Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison *UPDATED*


I did a quick Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison where you can clearly see that the M10 has better low light capabilities compared to the almost two years old Q:

Update - I had to process the M10 files again because Adobe Lightroom automatically adds luminance noise reduction by default (this is not the case with the DNG files from the Q). Without the applied luminance noise reduction, the M10 high ISO files are just slightly better than the Q.

ISO 12,500

Leica Q @ ISO 12,500:

Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison

Leica M10 @ ISO 12,500 (without luminance noise reduction):

I had to process the M10 files again because Adobe Lightroom automatically adds luminance noise reduction by default, while this was not the case with the Q files.

Leica M10 @ ISO 12,500 (luminance noise reduction automatically applied by Lightroom):

Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison

ISO 25,000

Leica Q @ ISO 25,000:

Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison

Leica M10 @ ISO 25,000 (without luminance noise reduction):

I had to process the M10 files again because Adobe Lightroom automatically adds luminance noise reduction by default, while this was not the case with the Q files.

Leica M10 @ ISO 25,000 (luminance noise reduction automatically applied by Lightroom)::

Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison

ISO 50,000

Leica Q @ ISO 50,000:

Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison

Leica M10 @ ISO 50,000 (without luminance noise reduction):

I had to process the M10 files again because Adobe Lightroom automatically adds luminance noise reduction by default, while this was not the case with the Q files.

Leica M10 @ ISO 50,000 (luminance noise reduction automatically applied by Lightroom)::

Leica Q vs. Leica M10 high ISO comparison

The original DNG files from this test can be downloaded here, the JPG files are on flickr.

Few additional random Leica M10 sample photos can also be found on flickr.

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  • Do you mind comparing it to Leica SL and A7Rii? Thank you in advance.

  • David V. Kutaliya

    Thanks. Very interesting.

  • CHD

    Wow, fairly impressive

  • Enche Tjin

    Wow.. impressive 🙂

  • Mark

    hi can you rearrange the photos so it is easier to compare L10 12.500 to Q 25.000
    L10 12.500
    Q 12.500
    L10 25.000

  • Olgierd Chodyniecki

    Q is not as sharp as M10. For me this is a big difference.

    • Martin Fagerås

      thats just the shot that’s out of focus, not a difference between the cameras.

      • David V. Kutaliya

        It seems that you are 100% all right! 🙂

    • Aktenschrank

      ACR is also applying default sharpening when you import M10 files.

    • David V. Kutaliya

      Why do you think so? I do not argue. I am, however, very interesting. Personal experience?

      • Martin Fagerås

        As i mentioned further down the testshot is out of focus, i got a Q as well, and can vouch for its sharpness 😉

        • David V. Kutaliya

          Out of focus? Hmm… Interesting…

    • eric

      i agree in terms of lens options. you can put better lenses on the m10.

      • YourFace

        Agreed. But if you don’t need multiple lenses, and considering each lens is about the price of Leica Q (used or new), its hard to justify upgrading. That being if I could afford everything I’d pick up an M10 in a heart beat.

        • eric

          yeah but i never said anything in terms of upgrading. the Q and m10 arent the same style of camera. the M is a rangefinder, the Q is a point and shoot. my point was on the M, you can switch lenses if you want, on the Q, you cant. for me, id rather be able to put a 35mm on an m than use the fixed 28mm on the Q. lenses are expensive, but they will last your whole life. the Q wont last in same way. neither will the M but at least youll have a lens to put on the next m body.

  • Martin Fagerås

    You know that ACR/Lightroom puts 25 in Luminance nosie reduction automatically on the M10 files right? it’s the default profile.

    Turn off the NR on the M10 RAW files and you will see that the gap is pretty much closed. my estimate is that the Q and M10 is about 1/3 stop apart in terms of high ISO performance.

    It’s actually quite disappointing…

    • No, I did not know that. I can process the DNG files in Photoshop again.

      • Aktenschrank

        I was pretty disappointed, when i realized this. I guess they fooled a lot of reviewers etc. with this move 🙂

        • Martin Fagerås

          Yeah, All the tests, comparisons etc i’ve seen so far is obviously with the NR applied. Very sneaky of Leica to be honest.

          I shot some comparison files myself with a store M10 vs my M240, shooting the same scene there is pretty much no visible difference up to ISO 1600, from there and up there is not much more than about 3/4 stop to a full stop difference in favor of the M10. The M10 is a little better in the banding on high ISO though.

          Perhaps they will get some positive reviews for the ISO performance in the start, but as soon as this cat is out of the bag i think it will reflect more negative than they would like.

          Im generally underwhelmed with the M10, i expected a really modern Liveview, like the Q at least, but that as well is not that much improved from the M240.

