Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Leica T First Impressions Review

A new Leica, you are either now salivating or yawning.

From the excellent DP Review we get a first impressions review

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Preview based on a pre-production Leica T (Typ 701)

This year marks Leica’s 100th birthday as a camera maker and, to celebrate, the venerable German manufacturer has launched an all-new camera system. Perhaps unexpectedly, though, Leica hasn’t taken the obvious route and embraced the current fashion for ‘retro’ design with an interchangeable-lens version of its X Vario APS-C compact. Instead the Leica T is an innovative camera that combines photographer-friendly twin-dial control with a bang-up-to-date touchscreen interface.

Before we go any further, though, let’s get the pricing out of the way. The Leica T is going to set you back £1350 for the body alone – a fraction more than the original X1. Two lenses will be available at launch; the 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom (27-84mm equivalent) will cost £1250, and the 23mm f/2 prime (which offers a 35mm equivalent angle-of-view) will be £1350. This places it in the same price bracket as the 36MP full frame Sony A7R as one of the most expensive mirrorless camera systems on the market, and means that only well-heeled photographers are likely to get their hands on one. Leica exists in a particularly rarefied space and, while the T is designed to appeal to a different type of buyer than either the X compacts or the M system, it is not in any way intended as a mass-market product.

This is a pity, because the Leica T turns out to be a really attractive camera. Its body is hewn from a single block of aluminum, which makes it an extraordinarily tactile, and rather beautiful object. It has five controls on its top plate – shutter button, video record button, power switch and two dials – but absolutely everything else is controlled via the large 3.7″, 16:9 touchscreen. This, you can’t help but feel, is the kind of camera that Apple might make, if it were so inclined.

Leica T key features:

16MP APS-C CMOS sensor
ISO 100-12500
3.7″ 1.3M dot 16:9 touchscreen LCD
Twin top-plate control dials
Approx 5 fps continuous shooting
1920 x 1080 Full HD movie recording at 30 fps; built-in stereo microphones
Built-in Wi-Fi for easy image sharing, and remote control by smartphone or tablet
Optional 2.36M dot electronic viewfinder with built-in GPS unit
Built-in 16GB memory
Brand new Leica T mount
18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 and 23mm f/2 lenses
11-23mm f/3.5-4.5 and 55-135mm f/3.5-4.5 coming later in the year (at photokina 2014)
Available in anodized black or natural aluminum finish

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Lenses and accessories

The Leica T launches with two lenses, a zoom and a prime. The Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 is a compact zoom that offers a 27-84mm equivalent range, while the Summicron-T 23mm f/2 ASPH is a small prime that offers a classic 35mm equivalent moderate wide-angle view. Both use a thoroughly modern design approach, with a fully-electronic mount, near-silent internal focusing, and electronically-coupled manual focus.

t-lenses-1-001

t-lenses-2-001The all important detail is how much, well this site is offering them for £2,600, eye watering

For more reviews and information

Tech Radar

Amateur Photographer

Steve Huff

 

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