Apr 242014
 

titleleicat

The Leica T (Type 701) Unibody Digital Camera Review

If Apple made a digital camera, this would be it!

Se my Leica M 240 review HERE, or my Leica X-Vario Review HERE

by Steve Huff

The Leica T Video Overview 

The Leica T Becomes A Reality

Note: This review was done using a pre-production camera with firmware that is not yet final!

Thursday April 24th 2014, 6 AM: A few weeks back I published a story about a rumored Leica camera that I thought for sure was a fake camera photoshop job.  You can see the post here but I was not so nice with my words about the rumored camera as the images, which I thought were faked. It looked so much like a Sony NEX copy that I though Leica would never release such a thing. But as it appears, those images were indeed real and let me just state right now..IMAGES CAN BE DECEIVING and were in the case of the new Leica T.

The Leica T, some window light, an M adapter and 50 Cron. F/2

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The Leica T is now a reality and yes, I have had the pleasure to shoot with one for the past 8 or 9 days and I will go on record to state that this is in no way like a Sony NEX, no way like a Fuji X and no way like a Micro 4/3 Olympus or Panasonic. It is indeed a REAL Leica digital, inside and out but a NEW Leica experience. So yes my friends, those images you saw were the real deal but until you really see what the new T is all about, AND hold one AND shoot with one, you will have no idea how super cool and fantastic it really is. No, it is not an M or anything like an M but it is something unique all in itself. Of course the Leica haters will never agree or get it or understand it, but that is OK as there are cameras made today for everyone’s tastes. If you have interest in this all new Leica system then read on my friends as I am about to tell you in 11,000 words and one 32 minute video more than you may want to know about the new T ;) 

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Steve, do you want to try out the new Leica T?

When Leica contacted me and asked if I would like to be one of the very few to use and review the new Leica T camera system before the official launch I said “YES YES YES”! Besides, I was intrigued by the new T, mainly because I wanted to see what the real story was..the real deal if  you will.

If they were going to show me a $3500 plastic camera that was a bad copy of a NEX-7 I was going to tell them that they were screwed. In fact, if they were going to show me a run of the mill all metal $3500 camera I was more than ready to say “Leica, you are screwed”! So I wanted to see what it was all about to clear the air.

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Before sending me the camera for review Leica invited me to New York City to preview it for an hour or so and to explain exactly what it was and why it was. I can say that what I saw/held and fired off shots with really surprised me as in build, in feel, in operation, fun factor and quality it was superb. It was indeed a Leica through and through. Though this time Leica has gone in a different direction than they normally do..a move to the future and a move to be different from the competition. Not only different from their previous cameras but different from what any other camera company has been doing. Not a huge departure from a typical APS-C mirrorless but enough of a difference to make it interesting.

Finally… Leica decided to deliver a German-made HIGH QUALITY interchangeable lens body camera that is a bit different and more unique from anything else out there with a very high level of “pride of ownership”. The Leica T is created from a solid block of Aluminum..a “Unibody” … much like the sweet Apple designs (macbook pro) that are currently on the market. But not only is the build and design up there with the best (if not the best) of APS-C cameras, the Leica T has a few tricks up its sleeve that will set it apart from other APS-C cameras out there today. There was a surprise that the rumor sites were not allowed to leak early on and it all had to do with the BACK of the camera (which ended up leaking 24 hours before launch anyway)

Oh, for those wondering..this is NOT an M mount camera but it CAN mount and use M mount lenses (with the new Leica M adapter that is an optional accessory) and it works very well in this way. More on this later.

My 1st Look at the T in NYC

Each and every T is made from a block JUST like the one you see below. Pretty cool.

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I eventually flew to NYC for less than 20 hours just to take a quick sneak peek at the new T and as soon as I sat down in the meeting room Stefan Daniel from Leica handed me a solid brick of Aluminum and said “This is our new camera”. I chuckled..ha ha ha.. He said “No, THIS IS our new camera”! He then cued up a video showing how this camera body is made from a solid chunk of aluminum and just how labor intensive it is to make each and every T body. In fact, one of the video clips they cued up on the big screen was 45 minutes in length showing the hand polishing process that is painstakingly done by one gloved hand man for each and every T body made. It was actually 45 minutes of a close up of two hands and a T body being painstakingly polished. The exact way each and every body is polished, which tells me that these cameras are not a mass-produced piece of plastic..far from it.

Each T body is made with great care and attention to detail and each body takes a long time to create and assemble from the block chopping for each camera body to the polishing to the electronics to the assembly, inspection and testing. They just do not make them like this anywhere else.

Oh boy, this may be expensive” I said to myself.

FYI: The Leica T is a 16.5MP CMOS APS-C sensor camera using the same exact sensor as the Leica X-Vario (which is an amazingly good sensor for IQ though not the greatest for super high ISO) with an all new processor.

The new touchscreen system is an absolute JOY to use. Simple, smooth, fast and very intuitive. I have not seen anything like it in ANY other camera. This is a forward move for Leica, and IMO, a good one for this camera. The surprise is that there are NO buttons or dials on the back. It is 100% touch for the settings and menu. BTW, this is nothing like those Samsung Android cameras…

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After an hour or so of asking questions, shooting with it and checking out the new M adapter made specifically for the T (with electronics to tell the T what lens is attached) I was intrigued. The new touch screen on the back takes up the ENTIRE back of the camera. It is a super clean design. No buttons, no mess. All touch screen and I can say that it works beautifully. Smooth, silky and everything takes one touch to change. It was much faster using this intuitive touchscreen than any button based menu system I have used. Impressive. For playback just swipe up anytime and your images pop up on the screen. Swipe to scroll through them, pinch to expand, etc. Very “iPad” like. (example of this is in my video at the top of this article)

Leica asked me if I would like to do a full review of the T before launch so I could have a review ready for launch day. I of course told them that I would be thrilled to review it and give it a full real world workout and then post my initial review on launch day.

While not perfect and not a “Dream Leica”  (would need an integrated EVF for this), I like this T system much better than the X-Vario for many reasons, one of them being that it will accept Leica M lenses, and it will perform exceptionally well with them. In fact, as already mentioned, Leica has even designed an all new ($395) adapter with electronics to take advantage of this feature.

Being an interchangeable lens camera, the T will have all new lenses made for it which most of them will be made in Japan (though they will not be made by Panasonic..this was confirmed with Stefan Daniel himself while I was in NYC. Could they be made in the same factory? Possibly, I do not know). The two launch lenses look and feel fantastic though not up to the build of the legendary M lenses (to be fair though, they are much less expensive than the M lenses and are not M lenses as they have AF)  and the performance appeared to be stunning from what I saw from them in NYC on the LCD. While the lenses do not come cheap, they are true Leica lenses through and through, only made in Japan to save you on the purchase price. Full Auto Focus of course while keeping the design and lenses SMALL, which is something that Sony has a hard time doing for some reason.

The 18-56 Zoom is as sharp as can be. This was taken in HARSH mid day 98 degree sun. These two guys were betting on horses… and losing. Still they were enjoying themselves and chatting away.

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The Leica T is an all NEW system camera

The Leica T will start shipping at the end of May 2014 and there will not be a kit lens option, it will be sold as a body only. The camera will ship alongside two launch lenses, a very nice 18-56 f/3.5-f/5.6 zoom (giving a 28-85 equivalent) and a 23mm f/2 (35 summicron f/2 equivalent). Both lenses coming in at just under $1700 and $1900 respectively, which yes, is on the pricey side, especially for the zoom. But when I told them I thought the zoom was priced too high (and people will complain) Leica was quick to tell me that the performance of both of these new lenses is what makes them so special.

Still, to pricey for a system that is supposed to be more affordable imo.

I was told they are indeed REAL Leica lenses and in optical quality they are up there with the best of them. (though it does appear the camera does corrections on the zoom. Almost every mirrorless camera does this today from Fuji to Sony to Olympus, but since Leica was quick to tell me of the amazing optics of the new lenses it is sort of odd that they would need correction)

The zoom is incredibly sharp from corner to corner with no distortion or issues that I could find (besides the slow aperture speed) in JPEGS or RAW’s processed by ACR. This lens is similar to the one built-in to the Leica X-Vario which is an IQ monster but because it had a bad launch and is lacking in some areas (like no interchangeable lenses) it was not the hottest seller in the Leica lineup. In fact, the lens is the same quality as the X-Vario lens while being a little faster and smaller. The lens uses German made Leica  glass but is made in Japan.  Again, the lens offers the same exact quality as the X-Vario lens. No better, no less.

With the T, Leica is hoping to change this.

The Leica T with the 18-56 zoom – RICH colors seem to be a specialty of the T (click image for better version) 

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Why Leica designed the Leica T System, and how they will compete.

Leica users are a very unique breed. Some buy Leica for the red dot but not me. As a Leica M user I am one who use their cameras not for the name, but for the craftmaship, the quality, the simple operation, the pride of owning a real hand-made and solid camera as well as the results. I am very passionate about my cameras and the act of recording memories, slices of life. I have always enjoyed using Leica cameras to do just that. I also own other cameras but I always get the most joy from a Leica when they are done correctly.

The image quality is always fantastic but the lenses and user experience is usually high off the charts. I am talking about REAL Leica cameras NOT the rebadged Panasonic models. The M system has been a dream of many photographers for years and years and usually those who dive in and go all in with an M system usually love it to death, and miss it dearly when it is gone.

The only problem with the M system is the very high COST of acquiring a full set up with just 2-3 lenses. It is quite ridiculous actually.

Leica is a small company and they make small batches of amazingly well made cameras and lenses but in no way do they push nearly as much product out of those factory doors as a Nikon, Canon or even Sony and Olympus. The reason is because the market is quite a bit smaller for Leica due to the cost involved in acquiring a full-fledged system (meaning, not as many people buy Leica as Canon/Nikon/Sony). Let’s face it, spending $10k for an M with one lens is NOT something that many of us would take lightly, no matter how good it is.

For many years now Leica users and wannabe Leica users have been asking for a more affordable alternative to the M, one with the ability to use those delicious M lenses. The T answers this. Users also want new more affordable lenses. The T answers this as well, sort of. Previously Leica has tried to fill this gap with the X cameras but they always fell a but short as they could NOT take M lenses or any lens besides the built-in lens that came with the camera!

The T with the legendary 50 Summicron at f/2 using the Leica M adapter

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In 2014 Leica now has a new much larger and more efficient factory and with the new capabilities in manufacturing they have decided to produce the new more affordable German-made Leica T system and go forward with the Leica philosophy without losing sight of what that is.

The fact is that the Leica T is now the “affordable” Leica system that will give you the “NEW” Leica experience while keeping many of the charms and features intact that we all love about Leica. Mainly, SIMPLICITY, QUALITY and FUN FACTOR. 

The Zoom lens really is fantastic. 

