The Ford Model T was a car for the masses; the Leica T, not so much. As the company notes, this new camera system “combines the fine art of engineering and hand-crafted excellence with design and handling,” words which do not connote inexpensive.
In collaboration with Audi Design, the “typical design language” of Leica cameras was revisited and reinterpreted. So, sleek design, clean lines, smooth surfaces, formal minimalism.
The camera’s body is manufactured from a single block of aluminium at the Leica factory. The company says the use of premium materials and their processing in an elaborate manufacturing process are unique in the history of camera construction, lending the T an unmistakeable look, feel and solidity.
The Leica T features a newly-designed APS-C-format, CMOS image sensor with more than 16.5 megapixels (effective 16.2 megapixels). That sensor is said to represent “the ideal solution in the compact class of the Leica T,” delivering brilliant pictures with outstanding contrast, finest detail resolution and natural colour rendition, even in unfavourable lighting conditions, says Leica.
The “T” may well stand for touchscreen, because that’s what it has. The company says it is “generously dimensioned and generates a bright and clear image that allows precise and reliable assessment during image composition and in playback mode.” Numerous functions in capture and playback mode can be controlled by touching the screen. The only other controls are four ergonomically positioned control elements the company says are intuitive in their operation.
The MyCamera menu can be configured and programmed with settings to meet the user’s own personal requirements, giving fast access to the most frequently used features and presets.
The Leica T is the first system camera from Leica to feature an integrated Wi-Fi module. Pictures and videos can be wirelessly transmitted straight from the camera to a smartphone, tablet or computer, and can then be shared by email, or on Facebook or other social media. A free Leica T app for iOS devices is available now.
The app offers remote function. This lets users wirelessly connect their smartphone or tablet to the camera and use it as an electronic viewfinder for the T and, among other functions, allows remote setting of the shutter speed and aperture values.
Developed especially for the T system is a high-resolution electronic viewfinder with a selectable, integrated GPS feature. It offers tilt and swivel functions for shooting from different viewpoints and unusual angles. Also available is the new Leica SF 26 flash unit, with adjustable angle flash reflector. The unit can be used as an LED light source for video recording.
The Leica M-Adapter T allows users to mount and use Leica M series lenses on the T. The adapter features a sensor for 6-bit coded M lenses. This fully supports Leica T functions such as exposure metering, aperture priority mode and manual setting capability.
Other camera accessories come in four colours – melon yellow, orange-red, black and white. With its materials mix of hard plastic and elastic silicone, the Leica T-Snap for the front of the camera provides optimum protection against scratches and inadvertent knocks. Its design lends the camera an eye-catching and personalized look. The soft silicone T-Flap is designed to complement the T-Snap. It clicks easily into the T-Snap to protect the back of the camera with the display screen and controls when the T is not in use. The design and colours of the carrying strap and wrist strap are matched to the T-Snap and T-Flap accessories. Both can be attached to the T by Easy-Click, a system for connecting accessories to cameras.
Two lenses will initially be available for the launch of the T: the Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18–56 mm f/3.5–5.6 ASPH is the standard zoom lens; the Leica Summicron-T 23 mm f/2 ASPH has a focal length equivalent to 35 mm in full-frame format.
The Super-Vario-Elmar-T 11–23 mm f/3.5–4.5 ASPH and the Vario-Elmar-T 55–135 mm f/3.5–4.5 ASPH are scheduled to appear this fall.
The Leica T is scheduled to arrive at Leica dealers by the end of May 26.