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MFT sensor better than the $5,500 Leica FF sensor!


Today DxOmark (Click here) published the full Leica M-E test results and the 18MP Full Frame sensor cannot match the newest MFT sensor quality. A pretty good result if you consider the price of the Leica M-E ($5,500 here at Amazon). Do you still want Panasonic/Olympus to go Full Frame? :)

One more US deal: Today also the Silver GX1 with X lens kit got a price drop and now sells for $499 at Amazon (Click here).

DxO news found via Lepidi.

  • James

    Cool! I hate it when people who don’t know much about cameras say M43 has lower quality because it has a smaller sensor. Not true! It’s smaller, faster, and easier to use than a DSLR. The only downside is the DOF.

    • MarcoSartoriPhoto

      If you are into landscape photography, deeper depth of field is also an advantage! ;)

      • If Ansel Adams were alive, he’d be shooting with a tiny-sensor cam. ;-)

        • MarcoSartoriPhoto

          Yes, and with an AF lens: why going mad trying to zone-focus?! ;)

          • Imagine if there were no AF lenses: you’d be stuck using a pinhole camera! :-P

            • mafia assistant.

              So any camera using M lenses is a pinhole camera?

              • You don’t understand sarcasm.

                • I do. You only seem to recognise your own.

                  • You must have a very long neck. There’s some more left to lop off! :-P

                    • Last time they hung me it failed as my feet were already on the ground. But I need a tele lens when I cut my toenails.

            • MarcoSartoriPhoto

              HaHa! :) Does a big sensor camera need a bigger hole?!?!

              • Why don’t you take that camera and… :-P

        • Yes, because he would have been so old he coudn´t carry a heavier camera.
          Sorry I could’n resist.


      • fdgh

        No camera has a deeper DOF advanatge as the simple fact is that all cameras suffer from diffraction at the same DOF so a FF camera at F16 will have the same DOF and diffraction as an mFT at F4.

        • So, where are we going to lock up the millions of people who bought P&S cameras and use mobiles. These people can only have imagined their pictures according to your comment.
          Then! There are the ones who looked at these imaginary pictures, do they get free therapy or bulk discount from the manufacturers.

          • JimS

            Hi Jimd, maybe the guy is suggesting that if you simply stop down the FF

            • Maybe I’m suggesting given the figures that shooting with a P&S is impossible. Just look at what’s written then expand it.

          • Jimpeters

            Hi JimD, maybe the guy is suggesting that if you simply stop down the FF lens by two stops you will have the exact same result same DOF , same AOV and even same noise { if you need to up the ISO to get a useable speed}. As FF is impacted by diffraction at two stops lower than mFT the result means that the DOF on FF can be matched by a FF camera as he is right that diffraction impacts all cameras at the same DOF not aperture. So there is no DOF advanatge in actual use as all you have to do is stop down the FF camera this in essence means that FF can do anything that mFT can do { if you do not mind carrying a hefty load of gear lol}

            looking at the fine detail { or rather lack of fine detail } clearly demonstrates the impact of diffraction on the resolution of compacts.

            Diffraction link


            • Cambridgeincolour has one of the best sets of information articles I have yet seen. I have many bookmarked for checking on things when I need to.
              The airy disk is an objective measurement and COC is subjective though using averages can be set as a standard. However when relating an objective with a subjective things may not be as they seem visually. But there we are getting into pixel peeping and I am more interested in what the image shows me. There are so many styles, that sharpness is a thing that is often least considered when taking a picture by the vast majority of people taking photographs. If it works for them its a great picture.

        • MarcoSartoriPhoto

          At f16 you need a tripod, right? Personally I don’t like carrying around tripods during my walks, so to me greater DOF is an advantage, since I can shoot at f5.6 hand-held and move on. To tell the truth I have also a gorillapod, but I use it only when shooting with infrared filters on lenses.

          • Jimpeters

            F5.6 on mFT gives the same DOF as F11 on FF not F16 and the best FF sensors have a clear 2 stop advanatge over the best mFT sensors. Therefore if a FF user wanted the same DOF and same shutter speed all he need do is raise the ISO.Giving same DOF , and same noise. So no more need for a tripod than you

            • true homer

              and no need for the ff camera either

        • smaller formats and DoF advantage
          What we consider to be within DoF is simply a matter of acceptable sharpness, and in this there “can’ be a DoF advantage. This occurs because the sweet spot to lenses is usually 2 stops from wide open, which means they register the better MTF scores at tighter apertures. It isnt true to all lenses, some have the best measurement at f/8, Zuiko lenses its generally at f/4.5-5.6.

          You cannot duplicate that sharpness at f/16, it just wont be there, and with some camera lens combinations it will never be there. The D800 and EM5 studio samples in DPR are a case in point. The Nikon is shot at f/11 on 85mm and shows to be wanting of more DoF, yet the EM5 shot at f/6.3 (1/3 stop tighter), but on a longer FL of 100mm EFL has the full scene acceptably sharp.

          Punch that data into
          and you will see that D800 should have more DoF, yet plainly it doesnt
          the notion that there is 2 stops between them just isnt true

    • twoomy

      Cool! I hate it when people who don’t know much about cameras say M43 has same quality even with a smaller sensor. LOL! Okay, so I’m being factitious, but as a devoted EM5 shooter *and* a Nikon D800, all I have to say is… SORRY. My beloved EM5 cannot match the wonderful resolution that I get from my 36mp full-frame camera. I still love my EM5 though… it’s more fun to use and a heck of a lot easier to lug around. But let’s not pretend that M43 is FF. I can’t speak for the Leica sensor, but 18mp is not high by FF standards these days.

