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Leica T (Typ 701) First Impressions Review

April 2014 | By Andy Westlake


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

The back of the T is dominated by its large, 16:9 aspect ratio touchscreen, with no physical buttons whatsoever. The main exposure settings are controlled by a pair of top-plate dials, but almost everything else (settings and menus, playback and so on) is operated though a generally well-thought-out touch interface. The back of the camera also proudly proclaims 'Leica Camera Wetzlar Germany', celebrating the company's recent return to its spiritual home. The lenses, by the way, are made in Japan (apparently because Leica doesn't have sufficient capacity in Wetzlar), although contrary to pre-launch internet rumor, they're not made by Panasonic.

The T uses a 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor, with an ISO range from 100-12500. It offers 5fps continuous shooting, and Full HD movie recording with stereo sound. The camera uses an all-new, fully electronic 'T mount', but Leica will also be offering an adapter to allow use of M mount lenses. This has an optical sensor to read the 6-bit code used to identify modern lenses, and electronic contacts to pass this information to the camera.

Naturally the camera has built-in Wi-Fi; this allows both image transfer to a smartphone or tablet, and remote control of shooting (complete with live view feed). It has 16GB of built-in memory, meaning you don't even have to buy an SD card if you don't want to. The battery can be charged internally via the camera's micro USB port, but Leica includes an external charger in the box too, giving the best of both worlds.

'Unibody' design

Leica is very proud of the T's unique 'unibody' design. Most cameras are built around an internal chassis, with all of the electronics fixed to it and a body skin finally added over the top. Leica has done something completely different; instead the body is formed from a solid block of aluminum, with all of the electronics attached to it directly. The result is an extraordinarily tactile, solid-feeling object.

The Leica T's body is formed from a 1.2kg block of aluminum, which is machined down to 94g at Leica's factory in Wetzlar, then subjected 45 minutes of hand-polishing. The camera has no separate internal chassis; instead everything is attached to this shell. Now you know why it costs so much...

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.

The first two lenses for the T system are the Summicron-T 23mm f/2 ASPH (left) and Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6. The Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH telezoom and Super-Vario-Elmar-T 11-23mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH wide-angle zoom are both scheduled to appear in time to be shown in September at photokina 2014.

Not unexpectedly these lenses are seriously pricey, at around $1500 / £1300 each (or roughly half the price of the camera / lens kit). The zoom doesn't even have optical image stabilization - Leica says it imposes too large a compromise on the optical design - which means the T is about the only system on the market with no image stabilization at all.

There's also a new optional electronic viewfinder, the Visoflex (Typ 020), which slides onto the hotshoe. It uses a new interface on the hot shoe itself, meaning that that it's not cross-compatible with the unit used for the X2, X Vario and M (Typ 240). Leica will also be offering a range of straps and covers in two distinct styles; either traditional-looking leather, or brightly-colored silicone rubber. We'll look at these in more detail later.

Color options and pricing

The T will be available in either a natural aluminum finish, or anodized black. Prices are as follows:

  • Leica T body (Black or Silver) - £1350
  • Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 - £1250
  • Summicron-T 23mm f/2 ASPH - £1350
  • M-Adapter T mount adapter - £300
  • Visoflex (Typ 020) EVF - £400


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 2110
12345
electrophoto
By electrophoto (32 min ago)

My dentist still loves it. He says it goes well with his Porsche Cayenne GTS...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
JulesJ
By JulesJ (41 min ago)

Interesting, but the slow startup is not so great.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Thorgrem
By Thorgrem (44 min ago)

I think it's a very nice camera. To bad it's way to expensive, and to bad the lenses are even more expensive. If Leica just made a unique m4/3 body with reasonable price and some good but expensive m4/3 lenses they would actually have a change of (financial) success.

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (1 hour ago)

I wonder if Leica will consider make matching toilet paper for this camera?

C

1 upvote
Johannes Zander
By Johannes Zander (1 hour ago)

I don't think you want red dots on your toilet paper.

2 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (2 hours ago)

okay Leica if no one is going to buy this camera I will volunteer to try it out and report back

0 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (2 hours ago)

Pay $1.850 to have privilege to live with the Leica quirks.

1 upvote
0MitchAG
By 0MitchAG (17 min ago)

$1.85? It must be a Hasselblad at that price!

0 upvotes
Alexander Vienna
By Alexander Vienna (3 hours ago)

I hope they correct the firmware!!!

1 upvote
grimescene
By grimescene (3 hours ago)

Full touchscreen controls isn't exactly unique is it? Doesn't the Samsung NX2000 have only three buttons?

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (5 hours ago)

Barney, you said it all when you said it.

