Leica T (Typ 701) First Impressions Review
Body & Design
The Leica T has a sparse, utilitarian design with very few external controls. There's a prominent, although shallow, handgrip on the front, and the rounded ends pay homage to the traditional Leica M body shape. The front of the camera features only the lens release button, an autofocus illuminator lamp, and Leica's famous red dot. The T doesn't even have traditional strap lugs; they're replaced by little sockets on each side, which in this shot are concealed by plug-in covers.
The back of the camera is dominated by the large touchscreen. It's a 3.7" unit with a 16:9 aspect ratio, and 854x480 pixel RGB resolution. The result is an exceptionally clean, stylish design that is unashamedly intended to make the camera an object of desire, as well as a photographic tool. In keeping with the emphasis on style, the black LCD surround wraps round to the sprung plastic door that covers the camera's SD card slot and micro USB port.
Top of camera
Here you can see the T's pretty sparse top-plate. The hot shoe for mounting either the electronic viewfinder or an external flash is placed on the lens's center-line (it's covered here), with tiny grilles for the stereo microphones on either side. There are just five physical controls - two dials for changing exposure parameters, shutter release and movie record buttons, and the power switch. Pulling the latter past the 'ON' position releases the pop-up flash, which can be pushed back down flush with the top-plate when not in use.
In your hand
The T is on the large side for a 'rangefinder style' mirrorless camera, but this isn't bad thing; if anything it makes it easier to hold. The smooth surfaces don't provide much purchase though, so we'd advise adding the security of a strap. If you find yourself inadvertently operating the touchscreen, it can be temporarily deactivated by swiping down the right side of the screen.
Here's a quick size comparison between the Leica T and two retro-inspired, enthusiast-orientated mirrorless cameras, the Olympus PEN E-P5 on the left and Fujifilm X-E2 on the right. It's in the same ballpark in terms of overall dimensions, but the contrast in control layout and design philosophy couldn't be more marked. The Leica is also very much more expensive then either of these competitors, indeed you could buy several additional really nice lenses for the difference in price.
Sep 15, 2016
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