      The other problem is glass. One reply to you mentioned landscape work. Both the Pany 7-14 and Oly 9-18 are decent convenient lenses, but their corners are soft. (I know because I have and use both.) On a FF SLR, you have many high-quality UWA options out there with almost perfect corners. So which system is better for landscapers? (If Pany or Oly would offer an updated version of either lens with better corners or a high-quality 9mm or 10mm prime, I’d have a different opinion.) Note that I’m still happy with M43, but if you’re going to nitpick with a M43 is as good as “full-frame” comment, so will I.

      • Luda

        Not really. There are not so many UW and W lenses that are really excellent and corner-sharp (from the start, wide open, most lenses get good when stopped down)..

        • twoomy

          We’re talking landscape, so I’m not talking about shooting wide open. The M43 UWA lenses do not have very good corners even when stopped down. That’s my only beef with the system. If Oly or Pany would make a better UWA zoom or prime (akin to the Oly 12mm), it would be a miracle. Until then, Nikon FF is the landscaper’s format of choice. And I’m sorry to sound anti-M43, because I really enjoy the system.

          • G

            Get the 11-22 and you will be happy.

            The 14-35 zuiko will give results closer to your D800.

            • St.


            • hsduy

              The 14-35 will indeed close the gap by one stop unfortunately it costs £1799 compared to the £1200 of my Nikon 24-70 and one of the reasons why FT failed is that the 14-35 is just as large and heavy as the FF alternative . Which begs the question if you want to carry that much weight and pay that much why would you do so using a tiny sensor

              • yes, but it has f/2 and is sharp in the corners – bei f/2. The Nikkor isn’t, at least not until f/5.6, and it shows at least 50% more CA. FT failed because of bad marketing and insufficient sensor competitiveness, and not because a f/2 zoom costs 2k.

              • Stu5

                Because you want a lens that is better on corner sharpness than a Nikon 24-70. You want a lens you can actually use wide open without the trade off you get with the Nikon 24-70 wide open.

          • peevee

            twoomy, how about Olympus 7-14? Yes, the big one?

      • James

        Do you do professional photography work? What kind? If you do, then the D800 makes sense. It’s the best digital camera ever made. Can’t argue with that. But the E-M5 is the best 43 camera so far. It has better quality than all of the Canon entry/mid level cameras including the 7D. This post shows it has better quality than a full frame camera. Micro 43 does prove that a smaller sensor can beat the bigger sensors. What a stupid comment.

        • digifan

          I’m sorry but this post proves nothing.
          DxO scores don’t prove a thing and I am very disappointed that DPR uses the DxO software to “prove” something.

          I am an avid m43 fan, I won’t deny that. I like the small size low weight system very much. I use it professionally, but just as DxO telling me APS-C > (read: better than) than m43 or FF > m43, I think the same BS is to say m43 > FF or APS-C.
          It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.
          This beholder thinks m43 is currently more than sufficient (GH3,OMD,EPL5,EPM2) for professional work, even with bigger (A3/A2) prints.
          I don’t really care about numbers, I want to see the whole picture (pun intended).
          If my clients are satisfied with my work I’m satisfied too.
          And when they even order certain enlargements, they can’t see the difference between the pictures from my sometimes rented gear (Nikon 35mmFF) or the m43 it’s enough proof for me, m43 is already suited for really serious work. DxO is not going to talk me out of that.

      • J Shin

        I agree with both twoomy and Luda. Excellent ultra-wides are quite rare, and even Leica has only just begun offering lenses that are consistent to the corner. If µ43 can offer fantastic ultra-wides (Schneider-Krueznach? Zeiss? Leica? Are you reading this?) they will clean up. Same with super-teles. The small sensor allows for a lot of design freedom.

        • john

          leica gets M mount support from voigtlaender and zeiss. Esp. voigtlaender offers UWAs 12/15. I don’t know about their optical quality though (the 12mm semms to have bad vignetting on FF). I like landscapes a lot and tended to think that UWAs are super important for my kit but while browsing the web for pictures I noticed that in many cases well made panoramas gives comparable or even superior image quality (no corner problems provided you take a decent normal prime which is also cheaper). Actually I don’t see much value in UWAs except for shots with many moving components.

      • kesztió

        May I ask you what are you doing with that wonderful 36 MP resolution as even for A2(!) prints 12(!)MP is more than enough (counting 180 dots per inch)?

        • twoomy

          I’ve printed 12mp images at 20×30 before and it’s *OKAY* but not spectacular for fine-art prints if you want people to stick their noses up to your image and still see detail. (180dpi is a low standard; try 300dpi.) 36mp is very useful to me (as it is to many other photographers out there), but I acknowledge that it isn’t for everybody and is overkill for web and small prints.

          • kesztió

            300 DPI for A2 printing? The distance you can watch an A2 sized picture from is at least 1.5 meters!

            300 DPI is reserved usually for high quality magazines where the watching distance is about 30–40 cm. Belive me, I work in printing industry.

            • twoomy

              I’m not going to believe you if you say you’re only allowed to look at a 20×30 from 1.5 meters away! That’s ridiculous! Whatever you do in printing, it has nothing to do with fine-art photography or museum-grade prints. Tell every other landscape photographer that they only need 12mp for their work and they’ll laugh you out of the room.

              • kesztió

                OK, now I understand perfectly what do you mean: landscape photography is an absolutely recent genre as the first 12 MP full frame camera (Nikon D3) was announced only 6 years ago… :D

                • Chez Wimpy

                  Serious print landscaping (one-shot) with FF Nikon DSLRs *is* a recent development. Before that, there was Canon FF, digital MF, scanning backs, and of course, plain old large format film.