-grinz-

Carl

0 upvotes
Photoman
By Photoman (6 hours ago)

I suppose it's time for Leica to make one fail (does the M8 count as a fail?). Once the firmware is sorted it should be fine. Remember the Fuji X100 GUI was a dog when it was first released. Maybe the engineers drank to much at the New Leica Wetzlar openning!

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (6 hours ago)

hope it uses Sony mount ;)

would be awesome if they had a full silver lens to match

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
adegroot
By adegroot (6 hours ago)

IQ is everything; and this camera ain't got it.

9 upvotes
badi
By badi (40 min ago)

I suppose that by IQ you understand pixel peeping. In this case, you're right, it's not up to the competition.

But if IQ means image quality - you know, pleasing image, nice in focus and out of focus areas, accurate color rendering, etc ... than is more difficult to make such statements :)

2 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (7 hours ago)

read...

NEXT!

0 upvotes
Vegasus
By Vegasus (7 hours ago)

This is a nice product, all aluminium, nice design, high res screen, amazing buttons and dials but all of these back to the lens and sensor.

0 upvotes
SammyToronto
By SammyToronto (7 hours ago)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this thing doesn't look beautiful to me. It may be built like a tank, but it looks like the average Sony/Samsung mirrorless camera and less attractive than the average Fuji/Olympus mirrorless camera.

Now, I'm not talking about performance, status, heritage or any of that, but purely on the aesthetic level this Leica underwhelms.

9 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (7 hours ago)

Maybe it looks better in person, but in the picture it is ugly, especially with the EVF which does not match the silver body (and neither are the black lenses).

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 hours ago)

ST:

It be plenty good aesthetically--unless you don't like the industrial look.

0 upvotes
Drofnad
By Drofnad (1 hour ago)

Amen, you said it. (That red badge makes reviewers go nuts. (Somehow, the ol' D-Lux4 was supposed to be soooo lovely vs. the LX3, though it lacked the functional element --a grip-- of the cheaper camera (one could pay even MORE to add the grip!).)

0 upvotes
The Customer
By The Customer (8 hours ago)

I've already read enough about the camera, on line, to know that if I could afford one, it would almost certainly be my daily shooter. Beautiful!

Exquisite lines and, from the footage I've seen about its creation, craftsmanship! I especially like the colourful body skins -- very stylish and high-tech while still conveying a playful air! I think that's what appeals to me the most about this camera, the feeling that it's been designed for people who want to fit precision, performance, and Leica's rich tradition in their pockets, while still being able to have fun. It's a camera that says, "Hello friend, let's play!"

2 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (7 hours ago)

Those colorful skins may not have been so well thought through. This comment is copied from a Leica forum....

Looks are indeed great but what a disappointment in use. It not only is very hard to put on or to remove, but you have to do this every time to acces the SD card or USB port or to replace the battery. On top of that I did not figure out yet how to remove or put on the T snap without detaching the strap (left side)

So every time you need to charge the battery you need to do the following :
- search for the "pin" to detach the strap (where do you guys put the pin so that it is always with you and does not get lost )
- detach the strap left side
- detach the lens
- try to remove the T-snap (good luck to do that in less than half a minute)
- put the lens on or a body cap to prevent dust on the sensor while charging
- remove, recharge battery and replace
- detach lens again or body cap
- put the T snap back on
- attach the strap left side
- mount the lens

1 upvote
John Driggers
By John Driggers (3 hours ago)

Methinks you replied seriously to a post meant as satire...at least I hope so.

1 upvote
GrahamJohn
By GrahamJohn (8 hours ago)

I suspect the Leica executives will be chuckling away at the comments of the plebeian masses who see the Leica T as a piece of bling and not a serious instrument. In truth it IS a piece of jewellry for the likes of people who buy Rolex instead of Timex, or AudioNote instead of Yamaha. Leica doesn't cater to the masses nor cares that most can't afford it. There will be enough dedicated Leica lovers to keep the production line going and it will be around for a while. They are catering to a niche market and I wish them good fortune.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
1 upvote
SuperAttilio
By SuperAttilio (5 hours ago)

I own a Leica Monochrom, Leica M6, a couple of Leica lenses, along with another 13 cameras and around 20 lenses: 35mm and medium format. I suspect I can afford several tens of "Leica T". Now, I find it extetically "ordinary" and - from a shooting experience point of view - a piece of junk. I was at the Leica Singapore event that introduced it to their customers. Shall we stop this paranoia that if you don't like a Leica it's just because you can't afford it? If a camera is crap, I just say it's crap: don't care about the price tag or how "status-symbol" it is. A Leica must provide outstanding shooting experience. That's all I care about. My camera of choice, at the moment, is my Sony A7r, which I use with M lenses and Nikkors. And the company that really excites me for what it's doing right now is Sony (A7s, 50mpx sensor on new Hasselblad CFV and new medium format fixed lens), not Leica.

Comment edited 6 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (5 hours ago)

Both of you, well said.

