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Leica M9 vs Sony a7 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Leica M9

Leica M9

Sony a7

Sony a7 camera image
Leica M9
Sony a7
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
September 09, 2009
October 16, 2013
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Sony a7 outperforms the Leica M9 with a score of 63 to 34. Both cameras are mirrorless and were released in 2013 and 2009, respectively. They share similarities in their camera type and their launch prices, with the Leica M9 priced at $5500 and the Sony a7 at $1700.

The Sony a7 has a higher score because it is a more advanced camera. It is lighter, weighing 474g compared to the Leica M9’s 585g, and offers a more compact size of 127 x 94 x 48mm versus the Leica M9’s 139 x 80 x 37mm. This makes the Sony a7 more portable and user-friendly.

However, the Leica M9 has its own advantages, such as its unique design and the prestigious Leica brand. Considering all these factors, the Sony a7 emerges as the superior choice due to its modern features, compact size, and lighter weight, while the Leica M9 remains a solid option for those who value design and brand prestige.

Leica M9 vs Sony a7 Overview and Optics

The Sony a7 triumphs over the Leica M9 in optics with a 28-point lead, scoring 70/100 compared to the Leica M9’s 42/100. Both cameras share some specifications, such as full-frame sensor size and lack of image stabilization. However, the Sony a7 boasts superior specs in other areas, contributing to its higher score.

The Sony a7 has a 24-megapixel sensor, while the Leica M9 only has 18 megapixels. This higher resolution results in sharper images with more detail. Additionally, the Sony a7 has a faster shooting speed of 5 frames per second (fps) compared to the Leica M9’s 2 fps, allowing for better capture of fast-moving subjects. The Sony a7 also features a CMOS sensor and Bionz X processor, contributing to its higher DXOMARK score of 90 compared to the Leica M9’s CCD sensor, Maestro II processor, and DXOMARK score of 69.

The Leica M9 does have a unique advantage with its Leica M lens mount, which allows compatibility with a wide range of high-quality Leica lenses. However, this advantage is not enough to outweigh the Sony a7’s superior specifications.

The Sony a7 is the clear winner in terms of optics, with higher resolution, faster shooting speed, and better sensor performance. The Leica M9’s lens mount compatibility is a positive aspect, but it does not make up for its shortcomings in other areas. As a result, the Sony a7 is the better choice for photographers seeking top-notch optical performance.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
18 MP
24 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
5212 x 3472 px
6000 x 4000 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
24 x 36 mm
23.9 x 35.8 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Full Frame
Full Frame
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
2 fps
5 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Leica M
Sony FE
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Maestro II
Bionz X
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
4 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 4000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (rangefinder)
Viewfinder Resolution
2,359,000 dots

Leica M9 vs Sony a7 Video Performance

When comparing the video capabilities of the Leica M9 and the Sony a7, it is important to note that the Leica M9 does not have any video functionality. This means that if video recording is a priority for you, the Leica M9 would not be a suitable choice.

On the other hand, the Sony a7 does offer video recording capabilities. Its video score is 56 out of 100, which is a decent rating for a camera in its class. The Sony a7 has a maximum video resolution of Full HD, with dimensions of 1920 x 1080. This resolution is suitable for most general video recording needs, such as capturing memories, creating content for social media, or even some professional applications.

The Sony a7 also has a maximum video frame rate of 60fps, which allows for smooth video playback and the ability to create slow-motion effects in post-production. However, it is worth noting that the Sony a7 does not have built-in time-lapse functionality. This means that if you wish to create time-lapse videos, you would need to use external software or accessories to achieve this effect.

Taking these factors into consideration, it is clear that the Sony a7 is the better choice for those who require video capabilities in their camera. The Leica M9, while an excellent camera in its own right, simply does not offer any video functionality. Therefore, if video recording is important to you, the Sony a7 is the more suitable option.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Full HD
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
1920 x 1080 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
60 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.
AVCHD Ver. 2.0, MP4

Leica M9 vs Sony a7 Features and Benefits

The Sony a7 wins the features comparison with a score of 57/100, while the Leica M9 scores 17/100. Both cameras lack a touchscreen and GPS, and neither has Bluetooth connectivity. However, the Sony a7 outperforms the Leica M9 in other aspects.

The Sony a7 has a larger 3-inch screen, compared to the 2.5-inch screen on the Leica M9. Additionally, the a7’s screen resolution is significantly higher at 1,230,000 dots, whereas the M9 has a resolution of 230,000 dots. The a7 also features a flip screen, which the M9 lacks, providing more flexibility for framing shots. Furthermore, the Sony a7 comes with built-in Wi-Fi, allowing convenient wireless transfer of images and remote control of the camera, a feature absent in the Leica M9.

On the other hand, the Leica M9 has no distinct advantages over the Sony a7 in terms of features. The M9’s lower score in this comparison does not offer any benefits or unique capabilities that the a7 lacks.

The Sony a7’s superior features, such as a larger and higher-resolution screen, flip screen, and Wi-Fi, make it a better choice for photographers seeking a camera with advanced functionalities. The Leica M9, with its lower feature score, does not provide any advantages over the a7. Therefore, the Sony a7 is the clear winner in this comparison due to its better features.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
230,000 dots
1,230,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Leica M9 vs Sony a7 Storage and Battery

The Leica M9 and Sony a7 both score 21/100 in storage and battery. They share similarities in this category, with each having one memory card slot and accepting SD/SDHC cards. Neither camera has USB charging capabilities.

The Leica M9 edges ahead with a slightly longer battery life of 350 shots compared to the Sony a7’s 340 shots. Both cameras use different battery types, with the Leica M9 using a BP-SCL1 and the Sony a7 using an NP-FW50.

However, the Sony a7 supports additional memory card types, such as SDXC and Memory Stick Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo, which may be an advantage for users with a variety of memory card formats.

In this comparison, the Leica M9 has a marginally better battery life, while the Sony a7 offers more versatility in memory card compatibility.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo / Pro-HG Duo
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
350 shots
340 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
22.5 bits
24.8 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
11.7 EVs
14.2 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'

Leica M9 vs Sony a7 Alternatives

User Scores
B&H photo video
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