Leica T (Typ 701) First Impressions Review
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.
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.
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.
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
Today, embargoes lifted for reviews on the iPhone 12 Pro and, while we don't have a unit to test, we have rounded up a few reviews from various photographers and gadget reviewers from across the web.
Adobe's virtual MAX 2020 conference is underway and Adobe has announced updates to its family of software, including Adobe Photoshop 2021. The newest version of Photoshop includes AI-powered features such as Neural Filters and Sky Replacement.
The prototype tool will provide a way for photojournalists, artists and others to cyptographically sign and embed editing and attribution information to images that have been adjusted or altered.
The second-generation mini camera features the same three-axis stabilization found in its predecessor, but improves image quality with a larger sensor, wider lens and improved audio capture.
The Z 24-50mm F4-6.3 is Nikon's most compact and affordable lens for full-frame Z-mount cameras. While it's certainly not the fastest glass in town, it is respectably sharp for a modern kit lens.
The are piles of educational videos on the Ilford Photo YouTube channel for those wanting to get into black and white film photography and those who just need a refresher.
Adobe has released the latest update to Lightroom Classic, bringing the venerable photo editor and organizer to version 10.0. The new version adds performance improvements, new camera/lens support and more, including a highly anticipated new Color Grading feature.
If you don't mind it being entirely manual, this 35mm F0.95 has a lot to offer in a compact, affordable package.
Pivoting away from camera accessories, bags and tripods, Peak Design is back to crowdfund a new line of smartphone cases and accessories that use a unique dual-purpose mount that makes switching between accessories a literal snap.
The new Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II are iterative updates but with some meaningful improvements. So should you buy one? That very much depends on what you're considering upgrading from, argues Senior Editor and Z7 owner Barnaby Britton.
Having light is critical for photography, but what about the quality of light? Our resident mad scientist, Don Komarechka, explains how different light sources can impact your photos.
All you need is a cool space, a little creative composition and a bit of work in post-production to create these inception-esque drone photos that appear to bend reality.
Meet DPReview's new writer: Roger Cicala, founder of Lensrentals. Be nice – he's doing this for free, for some reason.
The 56th annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition recently announced its winners.
Our team at DPReview TV just finished their review of the Fujifilm X-S10, capturing a lot of images along the way. Take a look at their sample photos from the Canadian Rockies.
Canadian light-painter, bullet-timer and visual artist Eric Paré created a bullet-time rig using 15 Pi cameras synchronised to all shoot at the same moment. The results are pretty cool.
Skylum Software has teased a new feature for its upcoming photo editor, Luminar AI. In 2021, Luminar AI's AI Sky feature will be able to create realistic reflections in water. This feature has been requested by users since Luminar's first AI Sky Replacement tool launched in 2019.
As it has with so many cameras over the past few years, Atomos says it's bringing ProRes RAW recording over HDMI to Nikon's new Z6 II and Z7 II mirrorless camera systems.
Now, more than three dozen Sony camera systems can be used as webcams with macOS computers using little more than a single USB cable and the latest Imaging Edge Webcam utility.
The free firmware update is set to go live on October 28. Fujifilm claims it will more than double the autofocus performance and dramatically improve the 'hit rate' with a re-written predictive algorithm.
The AI is already available to Azure customers and will be incorporated into multiple Microsoft consumer products later this year.
Fujifilm's latest X-S10 is a likeable, easy-to-control mirrorless camera with some of the company's best tech packed inside it. For users tempted by the Fujifilm ecosystem but turned off by all the dedicated dials, the X-S10 is worth a look.
The Fujifilm X-S10 is perhaps best described as a modern hybrid of several Fujifilm cameras. You get a deep grip in a compact body, in-body stabilization and a mode dial instead of a shutter speed dial. Follow along with us on our guided tour of the X-S10 right here.
The Fujifilm X-S10 is the latest addition to the X-mount family of cameras. It sports a stabilized 26MP X-Trans BSI-CMOS sensor and is capable of producing those lovely JPEG colors we so enjoy.
The Fujifilm X-S10 may have a less retro design than some of its siblings, but it's a very capable camera for both stills and video. Watch our review to find out why Chris and Jordan think this camera hits the sweet spot.
The newly unveiled X-S10 puts imaging components from the X-T4 into a smaller body with a re-designed, 5-axis IBIS unit rated up to six stops when used with many of Fujifilm's XF lenses.
The new Fujinon XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS WR offers weather-resistance, improved optical image stabilization and a physical aperture ring.
Fujifilm has updated its X-mount lens roadmap, with the promise of an 18mm F1.4 and a 70-300mm F4-5.6 OIS, both due in 2021.
We've delved into what's changed and improved in Nikon's Z6 II and Z7 II, and it's more than just the second card slots. See what we found.