0 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer
By sixtiesphotographer (4 hours ago)

The Rolex/Timex comparison isn't quite right, at least for mechanical watch aficionados. People who pay gobs of thousands of dollars/Euros for a top tier mechanical watch do so because they love an all mechanical hand made watch - even more so if it has "complications" such as a (mechanical) perpetual calendar. Yes, a $15 quartz watch will do the job and be far, far more accurate, but it is the love of seeing just how well a mechanical watch can be made that interests horologists. I might also say that in this realm, Rolex is not even in the top tier -- maybe in the third tier of what is desirable.

Yes, there are many who will buy Rolex just for the name or as jewellery, but it has other desirable qualities as well. This Leica T does not.

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (2 hours ago)

All three of you, well said.

0 upvotes
UnitedNations
By UnitedNations (8 hours ago)

Fuji X100T is coming out soon. With its expected improvement over the x100s, why even bother with a Leica camera anymore which is way over priced for what it delivers?

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (8 hours ago)

I'm sure that Leica would make the (entirely reasonable) point that the T has an interchangeable lens mount :)

4 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (7 hours ago)

Yep, it is more of a Sony NEX-5r/Samsung NX300/Fuji X-A1 variety, only many times more expensive, much slower, a year or two too late and its screen does not tilt.

5 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (1 hour ago)

Why even bother about X100T when there are excellent µ43 cameras with a great assortment of lenses?

You see, you prefer Fujis, others prefer Leicas. There is no 'best camera' for everyone.

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (9 hours ago)

Barney,

Since you have the cam for testing, could you drop it on concrete pavement to see if the premium price for " body carved from solid block" of T6061 Al alloy machined in Portugal is worth the expense?

R.

5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 hours ago)

It's expensive, sure, but you save $30 by not having to buy one of Richard's handgrips.

4 upvotes
NCB
By NCB (9 hours ago)

OK, you go out and snap away with the T just as you might with say a Sony CSC, and it's not the same. DPReview didn't like the Nikon Df either, for much the same reasons. I have the Df. It's a dream of a camera and I wouldn't be parted from it.

Not all of us go around with our digicam glued to the eye and snapping at everything which moves. For a start, you miss a lot of good scenes that way. Some of us take our time. I see a scene which has got something and mentally frame the possibilities before ever I get the camera out. I turn it on and twiddle the odd setting, if necessary, before it gets to the eye. There's nothing in the operation of the T which you've run through which would put me off. In the slightest.

I want sharp pics with the right colour and exposure. The JPGs might be a tad flat; seeing what alternative settings could do would be useful. But the colours are superbly natural. The T has distinct attractions.

Expensive? Not for a Leica. Or other options for that matter.

2 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (7 hours ago)

I don't see why you can't use any camera as slowly and methodically as you would want. But if the camera won't work as quickly as you need, you are out of luck.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
TCMercury
By TCMercury (5 hours ago)

Exactly. I also tend to take my time, even in street photography, but that doesn't mean I'd want to remove the option to speed up if a cycle race suddenly went thundering past.

0 upvotes
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (9 hours ago)

The sample photos look excellent.

2 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (9 hours ago)

As a proud owner of the Hassy Lunar, I find this Leica thing repulsive. It looks cheap and I wouldn't want to be seen carrying it out in public.

5 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (9 hours ago)

Okay, I'm pretty clear about many thinking this model a status symbol (and perhaps Leica cameras on the whole). And performance criticisms - fair. Criticism of price and value - fair. But at the end of the day some will choose this camera. And that will be dependent on a range of justifications. So long as a modern camera can produce good image results (as I'm sure this one can), then handling, tactile qualities/build, interface are relavent in relation to the depth of one's pockets. And I know quite a few less than wealthy but pretty successful art photographers who simply preference feel, and feel it part of the photography experience to a degree that they are willing to pay a premium (even without trust funds). They are talented individuals - not dumb or misinformed in any way. And their accomplishments are evidence of this. Many comments paint all Leica users as something akin to surgeons, casual photographers, whom want to walking about with expensive, chic gear. That is naive.

0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (9 hours ago)

Years ago we all used Leicas, usually a pair to be able to have a wide and standard lens without having to change lenses. They were reliable, fast and everything could be prefocussed using the depth of field scales on the lenses- which were accurate. There was, as now with Ms, no autofocus.
You will be able to do this with primes on this thing. But they are again starting people on an unecessary expensive upgrade path as Leicas as such are now all full-frame.
In three years time they'll make this full-frame like they did the M8 with the M9, so unless you want to fork out for lenses and a full-frame body all over again just buy a Nex7.
Mind you this is at least without those dreadful wooden handles Hasselblad came up with, but then it has no decent grip and is a mere 16MP.
A name does not make it a Leica- there are dozens of Leicas that do not merit the cachet the name somehow has.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (8 hours ago)

I can see some merit in concern for the longevity of this system. But, ultimately, that is highly dependent on less than water tight speculation. Still, a fair point.