                • Nathan

                  Digital landscape photography isn’t just recent, it’s practically novel. I still shoot landscapes on Fuji Velvia 50 almost exclusively and always in medium format film. It costs 5 dollars PER SHEET to process and scan with a drum scanner. I would love to move to digital, but that is not possible with less than either a Hasselblad or equivalent medium format digital, or a D800.

              • Matteo

                I have om-D and D-800 but the d800 36mp quality comes out only with the last nikkor 35mm 1.4 the other lens are so softer on the corner.

                • Bob B.

                  …but…the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is sharper???

        • Since you obviously don’t know the difference between ppi and dpi, I stop reading right here.

          • kesztió

            Well 180 PIXELS PER INCH should be enough for A2 printing of a photo (as you have to see the image from a reasonable dinstance anyway), regardless of the psychical resolution (dpi) of the printing equipment – laser or inkjet printer, offset printing machine, projector or whatever you use to replicate the image on az A2 suzed surface.

            This is NOT TRUE for a poster containing text, just for exhibited photos etc.

            SATIDFIED? :d

            • You may well be satisfied with 180 ppi at any given print size – I’m not. I like to be able to look at my prints closeup and not just from a minimum distance, which means I require at least 300 ppi. That’s not to say I won’t occasionally print images at a lower ppi, but it’s not really by choice but out of necessity.

              Glad you know the difference between image resolution and printer output resolution. You should make sure to use the proper units and terminology when proclaiming your status as a pro in the printing industry. Although, you wouldn’t be the first pro to confuse ppi and dpi. At some of the local pro labs they are also clueless.

              • kesztió

                Well, there is a little confusion here.

                I speak strictly about a photo artwork. That is, an exhibited artistic photo which should be looked from a minimal distance, as a whole in order to gain the desired effect intended by the artist. For big magnifications low PPI is enough (150..180), as opposite to the normal photo paper (e.g. 10×15 cm) where obviously higher (200…300 PPI) resolution is required.

                “Prints”, that is, artworks where vector graphics and text ar mixed with photos of different sizes and styles are totally different things.

                • I was talking about photographic prints. Don’t say there is “confusion,” when all you do is veer of the topic in an effort to divert from your initial blunder.

                  You can’t tell others at what distance they should be looking at their own images or at those they hang on their walls. Do you tell people, if anyone buys your images, to view them only for a certain distance? “It’ll look really good if you are at least 9 feet from my picture.” ;-)

                  If you haven’t ever been to an exhibition or a museum and stepped close to take a close look, I feel sorry for you. If I hang a 16×20″ print, I expect to see photographic quality close-up. Can’t you accept that not everyone is happy viewing photographs from what you consider a “normal” viewing distance. Why should our expectations be the same?

                  • kesztió

                    According to your logic there is no limit on megapixels as even huge replications of an artwork can be viewed (sorry, pixelppeped) from as close as 30 cm distance… :D

                    • You are unable to comprehend.That’s okay! But please, don’t twist what I say into an absurd claim.

                    • twoomy

                      kesztió — This whole discussion with you is tiring and I admire others who have bothered to follow through. But I think many will agree that YOUR STANDARDS ARE TOO LOW. Many people print big and many people want images to look crisp while from only inches away. While you take in a piece of art as a whole from a distance, you also move up close to see the details of a particular section. This isn’t just true for landscape photography; this is true for all photography, painting, sculpture, etc.

                      Obvious example: You can view a large George Seurat painting from across the room to take in the whole image, but there’s also great joy in getting up and close to see the minute details of the colored pixels. People who view photography like to see the close-up details as well. The only time the close details don’t matter is if you print billboards for highways.

                  • While I agree mostly with what you say. There is a single point away from an image that is intended to give the view that the artist intended or at which the photograph reflects the original view. For a photograph this distance depends on the focal length of the lens, the aperture and the sensor. To look good as an entire image the CoC must be worked out for print size and viewing distance. I am sorry but walking up to an image and seeing the sharpness of one part is not good enough. So saying “look at this from 9 feet away” is really the correct thing to say, rather than “look close, see how sharp it is”.
                    Large format displays are a great example, stand back and see the image pop, feel the depth, be part of the picture.

                    • twoomy

                      That’s a really narrow-minded point of view. There is only one correct distance that you can look at a piece of art/photograph at? Absolute rubbish. You can take a photo in from a distance to get the overall view, then you’ll want to get closer to look at the details. There’s nothing wrong with this. Many artists and photographers want you to look at the details up close. See the forest AND the individual trees to appreciate the entire piece of work. I don’t understand some of these one-dimensional points of view.

                    • twoomy
                      You are so wrapped up in your own little world you are not reading what I wrote.
                      “There is a single point away from an image that is intended to give the view that the artist intended or at which the photograph reflects the original view.”
                      I also walk up closer to see the detail but the vast majority of photes were not taken for the detail at 5cm but for the overall visual of the total image.
                      Ring some of your local galleries and your state galleries and ask them.

                    • twoomy

                      I read exactly what you wrote and it’s a narrow point of view. Most artists are not one dimensional; they do not intend for you to look at a photo or a painting from one point of view. They expect you to look at it from different distances to get the overview and the details that they are trying to highlight. The fact that I disagree with you does not mean I do not understand what you wrote.

                    • twoomy.
                      Again I write

                      There is a single point away from an image that is intended to give the view that the artist intended or at which the photograph reflects the original view. That is a statement of fact and cannot be changed.

                      I did not say an x must be put on the ground and anyone who does not view the picture from point x is nuts. Though an indicative circle may be helpful. As the size of image and the camera/lens combination along with the viewers acuity, will determine the most effective distance for viewing a photograph.