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Those words above are very important for me when I choose and use a camera. It has to be simple. It has to have superb quality. It has to be fun and inspiring to use. For me, the Leica X-Vario failed in a couple of these areas and the X2 also came up a bit short while being crippled by the fixed lens, and I said so in my review of that camera. So will the new T be able to win me over? That is the question I wanted the answer to, and thankfully, I was about to find out.

After I was shown the new Leica T camera in NYC I was asked “How much do you think this will cost, body only”..my answer was “$3499″.

I thought for sure it would range in between $3000 and $3500 as this is LEICA we are talking about and Leica is NEVER cheap or affordable AND this guy is made from a solid brick of Aluminum and hand polished. After showing me the insanely labor intensive process for making just one single T body, I figured it could have been even more than $3500! But after my guess of $3499, I was told the answer of how much a T will set you back.

**$1850**

Yes, the Leica T will sell for $1850, body only. You choose what launch lens you want and buy it separately. The Zoom or the Summicron or even maybe (depending on the thickness of your wallet) an M Lens or two using the new adapter. I have NOT tested the new Summicron, only the zoom and a 21 Super Elmar M lens along with a 50 Summicron M lens. Both did well but I preferred the Zoom to the 21 Super Elmar. 

Again, using the M adapter with the 50 Summicron at f/2  – Get the true Leica look using M lenses.RICH IQ and color/depth from the sensor. Beautiful. Click image for larger view!

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Now before anyone gets in an uproar for me calling this the “affordable” Leica keep in mind that this is a REAL Leica, made in Germany and that adds value no matter what your thoughts on Leica are.

For a real made in Germany Leica, $1900 is very reasonable when going by the history over the past 10-15 years. Look at the cost of an M7 or MP or M-E or M240. Even the X2 is $2000. The D-Lux and C models are made by Panasonic, not Leica and this is why they are more affordable.

As for the new T, it has an amazing build, heft and feel. The build surpasses just about any other APS-C mirrorless camera I have used. When I say this I am referring to the feel of the dials, the solidness of the body, the smooth sound of the shutter and the little details like the battery system that is just like a mini Leica S battery system. It has a pop up flash that is as smooth as butter and the main thing is that it is incredibly simple to use, even without reading a word of the manual.  It’s all in the details my friends. If you want quality, it is right here. No muss, no fuss.

The Leica T, from a build and construction standpoint is amazing. A real Leica that will last many years. When you add to that the new touchscreen navigation (no buttons on the back at all) that works amazingly well and smooth, the fact that the IQ is equal to and can even surpass the cumbersome X-Vario and the fact that you can use Leica M lenses or the new Line of lenses then you have a home run for Leica fans and for those who were never able to get into a Leica M due to financial reasons.

Will this give you the IQ or feel of an M? Not really, though it can get very close when using M lenses. With the new system lenses you will get X-Vario IQ and beyond because now you will not be stuck with one slow zoom, it will only be one of your options ;) Yes! You now have OPTIONS, which is GOOD.

The T is a serious IQ machine. With the 50 cron. 

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The IQ is technically the best I have seen from any APS-C format sensor camera BUT more enjoyable to use than the X-Vario (IMO) and other APS-C cameras (for me). The speed of the AF is the best I have seen from a Leica and while not blinding and blazingly fast it is actually pretty snappy and quick when using the zoom (though it can hunt a little in low light with said zoom lens). The new lenses announced are just as sharp and beautiful in IQ as the M lenses with a bit of lower quality construction to save you money.

$1900 for the body is fair, especially for M shooters wanting a backup. But beware! The T system CAN and DOES get expensive when you start to add-on the accessories like the Visoflex EVF, the Adapter, and the two new lenses. In fact, a fully pimped out T system will set you back close to $7k with EVF, both Leica lenses, Adpapter for the M lenses and the slick leather camera case and cool leather bag. Yep, around $7 grand for the whole kit and caboodle, which is the cost of one M body by itself without a lens (which will not give you that much more in the IQ department, but it is an M) or the cost of a Fuji X-T1 with several lenses.

Bu of course one does not need to buy it all, that $7k estimate is if you wanted EVERYTHING with the new T to start off.

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This T is a mini-fied M type futuristic body with a grip, takes lenses, has a dedicated M mount adapter so the M lenses can communicate with the camera and a unique swivel external all new EVF (Visoflex) with built-in GPS. The touch screen (which does NOT swivel) is a move forward for Leica and I would not doubt that this new touchscreen navigation and control system, if successful and liked, will make its way to the next M camera in a couple of years…my crystal ball says 2016. Leica is moving ahead to the future and while almost any camera today can give you superb results, a camera is so much more than IQ and results. Everything with the T oozes quality, even the way the strap system works.

I have said a million times that a camera MUST inspire and MUST do everything else right to be able to bond with it, and when you bond with a camera it is then that you can LEARN and GROW. Joy of use goes a long way today and many cameras fall short of this. So how does the new Leica T do in this area?

Easter Eggs – The 50 Summicron wide open at f/2

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OK, let’s get this Leica party started..

The Leica T arrives to my house

After I arrived back home from previewing the Leica T in NYC it was only a matter of 3-4 days before a pre-production model was delivered by Fed Ex to my house. I was told by Leica that I had it for 7 days (they previously told me two days, which would have been almost impossible).  I was a bit worried that I would not be able to do a full and complete review in only 7 days (usually takes me 2 weeks) but I knew if I worked my ass off I could, and with a new Leica in hand of course I was ready to do just that. Besides, I do not consider this stuff work at all as I love it of course! How lucky am I? (very)

Inside the shipping box was the silver camera body, the 18-56 f/3.5-f/5.6 zoom lens, a battery charger and Leica M adapter. No manual, no specs, no instructions, no info..nada. I was hoping for a box but nope, just bare bones. In a way this was a good thing because it gave me a chance to see just how simple this camera is to use. With two control dials, a shutter and movie button, there was not much to figure out besides the new touchscreen navigation/menu/setting system.

After 2 minutes I had the touch menu down and was easily changing settings, setting up profiles and all was good in the world. Even using the M adapter and some M lenses proved to be effortless. Everything was simple and logical. No confusion. No special settings. No oddball menu configuration needed to set up the adapter. It just worked.

The Leica T houses the same sensor as the X-Vario, which is a good thing and a bad thing. For one, the sensor does have a very nice quality to it as you can see in my X-Vario Review HERE. Great color, sharpness, and that Leica IQ bite to the images. The one weak spot with this sensor is that it is not quite up to the levels of the newest cameras for high ISO. ISO 3200 is about as high as I would use even though I did go up to 6400 for one of the shots in this review (which you can see below)

ISO 6400 in a dark mining tunnel. In reality we could see nothing but the man in the back. Using the slow zoom the camera chose ISO 6400 in Auto Mode and the view in the EVF was grainy, so I assumed the image was going to be awful. But what I saw on my screen surprised me. ISO 6400 shot in the dark was actually usable with good color.

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BELOW: ISO 1250, converted to B&W using Alien Skin. Notice how detail is kept and the grain does not look offensive in the slightest? Yep, just how I like it. I can not stand it when a camera adds smearing NR to the files. 

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Speed Demon?

(Speed, handling and response)

The Leica T is NOT a speed demon if you compare it to something like an Olympus E-M1… as you may expect. Then again, no camera I have used matches the E-M1 for speed and response besides the E-M10! Not even the Canon 6D or Fuji X-T1 beat the E-M1 for me in speed. So comparing the T to the E-M1 showed me that the T is slower than the E-M1 in AF speed. Of course..I knew that before I tested. I can tell you that the T just about matches other mirrorless cameras for AF speed and beats the older Fuji’s by a mile (all before X100s and X-T1). This is a good accomplishment coming from Leica, the king of the manual focus lenses. AF speed is good, no question.

The fact is, Leica has never been about making cameras for sports or fast action shooting. Nope, Leica, for me at least, has always been about shooting LIFE. Always have been, and I think always will be. With Leica you can strap the camera up, take it out to the streets or anywhere you go and you can capture life as it happens. This is how I have always used my Leica cameras as they somehow inspire me to go out there and capture things that I do not normally capture as well with other cameras. It is a strange thing and could be mental but if it is  mental then I am happy that there is a camera that does this for me ;)

As for the build, feel and presentation, it is superb. As I said earlier, do not let the images of the body fool you. The camera is actually gorgeous in design and build. It is as solid as it can possibly be with a nice feel if not a teeny bit on the small side. If you have larger hands you may want to add a case for extra grip. But yes, this camera is small, but it is VERY sexy in the flesh. When you hold it you will realize right then and there that this is indeed a REAL Leica and not one of those Panasonic re-badged cameras.

The battery of the Leica T works like it does on the megabuck S system camera.

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The battery is pretty cool as well and works just like it does with the S System. It clicks in and out and the battery cover is attached to the battery. It keeps the camera sleek. With minimal dials and buttons the camera looks a tad futuristic. Funny coming from a company who has always clung to their classic history and design. For example, the Leica X2 looks like a teeny M in design. The X-Vario also looks like an M in design. The T is going off in an all new area for Leica and while it may appear to look like a Sony NEX, it is quite a bit different but cut from the same cloth as a few other mirror less designs. The difference is apparent though when shooting with and actually using the T as the whole user experience is all Leica.

As for getting back to the speed, the T is more responsive and faster to auto focus than the Leica X1, X2 and X-Vario. It is the fastest German-made Leica to date, and for me it is about the equivalent of Sony NEX or E-M5, a little bit faster than the Sony A7. So while not up there with an E-M1 it is very close to everything else when using the 18-56 Zoom (the only native lens I had to try).

No problem catching this racing horse with the T and the 18-56 zoom. Click for larger!

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As always, Debby is ready with a smile to help me along in my reviews! Once again, the kit zoom. EXIF is embedded.

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Think of the Leica T as a souped up X-Vario with interchangeable lenses in an easier to hold form factor with a bigger “cool” factor and more fun to use.

From the strap system that is much like what you see on a few fancy limited edition Leicas (which is proprietary) to the battery (which is also proprietary) to the oddball shaped external EVF (which is a Leica made EVF this time from what I can tell), the Leica T is a very cool camera system that surprised me by just how well made and unique that it is in its design and usability. It is something “special” that we do not get from other cameras in this category and you know this when you use it and especially after spending some quality time with it.

With the zoom lens the camera has a biting sharpness and great micro contrast that makes images POP with color and depth. This is a direct from RAW file, just resized.

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My time shooting with the T

When the T arrived I immediately charged the battery and attached it over my body for the next 7 days. I took it with me when I left the house or went anywhere. I took it to Turf Paradise, the horse track in Phoenix. I brought it with me in the 98 degree sun when I drove four hours to visit Oatman, AZ to see the burrows that roam the town freely. I had it with me around town and around the house. In use it always was 100% solid and never gave me one issue. I did not miss shots from any oddball problem and it never froze up, never mis focused and never ran out of battery.

I was expecting issues as this was not a production camera or final firmware but the T kept on trucking and gave me no issues. I shot some video just to test it and while this is no pro video shooting machine, the footage looked nice enough.