Grip is not an issue in my handling of the camera.

16MP is my preference, considering sensor size.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 hours ago)

munro harrap says it well. After Nikon and Canon got out of RF cameras, a Leica M was standard issue for low light, low noise and sharp wide angles. These cameras were never cheap but they offered things you really couldn't get with a Nikon F or similar.

At the same time there were cameras like the Leicaflex, SL, SL2, R3, R4, etc that while being perfectly good cameras did not offer anything you couldn't get from any other SLR and the fact that they were Leicas and priced accordingly didn't change that at all.

1 upvote
munro harrap
By munro harrap (9 hours ago)

Looks like a NEX 6 sensor in a NEX7 body robbed of a decent viewfinder to me.

2 upvotes
yonsarh
By yonsarh (9 hours ago)

I don't understand why some of you have negative comments. Infact,Leica T is not that bad. picture quality seems nice and if I have money, I would buy this camera.

0 upvotes
nunatak
By nunatak (10 hours ago)

put in perspective, the price/performance ratio of the Leica-T makes the criticisms of the Nikon V3 seem relatively trivial in comparison. i did not think that possible.

4 upvotes
coso dp
By coso dp (11 hours ago)

Not considering price it's basically a Canon EOS M in an awesome metal chassis.

6 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (10 hours ago)

It's faster at focusing and has a better sensor but I see your point.

7 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (10 hours ago)

Maybe a Sony a6000 with a M-lenses adapter is interesting too?

I thought about it, but not at ease with sony interface. Still seems to be a wise choice to do street photography, and probably much better than the Leica T (if you are not into fashion world. I am).

2 upvotes
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (10 hours ago)

@Richard, utilizing which AF mode on the EOS M, did you ever try the Touch Shutter? Which lens on the M, as they take different times to focus. Have you tried the EF-M 11-22?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (9 hours ago)

@67gtonr - I've not used the 11-22mm (which I'm not sure has even been formally announced in the US) - I was comparing the 18-55 and 32mm to the 18-55 and 22mm.

1 upvote
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (9 hours ago)

@Richard-Thank for your reply, I'll take your word for it then, as I can't see myself ever having the opportunity to try the Leica out myself, and the speed of the Canon M2 will also not come to play as it also is not sold through Canon USA.

0 upvotes
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (9 hours ago)

@Richard Butler,

Is the focusing faster than the M2?
...or is it the case that, besides not listing it in the 2013 list of Canon cameras, DPR has actually decided it does not exist?

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 hours ago)

@PhotoKhan

I have no idea about the EOS M2 (and would love to know, since a faster-focusing EOS M would be a rather nice camera).

It's not so much that we've decided it doesn't exist, just that it's a little hard to get full images and info about it, since it's still Japan-only, so far as we know.

0 upvotes
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (34 min ago)

Yes, I understand the limitations (almost impossibility) of reviewing a camera that only exists in some selected Far-East countries.

But I feel you could list it in the Product Database, if for anything else, for the sake of completeness.

If and when the M3 is launched the DB will look strange without an M2 in-between the M1 and M3, don't' you think?

More "significant cameras market fragmentation" cases like these could emerge and you must decide if you want to be a global reference site or just a "regional" (no matter how widely) one.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (11 hours ago)

If someone tried to give me this camera as a gift, I would take it.

Then I would put it on ebay, and sell it for $1,850, since it is currently out of stock at Amazon. Then, I would use the part of the money to buy an Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens, and put the other thousand dollars in my pocket.

I would send a nice thank you note to the kind person who gave me that gift.

And Barney would take the camera too, if it wasn't for Simon's rule about accepting gifts from camera companies. In fact, I'd guess that Barney's own sense of integrity would prevent him from taking it without a rule forbidding it.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
9 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (11 hours ago)

Yeah the 'gift' thing is hypothetical. And it's not Simon's rule, it's pretty much just common sense :)

3 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter
By Just another Canon shooter (11 hours ago)

It would match my kitchen appliances.

4 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (9 hours ago)

Evidence that Leica T is manufactured by Panasonic is piling up.

1 upvote
ARB1
By ARB1 (11 hours ago)

I wonder if I can just purchase the little red Leica sticker and put it on my Olympus OMD.

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

Why not? Good PanaLeica lenses to use. But not the same sensor.

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (10 hours ago)

Sure you can, be prepared to shell out $1,000 for it.

0 upvotes
Valentinian
By Valentinian (6 hours ago)

Nah.... I wouldn't do that to my good old E-M5

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
whywefight
By whywefight (11 hours ago)

"The pricing is bonkers by anyone's standards..." So please, what does this have to do with the shooting experience?