                      With 1 picture on a wall in a room there are endless possible places that the image can be viewed from. Including on ladders and hanging off the ceiling and lying on the floor.
                      However that does not change the fact that, there is a single point in the whole room that will give the view that the artist intended or, at which the photograph reflects the original view.

                      One can take photographs to be shown as capturing a vision or scene in a space of time or one can take photographs to show how good the camera is. Photographers do not use the latter, unless they are on a consignment for the camera maker or work for Dxo or similar..

          • digifan

            Well, TheEye, Kestió’s talking about PRINT, THERE we talk about dot’s per inch, not pixels per inch.
            As Twoomy rants about art-photography and museum quality dots per inch are relevant here!!!!!!!!!
            And yeah, it’s very difficult to see the difference in quality between a good m43’s print and one from 35mmFF, from the normal INTENDED viewing distances. He had a very good point.
            Do you hang your work as close to your nose as possible or do you present them on the wall?

        • Reggie

          People also forget about what it does for cropping. Once in a great while I want to really crop an image (maybe a subject I couldn’t get closer to was out of the reach of the glass I had). I thought the D800 was overkill. Then I saw a 100% crop from the D800E on Fred Miranda, and I mean, wow.

          • digifan

            Sorry, I learned photography the old fashioned way.
            Cropping is for those situations you really f.cked up but still want to salvage some. Ofcourse it can be handy, but I don’t buy a camera to compensate for bad composition skills.

            • MarcoSartoriPhoto

              Me too.

      • Just given the price for a D800 with a couple of Nikon high grade lenses, I sure hope so that its in a different ball park! The contrary would be troublesome to say the least!

        But if budget and size is not an issue, it would be interesting to see how Olympus 43 7-14 on a em5 holds up against Nikon’s FX equivalent. I do believe that Nikon wins, but it would be interesting to see.

      • Wow! James mentioned “FF”?? WHERE?!?!

        If you need “FF” for your work, fine, James wasn’t trying to argue that you shouldn’t. But there are other “FF users” (probably unlike yourself) that totally dismiss the m4/3 system.

        • Reggie

          There are people that dismiss FF that use m4/3, too. I find comments on these sites so silly sometimes. Different people need different things. I love my m4/3 camera. The thing takes great pictures and fits in my pocket. I also love my FF Nikon. It can see in the dark, and the 14-24 is a brilliant lens. As is the 70-200 VR II. I dare say it’s better in a lot of ways that my once favorite lens, the Zuiko 35-100 f/2.

          It’s the nature of people on the internet to make stupid declarations regarding their own preferences being better than everyone else’s.

          • digifan

            Haha, the BS you write, you can see in the dark through an OVF hahahaha.
            Sonny, there’s more to see through an EVF than through an OVF, in the dark!!!

      • Vitruvius

        I love the studio comparison tool on dpreview. I downloaded the images from the D800 and the EM5 at all ISOs and then upscaled the EM5 to match the resolution of the D800. The EM5 is still sharper and cleaner. Period. I love tools like that because they prove the biased bloggers here wrong without needing to go buy the cameras to prove it. Anyone here can go do the same thing and it won’t matter what people say. Proof is in the lab controled studio comparison. Everything else is remorse for paying too much.

        • digifan

          Vitrious, you are right.
          The comparison tool on DPR is a better tool than DxO numbers.
          But still, photographs are intended to be printed, and in print there’s very little difference noticable. A print has to “pop” to make an impression.
          There’s no application yet for 1 mtr wide screens hanging on consumer walls with bigger than 4MP resolution. So any application for viewing pictures other than print is inferior today.
          And even printed photographs are intended to be viewed at respective distances, else you don’t “get the picture”.

      • if the corners of your 9-18/7-14 were soft, then t here was something wrong with your lenses. I know many tests which show that the 9-18 is sharp, also in the corners and that the Panny 7-14 is more or less so sharp as the Oly 7-14. And the Oly 7-14 is even better than the Nikkor 14-24, because it lacks the nasty purple fringing of the Nikkor, and it shows next to none CA.

      • tanngrisnir3

        So get an Oly 12mm and use it at f4.

        No soft corners there.

    • J Shin

      Since the M-E sensor is, like, 3 years old, it should really be compared to the E-P3 and such. Leica shooters also don’t like to tweak their photos as much, so dynamic range is not as much an issue as color rendition, shadow/highlight gradation, and saturation right out of the camera.

      Comparing raw files of the same vintage posted online, Olympus ORF files, I’ve found, come out a bit blander compared to Leica DNG files, and tend to have more shadow color shift. (Search for raw files using Voigtländer lenses on both and see for yourself.) I believe this is due to linearity inconsistency between the color channels.

      • RAW files can only be interpreted into images by a converter. I suspect the colour shift you see is more likely because Lightroom/Aperture/etc. interpret the data differently from Olympus Viewer and the inbuilt JPG engine.

        • J Shin

          Could be. I’ll need to dig up my downloads and see. I haven’t been using Olympus Viewer because it crashes often on my computer.

      • Why should we compare it to old cameras? It’s a new camera from Leica. Just because they chose to put an old sensor in it doesn’t mean it’s an old camera. Fact is, they made a rather appalling choice given the high price of their gear. There should never be a sub-par performing 3 year old sensor in a new Leica.

        Now, This sensor isn’t a bad sensor…it produces VERY nice images, pretty much just as good as the latest m4/3 gear. But if I’m paying over $5K for a full frame camera, I don’t want performance that equals that of a $600 4/3 sensor.

        • J Shin

          Oh, I suppose we can compare it with anything we want… :-)

    • Bob B.

      The DOF is an upside if you need great depth of focus!!!

