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Leica T review

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Leica T
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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Sleek, finely polished design
  • excellent touchscreen
  • competitive price for a Leica

Cons

  • Slightly fiddly AF
  • expensive lenses
  • Doesn’t do enough to justify its price

Key Features

  • 16.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 3.2-inch, 1.3-million-dot touchscreen LCD
  • 16GB internal memory
  • Wi-fi connectivity
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom included
  • Manufacturer: Leica
  • Review Price: £1,350.00

What is the Leica T?

Ever spotted a Leica M-system camera out in the wild? It’s kind of like watching a Ferrari cruise past you on the high street – even if the design isn’t to your personal taste, you can appreciate how well it’s put together, and further appreciate that the person driving it is probably quite well off.

Leica M cameras aren’t for everyone, though. Even setting aside the possibility of having to sell a couple of your least favourite organs in order to acquire one, some people prefer modern conveniences such as autofocus.

It’s with these people in mind that Leica has produced the new Leica T (Type 701), a compact system camera in the Leica M tradition but with the (comparatively) friendlier price of £1,350.

While the T retains the premium construction Leica is known for, it also makes some bold choices in its design. So, without further ado, let’s find out how it handles.

SEE ALSO: Fujifilm X-Pro 1

Leica T - Features

At the heart of the Leica T sits an APS-C-sized 16.3MP CMOS sensor, with a sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,500. There is no option for extending the ISO settings, but in practice it’s rare any photographer would want much more than ISO 12,500 anyway.

The Leica T shoots with a shutter speed range of 30-1/4000sec – pretty standard for a camera of its type – and has all the usual suspects in terms of exposure modes, with a few extra scene modes thrown in for good measure.

Video-wise, the Leica T can produce Full 1920x1080-pixel video at 30fps, which is a little below the 60fps we’d expect these days. Also, though the lack of an external mic port is a little hampering.

What is especially interesting about the Leica T though is its capacity to store images. While you can store images on an SD card as standard, the Leica T also boasts a whopping 16GB of internal memory (for context, most cameras will come with 16-64MB of internal memory).

If you’re on your travels and you lose or fill up your memory card, with the Leica T it’s no longer a problem.

SEE ALSO: Sony A7

The Leica T saves 4928x3264-pixel images, as JPEGs or raw files. For the raws it uses the universal DNG raw format, which can be opened in most raw editing software without the need for an update. Also, bonus points for having the latest version of Adobe Lightroom bundled in with the camera.

Purists will doubtless bemoan the lack of an optical viewfinder. An electronic version is available in the form of the Leica T Visoflex, although that will whack an additional £400 onto the price of the camera.

Good news: the 3.7-inch touchscreen on the camera is excellent. Its beefy 1.3-million dot resolution produces rich images with an appropriate level of contrast.

SEE ALSO: Best Cameras Roundup

Equipped with built-in Wi-fi connectivity, the Leica T is equipped to transfer images quickly and easily to smartphones and allows for remote camera control via an iPhone or iPad.

It’s worth pointing out that the Leica T is currently only compatible with Apple's iOS, and this seems not insignificant when you consider the sleekness of the design, the price of the camera and the fact that the touchscreen resembles that of the iPhone 4.

If Apple made a camera, it probably wouldn’t look or feel dissimilar to the Leica T.

DigitalFury

April 24, 2014, 4:29 pm

Leica is obvious taking the B&O route - i.e. technically substandard products marketed at a high price to the fashion victim segment.

henry3dogg

April 25, 2014, 12:16 am

When inadequate people can't afford something they seem to feel the need to convince everyone else that it isn't any good.

What sort of insecurity is this. Does it make up for the feeling of failure in not being able to afford the product in the first place?

toboev

April 25, 2014, 11:10 am

I think they are two sides of the same coin. Why buy a Rolex? Because you can afford to. Why not buy a Rolex? Because it is (deliberately) so overpriced for a watch that you can't justify buying one, even supposing you could just about afford to.
I don't see that there is any personal inadequacy either way. I find characterising people as inedaquate or failures on account of their relative lack of wealth is distasteful.

Stu

April 25, 2014, 12:45 pm

I feel you are missing the point somewhat. It's not these items are over priced, or that it's about owning something that few can afford. Granted, some, but not all expensive desirable things are overpriced, but most, thankfully the good ones, are not over priced for the sake of creating desire and scarcity. Take Rolex for instance; a stunning hand made watch that will last a life time and at least holds its value. They are robust, every day watches that just so happen to be expensive because of the craftsmanship and the quality of materials used. The same is true for Leica. You are paying for their exceptional optics and the build quality. This can be carried over into any area; Apple Macs up until recently used to be classed in much the same boat. High end audio, such as NAIM, again very expensive but the quality is in the build and sound produced. Plus a multitude of examples in car manufacturers, designer labels and more. I agree that it's not inadequate to not afford something, but it is ignorant to place an assumption that luxury items are expensive for their own sake, not because of the quality of the item itself. Most people, from experience, who believe that, soon change their minds when they are either presented with the item in question, or get the opportunity to own it themselves. Till that point, most simply use it as an 'excuse' to not purchase it, based on that they had a choice, when in reality they had no choice whatsoever.

toboev

April 25, 2014, 1:30 pm

I think you are missing the point. I described a Rolex as being overpriced for a watch, not just plain overpriced. You can buy a highly capable watch for a lot less than a Rolex. The price of a Rolex is nothing to do with it being a good watch. In fact Rolex go out of their way to build cost into their creations for reasons which have nothing to do with keeping and displaying accurate time. So as a watch a Rolex is overpriced.
As a Rolex, sure the price is justified by all the costly materials, mechanism and craftsmanship.