Start up time and selection of the autofocus point!? That's all!? No other complaints? This review would be a lot more convincing if it both mentioned pros and con's of the interface. But it is written with so much anger and so one sided that it cannot be taken serious. Someone appears to have chosen to dislike the camera because he cannot afford it. This is my clear impression.

I extensively tested the camera in a Leica store. Anyone who claims he cannot tell apart the two rear dials must be bonkers by anyone's standards. Please get real. Since the interface of this camera is completely new and vastly different from usual cameras, I expected a thorough discussion of the pros and con's. Instead you get to read this childish rant. I am very disappointed.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (11 hours ago)

This is not a review.

14 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

whywefight,

Check the date on the first impressions "review".

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (5 hours ago)

Boy's at DPR can't win them all that's for sure. Keep up with the honest shooting experience articles crew, they are great reads.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (4 hours ago)

Thankye, kind sir.

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (3 hours ago)

I can take intelligent observations about a poorly designed interface seriously. I don't think I can take your "extensive" in-store test seriously, but apparently you don't care to share your own pros and cons.

1 upvote
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (11 hours ago)

DPR praises Leica for doing something that Canon did with the EOS M two years ago, except that everything the Leica does the Canon does better!

2 upvotes
quezra
By quezra (11 hours ago)

Even focus speed? Ouch.

0 upvotes
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (11 hours ago)

Absolutely.

0 upvotes
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (11 hours ago)

With the year old firmware the auto focus speed is equal to that of the Nex cameras (prior to the A6000) according to those that use both.

0 upvotes
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (11 hours ago)

The EOS M also has Touch Shutter, wherein you touch the where at on the screen you want focus and the camera focuses and instantly captures the scene, this make the focusing even faster and something totally lacking on the Leica.

0 upvotes
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (10 hours ago)

@quezra

Focus speed on the M2 is not a factor.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Flashback
By Flashback (11 hours ago)

It's Leica glass stupid....

I remember, everybody rubbishing the earlier X1, but boy did it produce some beautiful images.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

While many Leica lenses are amazing, including m4/3s PanaLeicas and the X-Vario's lens, I'm not real impressed with the DNGs I shot with this T and the 23mm lens. They're good, not great.

For that price they should be great, perhaps something can be tweaked in the firmware to improve IQ, since other Leica X cams do excellent IQ.

1 upvote
cgarrard
By cgarrard (5 hours ago)

"For that price they should be great"

You know, that is a review in itself. Nuff said right there, done deal.

Carl

2 upvotes
caravan
By caravan (11 hours ago)

Good luck and enjoy to all who will buy it.

2 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (3 hours ago)

Good luck indeed.

0 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (11 hours ago)

The beauty of this Leica is that it is so useless in functionality. But the bright body got timeless style. It is not designed to make interesting pictures but to show off. Hence, it got its market.

If we had a stand-up comedian show, this camera could provide plenty of stories on how one might take pictures alternatively.

Leica delivers a big attention item. It differentiates the buyer from the rest of those “cheap” black plastic camera users. And you need the matching small dog or hand bag for this. So it stays in high ticket environments.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

It's far from useless, and I've shot with it.

0 upvotes
Tapper123
By Tapper123 (11 hours ago)

I wouldn't want one either. I don't even think it even looks particularly good.

I get the appeal of Leica rangefinders -- at least they offer something unusual compared to most cameras and the design is truly classic. But this T... strictly a fashion statement camera IMO. Much better off with a nice Fuji or Sony mirrorless.

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

And the look of the box is the deciding factor?

0 upvotes
quezra
By quezra (12 hours ago)

How is making it so reliant on touchscreen in any way bold? Sony NEX-5N did it years ago. Samsung Galaxy NX did it the most recently. Even the upcoming Lytro camera is going to do it. I think DPR were desperate to say something nice about Leica, but honestly this isn't bold. It's a design choice that many have tried, and eventually rolled back in favor of more physical controls which a VF necessitates for tactile feedback.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (11 hours ago)

It's bold for Leica.

10 upvotes
quezra
By quezra (11 hours ago)

That still doesn't make sense as a reason to praise it, since all previous attempts have been severely criticized (and this seems no different), then with products out long enough to see a successor, always rolled back (note the extra dials and Fn button on the NEX-5R). Minimalism might win design awards but it doesn't make for a functional camera. There's a litterbin of failed attempts that will demonstrate that, firmware update or not.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

q:

This is significantly different than most other touch screens like that on the Samsung NX300. (I pick the Samsung because I'm more familiar with that than the Nex 5n.)

It is very bold step.