Using M lenses was a joy for me, very easy to shoot and focus.

The cool thing about the T is the fact that it is very fun to use due to the massive touchscreen LCD on the back. It all makes sense and you will not need any manual with this when you crack it open and power it on. It is all right there. You can customize the camera menu with your favorite settings just by dragging an icon to the camera graphic. You can delete a photo by dragging it to the trash. Change ISO with the thumb dial up top or a touch box on the back. Many will not enjoy the touchscreen though as you do need it to change exposure compensation. One weakness of the TS that I found.

Auto ISO is a breeze as you can set up your max ISO and min shutter speed. Everything you need to be able to take fantastic photos is there and nothing more. As I said, the key thing about a real Leica cameras is SIMPLICITY. The T is SIMPLE to use.

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The $1700 18-56 Zoom Lens

When Leica sent me the T for review they did not include the ONE LENS I wanted to really shoot with, the new 23 mm f/2 Summicron (which gives us a 35mm equivalent). Instead they sent me the slow ass zoom which reminds me very much of the zoom on the X-Vario. It’s sharp, it’s crisp, it has amazing color rendering, corner to corner sharpness even wide open..sounds perfect right? Well, NO it is not perfect because it is damn slow in the aperture dept!

With an aperture of f/3.5 to f/5.6 it is yet another slow zoom lens from Leica.

But with that said, if you do not need the speed then this lens is the best little zoom I have shot with. It offers a 28-85 equivalent in a very small and well made package. This zoom is smaller than Fujis 18-55 zoom and smaller than the Sony Zooms and performs better. It is a nice size and part of that reason is because it is a slower aperture zoom. For daylight and mid-light use, this zoom rocks. It does indeed come with a lens hood, which I never did end up using at all and I had no issues with flare.

Here is the Leica 18-56 Zoom next to the 50 Summicron f/2. The cron is a SMALL lens so you can see that the zoom is not much larger. 

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With the IQ so good coming from this lens it is up to you to decide if you want it. I dismissed it at first but the more I shot with it the more I realized just how versatile it is. This one has something about the way it renders the images that I really enjoy. That Leica crispness and color is just there in every shot.

It does not do well in low light though (due to the slow aperture) but if you had the zoom and the 23 f/2 Summicron you would be set. I think Leica did not make the lens an f/2.8 zoom because they wanted to keep the size small and not look ridiculous on the camera. An f/2.8 version would be quite a bit larger while keeping the same quality. But Leica, where is the 50mm equivalent?

In any case, the lens is not some optical tour de force. It is in fact a lens that needs software corrections which are all done in camera and by ACR or Lightroom when processing RAW. Almost all lenses and mirrorless cameras todays provide corrections to lenses, even the mighty Sony RX1, without the corrections these lenses would have barrel distortions and vignetting. So software correction is necessary.

The Leica M 240 provides corrections as does the Fuji’s, Sony’s, Olympus and Panasonics of the world. No big deal but at the price of $1700+, the lens really should not need it.

The 18-56 zoomed out to 56mm – click for larger and better version to see the perfection in this lens It is quite special. Leica knows glass.

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The cost of the zoom lens is also very expensive at $1700. I feel (or wish) it should be around $999-$1200 but then again, that would not be very Leica like would it? IN MY OPINION, after using everything out there it offers superb performance that beats the Fuji, Sony, Oly lenses in this zoom range when shooting in daylight but suffers in low light due to the slow aperture, and some of those other zooms are faster at f/2.8 and thus, better for lower light. This Leica zoom has the same X-Vario weakness, aperture speed. The cool thing is that this time we can take this lens off when the lights get dim and put a faster lens on unlike the X-Vario experience.

The Visoflex Electronic Viewfinder

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The new external EVF from Leica is quite unique. It looks like one of those submarine periscopes when mounted on the camera. It is an oddball design but I like it, which some of you may not. But I always like oddball things.

Here is the kicker..as I write this review the camera or anything associated with it has NOT been announced yet. It will when this review goes live on April 24th at 6AM (and by the time you are reading it you will know all about this camera and accessories as Leica will have spilled the official beans on it). But right now, for me, I have no idea on the specs of the EVF!  All I know is that it has GPS built into it and will sell for $600 or so. I do not know the resolution or specs, when I do (which will be the same time you do) I will update this section. (2.3 million dots)

In use it is a joy to use and while I would MUCH rather have it built-in to the camera (When will you get this one right Leica?) the new Visoflex offered a nice experience. It is sharp enough to manually focus M glass without using magnification, at least for me. You can choose 3X or 6X magnification when manually focusing an M lens though.

In low light the EVF gets a little muddy like mostly all other EVF’s on the market but still works great and is easy to frame with. It is not as huge as the new EVF in the Fuji X-T1 or Olympus E-M1 but it is not small either. I’d say it is maybe the 3rd or 4th best EVF I have shot with ;) For $600 I was hoping it would be up there with the best in size but it is not. Still, this is Leica and it is a bit better than the last EVF offering that was an Olympus EVF-2 in disguise (or so it seems).

BTW, this EVF is IMPOSSIBLE to ever be used on the M 240 as it will l NOT fit. Impossible. So the rumors saying that this was a new EVF that could also be used on the M 240, that is wrong and false 100%. I tried it, does not fit, at all. Not possible. Besides, if Leica releases a new EVF for the M 240 I expect it would be better than this one. Then again, I imagine the next M will have a built in hybrid style EVF/RF.

Using a Leica M 21 and 50mm with the T

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Just look how bad ass the T looks above with the 50 Summicron and EVF attached! Remember that the body as you see it in NO WAY feels cheap. It is SOLID and you can feel it when you hold it. You feel METAL. Polished metal. The Unibody design is a treat for the eyes and the hands. As for using M lenses on the T..

THIS is where I found the T to be pretty special. With the new fancy and expensive $395 adapter from Leica I was able to mount M lenses to the camera and use them without any issues. The adapter will read the 6-bit code from the lens and communicate this information with the camera. This way, the T will know what lens is on the mount, which is very cool.

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On hand I had a Leica 21 Super Elmar and a 50 Summicron and both performed flawlessly without any issues whatsoever. The 21 performed great without any colored edges or softness or issues. Yes, this is an APS-C sensor so it is not as demanding as full frame but many of you will remember that even on Sony NEX APS-C cameras there are issues with many wide angle Leica lenses. On the Leica T the 21 did great and the 50 gave me results that looked just like I would expect with the full 50 Summicron character shining through. Crisp, bright, 3 Dimensional, sharp and with superb color or B&W conversion. Take a look at the images below for some quick samples. The 1st image is with the 21 wide open and the following two were with the 50 wide open. Click them for larger!

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Things that could have been better with the T?

Many will say “Why didn’t they make the T with an M mount! This would have been a TRUE Mini M”! Well, yes it would have but then we would have been stuck with only VERY expensive lenses and no new more affordable versatile zooms and primes. Leica wanted to create a body that was under $2000 with a new mount for which they could provide a new line of lenses for. AUTO FOCUS lenses that are made in Japan but using Leica glass and design. Again, the lenses are not made by Panasonic (according to Stefan Daniel) and are supposedly true Leica lenses but made for the new T mount in a more affordable manner. This way many more can get into a Leica system and later on they can add M lenses if they desire. But still, an M mount T would have been cool for many of us who own a ton of Leica glass.

So do I wish this T was an M mount? Nope. Due to the fact that it has a new mount it opens up possibilities, like the new Zoom for example. Auto Focus, etc. Besides, M lenses can be easily added via an adapter and the adapter seems to be a perfect match for the camera and M glass, so in a way, for the cost of the adapter you get a T mount and M mount camera. Leica made the right choice which means we get more choice.

Which leads me to the M adapter.  It is $395 and does have electronics that will read the 6-bit code of the M lens (provided it is 6-bit coded) and tell the T which lens is attached. Is this for corrections? Maybe, Leica did not say but the two M lenses I shot on the T worked fantastic.

High ISO. This could have been better on the T because at 3200 and 6400 we do get some grit and noise but it is not much worse than current cameras and slightly bests my E-M1 so for me not a huge deal as I have had zero limitations shooting an E-M1 in any light. Up to ISO 3200 is good but I’d stay up to ISO 1600 to be safe if you are allergic to noise. The good thing about Leica is that they do not apply that nasty noise reduction like most cameras so the results stay sharp with noise. Just how I prefer it. Still, the high ISO should have been better. No real excuse for this one.

Weather Sealing? They could have added some weather sealing for peace of mind. The T is not sealed but a Leica at $1900..I would not expect it to be sealed. Remember, this is Leica.

EVF Visoflex cost. This could have been a couple hundred less. As it is it is 1/3 the cost of the camera body itself. It does have a built in GPS but for $600 I would expect the worlds best EVF experience, and this is around the 3rd or 4th best. For Leica to make this a true drool worthy camera they should have put in a built-in EVF. How many times does this need to be said?

No image stabilization? Should have been in the camera, period. 

Slight lag after taking a photo in single shot mode. When you shoot a frame the LCD displays the image which seems to make the camera lag for a brief moment. If you want to shoot one shot after another, choose continuous mode because in single shot mode you will have a very brief moment between shots due to the display pulling up the image. This could also be a quirk of the pre-production model and not so final firmware. Nothing major and did not affect me shooting but just wanted to mention it. Also, C mode worked great when shooting at the horse track. I was surprised at how speedy a Leica could be ;)

More lenses at launch. As it is we have TWO lenses at launch (more to come). The 18-56 f/3.5-f/5.6 for $1700 and the 23 f/2 Summicron at nearly $2000. So we have the slow zoom, which suffers from the X Vario syndrome (need good light for good results) and we have the 35 Summicron equivalent, which is good but where is the 50 f1.4 equiv or even a 50 Summicron equiv? I asked about future lenses and they said there were more coming but I have no idea of when. Lenses make a system, so it is a good thing that we can adapt the M lenses to the T and Leica knows this. One cool thing is that many old vintage lenses can also be adapted and they can be found cheap in some cases.

Other than that the T is a pretty polished and solid product. If it had a built-in EVF it would have taken a superb camera and made it even better, almost perfect for a Leica IC camera. As it is, I still enjoy it and the EVF experience as it is, well, it is very nice and is all we get.

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Accessories for the T

The T will be shipping with some accessories that will be available at launch (or should be). Below is a quick list of the ones I have seen in person:

  • A system camera bag. Leather and even fits an iPad mini. I saw this in NYC and really liked it. Would fit a T, two lenses, a charger and an iPad mini.
  • The M Adapter. Electronic contacts to recognize what M lens is attached to the T. A premium adapter that works well. A must for M users.
  • The Visoflex Electronic Viewfinder. Has built-in GPS and looks like a periscope and at $600 it is not cheap.
  • Leather half case. I saw this as well. It is grey and fit the camera very well.
  • Various rubber and colored straps
  • Colored camera “shells” to protect the body while looking cool in colors such as orange, yellow, etc.