  • MarcoSartoriPhoto

    Well, it’s another chart I really don’t need.. Shooting with a rangefinder is a different experience than shooting with something else. As it’s from using a manual lens and an AF lens. The feeling it gives me is way different, and DXO, with all due respect, can’t measure it.

    • Paul

      You’re willing to pay 5000 dollars to get a camera that has worse quality than some cameras at 500 dollars just because you like shooting with manual lenses on a rangefinder? Whatever works for you.

      • Shots Fired

        Tell it like it is!

      • David

        What’s it to you? It’s not your money. Do you really need to feel superior that badly?

        • Paying $5000 to shoot with a RF camera

          -Is just STUPID.

          But that’s just me.

          • Ah! so your Mr STUPlD.

      • Duarte Bruno

        If you (or anyone else for that matter) thinks the 5K figure is about the sensor, then I suggest you think again.

      • MarcoSartoriPhoto

        At the moment I can’t afford to spend 10.000$ for a leica + 50mm Summilux, but if I could I would. I tried it, I love the feeling (it’s personal,as my money) it gives. Personally I think Leica cameras are overrated, in fact in my comment I wrote “rangefinder”. On the other hand, Leica lenses are jewels.

  • Bora

    Either they are biased or they should upgrade their testing equipment’s.

  • Robbie

    But Leica lenses are way….

    • I agree about the inferred quality of Leica lenses. There is a “wow!” factor when you pixel peek the results. (BTW: The Panasonic/Leica 25mm lens says “Leica” on the front; I assume the same for the 45mm lens. Since these are the only two Panasonic/Leica micro 43 lenses, I’m assuming the agreement between Panasonic and Leica has expired.) Question: Did Panasonic try to go out on its own with its “X” series of lenses to try to develop a quality line? If so, they failed miserably. Please, Panasonic, bring back Leica into your lens design/testing regime? I’ll pay the difference in price.

      • ABC

        Leica has nothing to do with Panasonic lenses. They are made by Panasonic. Some Leica cameras also made by Panasonic (D-Lux series. Panasonic is capable of making awesome lenses. Olympus too.

        • twoomy

          Leica DOES have something to do with Pana/Leica lenses though (obviously). Leica designed them and Panasonic manufactured them. A joint venture.

          • ABC

            Panasonic sells their lenses expensive with Leica tag on them. This is what Leica has to do with it. :D

            • No, they were designed by Leica. And the 25/1.4 has that Leica-ish look to it. Still the best normal lens overall I’ve ever used (though the Fuji 35/1.4 is awfully good…just not as sharp, but nicer bokeh and a beautiful rendering).

            • lorenzino

              More or less so.
              The lenses are designed by Panasonic, and made in Japan. But before being produced in scale, they are “approved” by the Leica management (I don’t know on which basis, and by whom). So the “Leica on front” is a kind of “approved by Leica”.
              For what it worths…

      • The two upcoming primes from Panasonic, the 42.5mm & 150mm, are both Leica branded. Of course, that could change between now and whenever (2014?) they get released, but Panasonic is still making cameras for Leica and using Leica-branded lenses on their point & shoot cameras, so there must be some relationship still in effect.

    • RW

      Quite right, Robbie. Leica lenses are so…

      IQ is dependent on many factors, and sensor specifications are only one of those factors. To imply that photographs from an m43 size sensor are superior to photographs from a FF sensor (using the best glass that money can buy) based on DXO ratings alone is comical to say the least.

  • But how do both systems compare when comparing photos? Does DxO also do that kind of testing?

    • nobody

      DXO measures the sensors’ RAW capabilities only. And the M9 sensor is a rather weak one, as compared to today’s FX sensors, e.g. in Nikon’s D600 or D800 FX cameras.

      • somebody

        Weak? How do you define weak? How can you say it weak?

        • nobody

          According to DXO:

          Dynamic Range: Leica M9 11.7 EVs, Nikon D600 14.2 EVs,

          Color Depth: Leica M9 22.7 bits, Nikon D600 25.1 bits,

          Highest ISO for good quality: Leica M9 787 ISO, Nikon D600 2980 ISO.

          Quite a difference, no?

          • Daemonius

            Leica M9/M-E

            colors – pretty good (some dont like them, cause they are not accurate)
            sharpness/resolution – insane due Leica M lens and no AA
            RF design – only today RF digital FF camera


            colors – fugly (some will like them as ppl are in general color blind)
            sharpness/resolution – there is some, nothing close to Leica
            regular dSLR desing – nothing that wouldnt any other camera have

            special note on D600 – dusty from factory, miserable QC, miserable customer support

            Im quite sure which I would buy..

            ..neither cause I dont need either of these. :) But if I should choose, M9 would win over all dSLRs, with exception of 1DsMK3 or D3X.

  • DxOMark are a bit late – the new M-240 with a 24 Megapixel CMOS sensor will be in the shops soon.

    • dav1dz

      The new M will occupy a different price category though.

    • The whole point of posting the Dxomark measurements for the old Leicas is they’ve also measured the Leica M type 240 and those results willbe posted … soon!

      The results for the newer CMOSIS sensor should be much better (and I say that as non-Leicafan). It should be on par with the other fullframe sensors that also have cellphone driven innovations (like Sony, Toshiba, Nikon, …).

  • OM-4ever

    How the heck did they do that?!?
    Its not a MFT sensor, its a WTF sensor!!!

  • David

    Remember when this forum would explode with fury over low DxOMark ratings for m4/3 sensors, claiming that DxOMark means next to nothing? Well guess what, it’s still true.

    • Obviously DXO results are meaningless and biased unless it gives an Olympus sensor a slight advantage that means nothing in the real world. Then it’s the best and justifies continued use of old sensor technology.