0 upvotes
peterwr
By peterwr (10 hours ago)

As Barney says, it's bold <i>for Leica</i>. It also fits with Leica's design philosophy of longevity, inasmuch as it can be easily upgraded via firmware without either Leica or the customer having to replace the hardware. As it's basically just a (high-quality) shell with software and a lens on the front, Leica can go on banging these things out for years to come like they did their film cameras, without having to make major hardware revisions the way other manufacturers do, and yet frequently refresh and improve both new <i>and existing</i> cameras, possibly via paid-for upgrades.

Cost-effective from both Leica's and the customer's point of view.

Good move, I reckon.

1 upvote
peterwr
By peterwr (10 hours ago)

OK, I give up. How *do* you do text formatting hereabouts?

1 upvote
Johannes Zander
By Johannes Zander (12 hours ago)

Another articel about this aluminium block.
I hoped the battery was already exhausted!

0 upvotes
nathondetroit
By nathondetroit (11 hours ago)

Was that a pun? If so, bravo!

1 upvote
eliehbk
By eliehbk (12 hours ago)

I bought the Sony Rx1r and love it, but when I read your comments about this camera being overpriced I wonder if there are many cameras that aren't! I wonder if the 2800 dollars price tag on the Sony is justified! Choose the camera that makes you happy and go out and shoot. I have changed many many cameras over the years, and in the end they are all the same, we (photographers) make the difference! Happy shooting...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer
By sixtiesphotographer (12 hours ago)

This camera seems to be a disaster from an ergonomic perspective: identical non-dedicated dials, controls buried in menus, non-intuitive or counter-intuitive operation.

I love my M3's and M6's, but those were created by a different (and much better) design team.

My Fuji X-Pro1 is a far better camera than this Leica T in all respects and is closer to what a "true Leica" should be in the digital era.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

It's easy enough to use.

I disagree with some choices, but that's different.

0 upvotes
km25
By km25 (10 hours ago)

Yep! If only Leica would have made the X100 or the X-Pro 1. Leica can hold on to the Ms, but better choose a path toward the future.

0 upvotes
G1Houston
By G1Houston (12 hours ago)

"In 'Touch AF' mode, when you're shooting in live view you press the screen and the AF point jumps to the location of your fingertip, and focus is acquired immediately at that point. Weirdly, half-pressing the shutter button does nothing at all, but if you've used a smartphone camera you'll be familiar with the behavioral logic of the Leica (and yes, it does seem strange writing those words…)."

I don't find this to be illogical. Since you are already using the screen to position the AF point, why do you need to "re-AF" by half pressing or go to the EVF? Why don't you just press the shutter all the way to take the picture and be done with it?

A fair criticism would be that the touch-AF concept did not go far enough in the T. For example, in many m4/3 cameras, you can touch and shoot at the same time. Indeed, with Panasonic cameras, you can touch to select the AF point and then shoot using the EVF. I consider this an *additional* feature that is nice to have.

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (2 hours ago)

Not just nice to have. It's a brilliant integration of the touch surface with the EVF.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (12 hours ago)

They should just take the guts of the Sony A7 and shoehorn it into a machined aluminium chassis. Put an m mount in front, and they will all be set.

1 upvote
iAPX
By iAPX (12 hours ago)

I know some crew of dpreview thought that I am a troll while criticizing some cameras (ie a mirorless full-frame camera that just works well with a BIG tripod and big lens for landscape photography, and seems to be a fail for any other usage, reading the full review! lol).

I think the Leica T is not a camera. Being a camera is a side-effect. It's a luxury statement, the one I will take with me, with a Summicron or Noctilux (and M adapter ring), if I where wealthy, really wealthy.

The same way that wealthy people wear interesting watches, they might give time, but it's a side-effect.

PS: I owned 2 Leica compact camera, a D-Lux3 and now a Leica C (type 122), that are Panasonic cameras, conceived (lens+sensor) by Leica, the second one being Audi-designed. And I like them.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (11 hours ago)

I am not "..wealthy, really wealthy" and have owned several Leica camera and lenses over the years. It is all about choices. I don't care about expensive watches.

I know there is a worldwide slow economy but I really do believe it is about choices. A friend of mine asked me why I buy so many cameras. This same friend smokes a carton of butts a day (what does that cost?) and he drops about $40 a night drinking beer most nights with a group of guys. He has season tickets to the New Eng Patriots (American football). I don't smoke, drink or take in many sporting events. I DO like shooting with various cameras. Had I not purchased a Leica X Vario and a Sony RX1R I might have considered the T if it is a good performer. I love the images I get from the most recent Sony and the X Vario.

Anyway I believe it is about choices rather than being wealthy.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (11 hours ago)

So, you'd clearly stating that the Leica T is not a good camera, at least for taking pictures?

So maybe it's a good camera to be seen with? As with a luxury watch? It's a choice if you could afford it!