So the accessories above are the ones I know of and I think they should all be available when the camera ships at the end of May 2014.

The T in NYC with the leather half case, 35 Lux and the EVF

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Miscellaneous things about the T

The T is a unique camera. With the build, the feel, the unique experience of the touch screen and the “apple like” design and cool factor the T is a very nice camera.

The Leica T App to connect via WiFi is now available at the App store

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  • BUILT IN 16GB MEMORY – Other things about the T include the fact that it has 16 GB of built-in memory. If you forget or run out of SD card space no worries, just use the built-in memory. 16GB is quite a bit and this was cool of Leica to add this. All camera should have this feature!
  • Built in WIFI – Leica has an app that you can use to control the camera with the WiFi feature. I have not tested this yet but will soon!
  • HD video – The T has 720 or 1080P video. While not the best camera for shooting video it is the best video on a Leica to date.
  • It comes with a real plug-in charger not just a USB cable.
  • It comes with a very different kind of strap. It is made of rubber. It grips your shoulder. It attaches in a unique way. ;)
  • No AA filter so this is one reason why the images are so crisp.
  • As I said earlier..if Apple made a digital camera, this would be it.

This little burro was standing away from all of the others just baking in the sun. 18-56 Zoom. Click for larger to see the sharpness and color.

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Leica Promo Video for the T

Leica has produced some interesting promo videos for the T which you can view below.

ISO CROPS

Below is a simple test shot with ISO crops at 100, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 and 12,800. What is nice about the T is that Leica does not add detail busting noise reduction, so while you see some noise at 3200 and up it is not offensive and your images retain detail. What you see below are direct OOC JPEG crops.

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PROS and CONS of the Leica T

PROS

  • Beautiful Design
  • Beautiful Build, best of the mirror less APS-C lot
  • Made in the new Leica factory in Germany by Leica!
  • New line of lenses with AF, more to come
  • Superb Leica IQ – sharpness, detail micro contrast and color
  • Can shoot M lenses with the new Leica adapter!
  • No AA filter!
  • Left thumb dial is easily configurable by touch
  • EVF has GPS inside and is a good EVF for Leica
  • WiFi inside for use with new Leica App
  • New touchscreen interface is super slick and works EXTREMELY WELL
  • LCD is large and gorgeous
  • Best HD movie of any Leica to date (Still doesn’t compete with Sony/Panny)
  • Best AF speed of any German made Leica to date. (Doesn’t compete with Oly E-M1/E-M10)
  • Good JPEG quality out of camera
  • Files have the Leica look in color and look/feel (follows the X IQ tradition)
  • Never had an AF miss, always locked on even if it had to hunt for a bit to do so
  • $1900 for the body is a good price for what you are getting..a REAL Leica
  • 16 GB of built in memory in case you forget or lose your SD card!
  • Cost is high but value and pride of ownership is high
  • Cool pop up flash activated by the power dial
  • Clever accessories to make this a true “system” camera

CONS

  • Wish it had a built-in EVF!!
  • NO IS in the camera or lenses!
  • Camera does do software corrections for lenses as all cameras do these days.
  • Fastest shutter speed is 1/4000th not 1/8000th
  • Can not use studio lights and EVF at the same time
  • No swivel LCD
  • ISO 3200 and up could be a little better
  • No real image stabilization
  • Camera is not a fast action shooter!
  • Very Slight lag in single shot mode between shots, could be firmware/pre-prod camera issue
  • AF with Zoom can hunt a little in low light!
  • Lenses are overpriced
  • Some may not like proprietary strap and battery
  • Cost of EVF is $600 and smaller than competing EVF’s from Fuji/Olympus
  • Slower (around one second) startup, LCD does not tilt (but EVF does)

18-56 Zoom!

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Full Size files from RAW

Below are three full size 16MP files from RAW. To download them RIGHT click on them and open in a new tab or window. All three were shot with the 18-53 Zoom, and EXIF is embedded. You can see just how share this lens is, in fact, it does not even know what the word “soft” means ;)

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Leica T Q&A

Just a few questions and answers for those who are curious. If you have any questions about the T, email me HERE and ask. If I know the answer, I will add it to this section.

 

Q: Is the Leica T only available in Silver?

A: Leica will release it in black later on, could be a while (I now hear July). BUT I have seen the black and the silver and the silver is the way to go 100% IMO. The black is a bit dull in person, at least the one I saw. Still, some will always want black so it is coming, just not at launch. 

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Q: Are the new lenses going to be made in Silver as well?

A: Nope, Leica tried it and they said they did not like them in silver as they looked cheaper and larger. So black only.

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Q: Why wouldn’t I just buy a Fuji X-T1 and 3-4 lenses instead?

A: The Fuji X-T1 is nice. Best Fuji X to date (my review) but the Fuji is a different kind of camera. First of all, I much prefer the IQ and rendering of the T’s sensor as I just do not like the X-Trans look, my personal thing. Second, the T is made and built to a much higher standard and feels “right” than any other mirror less APS-C camera.  Third: It all depends on what you like. If you want a Leica then you will get the T. If you want a Fuji, you will get a Fuji. Both are fantastic as are mostly ALL cameras today. Even Stefan Daniel talked with me about this when he saw a Panasonic GX7 around my body. He said “that is a great camera and most of them are today“. When I asked him how Leica would compete with the likes of Fuji, Sony, Olympus he said something along the line of “It is about the experience and the fun factor..the joy of using the camera as well as the image quality..the build and design“. He is correct and is the same thing I always say..maybe he is a regular reader of my blog :) In any case, the T will offer a little bit more of a slower experience but one with amazing IQ possibilities and using M lenses is fantastic on the T.  Strangely enough, The Fuji is more of a “Photographers Camera” though, an area that Leica has always excelled at. Many will prefer the Fuji, plain and simple. At any cost. But if you want the best M lens solution for APS-C, the T is it. 

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Q: Should I buy the T or the M 240?

A: Totally different cameras and IMO, they compliment each other. Just as the M Monochrom and a T would. The M is tops for me in joy of use and overall pride of ownership. It inspires me like no other camera. It is just so damn expensive when you start adding lenses to it. The T can get you close to the M IQ for much less cash, and when you have more cash you can add an M lens or two. But one is a rangefinder. Both are a live view camera but the T is the superior live view camera. Both are very unique in their own way and both are 100% simple in operation without anything to be confused about. Both offer stellar IQ. I think many M users will pick up the T as a backup/2nd body. Others will want to save money and buy a T. But the M is a different experience, which is what makes it the most unique digital camera today. The T offers some of that flavor but in a much different way. I enjoy both and the IQ is stellar from both.

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Q: Will the T work for indoor low light shooting such as my kids running around?

A: Well, depends on what lens you have on. Using the 18-56 zoom will not do it for you at all. I’d be using a fast M lens, even a Voigtlander 35 1.2 (that you can buy HERE) or 21 1.8 (review here). The camera is not a super fast AF camera when the light gets low. Also, the new 23 mm f/2 summicron looks great. I was able to shoot with it in NYC for a few frames and it seems to AF faster than the zoom and offer real 35 summicron IQ. That would be the best bet for indoor as you will get a wider angle and some speed. But I have yet to test it in the real world. Still, that would be the main lens for me with the T.

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Q: Is the JPEG quality usable and are there different color modes?

A: Yes, the JPEG quality is pretty crisp and clean, just as it is with the X2 and X-Vario. When shooting JPEG you can choose between standard, natural, vivid, B&W or High Contrast B&W. Vivid is super saturated with high contrast (too much IMO) where Natural is the opposite with washed out colors and low contrast. Shooting RAW though is always best!

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Q: Are you sure that Panasonic does not make the Leica T lenses?

A: All I am sure about when it comes to who makes the T lenses is what Stefan Daniel, one of the head honchos over at Leica has told me. When I asked him face to face, eyeball to eyeball “Does Panasonic make the T lenses”? He said “No, Panasonic DOES NOT make the T lenses”. So that is all I know. I am relaying the info from Leica to me to you. Now if they do make them then that makes Stefan Daniel a liar..a fibber. Not me :) I think they look mighty similar to Panasonic lenses but why would they lie about it? Panasonic makes amazing lenses, and even has a partnership with Leica, so if I were Leica I would choose Panasonic to make the T lenses. So no one knows. All we really know is that no one knows ;) The rumors that you see that say Panasonic or Sigma makes the lenses, that is all nonsense..as no one knows. I go by factual info, which is all I can say is what Leica themselves told me. Who really makes them? No idea but they are indeed quality.

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Q: Will the T and the 23 Summicron be better than a Sony RX1 in image quality?

A: No. Not in my opinion. The Sony will give you much much better low light performance, more shallow DOF possibilities, feel just as good in the hand and offer a much lower price. The T and 23 will come in at $4500 with EVF. The Sony, $3300 with EVF. A $1200 difference yet the Sony will offer better overall IQ and the full frame feel. What the Sony can not do is change lenses, so if you are happy with only 35mm the Sony wins in IQ and low light use all day long.  The RX1 is a special camera with very special IQ but not everyone gets along with the 35mm focal length that you are indeed stuck with on the RX1. 

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Q: How about your highly regarded E-M1 vs the T?

A: This one is  tough. I love the E-m1, it is my #2 or #3 fave camera of all time. ALL TIME. I have many M 4/3 lenses and have shot with the E-M1 for almost a year. Owned it and loved it. In my business I have to move cameras in and out as I can not afford to keep them all. When new models come the old models have to go so I can afford to review the latest and greatest. My rule is to keep my #1 camera super long term, and that is always my Leica M. (unless someone else releases a killer digital RF..a real RF that is). The #2 and #3 all have to be phased out at some point, usually within 6-12 months. 

But the E-M1 is much more versatile than the T and has so many amazing lenses available you just can not go wrong with an E-M1. Speed, quality, build, features. It is all there. IQ is fantastic with the E-M1 but will not give you the T look just as the T will not give thou the Oly look. 

All depends on what you want. If you want speed, versatility and weatherproof rock solid build, and do NOT mind the smaller sensor go with the E-M1. If you want to use Leica M lenses, have amazing IQ and color along with a very cool design and body go with the T. IQ from the T wins for Micro contrast and color but not by much. I am not pushing aside my E-M1 because I like the T better, I am pushing my E-M1 aside for the T as I HAVE TO. It is my job to use the latest so I can report more on them. The only way to do that is to BUY them. 

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My Bottom Line Conclusion

So after only one week of using and shooting the Leica T I have come to the conclusion that while not perfect (no camera is), the Leica T is a fabulous mirrorless solution from Leica. No, there is not a built-in EVF and YES the EVF that is available is not as nice as the latest from Fuji or Olympus and will set you back a cool crisp $600, but at least it is there as an option. I have said it a few times in this review and I will say it again. One thing to ALWAYS remember is that THIS IS LEICA..a real German-made Leica will NEVER EVER be cheap my friends, always know that and do not complain about the price as you know damn well it will never be low-cost. Never. Not today, not in 20 years.