          • Aktenschrank

            well, i think it´s basically ok to do this. It is probably more convenient because probably anybody would actually apply some NR to high ISO shots anyway. I think they should have mentioned though that they started to bake this into the DNG´s instead of claiming much improved low light capabilitiy 🙂

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Dear Martin, what is the problem with M10 Live view?

          • Martin Fagerås

            Well, it’s not a problem per se, it’s just not as fast as i expected it to be.

            I got both the M240 and the Q, i enjoy using a voigtländer 15mm heliar at times on the M, and that is most practical with liveview, either with the LCD or the EVF2. Its pretty slow, but usable.

            I expected the M10 to be similar to the Q in terms of speed in liveview, but the M10 is not really that much faster than the M240, but the Q is very very fast.

            Some of this is related to the shutter offcourse, the Q got a leaf shutter and the M240/M10 got a normal shutter. I guess that puts some limitations to the speed possible in liveview mode, since it has no electronic shutter either, just the mechanical one.

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Maybe it’s because of the “raw” software?

          • Martin Fagerås

            perhaps the performance will be better with a firmware update, but my guess is that this is simply a perfomance bottleneck as a result of the shutter mechanism in the M240/M10. The Q and SL have a different kind of shutter mechanism enabling them to have a faster liveview experience.

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Yes, but shutter on M10 is open when we use liveview or not?

          • Martin Fagerås

            Yes it is, it is on the M240 as well, But it still has to close when you take the shot, A leaf shutter or an electronic one is much faster than the mechanical shutter in the M, hence my speculation that it’s at least the partial culprit in the slow liveview perfomance. Note that i’m talking of practical perception of the action of taking a photograph in liveview, not the refreshrate of the image in liveview or such lag, just the time it takes from pressing the shutter until the camera is ready for another shot.

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Now I understand you correctly, what you had in mind. Thank you:)

          • Paul

            How does the evf performance compare to the SL? Have you tried this?

          • Martin Fagerås

            I have not used the SL more than briefly in a couple of situations, but neither the M240, the Q or the M10 is anywhere close to the performance of the SL EVF. The SL finder basically looks like a optical one, it’s truly remarkable.

    • Thanks for pointing this out!

    • I processed the files again without luminance noise reduction and the M10 files are just slightly better than the Q.

      • David V. Kutaliya

        Why you don’t want to try process, for example, in Capture One?

        • I do not have Capture one.

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Ок

        • Gerhard Kleewein

          Hello guys!

          I quickly imported both 50K ISO files in Capture One 10. The files I took from archive provided in this post. Pure RAW import, not a single pixel touched.

          Q on the left, M10 on the right
          http://imgur.com/a/kNOiN
          http://imgur.com/a/PPrTx

          hope this helps …

          Cheers from Austria,
          Gerhard

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Bravo, Gerhard!!!

            Now it is necessary to clarify the issue with the focus!

          • the focus will not impact the ISO performance, but if you insist I can do the test again next week

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Dear Peter, please!!!
            You hold in tension the whole world! 🙂

          • lol, not really – I think we can all agree that the M10 has a small ISO advantage over the Q – Sean Reid came up to the same conclusion when he compered the M10 to the SL:

            http://leicarumors.com/2017/01/24/the-sensor-inside-the-leica-m10-is-not-the-same-as-the-sensor-in-the-leica-sl.aspx/

          • David V. Kutaliya

            I think that LEICA M10 is a great camera! And even the “pure” ISO 6400 is more than sufficient!

            https://luminouslandscape.prodibi.com/a/Leica%20M10%20Tests/i/0v0yeqvj1jr0mk

          • David V. Kutaliya

            And special thanks and respect to you how you skillfully keep the audience in suspense!
            With you is really very interesting!

          • thanks for being a reader!

          • David V. Kutaliya

            That’s what I think: how is it possible to do that qualified representative (-s) of LEICA Camera AG, which, I am sure, regularly and anonymously visit your site, sometimes give us an explanation as technical experts on emerging issues.
            As well as about 15 years ago Dr. Kornelius J. Fleicher answered on Foto.net amateur photographers and professionals regarding Zeiss BIOGON 4.5/38mm lens?
            http://photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/001nEo?start=10

          • Gerhard Kleewein

            David, I also spotted a difference in exposure between the files provided (1/200 on Q and 1/125 on M10). IMHO this impacts performance, particularly in boarder-regions like ISO 50K. On the M10 the sensor was exposed to light almost 60% longer (1/125 = 0,008s) than Qs’ (1/200 0,005s)
            cheers, …

          • David V. Kutaliya

            Dear Gerhard, very interesting … It reminded me one experiment, when I tested in the evening in the center of Moscow alongside two lenses: Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH and Canon 50mm f/1.0 L EF L USM. It was the same situation with the exposition 🙂

          • Gerhard Kleewein

            interesting. which ISO was set on either cam?
            kind regards, …

          • David V. Kutaliya

            ISO 160 and 320

          • thanks, I will add this to the post

      • David V. Kutaliya

        Slightly, but better than the Q!