0 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (9 hours ago)

Hi iAPX, I didn't clearly or unclearly state that. By "if it IS (new emphasis by me) a good performer" I'm leaving it open ended. The camera is new and the jury is still out. I personally don't know if the camera is or isn't any good. Leica can still surprise. The X Vario has exceeded my expectations. If the T's IQ matches or exceeds the X Vario that would make it appealing but I really don't need another system camera as the Fuji XE1/various lenses is my most recent combo setup. The RX1R is simply amazing when a fixed lens will do.

I simply can't agree or even relate to your "to be seen with" thing. I wasn't trendy 60 years ago so why start now if that is what you mean.

Take care. Thanks for the reply.

1 upvote
Deardorff
By Deardorff (12 hours ago)

How does the touch screen work with gloves or mittens and 20 below zero temperatures?

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (12 hours ago)

Honestly I haven't tried it (will do so though) but it's capacitative not pressure-sensitive. As such it'll likely work sometimes, with some very thin gloves. There are plenty of gloves on the market which are designed to work with touchscreen devices though.

0 upvotes
peterwr
By peterwr (10 hours ago)

On the subject of the touchscreen focusing not working with the EVF: presumably that could be fixed by having the position of one's finger (or, more likely, thumb) on the screen tracked by a marker in the EVF. Pressing the shutter would lock the focus on the current thumb position.

The point being that the issue is surely fixable in firmware, at any rate, even if not by that particular method.

0 upvotes
realmadeira
By realmadeira (13 hours ago)

brave review. I guess no more Leica's for you to review any more

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (12 hours ago)

A firmware update could make this camera so much more effective and enjoyable to use. We're optimistic. The IQ is great though, and we'll have some studio work done pretty soon.

1 upvote
iAPX
By iAPX (12 hours ago)

As a fashion photographer, I could tell that studio work is easy for a pro, I even did some with my D300 this years (switching to full frame cautiously), and even a compact camera could do great work that is good enough for a full page printing after a good RAW processing.

Using available light, or shooting with a bright sun, as I did for a friend weeding 10 days ago is another story: you need to be able to go 12800ISO or more on the party, while having an incredible dynamic for outdoor pictures on the early afternoon!

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Joachim Gerstl
By Joachim Gerstl (13 hours ago)

You don't have to be mad to buy this instead of a Sony A6000 plus Zeiss Zoom or the Fuji X-T1 kit but it helps.

12 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (13 hours ago)

I am not going to say anything about this camera (tee hee), except...Olympus or Panasonic REALLY could have taken a design cue on the Optional VF. REALLY!
No design went into theirs and I think made a little function-follows-form exception...it would have made for a much sweeter looking appendage. Now I am not saying that the Leica VF is all-that...but it shows what a little effort can result in. :-)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Bhima78
By Bhima78 (10 hours ago)

??? EPL-5, EP-5, and E-PM2 all take Olympus' VF-4 viewfinder. And its only $200 instead of $600 for the Leica one.

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (2 weeks ago)

If nothing else, Leica has schooled all the other camera companies on how to do a modern camera with good controls (aside from setting AF points, but then Apple and numerous camera app makes have nailed that). So at least we might see some others imitate them.

1 upvote
zapatista
By zapatista (4 days ago)

This must be a new definition of "schooled". I guess you could make the same case for the EOS M.

11 upvotes
AngryCorgi
By AngryCorgi (13 hours ago)

Well, I for one hope nobody else thinks a 3-second startup time, laggy image review, nonsensical AF point selection behavior, and astronomical price points are traits worth imitating.

10 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (12 hours ago)

Maybe you are too angry!

the 4 to 5.5 second starttup is to learn the zend of photography, and waiting for the perfect moment to stay while the software wake-up.
The laggy image review is for film photographer in the great Leica tradition: you don't have to look at your pictures, until you go back home or in the darkroom.
The nonsensical AF point is because you dont have to select AF points, just let the "magical" Leica select it for you!

The price point is for you to learn how expensive it is to be a Leica Photographer, an opportunity for a talented photographer

end of sarcasm ;)

2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (1 hour ago)

Considering how good public education is these days, your term "schooled" is accurate.

C

0 upvotes
Stephen787
By Stephen787 (2 weeks ago)

took so long for battery to arrived? that is german efficiency today?

3 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (12 hours ago)

Thats because all of the electronics are made in China. The only thing Made in Germany is the body. I bet the firmware was outsourced to India.

1 upvote
Stephen787
By Stephen787 (10 hours ago)

not all, some are built in japan, taiwan or singapore. firmware from india? i do not think so. they only do microsoft windows.