While it will never be cheap, it will also never be garbage or deliver shoddy or bad IQ or have crappy build. Leica will always give top build and design and top quality glass and superb image quality. Period. They may release a product here and there that is a bit odd but when they create something special it is exciting and worthwhile.

In my week-long use I never had any frustrations or moments of anger/swearing at the camera. It never locked up and never gave me an issue, and I was even using what I was told to be a pre-production camera.

The build is as good as it gets in this class of camera and the feel and smoothness of operation was an absolute JOY. The shutter sounds fantastic and is quiet with a solid muted thud. The battery life will get you anywhere between 300-500 shots and the video is the best I have seen on a Leica to date (though I would not use this as a pro video tool).

With new lenses as well as the ability to use Leica M lenses with a Leica made adapter, this camera is one that may be appealing to those looking for a backup to their expensive M. The IQ is not far off from the M, only losing some of that full frame creaminess yet gaining amazing corner to corner sharpness when using the native or M lenses. A give and take.

The T has it all while only letting us down a little bit in AF speed and high ISO performance when compared to other newer cameras. This camera will not AF as fast as an Olympus E-M1 but will be comparable to a Sony A7 or NEX or other mirrorless cameras. The viewfinder is a bit much in the $$ department but does include built-in GPS (yes, in the EVF) and it does indeed have a very cool and unique design, at least in my opinion. One guy who saw the camera while I was out shooting said the EVF was the most interesting thing about the camera and made it look “super cool”. The camera also has WiFi capability and an App to control the camera. (I will report more on that as I test it).

There is 16GB of memory inside the camera in case you lose or forget your SD card! This camera is all about the details and simplicity. Again, Apple like.

Again, the 18-56 Zoom in action in Oatman AZ with the burrows

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As for image quality, this camera rocks it. The color is up there with the best I have seen from ANY APS-C or below camera and for me beats the Fuji’s, the Sony’s and even Micro 4/3 for color and richness and crisp details. Detail wise, it is as good as it gets with biting sharpness and micro contrast that helps the images to pop and is second to none. Still, it is a very different look than what you get from a Sony, Fuji or Olympus. One you may or may not be drawn to.

When shooting M glass in manual focus you are one thumb dial move away from focus assist where you can magnify the screen 3X to 6X, and this is all doable while never taking  your eye from the EVF. It is a bit different from other cameras in the way that it works but very effective. The dials are solid and metal. They feel great.

The new touchscreen interface on the back is the “surprise” from Leica as this was kept a secret until the last few days, even on the so-called “leaks” at the rumor sites. I loved it and had ZERO issues using it. In fact, it was so intuitive I started to easily prefer this to any other cameras menu system! No D-Pad, no dials, no buttons to bitch and moan about. Just a very cool Apple like interface that took me 1-2 minutes to learn. Very cool and unlike anything out there and NOTHING at all  like the glitchy android based Samsungs. Leica is actually leading the way in this department which is amazing to say as Leica usually lags behind, lol. Odd huh?

All in all this is a superb camera for those who enjoy Leica or those who always wanted to try Leica. It is unlike any other camera I have shot with in recent years. It is nothing like using a Fuji, Sony or Olympus. It is a Leica and by that I mean it is better for slower pace shooting, as I said, shooting the every day life events. It is superb in its build, in its operation and while it does not have the fastest AF it is perfectly usable and the main thing is that it delivers in the image quality and simplicity department just like a Leica should.

I applaud Leica for  taking this chance and while the T will not be everyone’s cup of tea, for me, it was a hugely satisfying experience, especially when reviewing the images, many of which were taken in very harsh lighting here in Phoenix, AZ which usually causes havoc with some cameras and certain sensors.

It’s not perfect, not even close but it’s very “LeicApple” and for $1900, a good buy for someone who wants a real deal Leica. Others will scoff at the cost and that is OK as that is also a Leica thing to do for many.

The fact is that any camera today will deliver superb IQ and quality but if you want something different, something unique, something fun, something simple and enjoyable that also delivers the best APS-C IQ while allowing you to use the best lenses made today then take a look at the T.

You may just fall in love. So C’mon Leica, get to work on rolling out more fantastic glass for this system and in 3 years release a T2 with a built in EVF!

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WHERE TO BUY THE LEICA T

The Leica T is NOW for sale/pre-order at all Leica dealers. It is scheduled to start shipping the 3rd or 4th week of May 2014. I think this one will be popular, even with the M shooters wanting a backup. If you own an M of any kind from an M8 to M240 then the T may interest you as a camera you can take with you to more places, that is smaller, that is just as beautiful. A Camera that can take your M lenses and shoot very well with them. For the M lens experience you will need to spend more cash of course and break out the dough for the Visoflex and M Adapter, both of which will set you back another $1200 but for those with an extensive M lens collection, $1200 is a small investment to be able to use them on yet another Leica body.

The world of Leica is costly, we all know this. It is what it is. If you want something hand-made, something unique, something different and something that is special then it is the way to go ;) You can buy this camera and all accessories at the recommended dealers listed below who all get my #1 Approval for being world-class Leica dealers! It also helps me out when you use the dealers below as they support this web site each and every day, so I like to give back to them. Without them, I would not be here. 

Ken Hansen – Email him at [email protected] – Ken is a legend in the Leica community and will take care of you with old school service and charm. Amazing guy. This web site would not be here today if it was not for Ken, seriously.  I owe him a ton and he is the best I have ever experienced when it comes to buying gear.

PopFlash.com - Tony over at PopFlash is another Leica dealer that can hook you up with Leica as well as Fuji, Olympus and more! He is well-known in the Leica world and has been for many years.

The Pro Shop for Photographers - These guys are awesome as well, a Leica dream team. Located in Florida these guys run a Leica shop and also sell just about every other brand you can think of. 561-253-2606

B&H Photo – You can pre-order the Leica T by clicking HERE

Amazon – You can pre-order the Leica T by Clicking HERE

Leica Store MiamiPre-order HERE!

For M mount lenses on the cheap be sure to take a look at CameraQuest for the Voigtlander M lenses. These will also work on the T.

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The color that comes from the T is just like the X-Vario and X2. The files are crisp, colorful and have POP. This is with the zoom at 18mm.

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PLEASE! I NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THIS WEBSITE RUNNING, IT IS SO EASY AND FREEE for you to HELP OUT!

Hello to all! For the past 5 years I have been running this website and it has grown to beyond my wildest dreams. Some days this very website has over 200,000 visitors and because of this I need and use superfast web servers to host the site. Running this site costs quite a bit of cash every single month and on top of that, I work full-time 60+ hours a week on it each and every single day of the week (I received 200-300 emails a DAY). Because of this, I need YOUR help to cover my costs for this free information that is provided on a daily basis.

To help out it is simple. 

If you ever decide to make a purchase from B&H Photo or Amazon, for ANYTHING, even diapers..you can help me without spending a penny to do so. If you use my links to make your purchase (when you click a link here and it takes you to B&H or Amazon, that is using my links as once there you can buy anything and I will get a teeny small credit) you will in turn be helping this site to keep on going and keep on growing.

Not only do I spend money on fast hosting but I also spend it on cameras to buy to review, lenses to review, bags to review, gas and travel, and a slew of other things. You would be amazed at what it costs me just to maintain this website. Many times I give away these items in contests to help give back you all of YOU.

So all I ask is that if you find the free info on this website useful AND you ever need to make a purchase at B&H Photo or Amazon, just use the links below. You can even bookmark the Amazon link and use it anytime you buy something. It costs you nothing extra but will provide me and this site with a dollar or two to keep on trucking along.

AMAZON LINK (you can bookmark this one)

B&H PHOTO LINK – (not bookmark able) Can also use my search bar on the right side or links within reviews, anytime.

You can also follow me on Facebook, TwitterGoogle + or YouTube. ;)

One other way to help is by donation. If you want to donate to this site, any amount you choose, even $5, you can do so using the paypal link HERE and enter in your donation amount. All donations help to keep this site going and growing! I do not charge any member fees so your donations go a long way to keeping this site loaded with useful content. Thank you!

A few more images from the T..ENJOY!

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  716 Responses to “The Leica T (Type 701) Unibody Digital Camera Review by Steve Huff”

  1. First one! ;-)

    • I would buy it, only one little thing is missing – full frame sensor. My eyes are looking for leica with AF, but only in FF. Home they are working on FF version.

    • I don’t own a Leica, but if there was interest I would go another way. Buying a used M9 and a Zeiss ZM or used 35mm Summicron would be the way I would lean. It is a better system, better legacy, and feels less gimmicky. To me, the T series seems aimed at current Leica owners and really not about getting new users. The Leica M’s I would consider, this not so much.

      • That’s funny. I am a Leica owner and I am sitting here thinking this camera is Leica’s attempt to attract new Leica users because it doesn’t seem to be appealing to purists.

        • That’s why as a non-Leica owner, I feel it is a miss for me. It doesn’t seem like the Leica experience (as far as being connected to the subject). It feels very Burberry (or Italian).

          • I have to agree with you. I really want a Leica and was hoping this release would be it, but I don’t think it is for me. THE ONLY THING in my mind that makes this camera worth the money is that it is Leica, and because of that, we can safely assume it will be supported by quality lenses for some time to come. Other than that, it is grossly overpriced and there are way too many other cameras out there that easily compete with, or outperform this camera, at a much lower price point.

            • Please keep in mind that photography is a very subjective matter. What is good for one user may not be so good for another user because we all look at one object with different perspectives. Just look at photo contests. Since no two entries have the same contents, how do the judges decide which is “the best photo”? Again, it goes back to the subjective judgement of the beholders.
              I have never bought a Leica, so I cannot comment on the T. But in using and handling other cameras that I have used in the past years, I can appreciate Steve Huff’s comments in this review:
              “Q: Why wouldn’t I just buy a Fuji X-T1 and 3-4 lenses instead?

              A: The Fuji X-T1 is nice. Best Fuji X to date (my review) but the Fuji is a different kind of camera. First of all, I much prefer the IQ and rendering of the T’s sensor as I just do not like the X-Trans look, my personal thing. Second, the T is made and built to a much higher standard and feels “right” than any other mirror less APS-C camera. Third: It all depends on what you like. If you want a Leica then you will get the T. If you want a Fuji, you will get a Fuji. Both are fantastic as are mostly ALL cameras today. Even Stefan Daniel talked with me about this when he saw a Panasonic GX7 around my body. He said “that is a great camera and most of them are today“. When I asked him how Leica would compete with the likes of Fuji, Sony, Olympus he said something along the line of “It is about the experience and the fun factor..the joy of using the camera as well as the image quality..the build and design“. He is correct and is the same thing I always say..maybe he is a regular reader of my blog :) In any case, the T will offer a little bit more of a slower experience but one with amazing IQ possibilities and using M lenses is fantastic on the T. Strangely enough, The Fuji is more of a “Photographers Camera” though, an area that Leica has always excelled at. Many will prefer the Fuji, plain and simple. At any cost. But if you want the best M lens solution for APS-C, the T is it. ”

              The overall user experience of some cameras are indeed better than others. That must be determined by each photographer. To the Leica owners, the “Leica feel” is more important than reading the specs on lens resolution, etc.