Stu

April 25, 2014, 1:55 pm

You are saying that it is deliberately overpriced. Rolex watches keep perfect time and are exceptional watches, I know I've owned for for 10 years. To use an example in reference to an equally expensive item, you are creating the assumption to the reader that you believe that 'all' luxury items are deliberately over priced and not worthy of merit based on their ability to perform the task designed for to a better means than something much less in price. It's the old argument of why buy a Ferrari? Because it's one of the best cars in the World, for the experience, the workmanship, the performance. Yet we all travel on the same roads, at the same speed and we all go from A to B. Why bother, when you can do that in any car. Which is always the argument for those that simply can't, rather than the few that can and do so, not because of any feelings of superiority or one up man ship, but based on the facts that it is essentially better.

toboev

April 25, 2014, 2:19 pm

By definintion, luxury items are overpriced when valued in terms of their functionality. Of course it is deliberate. Rolex could not survive making watches competing on price and performance in the mass market - that is not their expertise. Their expertise is in mechanical movements, and once quartz watches came along the game was up in terms of exploiting their expertise to compete purely as a watch. Very wisely, they chose not to, deliberately.
I've never said they are not worthy of merit, nor that they are overpriced for what they are.

artec540

April 25, 2014, 3:32 pm

I object to Rolex, regardless of price, because it claims to be a "Superlative Chronometer" when it is so much less accurate than it could...and should...be. A thermo-compensated quartz watch, like The Citizen, gains or loses in a year what a Rolex gains or loses in a day. That's a factor of 365!

Coline Russelle

April 25, 2014, 9:37 pm

Until the recent past I did buy B & O and Leica because of their long lasting quality and style and they were expensive but not to the degree that they are now. There was a definite price choice by these manufacturers and it was to go way way up.

My Leica outfit went when they declared that they would never make a full frame camera to take M series lenses nor would they make any wide lenses for the miserable small APS-C sensors, how dumb of them was that?

I see that you have not dared show the price of the essential viewer...

Coline Russelle

April 25, 2014, 9:51 pm

Almost no digital cameras are solidly made and desirable like so many film cameras were. Then again film was an established format and a purchase would last for years, decades for something like a leica , my lifetime if you are talking about my Rolleiflex... Until the digital market stops being a yearly change and update market that is a very expensive piece of disposable jewellery and you have not even added the cost of the viewer.

At that price i would hope that zoom lens is the first properly corrected lens for a digital APS-C camera and not the usual " fix it with software" design...

harry lime

April 27, 2014, 6:36 pm

Are we talking Rolex or are we talking photography?

artec540

April 28, 2014, 4:39 pm

It wasn't I that introduced Rolex ...I was merely commenting that the comparison wasn't valid because Rolex could do a whole lot better but chooses not to.
Reverting to the Leica, I don't know whether it is priced as it is based on costs or as a sales technique, but if it's the latter, I wonder how effective it is? Do people buy things just because the object is very expensive, or despite the cost?

Bjarni Mohr

May 9, 2014, 3:57 pm

Been thinking about switching to Leica for about five years now. I will wait for the day when Leica will send a M-type camera on the market where i only should change/update the "image machinery and not all the camera. It's time for Leica to re-invent their digital systems, and not just try to get as much money from us as they ever can. When a new camera has been launched, i bet they're already working on a new model where we should buy a whole camera and not just the "image engine".

STIG PALM

May 10, 2014, 6:14 pm

Why not mention the top of all wrist watches Patek Philippe?
At the same time a Swatch, the cheapest there is from Switzerland. Both of these display the time very well.
All this is about taste and feelings. How much is an interest or a feeling? Priceless, only our ability to pay set the limit.

Harry B

June 6, 2014, 1:17 pm

So when's the Panasonic version coming out?

Harry B

June 6, 2014, 1:20 pm

Rolexes might hold their value but the vast majority of them are mass produced. Rolex make around a million watches a year.

Harry B

June 6, 2014, 1:24 pm

No mechanical watch 'keeps perfect time'. A 10 quid quartz watch from the local garage is more accurate than a mechanical watch. One of the best timekeepers in the world is "The Citizen" by Citizen. 5 seconds a year. NO mechanical watch comes anywhere near that.

colonel

July 2, 2014, 5:23 pm

what has this to do with Panasonic ????

Harry B

July 2, 2014, 6:32 pm

Leica V Lux 4 vs Panasonic FZ200. Spot the difference (apart from the £200 little red dot).

Harry B

July 2, 2014, 6:34 pm

What craftmanship? They make Rolex on a production line. They produce around a million a year.

Jay

December 17, 2014, 3:16 am

It has nothing to do with Panasonic then Camera is made in Germany and the lens is made in Japan (NOT by Panasonic) so no Panasonic versiion will be offered.

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