        • I think so.

        • YourFace

          Agreed, any improvement is a step in the right direction!

  • eric

    i have to admit, i was skeptical about the new m10, and was leaning toward gettting the Q instead. But ive changed my mind. The m10 and Q are about the same size, but the m10 just looks much better design wise, it looks like the real deal when compared with the Q. I wish the m10 had more pixels but its not a big deal. the ability to change lenses on the m10 will make it last a few years longer than the Q in my view, i know people still shooting with an m9. i think paying a few thousand more is worth it for the m10. Perhaps the m10 isnt a huge upgrade from the m240 but its slimmer design, wifi, and classic feel is enough for me. i seriously doubt they’ll come out with an m11 anytime soon until they upgrade there entire sensor lines to more mp’s.

  • Gerhard Kleewein

    Hello guys!
    I quickly imported both 50K ISO files in Capture One 10
    The files I took from archive provided in this post.
    Pure RAW import, not a single pixel touched.
    Q on the left, M10 on the right

    http://imgur.com/a/kNOiN
    http://imgur.com/a/PPrTx

    Cheers,
    Gerhard

  • Charles

    Without noise reduction, the M10 looks to be about 1/2 stop better than the Q.
    I’m fairly sensitive to colour noise, so moving fromthe M240 to M10 will probably change my ceiling ISO from 1250 to 6400. Even the ISO 12500 image doesn’t look too bad, so for me the difference may be even greater.
    Impressive performance.
    Bayer-matrix, 135 format digital sensors have moved well beyond “sufficient”, and seem to be reaching a plateau of technical performance. It makes one think that the M10 could well be a camera one buys to serve the next 8-10 years.

    • eric

      yeah this was my thinking too. the m10 will be good for at least 5 yrs. maybe more.

      • David V. Kutaliya

        I hope so too.

        • eric

          yep. i mean the next logical upgrade would be in adding mp’s, tweaking battery life, maybe adding evf, but who knows when that will be. i would imagine a new sl or q, would get that before the m. this model looks good enough to make excellent photos for quite some time.

      • THEFLAPDONG

        I hope so but worry the mirrorless “medium format” cameras will take the M’s place. Much bigger jump in IQ there than from M 240 to M 10.

        • eric

          well, i agree about the IQ, but you have to remember the M is a speciality camera, made by leica, and revered for its compact look, rangefinder appeal, and quality lenses. it really has no competition from anyone who enjoys the Leica brand. i dont think street photographers are going to use medium format cameras with bigger lenses. I think the only alternative to a Leica M right now would be sony rxii, ricoh gr, or fuji xt100 series, even though those cameras arent like the M at all, some street photographers do use them.

  • Charles

    Is there any way to change Lightroom’s behaviour, so that default noise reduction and sharpening is not applied to the M10 files?
    When I ask for “RAW” DNG, I want a raw DNG.

    • I think if I process the files in Photoshop, there will be no adjustments applied.

      • Charles

        Thanks, Peter.
        I was more thinking of the M10 in common use, and my own workflow in Lightroom.
        From your article, it sounded as though there was automated noise reduction applied in Lightroom, which presumably affects all M10 workflows for other shooters using LR?
        Or was that just your own automated workflow?
        Thanks.

        • No, this was not my workflow, Lightroom automatically applied the noise reduction on the M10 files without asking which is why I did not even notice it. I do not think I have seen this before. Very sneaky!

          • Charles

            Thanks.
            I hope there is a way of disabling this ‘feature’ for normal LR workflow.

          • Well, now that we know you can just move the slider to 0. I am still curious if Photoshop will behave the same way.

          • tomnewtn

            So you cannot disable this in camera settings? Is it built into firmware? If so that is troubling.

          • No, it is built in Lightroom and you can disable it if you know that it exists. I didn’t. I will do another post about it.

          • tomnewtn

            ok, I was looking and couldn’t see where to toggle this. thanks!

          • I will do another post with screenshots, probably next week. Stay tuned.

          • tomnewtn

            Maybe I missed it, but did you see this NR applied only on import of M10 files? Or was this something you missed in general? I’ve never seen in applied to my imports. Very interesting info here.

          • Same here, I have never seen this before and I did not pay any attention. I know better now.

    • nwcs

      It’s very easy. You set up a pre-set that has all the sliders where you want them for exposure, noise, sharpening, etc. and then you apply it on import. Or after import you just select the files and apply the preset. http://lightroomkillertips.com/applying-preset-importing-workflow/

  • David V. Kutaliya

    Does anyone have possibility to make a short video how liveview works in Leica M10?

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