      • Actually, the “T” has really hooked me on Leica – having lurked in the M-system without buying for long.

    • I purchased a Leica T in Europe while on honeymoon, get back to Singapore and the LCD keeps flickering, rendering the camera unusable. It’s less than a week since it was purchased, but when I bring it to Leica Singapore’s customer service center, they tell me since it wasn’t purchased in Singapore, they do not have to do a one-to-one swap and instead the camera will now spend 8 weeks go to Germany for repair and then coming back. Maybe other Leica customer service centers are different around the world, but I feel there needs to be a disclaimer on the links to online sellers to warn buyers that unless they live in the US, if they receive a lemon from Leica, the worldwide warranty just means it will be 2 months of no camera, and when it comes back, it will have 22 months of warranty. This is my first Leica buying experience and probably my last. Nice design, poor manufacturing, and worthless after-sales service.

      • Kenn, this is an indeed unfortunate experience, but it is a salutary lesson to others when sourcing items from one country and then trying to get it serviced in another. I’m guessing your experience is typical in such circumstances, although the event itself has left something of a sour taste in your mouth regarding Leica QC.

        I don’t know exactly what the Leica warranty has to say, but most likely it will be of the Pan-European wording as you purchased the T in Europe. And if it is, warranty repair/servicing will be recognised by the official Leica repair centre in each EU Member State. This doesn’t help you in Singapore, but I’m sure you will find it fairly standard practice.

        UK buyers often eye with some envy the prices quoted for US based products, but even ignoring the potential for UK Customs duties and VAT, the potential hassle to get it repaired under warranty back in the US, and even here the US warranty many not be as extended as is required under UK law, invariably means it is better to source locally.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous… I’m surprised by the price tag. VERY impressive for Leica prices. Image quality is even more crisp than the M240 as are the colors in my opinion. Ordering mine for sure…

    Steve could you comment on the Live View functionality with M lenses? Are we able to move freely around the frame, or is it limited to the center area like the M240?

    Thanks!

    • Not sure which is more surprising:
      Thinking the T produces superior images to a (FF) M240 system OR Arriving at that conclusion from 2MP oversaturated web-compressed JPGs…..

  3. Classic Leica.
    The Leica T does look like a nice camera, but the price / performance ration, as always, is horrible. Leica fans will have their fun, but for everyone else there are a lot better options (EM-1, XT-1 or one of the Sony A7 cameras). But that’s Leica target audience anyway, so that’s ok I guess.
    A lot of people were complaining about Sony’s FE lens line-up, I’m eager to hear the community’s feedback on this issue.

    Btw Steve great review, as always.

    • Ah, but Julian you’re forgetting the first rule of internet-camera-memes: ‘Sony has not lenses’

      Sony launches the A7 with three lenses with two more announced (but you can use adapters!): utter fail

      Leica launches with T camera with two lenses and no more announced (but you can use adapters!): great value

      • Ha, Ha. Nice one, Joel.

      • Leica’s adapter mates optically/electronically with Leica’s lenses for which the camera is optimized to use. Big difference.

      • You’re right Joel, I’ll never understand this anti-Sony bias. I just tried to make my comment less attackable :).

      • +1
        I am thinking the same… where are the lenses? At least Sony has 2 good primes- 35 and 55

      • Agreed. An interesting camera but soooo much competition at that price point!

        I don’t think the Leica’s IQ can touch the Sony A7r and Zeiss 55mm f1.8 for example.

        • I got to shoot a few images with it. It’s a neat camera but in limited testing, I will have a hard time picking it up over a Sony A7r. Of course, it’s a more ‘fun’ experience and those two wheels are nice as mentioned… but when you want to move the focal point, etc, it doesn’t seem as convenient but it’s trying to be an approachable camera (ignoring the cost, of course). Again, it’s hard to tell with the limited 30 or so images I have taken but I didn’t quite have the impressed feeling I did with my initial shots from a Fuji X or Sony A7r… but the bar has been set high with the latest APC cameras already on the market. I have the DNGs but here’s 2 or 3 jpgs right out of the camera. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jusgreat/14026086752/

      • Haha – well put! Leica M cameras are in a class of their own, but I really don’t understand the special treatment that other Leica cameras get. The X2? Slightly better lens than the X100 and maybe a nicer design (matter of opinion), but that’s it.

        Of course, I haven’t tried the Leica T. But at $3600 with a kit zoom, I don’t think I’ll bother. $1900 may be a good price for a Leica, but it’s NOT a good price for an APS-C body without weather sealing or a viewfinder.

      • Strange isn’t it !?! good one ;)

  4. Very well done Leica. Now finally my Digilux 2 can semi-retire :-)

  5. Comprehensive review.

  6. I completely missed seeing this one coming. Sounds like they utterly nailed it in many ways. Looking forward to trying one out soon.

    Leica T + M Mono would be a worthwhile combo in the camera bag too :)

  7. Wow, nice… a very very interesting camera…

  8. Great review! Thanks, Steve.

  9. Wish there were more camera companies like Leica. What I like about Leica is they acknowledge their heritage, but don’t get stuck. They try out new things. And this doesn’t mean a new camera every six months. They take their time to craft something refined. And you can shout it’s form over function, but I don’t think that’s the case.

    The current traditional camera companies are a little stuck in my opinion. And I mean that in the whole experience, from design to camera UI and usability. I wish Contax was still here. I wish Minox made digital versions of their camera’s. I wish Rollei was still here. These companies had a heritage in bringing unique design and user experience.

    Sony is pushing some interesting things (A7 and RX1) and Panasonic sometimes gets it right, like with the GM1, but I would like something refined. And this doesn’t mean we have to do retro; that is, going back to the past, like Fuji does with their design language.

    I wonder, though, is aluminum a good choice? It gets hot quickly and also can be very cold. What does this mean for the internal components?

    • I can say that on most days that I shot the T it was between 90 and 98 degrees in full sun, had no issues with heat.

    • Timmy,

      Apart from thinking Leica may have a winner on its hands, albeit at a premium price compared to its peers, I did wonder about the aluminium body and how users would find this over an extended period of use.

      Certainly, without a half case at least, or wearing gloves, it may not be comfortable to hold in cold weather. And in hot weather, could sweaty hands leave users with a less than perfect purchase on the body? It’s only a thought, but I wonder if users could end up with aching wrists as they apply more pressure to hold the body? Still, a half case will resolve these potential issues.

      Lest anyone think otherwise, I reiterate my opening comment: this could be a winner for Leica in the APS-C category, despite its price. But this comes with a big BUT: a FF Sony A7 can be had for less, AND it can use Leica optics at their intended FoV. Decisions, decisions for those considering the T.

    • Actually, aluminium transfers heat quickly. What (I think) this means is, that the insides of the camera will get almost instantly to the same temperature with the outside environment. Still, there won’t be any energy magically appearing out of nowhere.

      So, basically there should be no worries during summer as the electronics can probably survive in +70 celsius, where as the owner can not. So if you keep the camera with you and are able to stay alive, the camera will stay alive as well.

      However, during winters the good conductivity is not a good thing, as the screens start to get slow. The aluminium block won’t be able to store any heat, so the LCDs could be out of use immediatly when you go to normal northern winter temperatures of -15 celsius. The batteries also don’t usually work well in very cold temperatures. Otherwise, most of the electronic components should like cool temperatures.

  10. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the very long review :-)

    Can you answer whether there is a virtual horizon function for the ‘T’?

  11. Thank you Steve for the report. Very interesting camera indeed. If I was reading correctly, there’ sonly magnification as manual focusing aid and no focus peaking – is that correct?

    I’m glad that Leica offered something new and the price is really good considering it features relatively large touch screen, great build quality (it looks great even from the pictures) and AF. Will need to get my hands on one as soon as they become available here in London.

    • I saw no focus peaking, but honestly half the time peaking does not work correctly, especially is using fast lenses. The focus aid is a 3X or 6X magnification, chosen by you. Easily activated with the thumb dial as you shoot. Worked well, but 75% of the time I did not even use it as the EVF was very sharp. Did not need it if I was careful.

      • Thank you Steve. I am really really considering replacement of my X-Pro1 with this lovely camera. Shame I sold Voigtlander 15mm last week (selling off my film M gear) – that would be really nice travel setup with the T. UK prices seem to be more than reasonable (£1350 for body). More I read about it more I like it. ISO3200 seems to be usable and that’s the maximum ISO I ever use and only indoors on holidays (churches, castles and so on).

      • I think that the camera’s construction is way cool, but lack of Focus Peaking and $400 for an adapter to use $3000 lenses kind of ruins it for many folks. Are there going to be M42-> T Mount, Nikon F-> T Mount, etc? These can be “dumb” mounts- not very expensive. Also.. the 3200 ISO ceiling for IQ isn’t groundbreaking. Fuji and Sony give you more for your money.. especially the XT1

        • Peaking is absolutely NOT needed and in fact may be a hindrance. Many times peaking (as seen in the A7) does not work for some people correctly. But a sharp EVF and magnification does. All personal pref but I found lack of peaking to be a non issue. Of 40 shots I snapped with the 50 cron at f/2 none were OOF.

  12. is manual focusing possible without EVF?

  13. It sounds like a decent camera, but without a built-in evf, I’m out. I still want my affordable (or even almost affordable – 3k?) rangefinder – an RD1 replacement or something like that.

  14. Pretty much reflects my opinion before and after handling it for 20 minutes, although much better written obviously. It feels seriously good, and bravo to Leica for the not too Leica prices.

    We were told by the Leica guys that 28 May for the silver one and “July” for the black one. I think I’m going for the black version, although they didn’t have one to see. This may change after I see it for real.

    We did have one with the yellow plastic cover and strap and it looked really like a fashion item.

    Thanks for the review.

  15. Wow, I was worried it would another fluke, but this actually seems like a nice camera. Not for me, but still a nice camera.

    And to be honest, the image quality actually seems to be better (crisper and better colors) than the M240. Which I hate to admit, since I have a M240. But of course I would have to take a longer look to be sure. Still… those colors look VERY good.

  16. Seems like Sony came out with this camera 3 years ago (Nex7) but couldn’t deliver when it came to quality glass. Hope Leica doesn’t make the same mistake!

    Kudos to Leica for bringing their expertise in simplicity to the touch screen and controls. Hopefully this leads them to slightly more innovative thinking around the next M.

    Steve, this definitely simplifies your arsenal, but I bet you’ll be seriously missing that blazing fast autofocus 50mm prime in no time!

    • This is nothing like the NEX-7..at all. Different IQ, different shooting experience, no built in EVF, lol. What blazing AF 50 prime will I miss? I do not own one.

