.5k.

If you can't get it done with that you're doing something wrong...


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S/N Is Always Good
Old 12-17-2017   #14
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S/N Is Always Good

Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
So much hype about low light shooting with digital sensors. Beyond ISO 1600 I can’t see what it is I’m supposed to be shooting with my eyes anyway, and as I don’t do much surveillance work I don’t see the appeal.
I agree the high-ISO mantra is annoying. For one thing the mantra is a misleading over simplification.

However, S/N is important at every ISO one needs to use. S/N determines the information content of the raw file. At base ISO (100) more S/N means more dynamic range. At base ISO more S/N also means when you expose for a bright sky the the underexposed shadow regions have more S/N. More S/N means better detail, color rendering and perceived tonal rendering.[a]

At ISO 400, shadow regions are underexposed by an additional two stops (compass to 100). Now shadow-region S/N is that much more important.

a. Often rendering shadow regions to be dark is an important aesthetic strategy. I'm not suggesting shadow regions should always be selectively pushed. At the same time, regions in-between the brightest and darkest also benefit from higher S/N.
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Old 12-17-2017   #15
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Wait, I thought M10 best camera. I feel good using best camera, expensive camera. Now I hear there is better camera? People need to tell me what best camera is now please. I buy that one and feel good, lotsa hope, cause I have best camera for my photos. Not everyone has best. I just need to know which is best! Thank you for your help.
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Old 12-17-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
So much hype about low light shooting with digital sensors. Beyond ISO 1600 I can’t see what it is I’m supposed to be shooting with my eyes anyway, and as I don’t do much surveillance work I don’t see the appeal.
Sometimes I have no choice ,especially at this time of year, because I shoot action for friends in indoor arenas and I need a high shutter speed.

Couple that with a reasonable aperture of say F4 and there`s only one way to go.

So photographers at these events are typically shooting at anything between 30-50k

This was at 40k on an A7R2 with a 135 Elmarit.
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Old 12-17-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
If you want to shoot a Leica and shoot RF style, then buying a D850 wouldn't make sense just because it'll produce a lower noise image.
Agreed...and this is what non-Leica fans never seem to get.
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Old 12-17-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
This should stir up some controversy:

...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.
It is because the best of the best APSC sensors are actually extremely good. The Leica just allows you to use your native lenses at their intended FOVs though. I don't see this as a diss.
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Old 12-17-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
So much hype about low light shooting with digital sensors. Beyond ISO 1600 I can’t see what it is I’m supposed to be shooting with my eyes anyway, and as I don’t do much surveillance work I don’t see the appeal.
It's about being able to hand hold at higher shutter speeds for me. As I get older, my hands are shakier. It is awesome to shoot at 1/125th in a decently lit street at night.
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Rubbish!
Old 12-17-2017   #20
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Rubbish!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
This should stir up some controversy:...

Full details here.
This is rubbish.

It seems DxO considers cameras to be commodities lacking any value-added economic benefit whatsoever.

In 2017 the M10's data stream is both excellent and competitive. This DxO analysis is a prime example of ignoring context. It is also misleading.

The primary source of noise in M10 raw files is photon (shot) noise. Photon noise can not be affected by human intervention. Increasing ISO does not increase the M10's read noise levels. Lowering exposure (which happens when one increases ISO) lowers the signal levels. The photon noise levels increase relative to signal as exposure decreases. These characteristics are shared by all contemporary still digital cameras.

Neither the M10's DR behavior nor its color rendering is odd.

Comparing the M10's image quality to APS-C cameras is absurd. It is meaningless and misleading. It is very odd that DxO ignores the role of sensor area in this comparison. The per-pixel sensitivity is only part of the story. Was matters is the total exposure of the sensor and that is a function of sensor area and single-pixel performance. The M Type 262, the M10 are the first digital M Leicas that outperform all APS-C cameras (in terms of raw file S/N).

The M10's only weakness compared to contemporary competitors is dynamic range. Even so, the difference is one stop or less with the M10 being in the top 1/2 of all 24 x 36 mm cameras tested by Bill Claff. Ask any APS-C camera owner with similar DR capabilities (e.g. FUJIFILM X-Trans III or SONY A-6300), this is hardly a show stopper.
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Old 04-29-2018   #21
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Word food for pixel peepers? I was happy with my M9P and sold it to get my M240 because it could take the EVF which allowed me to take advantage of my zoom lenses with the available adapters. Of course, the M240 is a better sensor, but in the real world I cannot tell the difference except for the color rendition and the ability to shoot higher ISO with less noise. I think we have reached the point where almost any of the current sensors will satisfy all but the most demanding pixel peepers and photo-muralists as opposed to most photographers.
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Old 04-30-2018   #22
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It's not 'pixel peeping'. Dynamic range, low light performance, and bit-depth for portraiture are evaluated by DXO and I trust their rating system. In purchasing a camera, I want the most "bang for the buck". 1. Sensor performance. 2. Lens selection (why I'm not in the Sony camp -- and spare me your talk of clunky, kluge, and expensive adapters) 3. Ergonomics (call a DSLR "clunky" if you will. However that nice deep grip on the right side of the Nikons and Canons is meaningful -- strike that "mandatory", especially with larger and heavier lenses. Additionally, the "mirror hump" might ruin the camera's looks, but that saves me valuable battery life and I'm seeing exactly what's in the scene not an electronic representation. I prefer this -- especially for the battery life dividend. The RF form factor may "look" cooler but I want my grip and I want a 900 shot fully-charged battery life). 4. Cost -- bang for the buck.