      It’s shame this will add more fuel for those delusional folks that go around comparing pixels of a perfectly taken OMD photo and compare it to a skaled down crappy kit lens FF camera shot and declare the OMD to just as good as a FF camera. Delusions, or what I like to call, “DPReview forums”

  • J Shin

    No, I don’t want µ43 to go full-frame. (Will it then be called Macro Four Thirds? Eight Thirds? :-) ) I just got the Panasonic 100-300, and it’s actually pretty darn good, and I’m getting better images than I did with Leica R stuff because it is so much lighter. I laugh now whenever I see a Canikon 400mm or 600mm glass; I can hold my camera with one hand, for the same f/5.6 speed! Lose some to diffraction, but gain a lot with greater depth of field.

  • R Hargrove

    No, I don’t want Panasonic and Olympus to go full frame. I’d like to see them take the money required to develop a full frame camera and lenses and put it toward:
    1. Hybrid autofocus and improved continuous autofocus
    2. Better EVFs, preferably with focus peaking
    3. A Nikon D7000/Pentax K-5/Sony Alpha [xx] quality sensor
    4. Lenses, preferably high quality primes
    5. Recruiting another major camera maker to m4/3
    6. Whatever else they can use the money for to improve what they already have in place


  • Dan

    I don’t care about Leica so this is not is their defense, but DXO is 100% guarenteed crap. I have owned too many cameras over the years and my unscientific field based results completely disagree with their findings.

  • adriaantie

    Yep and santa is for real.

    • adriaantie

      I like sitting on Santa’s lap! He makes me happy!

  • Don

    Having both a M9 and E-M5, I find at low ISOs the M9 files have better tonality and less noise than the E-M5 ( with LR noise reduction set to zero ).
    Given the dark level to clipping level range is similar, this may be due in part to Leica’s 14bit vs Olympus’s 12 bit raw files size.

    The E-M5 is undeniably more versatile ; but in the 28-50mm view, I still prefer the optical rangefinder focus and fast prime lenses over AF lenses and EVF … and nothing else looks like a 50/0.95 Noctilux shot ;-)

    • MarcoSartoriPhoto


  • I don’t think it’s necessarily the sensor that people are paying $5,500 for in the Leica.

    • Well…no. The people who are paying for that Leica have a different kind of “need” that the red dot helps them out with. Many of them then proceed to diligently search for (and some times post online) their best ways to rationalize their relationship with the “red dot.”

      • Daemonius

        My only rationalizing would be “do I have money for that?”. If I had I would buy it. No special reason needed. I need lots of reason when choosing between today or yesterday FF dSLRs. I dont need that for Leica. Neither I need that for Zeiss lens.

        Its just matter of “can buy, cant buy”.

      • MarcoSartoriPhoto

        You can choose a black body, without red dot anywhere on the camera. Only brand name carved on top plate.

  • Idreamphoto

    Well done Oly and Pana. They really produce great stuff. However I wonder how tha lab dxo testing is relevant or comparable to reality and on the field usage. The end result counts. And plus, the Leica M and mft are very different way of shooting, so cannot really compare.

    • woof woof

      If you put a manual lens on a MFT with EVF it’s not so different from a RF IMVHO. The way that you focus is different but you can zone focus or hyperfocal or set infinity just as you would with a RF.

      I’ve had RF’s and shooting with my G1 and a manual lens with the rear screen turned to the body is a very film like experience for me, more so than with any digital camera I’ve owned… even though I have an EVF with in view histogram :D

  • Numberwang

    Oh, look…according to DxOMark, my $550 EPL5 bests all three of those cameras!

    • pepe

      Yes, E-PL5 is better sensor, but E-PL5 not have viewfinder and not have IBIS 5-axis.

      • Numberwang

        Exactly my point. A “tourist camera” beat the ones with all the fancy features and full-frame sensor.

        At least, that what’s DxOMark is claiming. ; )

        • Chad

          Depends on your definition of “beat”. If you want to shoot a fast 50mm or 35mm lens wide open (the sweet spot of Leica shooters) on the Kodak FF CCD sensor with no AA filter and compare it to the equivalent FOV on m4/3, then good luck.

          There is more to photography than DXO measubating.

          • Numberwang

            We’re talking purely about measured sensor performance, and not camera body features and lens characteristics.

            • How does one test a sensor without a lens? How does one see the output without the cameras electronics? How does one see the image gathered? What does it matter?

        • Anonymous

          The EPL5 shares the same sensor as the E-M5 and as expected its results are almost identical, exact same DR, exact same color depth the ISO difference is fractional and well within the tiny variability of the test range.

  • Richard prefers Olympus E1

    Anyone has Leica M-E willing to trade my OMD EM5?

    Given the choices, I still prefer CCD over CMOS for color reproduction for outdoor photos(Olympus E1 would beat OMD EM5 for color and for Optical finder). I would prefer full frame over M43’s 1/4 size (of full frame). I would think Olympus needs to go full frame OMD Pro DSLR to recreate a success once 35mm film OM1 did(from 35mm film 1/2 frame Pen to full frame).

    I prefer Olympus E1(ccd) over E5(coms) for the reason’s stated above

    • Daemonius

      Old and cheap E-300 and E-500 have 8 mpix Kodak made sensor (E-1 has 5 mpix Kodak). E-300 is nicely wierd camera (really small OVF tho), E-500 is more regular dSLR. Both pretty amazing on base ISO (well, Kodak CCD :).

      Only thing similar from bit “recent” stuff is A380 from Sony (and A350 before) and Samsung NX10/11/100 (which are some hybrids between CCD and CMOS tech). Yea and old Pentax K10D and K20D are not bad either (unfortunately AF was really bit iffy). All are base ISO cams, but really good at that.