      • Sorry, should have been more clear: the 25mm Panny that is 50mm equiv. on your now departed EM-1.

        You’re right that it is missing the built in EVF from the Nex. Whoops! ;)

      • Looks like the controls of a nex7 from the top, plus the sensor of a $400 nex 3n in a billet body. But it does have a red dot to go with a thumb ring, for all those hipsters. I guess it’s a good deal, sort of the Bang and Olufsen of cameras.

  17. I’m not drinking the kool-aid on this one. The uni-body construction is the only cool part about it.

    If Leica would have put some type of innovative, new sensor tech in it, it would be a different story. The X2/X-Vario sensor is 2 years old now!

    To me, Sony changed the game by releasing the A7 series. It’s not the perfect camera by any means, but it sure raises the bar for features, tech, value, performance & IQ. I can’t imagine any reason beyond brand loyalty/lust for someone to purchase a Leica T over something like a Sony A7!

    • Well, there are many reasons all of which are clearly laid out in this review. IQ, Lens quality, Usability, etc etc. I for one placed my T order (sent back the review sample already). No kool aid to drink, just no muss no fuss results and a hell of a time shooting with it. Simplicity at its finest :) But like I said, all cameras today have something to offer..all are great. Choose your pref and go shoot.

      • Any thoughts on how the Leica 23mm f2 compares to the Sony Zeiss f2 of the RX1? Just curious due to their similar FoV, speed, and reputations (Zeiss, Leica)?

        • I owned, and shot exclusively with an RX1 for over a year. It’s quite possible that there are no other equivalent lens/sensor combos out there that perform as well. While the Leica T/23mm f2 combo might be similar in sharpness, speed & fov, it can’t touch the RX1 in terms of thin DOF, subject isolation & resolution. The rendering of the RX1 lens/sensor combo is simply stunning.

    • I’ve heard it has a new CMOSIS sensor.

      • You heard wrong, it is the same exact sensor as the X-Vario. Many sites were reporting nonsense to get hits and traffic over the past few days. WHat you read here is all 100% correct, with all info direct from Leica themselves. Stefan Daniel told me face to face “it uses the same exact sensor as the X-Vario”..I then confirmed. So no new sensor.

    • I’m with you on this one. The form is beautiful and the touchscreen gives me that warm, modern, Apple feeling, but I want an M and will continue to save and sell off for an M. Maybe by the time I pull the trigger, the next M will be announced. If I’d quit buying so many “almost there” products due to GAS, I’d have one already. :-/

      Thanks for the comprehensive review, Steve. You did a great job on this one, as always, and I always appreciate your honest perspective.

    • I’m with you Scott, I’m not feeling it. It’s an aluminum body touch screen x-vario with interchangeable lenses, no? I applaud Leica for the unibody, but… A smooth metal body with no surface grip is the last thing I want. It’d be slick, easily scratched, cold in the winter & hot in the summer. It’s also ugly as sin with that EVF.

      And what’s with this comment Steve:
      “This T is a mini-fied M type futuristic body”

      There’s nothing ‘M type’ about it imo. Not one thing. More like an aluminum NEX.

      If it had a built in VF & fast primes, I’d be feeling it. But as it is- na.

      • Put an M next to it and it shares the same exact body shape, just in a mini form with a slight grip added. It is M like in its simplicity as well. It is M like in the whole concept. It is about photography, simplicity, joy of use and quality. Again, my comments come from using the camera for a week solid, day in and out.

    • I’m with you, Scott. No Kool-Aid for me, either. The price-to-performance ratio is better served by other manufacturers, particularly Fuji. Mediocre high-ISO performance, no image stabilization, no focus peaking, etc.

      We know Panasonic isn’t making the lenses. Do we know who IS making them?

      • Cosina, perhaps?

        • Cosina makes Zeiss glass. I think that would be a conflict of interest.

          • How about Sigma?

            • Maybe…

              Sigma has a reputation lately of building some great glass. Less convinced about their mechanicals, though.

              • Matbe Kyocera/Yashica who made some very fine R lenses in the past ?

              • Well…Tamron???

              • SteveJ,

                I’m not so sure about Tamron. They produce good lenses for the money, but are not noted as a true front runner. Perhaps they do do superior optics in disguise for some other companies? I don’t know.

                Sigma has a past association with Leica R zooms, and the optical quality of their small 30mm f2.8 for Sony Nex cameras was shown to beat the Leica f1/4/50 Summilux easily on MTF tests carried out by Lens Rentals, at f2.8, and it was not until f4 that the Summilux caught up where it marginally was better at the edges. but the Sigma was still marginally better in the centre. Both would have improved at f5.6, but the lenses were not tested at this aperture.

                This shows that Sigma has the optical know-how to go head to head with Leica, although admittedly their bodies are built down to a price. But this doesn’t mean they couldn’t up the ante.

                I’m sure, though, at some stage the cat will be let out of the bag.

      • I just saw on ebay a few MINT hybrid viewfinders at auction for 600dlls just the same Leica charges for their ugly T. The only difference is Fuji gives you an X100 body and a 23mm f2 lens attached to the VF for free!

  18. No IS? I see theis as a con.

    • For any reader wondering, according to the UK’s Amateur Photographer magazine the EVF is 2.4 million dots.

      • Attended the portuguese presentation of the leica T this morning and they distributed a book, with the system and accessories list and the EVF comes indeed with a description of 2.4MP.

      • Props to Leica for making that state-of-the-art, at least. Of course, that’s probably because it’s actually made by a Japanese manufacturer. ;)

  19. If I only wanted to shoot in good light and didn’t mind that the variable aperture “kit” zoom was slow as molasses, I would consider this camera. In ideal conditions there’s no question that the 701 is capable of producing beautiful images. But I don’t often shoot in ideal conditions and I want a camera that can deliver in less than ideal lighting. This strikes me as a camera for someone who just wants a real German-made Leica but can’t afford an M and cares less about overall performance. But there are much better cameras out there for the money for everyone else.

  20. I’d still go for a Canon 6D.
    Better pictures, same price.

    • TOTALLY different camera, huge, fat, heavy (especially with those DSLR lenses). I wouldn’t take one if it was free because I would never use it. GREAT IQ and camera with L lenses, but just too large for daily use. Also will not get you this IQ rendering. It will give you the Canon look, which is much much different. I’d take an A7 over the 6D even the E-M1. Some do not get along well with huge bulky cameras these days especially since there are much smaller solutions with equal or better quality. The T is about simplicity, IQ, design and joy of use. It’s also very compact.

      • Hey! I love the 6D! It’s well-proportioned, VERY comfortable to hold, and balanced (= huge, fat, heavy :p ) FF sensor that can shoot in total darkness, amazingly responsive, accurate AF, optical viewfinder and infinite battery life. So you can take an A7 with extra battery and 35 2.8 or 6D no extras with 40mm 2.8 pancake. And for ~$700 less.

        • Usual hyperbole; don’t let that get in the way of enjoying the camera of your choice.

        • Love my 6D, and with mid level primes, it’s manageable. I would bet the 6D with the 40mm pancake is a lighter combo than the Leica M with a fast cron. Sure, you could argue IQ with the Leica will be better, but how many people will be able to tell the difference? “There’s nothing worse than a sharp photo of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams

        • Steve correct me if I’m wrong but in your Canon 6D review didn’t you say you had the 6D and the 85mm 1.2 in your cart a few times? I may be mistaking it with a another review I’m not 100% positive. I will say those images you took with the 6d and the 85mm 1.2 were probably the most impressive photos I’ve seen as far as dreamy rendering on your site period!! For me I just feel that Canon cameras have no character and are so boring looking but my god can they pump out some amazing images. Thanks for the in depth review.

      • Steve, you said it yourself…

        “For under $2,000 the Canon 6D is now the DSLR I would own if I decided to purchase a DSLR.”

        That was your comment from your 6D review, Now you wouldn’t take one if it was free? C’mon, steve….

        And to be honest, the Image quality looks better from the 6D than this new Leica. Just look at your own 6D images.. They have a better color and 3-D effect to them!
        Lets be honest, we all like smaller cameras here, but you can’t deny the IQ of a Full Frame camera such as the 6D. it’s just better, whether by a lot, or a little.

        Too much free Kool-Aid being given out… And off topic, it was Flavor-Aid.

        • QBNY,

          Which way is the wind blowing today? Hint: this will tell you which is Steve’s fav camera of the moment.

          • TerryB, believe me or don’t (at your peril), every morning just after I get up, I open my window, stick my finger out, and gauge the wind’s direction. Every single time it points in the direction of the next best thing, unfailingly.

            It’s a very meaningful ritual.

          • TerryB, nice to see your sarcasm again! This reminds me of the whole debate about whether expensive wines really taste better than cheaper wines. Of course you’re going to think a camera is better if you’re willing to spend as much as a new car on it to get it. Is it objectively so superior to warrant the much higher cost? Will more than 5% of photographer be able to even tell? Leica versus medium format, now that would be interesting since now we’re talking about a true price comparison.

        • I’m not a Canon fanboy (rarely use my 5D2 anymore), but I agree with you…the image quality from this new Leica is underwhelming, at least based on these photos.

      • Except for when reviewing – what kind of photography do you normally do yourself? Nature/landscape, wildlife/birds, sports, wedding/portraits or such? I must admit as much as I love my mirrorless cameras – and I a while back ditched my DSLR to go copletely mirrorless – I’m now back with DSLR. Mirrorless is great for a lot of use but not everything. It’s not (all) about IQ but ergonomics and usability. I really wish they’d make the E-M1 bigger, but that would probably take away part of the mirrorless advantage (size).

      • Steve I appreciate your review, & can tell you’re very excited. However the 6d is small enough to handle & has awesome image quality that I would expect will knock this out of the park + a huge array of Canon lenses (& 3rd party) for people to shoot wide through to tele for a fraction of the cost of a Leica lens. The cost of this slow tele from Leica makes many great EF lenses look like a bargain. I must admit the T looks cool though, and I look forward to reading more about it when you get your new camera. Thanks for the review.

      • Wow, I think Steve went way over the top this time. I own both a Leica M and a Canon 5D III and find the difference in IQ and rendering minimal to non existent. Canon’s L lenses have finally come close to the quality of Leica lenses, especially the zoom telephotos and the new 24-70 f2.8 II zoom, and Leica has finally come close to sensors as good as Canon’s. I also find the size issue a minor point. The Canon has the best fast autofocus of any camera I have ever used. Hauling a DSLR with a zoom telephoto to a kid’s soccer game is no big deal when I want to get good close in photos. The size of a DSLR is an issue if I am just walking around a city but I have smaller cameras for those days. Size is obviously a consideration for pro news and sports photographers and it is no accident that almost all carry Canon or Nikon DSLRs. Saying you wouldn’t take a free Canon 6D because of its size is like saying you wouldn’t take a free Audi A8 but instead would only drive a Mini that you would have to buy. Its nuts. What I dislike the most about this site is the tendency to extoll one camera by trashing another. Steve is setting that tone with comments like this.

