First Impressions: Leica T

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Today, Leica is announcing a new chapter in their life: the Leica T. Leica’s new T camera is one that is aimed at the user that wants something that they call “simpler.” It isn’t aimed at the same audience that uses the S series and the M series. Instead, it’s for the enthusiast. As such, it comes with a plethora of options and accessories that one can use for the camera.

But we can say with full knowledge that this isn’t a camera for everyone–especially considering the price.

Tech Specs

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– 12.2MP APS-C sensor

– 1080p or 720p at 30p

– New Leica T mount bayonet

– Contrast AF

– 30s to 1/4000th shutter speed (very quiet shutter)

– 1/180th flash sync

– 334g weight

– Ships with Adobe Lightroom

– bundled with an 18-56mm f3.5-5.6 lens

– ISO 100-12,500

– Wireless transmission

– Aluminum body

– 3.7 inch TFT LCD with 1.3MP

Ergonomics

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The Leica T in almost every way makes total and complete sense since it aligns so well with Leica’s ideologies and even gives us a bit of a peek into what they’re thinking about for the future of their products. It is characterized by smooth lines nearly everywhere and almost totally looks like a more affordable and streamlined version of a Leica M camera.

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One of the biggest differences that you’ll notice immediately from the T and the M is that the T sports a pop-up flash. This flash comes up quite high and more than clears the new lenses also being announced today.

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The Leica T has other simplistic controls such as the on/off switch on top around the shutter release, video record button, exposure dials, and the pop-up flash. That’s really all that the camera has in terms of hardware.

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This is where the futuristic tech comes in. If you’re an iPhone lover, then you’ll digg this. The entire back of the camera is a touchscreen. Want to get to playback or access other functions? Then you’ll need to do it all via this giant screen.

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The Leica T also can be used with an EVF that is different from the one used with the Leica M. This EVF is bright, beautiful, and really pleasing to look through.

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If you’re an M user, then you should also know that you can mount M mount glass onto the camera. The Leica T doesn’t have focus peaking but instead it has magnification zooming to ensure that you get the sharpest image.

Granted, you’ll be doing this with an APS-C sized sensor and not a full frame 35mm sensor.

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Besides these, the user can also choose from two different skins to also attach to and protect the camera One is yellow and slides right over the camera. It also comes with a back that completely covers the screen. In order to use the camera, you’ll need to pop the back off and down.

Build Quality

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When it comes to the build quality of the Leica T; know that it is crafted from a single piece of aluminum block. In fact, before the actual meeting began Leica also showed us a video of a worker polishing the piece for 45 minutes. It’s an incredible work of art to know that that much effort goes into the production of one of these–and the polishing is all done by hand!

This frame makes up most of the body of the Leica T.

Ease of Use

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Leica’s T is dominated by touchscreen icons that seem very intuitive for the most part. You can also customize where they are in terms of access points and control nearly every aspect of the camera through these. We predict that most of the audience using the T series will shoot in auto and forget about all of these; but know that Leica has given the more experienced users some options.

Autofocus

Using the new 23mm f2 lens and the kit lens, we found the focusing to be quick but not Olympus or Sony quick. In fact, we’d say that it is about on par with Fujifilm but not as fast as Samsung. For the enthusiast this will be all fine and good.

Image Quality

We didn’t get a chance to stick a card in the camera, but the sensor is essentially one of the same ones that Sony has used before. In fact, it is exactly the same sensor as the one in the Leica X2–which was pretty good to begin with but is a bit dated at this point. You can check out our Leica X2 review for more.

First Impressions

We handled a pre-production unit that was near final quality in our meeting; but we have a lot more testing to do with the camera and the lenses to ensure that we get a great review out. We would have had a full review, but were only offered three days with the camera–which isn’t enough in our opinion to test a camera inside out out.

Stay tuned for our full review.

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