      Plus there is special one.. Kodak SLR/N and SLR/C. Base ISO output is unmatched even today. Or even tiny bit better 645D from Kodak (36×36 digital back). These are actually CMOS, but very different to any other CMOS. :)

      Yea and Leica DMR. :D

  • I still maintain my position that OxO, dxo, DiOXin or whoever they are bare no relationship to photography or taking photographs.
    What the eye sees is what the eye sees and what the eye sees is what photography is about.

    • If sensor performance is meaningless, I suppose film performance has always also been meanigless.

      Anything is the sum of its parts with all their respective advantages and shortcomings. Focusing solely on tests that evaluate sensor performance doesn’t show the whole picture, but it’s not supposed to manage that impossible task in the first place. Lambasting sensor comparisons for being focused on just the sensor performance is misplaced criticism.

      I’m sure we all have made silk purses out of a sow’s ear on occasion, but likely most of us produce more often a sow’s ear out of fine silk. As they say, “Pearls before swine.”

      • The auto censor doesn’t like “swine” and “sow”? That’s preposterous.

        • mafia assistant.

          That means a silk purse from a sow’s ear is not possible. Also it is not possible to sow the wheat.
          And the swine did not break out of the sty.

          Lots of problems solved.

        • mafia assistant.

          That means a silk purse from a sow’s ear is not possible. Also it is not possible to sow the wheat.
          And the swine did not break out of the sty.

          Lots of problems solved.

          • mafia assistant.

            The reply button is a a swine it goes to the wrong place. What a pig.

            • Something is wrong with this pigsty!

  • Bob B.

    I am a fan of the OMD…own one…but personally…I think that the people at DxO smoke too much opium. They are soooooo hilarious with their sensor ratings. I cannot regard anything that comes from that source. ..once again…its laughable!

    • KKFGH;

      The people who typically whine about DXO are those who use smaller sensors and for some unknown reason they seem surprised by the “fact ” that a larger sensor of the same tech will outperform a smaller sensor. You know the types you see them posting here all the time lol.The overall score is pretty unimportant from DXO, what matters is all the data provided in detail on the various graphs.I can honestly say that whatever camera I have used be it FF , APS or mFT the real life results achieved from the respective cameras strongly correlates with what the DXO data would suggest. DXO software is used by most of the biggest names in imaging from NASA to Nikon including Panasonic and Olympus. They have no vested interest in one system or format over another.It seems reasonable to assume that the companies listed know a little more about the values of DXO than a bunch of fanboys on a forum.

      A little thought experiment Physics not fantasy shows that a FF sensor of the same tech as a mFT sensor will have a two stop advanatge regarding high ISO and naturally DOF. Now it is fair to say that Sony design the best sensors at the moment be it mFT or FF. So lets assume the best sensor tech from Sony is in camera A a mFT model and in camera B a FF model now baring in mind the physics rule which cant be cheated what do you think will be the best performer

      • There are many here who talk about being governed by the laws of physics. When what they are talking about may not be governed by any law of physics. It has often become a throwaway comment to justify an opinion.

        • em5hdf

          The fact that a sensor four times the area of another { with similar sensor tech} will have 2 stops advanatge is indeed a matter of physics. Just as is equivalence and several other essentially basic information that many mFT users seem to struggle with

          • So? you coming at a 135 superiority angle again?

            I think you are completely and utterly stup!d and can’t understand that some like m43 and some like 135 and some like both.
            You seem to find some sort of reverse black magic in it.

            Do you work for the murdoch press or Fox news? Because you certainly make noises like you do.

            You can’t put 16 people in a taxi designed for 4. Fine we all know that here. But a 4 seater taxi has its place. Go back to your village, I got a message that without you they will have to appoint another idiot and there are no candidates.

  • Sleeper
  • RW

    Yawn. DXO comparisons are the only thing more tedious than pixel peeping comparisons.

    Go take some pictures

  • Bite Me

    Sooooooo…. Panny charges $300 more for a bare-body GH3 against the E-M5, that has lower/similar image RAW output.

    And GH3 doesn’t sport any IBIS, but brags about video junk on a camera.

    I guess prime users are better off using E-M5 for versatile photography/video. Especially street photography.

    • Cheetos Ortiz

      I think GH3 is geared more toward videophile. EM5 has nothing on the GH3 when it comes to video. Oh,the GH3 also does pretty well with photographs too.

      • peevee

        Handheld video with all the excellent m43 primes will be terrible on GH3, 60p or not.

  • From Günter Osterloh a former product manager with Leica.

    “At this time, there still is no satisfactory means of achieving an objective evaluation by applying simple tests. In the final analysis, photographers must therefore draw on their own experience, or on the recommendations of recognized photographic practitioners.”

    He is actually referring to lens testing. But, note, it all boils down to practical use.


  • Admin, what’s with all those “awaiting moderation” issues? The auto-censor is apparently running amok. Getting this problem fixed will save you time and tedium.

  • Oh, and I notice that new posts are not necessarily posted in chronological order. We are in a time warp or something. It’s like the last 40 minutes of 2001-A Space Odyssey. Usually, this place is more like the opening sequence – grunting, flying femurs and all.

  • The M-E sensor is based on the same architecture that the previous M8 and the first FT camera, the Olympus E-1 used. It’s really an OLD sensor design. All these cameras have similar per-pixel quality but just a smaller area. You will VERY easily see the quality difference between an E-1 photo and a M-E photo. :) If anyone doesn’t like to buy a Leica with this old sensor, you can also order a new Leica M 240 with a newer sensor design.

  • Yun

    This really a bold claim fr DxO mark .
    mFT sensors improve a lot since these 2 years & keep growing . Now I want to see is Panasonic’s new sensor technology , color splitter tech to make it’s appearance in 2013 .