I don't want to bash Leica. But they charge a premium for their cameras -- and not by a little, and they fall behind in the most meaningful sensor metrics related to digital camera performance and not by a little. My used D600 from 2012 rates a 95 on DXO. It cost $650 (again, to be fair, that's a used price but you ain't getting no working and in great condition digital "M" for that). The full frame Leica M10, which costs nearly $7000 new, rates an 86 and it's 5 years newer than Nikon's entry-level FF. By comparison the little D5300 that I paid $300 used rates an 83 with a cropped sensor. Performance-wise, the new full frame M10 is closer to an old entry-level Nikon aps-c camera that cost a fraction of the M10. And the latest M has nowhere near the sensor performance of a 5 year entry-level FF Nikon model released in 2012.

But as long as people keep buying them at their asking price, Leica has no incentive to put better sensors in their digital cameras I guess. That said, for a film camera where you're pairing it with one of their superlative diminutive jewels of a 50 or 35mm lens, the RF form factor works, and Leica still reigns supreme. Digital? Wow. C'mon Leica. You should be the class leader here and the simple fact is, you're not. Not by a long shot in terms of the metrics that matter most. And Leica's digital price/performance can only be described as abysmal.
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Old 04-30-2018   #23
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Quote:
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... I want the most "bang for the buck"... And Leica's digital price/performance can only be described as abysmal.
If Leica is so obviously not for you, why waste time to convince others of your point of view?
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Old 04-30-2018   #24
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btw,

the D850, new M9, and M10 sensors are made by the same company
in that famous and well known little camera hamlet of ....
Israel ....
believe it or not.
likely they will be producing the Zenit digital rangefinder sensors as well, I guess
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Old 04-30-2018   #25
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Old 04-30-2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Evidon View Post
Word food for pixel peepers? I was happy with my M9P and sold it to get my M240 because it could take the EVF which allowed me to take advantage of my zoom lenses with the available adapters. Of course, the M240 is a better sensor, but in the real world I cannot tell the difference except for the color rendition and the ability to shoot higher ISO with less noise. I think we have reached the point where almost any of the current sensors will satisfy all but the most demanding pixel peepers and photo-muralists as opposed to most photographers.
You cannot tell the difference doesn't mean it's the same for everyone else (who shoot in the real world as well).

It won't be the end of the world to admit that the current Leica full frame sensors (although I assume they are essentially the same one with different tweaks), with their astounding price tags, lag behind the best APS-C sensors (which are present in almost all models across the range - even your son's lowly new Nikon D3400). They are no match for the state-of-art FF sensors.

But I'm thankful. Although banding seems still to be an issue even with the M10 sensor, at least they don't corrode or crack anymore...

My M262's sensor performance is "good enough" for most of my use, that's true. Sometimes I do wish I could shoot at ISO 3200 and still have confidence to manipulate the RAW file like I do with my Fuji. But I can make do. It's just a little sad that you always have to "made do" with digital Leicas, even though if you put "Leica" and "uncompromising" into google, you'll be under an impression that the later seems to be a favorite expression of the company...
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Old 05-01-2018   #27
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DXO is pretty worthless in the real world. The reason so many fashion/portrait/wedding photographers and videographers use Canon despite being technically outgunned by Nikon and Sony sensor's DXO results is that the color science behind the canon sensors is pretty much spot on for skin tones. That kind of thing that is very difficult to measure via data is way more important than how many stops you can lift the shadows (which is the measurebators favorite metric)
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Old 05-01-2018   #28
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Don't read all these opinions till one goes to DxO.
Compare the sensor results of Nikon 850 and M10.
Surprise they are very close!
I own neither, one is tooo big and expensive; the other way too expensive.
So i have no axe to grind.
I used SLR and RF in my pro years.
The Leica in terms of features always ran 2nd or 4th!
My M's are still the most superior in results..
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Old 05-01-2018   #29
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I can certainly tell the difference in the real world, and have used and owned all kinds of digital cameras, including Leica M8 + M10, Nikon D800E and Sony A7R II. The last is my current camera - owing to it's superlative sensor performance (shame its ergonomics don't match!).

For a well-exposed photo of a typical subject taken under everyday conditions without anything awkward (deep shadows, bright highlights, low light or strange light, etc.), most decent cameras will give similar results. But start to push things, then things go awry with lesser cameras...

I know a lot of photographers who take photography very seriously - and I was taught by a Magnum photographer. None use a digital Leica M.
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Old 05-01-2018   #30
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I know a lot of photographers who take photography very seriously - and I was taught by a Magnum photographer. None use a digital Leica M.
Look at blogs, Gilden has S2, others M240 etc!
The price makes it awkward for many!
The slow service a major problem for a pro.
Yet consider when Magnum and other famous photographers used Kodachrome, the end bill was huge and no good duplicates..,
A friend and PJ last year did a shoot over whole Middle East, using one Leica M4-P and FILM.
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Old 05-01-2018   #31
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I was at a dinner and sat across from Costas Manos and we had a great conversation about Leicas. He has 2 M10s.

I have both the M 262 and M 10 and I can tell you from real world working with files experience the M 10 has much better DR. No banding to speak of and 20,000 ISO is VERY usable. 3200 is a bit touch and go with the M 262. This is REAL shooting and working with the files everyday experience.
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Old 05-01-2018   #32
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The last I've read is that DXO is in receivership. Not sure if that makes you feel any better.
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Old 05-01-2018   #33
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The last I've read is that DXO is in receivership. Not sure if that makes you feel any better.
Only the software section of that name, not the part with the sensor-measurements.
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