Leica T (Typ 701) First Impressions Review
The T gets an all-new accessory electronic viewfinder, known as the Visoflex (Typ 020). It uses a 2.36M dot LCD display and offers a decently high magnification (~0.7x equiv), with an image size close to the optical viewfinders found in full frame SLRs. The EVF tilts upwards by 90 degrees, as is the current fashion, but more unusually, also incorporates a GPS unit for geotagging your photos.
|The Visoflex has a large round eyepiece, with an sensor that allows auto-switching from the LCD when the camera is brought up to your eye. The dial on the side changes the diopter, for users with less-than-perfect vision.||The EVF uses an array of additional contacts on the shoe itself; this reduces bulk compared to the finder for the X2, X Vario and M (Type 240), but means the two aren't cross-compatible. The contacts can be protected by a plastic cover when not in use.|
Leica is making the M-Adapter T, which will allow the use of M-mount rangefinder lenses like the Summilux-M 35mm F1.4 ASPH pictured above. It has an optical sensor to read the 6-bit coding that's used to identify the lens, and electronic contacts to pass this information on to the camera. Naturally lenses will be subjected to the APS-C sensor's 'crop factor', so that 35mm lens will behave like a 50mm normal prime. Don't expect a full frame version of the T anytime soon, by the way.
Incidentally the T won't release its shutter without either a lens or the adapter mounted, and unlike most mirrorless cameras, there's no 'Release without Lens' option in the menu. So it seems likely that any third-party lens adapters would have to mimic the A-Adapter's electronics to work.
Straps and cases
One of the T's oddest design features is that it doesn't have conventional strap lugs. Instead, the supplied silicone rubber neckstrap plugs into holes in the side of the camera. This tells you a lot about Leica's emphasis on style here - it gives the camera a lovely sleek design, but arguably compromises practicality.
|The T's silicone rubber strap fits into little holes on the side of the camera. To attach it, you first have to remove the little plug-in covers, using a supplied tool that's distinctly reminiscent of Apple's iPhone SIM tray remover. Just to make sure you don't get confused, Leica has helpfully stamped 'LEICA T' onto the metal (and even gives you two, in case you lose one).|
Replacement neckstraps will be available in white, orange and yellow, as well as black. Leica will also be offering a silicone wrist strap in the same set of colors. The prices? £70 for the neckstrap, or £40 for the wrist strap.
In typical Leica fashion, there will also be a range of cases, including a gray leather 'T-Protector' half-case, and 'T-Holster' case which the camera slides into for easy access, available in either gray leather or aluminum. There are also snap-on 'skins' made of hard plastic and silicone rubber, in the same colors as the straps - these are in fact rather more attractive than that might sound.
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