  • No big news. I saw how crappy the image quality was when saw the promotion shots for the M9. Have you looked in “Leica M9” group on flickr. Do that. There is sooo much crap in there that it should be embarrasing for Leica.. Then look in the OM-D group.. WOW! Why do people still think that the more expensive a pice of equipment is, the better the photos will be?

    I have owned a Hasselblad, a Nikon D3 and now a Nikon D600.. But my absolutely best shots where taken with my (in comparison cheapo)Panasonic Lumix LX3.. haha, isnt it ironic?

    • fdgh

      “I have owned a Hasselblad, a Nikon D3 and now a Nikon D600.. But my absolutely best shots where taken with my (in comparison cheapo)Panasonic Lumix LX3.. haha, isnt it ironic?””

      I am a FF Nikon D800/D4 user and I have both the E-M5 and GH3 and they all deliver excellent results each having their strengths and weaknesses,the D800 technical image quality is honestly spectacular. However many of my favorite spontaneous images are taken with the GF1 and 20mm for the simple reason that it is always with me { heck , I would feel naked if I left the house without it }

      • well thats BS, your a liar

  • Gummibando

    The sensor in the M-E (Model 220) is the Kodak KAF 19500 CCD, the same that has been used in the M9.
    Which was introduced in 2009, e.g. four years ago.
    Let’s see how the MAX24 sensor in the new M (Model 240) fares.

  • JDKU

    shock news $1000 E-M5 and $1300 GH3 not as good as $400 D5100 LOL seriously the Leica sensor is the worst in the game . How does the comparison work out when you compare to any of the current gen Nikon or Sony FF cameras.The reality is that even the ancient Canon 5D , has better high ISO, better color depth and is only 1 stop poorer at base DR .|0/%28brand%29/Olympus/%28appareil2%29/176|0/%28brand2%29/Canon

    I am aN mFT user and love the system,what I don’t love is all the desperate need to have the “gang” support your choice , the insecurities and whining of some mFT users is embarrassing.There is no perfect camera and each one is a compromise , with mFT I sacrifice a couple of stops of performance compared to the current FF models.With the for me huge advanatge in weight and size , last year i was on top of Mount Princeton and thanks to the lightweight mFT i have some awesome poster sized prints taken with my E-M5 and Pany 25mm , Oly 75 I would never carry a DSLR kit with me on these tupe of outings so previous trips to other fourteeners have been photographed with disappointing P&S. The Leica dentists and doctors have a way different agenda.

  • Leicasnobs

    Leica is for moron and rich snobs.

  • I guess, Leica simply has still too many of the old Kodak sensors in stock and the M-E is a way of marketing to get them sold. For me it makes no sense to compare this camera just based on the sensor with cameras that are equipped with the latest sensor technology. People who just look for a FF rangefinder camera that can make use of Leica’s excellent lenses and are satisfied with the possibilities of that limited system have an alternative to byuing a used M9.

    All others will look for the M 240. Curious to see when DxO comes up with a rating of the new 24 MP sensor.

  • Gabriel

    And with 79 points, my K-01 beat them all :) The sports score of the FF Leica is surprisingly low, i bet it’s the same old M9 sensor, not the new 23mpx in the M typ 240 (sound likes a big gun name :)

  • Borbarad


    I’ve been a longtime 4/3 user: E1, E3 & E5 plus HG and SHG lenses. Now I still have the E1 which is not for sale and the OMD. But gues what…,l I also have the M9P plus some great Leica lenses.

    But what’s the best from my point of view IQ wise?

    1. Leica M9 by miles. MF power in a small 35mm Rangefinder body

    2. E1, still the Best Olympus

    3. OMD, quite an improvement but not as good as the E1, esp. Color-wise

    4. E5, quite good but a long way to go

    5. E3, actually disappointing after the brilliant E1

    So, why is it E1 and M9 for me? I don’t care about HighISO. Nice to have but not important. For me it is all about IQ at base ISO and that’s where the CCD is still the one to look at.

    But why then the results at DXO? Well they are mixing CCD and CMOS together while they are actually a completely different. Or does anyone here really thinks that MF systems like Hasselblad, Phase One etc are worse then a 5DMKIII? Most likely not, but that’s what DXO thinks……,


  • Gino

    Admin. The longer the more I doubt that you really know anything about photography. Or do you behave like that just to make money? Incredible!

  • Bollox

    He he he, the power of marketing is amazing.

  • justsaying

    In all fairness this is not an indication that m43 sensors are phenomenal rather than Leica sensors suck…

  • justsaying

    In all fairness this is not an indication that m43 sensors are phenomenal rather than Leica sensors suck…

  • Bob

    I love how people criticize DXO Mark scores when it makes their favorite camera look poor, and shout to the heavens when it gives results they like.

    The single DXO Mark number is worthless. It hides more than it reveals, and is useful more as a tool to market DXO than to tell you anything about camera or image quality. The detailed results DXO publishes can be meaningful, if you know how to read them. The numbers printed in this article are completely uninformative.

    • Mr. Reeee

      You got it right! DXO “ratings” exist as a marketing tool for selling their software. It’s amazing how many other tools find any of it useful. ;-)

      • em5hdf

        The DXO data in the graphs is excellent the problem is that a lot of people struggle with interpreting data, the single number thing is rather silly and ironically is probably aimed at the crowd who do not bother to read the actual data.Those who bemoan the DXO data are almost without fail little sensor users especially O

    • +1,000,001


    • I thought most comments here were, like mine, completely apathetic to these test results.

  • Marco

    leica is a joke, much like any product made in germanistan.

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