0 upvotes
Will Taylor73
By Will Taylor73 (2 weeks ago)

God Leica are tedious! They bring out these hyped-up 2nd rate cameras and the mindless Leica fan-bois come out in droves to clap their hands and congratulate a dying company on it's paltry efforts to make itself relevant. Leica are simply irrelevant to modern photography. When I see someone with a digital Leica I know (from experience and making an effort to chat to these folks) that they are cashed-up pretenders who care far more about the credence the brand 'lends' their photography than just about anything else. Let Leica dye I say.

8 upvotes
Model Mike
By Model Mike (2 weeks ago)

"Let Leica dye I say". I'm sure they'll paint you a red dot if you ask them nicely!

6 upvotes
lawamainn
By lawamainn (2 weeks ago)

I agree with you to a certain extent, but Leica is NOT a "soon-to-be-extinct"-company, in fact, they can hardly cope with the demand, and have excellent economic figures....! And the technical/mecanical quality is excellent, of course.
When that is said, I was seeing through a Leica Facebook Group, and it was a sad experience, rubbish from the first to the last picture, with some exceptions of course. And it seemed that the members thought that adding "summilux bla bla", "distagon bla bla" etc with the caption should elevate the the quality of their "work"....

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (1 week ago)

Will Taylor73:

Then you've not talked to a lot of Leica digital shooters.

And yeah, it costs serious money to get a M 240 and M lenses.

And of the 15 comments I see you've made since late 2013, at least 3 of them are complaining about Leica.

Try focusing on a serious and positive interest of your own; instead of simply attacking a respected, if pricey, camera/lens company.

Or if you've had a bad experience with a Leica digital camera, and/or lens, explain why. Perhaps some one here can tell you how to avoid those problems in the future.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
lawamainn
By lawamainn (1 week ago)

Ehh... I have 6 comments in total, and one comment regarding Lerica Cameras...
I do not question the quality of Leica at all! If it`s worth the pricetag? Well, not for me, but I can understand why many are. A friend of mine has a M9, and it`s fantastic piece of engineering! But do I want it? No, because it doesn`t fit my type of photography-

1 upvote
Will Taylor73
By Will Taylor73 (1 week ago)

I haven't talked to a lot - I'd say about 20. In the cycling world we have a saying "$10 legs and $10,000 bike" - that describes the average Leica owner perfectly. It's not that I'm complaining about Leica; I just despise them. Everything they've done in the last ten years is a joke (and an expensive one at that).

I'll keep posting about just how rubbish I think Leica are ...

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (1 week ago)

Will Taylor73:

You can post whatever rubbish you want, as long as it's not more than 1000 characters.

But you can't take away from excellent Leica M lenses, or S lenses.

Good Leica lenses aren't akin to a $10,000 bicycle--more like a $30,000 bike. However one doesn't need incredible fitness to get a lot out of those lenses.

You're correct Leica is expensive, but far from a joke, unlike say Hasselblad of the last 10 years.

Don't you think your efforts would be treated more seriously if you were commenting on cameras and lenses you'd used in some fashion?

0 upvotes
Will Taylor73
By Will Taylor73 (1 week ago)

Sigma can produce a 50mm lens for $1000 that outperforms any Leica in that range ever(and Leica's lenses cost up to $5000). I could point out 1000 other examples of Leica's rubbishness.

For me it's more about what Leica represents. I simply don't care how good a single one of their lenses are - it's irrelevant. My contempt for Leica stems from the fact that they release moronic cameras and people think that's a good thing. The awesome thing is that Sony's E-mount will murder off Leica for good. Can't wait for that.

Good bye Leica ....

You've spent all your time replying to any post in this thread contra leica!! How sad. You can't fight fate - most folks hate Leica and think they are a joke.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (1 week ago)

Will Taylor73:

I'm sure the Sigma lens is very good, but we really don't know if it out performs the best Leica lenses, I've not used the 50mm "Art", so really can't say. You may have, but it reads like you've not used Leica lenses. And DXO lens scoring isn't real helpful in distinguishing extraordinary lenses from just good.

It took Sigma years to get to that level of optical performance. And Canikon just aint there yet.

Even with Zeiss lenses, those Sony FE mount cameras mostly have disappointing colour--put a Zeiss on a Nikon Df and you get spectacularly better colour.

So as it stands now, those Sony A bodies have trouble--future versions could be fixed. You're right that those are good options for mounting Leica M lenses, but it doesn't kill off the M lenses; could force Leica to release a $3000 M body though.

Most folks think Leica expensive, but don't hate Leica nor think Leica a joke. The S and the M bodies are far from moronic.

NB: Leica M lenses can cost up to $11,000.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
webrunner5
By webrunner5 (12 hours ago)

I have owned Leica film cameras in the past, and they where like jewels. Expensive jewels but none the less really nice film cameras. Now they seem to me to have become like 3,000 dollar a night Hookers in Las Vegas. Like really pretty good but "really"

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (11 hours ago)

webrunner5:

You know this how?

0 upvotes
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