        • What you fail to realize is this:

          Canon L lenses are HUGE, HEAVY, BULKY and FAT. They are in no way a pleasure to use on a day to day basis. For example..walking the streets for 4 hours or a trip to the family zoo. Leica lenses are TINY in comparison to the Canon lenses so if Canon lenses approach Leica quality (and 2-3 of them do) that is all well and good but they are 10X larger! This is the whole point. Not everyone wants a large DSLR, and this is proven by the fact that DSLR sales shrink more and more every year. When I reviewed the Canon 6D with the 85L and Sigma 35 1.4 I loved the IQ. Was amazing in all light and for street it gave me superb and stellar IQ. But after 3 hours in NYC with that gear I was ready to chuck it in the trash as my shoulder was killing me, my back was killing me and this does not happen with small mirror less systems. If I can get the same IQ out of a Leica M that I can out of a 6D and L primes then it is a no brainer for me to go for the M. Why? Because of the enjoyment factor! If I am not enjoying myself when shooting then why shoot? It becomes a chore and when it becomes a chore it is no fun. Probably why there are so many cranky Leica haters out there, lol. They are all cranky from carrying around their huge DSLRs all dat. As for the 6D, no I would not take it for free as someone else could use it more than me – I WOULDN’T USE IT, period. Does that mean its a bad camera? NO, its fabulous. I just would never use it do to the SIZE. Been there and done that.

          • Steve, my point is that this is not an all or nothing principle. Like you I would not haul a DSLR and four or five lenses when walking around a city. I said that in my comment. It is too cumbersome. But that doesn’t mean size prevents using a DSLR in other situations. My first consideration is which camera will get the best shots in any particular situation and if a smaller camera will work then that is what I use but if it will not work as well as a DSLR then I take my Canon. I often don’t take a DSLR on long trips, I take a pocket camera and my Leica M instead. But I recently traveled to Angkor Wat and took the Canon (and the smaller cameras) because I knew the Canon would get the best shots of some things I wanted to photograph (some of the bas reliefs–I needed very wide angle and the highest possible resolution due to their faded condition). It was inconvenient to carry 30 pounds of camera gear half way around the world but no other camera would have done the job as well. The Leica has the resolution but can’t go that wide (I needed both a fisheye and the 17mm TS/E). And after owning many of the mirrorless cameras I have come full circle and almost always use the Canon to photograph my grandson unless he is stationary. I can get close and capture almost any shot I want in proper focus and with great IQ without any lag. I missed too many shots of him with mirrorless cameras because of the inferior autofocus and, frankly, the IQ was not as good although it was not bad either. I will never have another chance to take those shots so I find it a minor issue to use the bigger and heavier DSLR to get images my family and I will love for the rest of our lives. I’m 66 years old and I’m sure have a lot more aches and pains than you, and some serious back problems besides. Nevertheless, I just don’t agree that size is such a big and overriding consideration that it precludes ever using a DSLR. If I could have only one camera I would choose the Canon DSLR and put up with its size and weight because I am most concerned about getting the shots I want. Been there for over 30 years and will continue to shoot that way.

            • gsutton, as you can tell, some people base their enjoyment of photography on the cameras and equipment and aren’t happy unless they have the “best” equipment. I have a photography assistant who helps me with weddings who thinks this way and has much better glass than I do. But I and other folks on these comments tend to lean more towards basing our enjoyment of photography on the artistic side (composition, lighting, decisive moment, etc.) and the camera for us is just a tool. I really njoy using my 6D with the 40mm pancake lens because it’s such a small-ish kit and doesn’t intimidate people the way a 70-200 L lens would. Sure, I’m not getting the absolute “best” IQ, but when my goal is more about capturing moments, I can compromise on IQ as long as it’s good enough (a principle photographer Eric Kim calls being a “satisficer”). Heck, I’d rather use my compact Sony RX100 for everyday and street photography because it’s more stealthy than any DSLR or mirrorless system camera.

              Steve has his opinions and he makes it clear they are his opinions. I just find it fascinating to see how him and other photographers (Zack Arias for example raving about the new Fuji cameras) react so emotionally to certain cameras and camera brands. It seems there’s generally a lot of hype right now with mirrorless system cameras, and with Leica having such a cult like following (another similarity to Apple), for them to release a mirrorless camera is a double-whammy. A lot of the excitement is justified, but there’s also a lot of irrational exhuberance too. You have to be patient and just wade through the irrational stuff to get to the actual facts.

          • Of course pure nonsens. A camera is a tool, not a fashion item and for IQ, weight is until now not part of the equation. If a 6D or a D800 like in my case with one of the magnificent Sigma Art lenses work for you, do so. I know a lot of people dreaming half a life of owning a Leica, once they had sold a kidney and an arm fto own a digital M they really started hating the cumbersome and slow workflow, the poor AWB balance, the medieval exposure control,… something NOBODY would ever accept from an entry level DSLR. After a glorious film era, Leica got completely off the track in the digital age.

  21. Leica is smart with the pricing here and de-coupling the body from the lenses. Because it looks not that much with $1900 for the body only. But just the body does not take any pictures. So at least you need to add $600 for the adapter, which means you still have no lens. Assuming you have M lenses already, that makes $2500 for the “cheapest” option.
    Adding the T lenses makes the camera even more expensive.

    But as Steve said, quality seems to be great and if people want a special camera, they should go for it.

    Steve, thanks for this great article, one can see you put a lot of effort into it.

  22. A very interesting camera. As always I enjoyed your review and in all honesty like some of the images here, with a lot of DOF, more than over isolated subjects shot with fast glass. It’s an unusual camera and beautifully made. This together with Leica glass that autofocuses will be very tempting.

  23. For you the iq is better on that leica T than a sony a7(R) if we compare with the same leica lense on them ?

    • WIll be crisper/sharper but will not have the full frame look. Better color as well. No issues with wide angle M lenses on the T.

      • …but…wide angle M lenses won’t be “that wide” on the T (cropped sensor: stupid move).

      • Shoot the M lens in crop mode on a A7r and do a comparison… no doubt it’s a nice design but too bad they didn’t put in a little more modern sensor. By the time you stick on an adapter and EVF, you probably should have just bought a used M9. I know it’s a different experience but I feel like I did when the first Vario came out and we know how well it sold. Regardless, I will stop by the local Lecia store and hold one. There’s a 50/50 chance I will end up with one regardless as I like new, shiny things…

      • As Ming Thein has stated, the sensor is basically like the Ricoh GR’s – a Sony 16MP with no AA filter. Having owned that camera and the A7 I would agree with Steve’s assessment about perceptual sharpness but I don’t believe that means better image quality.

        I ended up selling my GR and going back to a film compact (Minolta TC-1) because the GR sensor was simply too crispy, not lifelike at all. I will take the A7 sensor over it night and day. I have no doubt that the T’s slow zoom can produce an edge-to-edge sharp image and if that is your look and you can live with the speed, no OIS, potentially awkward UI (how do you exposure lock separate from focus lock?) and have lots of dollars in your bank account, go for it.

        What is exciting and commendable about this camera is the UI. Even if it isn’t the camera for you today, I bet there will be a camera in your future with something similar. I’d like to see Leica’s implementation with a bit more speed and fluidity but that may just be a couple firmware updates away.

      • What about RX1(r)? what iq would you prefer (aside from the sensor size)? which would be crisper / better colors T or RX1(r)?

  24. I agree on the gorgeousness factor and trust your assessment of image quality. In particular Sony worked very hard to make the Nex/e-mount user interface, menu structure, location of dials and switches not only as illogical as possible, but also change it with every new model. And Leica managed to deliver a compact 23mm f2.0 lens. So Leica T rules here.

    But digital camera bodies are disposables with short economic life. After two years the supplier has discontinued the electronic parts, used bodies trade for a fraction of even basic repair cost, the successor offers double performance at half price. What is the point to cast them from solid blocks of precious metal with ball bearing dials or non-scratch sapphire glass?

    As an enthusiast with some modest Leica M glass (=no 21mm f1.4) in my cabinet and in view of pricing I am pressed hard to prefer the Leica T (with accessories) over a Leica M9 or ME.

  25. Steve, there’s no image stabilization and you love IS – especially 5-axis. Also, is the back made made from glass or sapphire? Thanks.

  26. Wow what a review and what a camera! I’m impressed and when I saw the leak earlier today my reaction was ‘pfffft’ now I’m tempted to email my local Leica dealer in Australia and put my name down for one :)

    Thanks for a great write up and video Steve

  27. Firstly, Steve, congrats on getting this review. You really deserve it dude. I can only imagining how honoured you must feel!

    Argh, I love it!!!!! This is the camera from them I have been waiting to see from Leica and I can’t wait to see how these new design elements will influence the M. The design is just obscenely good and the IQ it seems matches. Not M goods, but incredible for APS and a tiny format. The lenses are so sharp! I didn’t like the X2, I hated the X-Vario and the M-240 was a disappointment for me too for a few reasons. I was really losing hope for the brand to be honest. This camera has all the things I was expecting from Leica and it’s not only a really exciting product but also a very exciting vision for the company and for it’s future. It’s the innovation, design, manufacture, the fine details, this is a product bettered by none other, it’s worthy of the Leica name. This really proves that this is one hell of a capable company and I am really looking forward to innovates of the future.

    Bravo to Leica

    • “…and the IQ it seems matches. Not M goods, but incredible for APS…”

      I’d hardly call it incredible for APS. Fuji’s X-Trans sensor is incredible for APS.

      • Agreed you took the exact words from my mouth! I really hope no one feels the images from this camera compare to the exquisite X Trans sensor!!

        • Yeah, no other APS sensor on the planet can come close to what the X-Trans sensor is capable of.

          Not only that, but all the Fujinon XF lenses are very good, and several of them are absolutely stellar, especially the 14, the 23, the 35, and the 56.

          • I have all of those except the 14mm… I talked to a Canon rep just two weeks ago and he said the only camera company they fear is Fuji his words were he was amazed at what the X Trans sensor is capable of producing!! It made me very proud to support Fuji!

          • I own the 23, 35 and 56 Fujinon. They are all fabulous lenses, in terms of both image quality and construction. I’ve recently acquired also the recently introduced 10-24, which I preferred to the 14mm, since I will use it mainly for landscape photography. The 10-24mm is just another gem by Fujy and I hardly believe there’s an equivalent APS-C lens around as good as this one! It is probably superfluous to note that the Fujinon lenses all cost a fraction of what Leica charges for their glass… is there a difference IQ wise? I personally don’t think so and it’s once again worth noting that it’s the combination of X-Trans sensor and Fujinon lenses that make the Fuji system so incredible!
            Someone (a talented photographer mentioned a few posts above) defined the Fuji X System as the Leica killer… and I couldn’t agree more!
            This Leica T really adds nothing to the APS-C market.

            • “You can tell a Leica by the way it takes pictures-and by the pictures it takes”.
              “Why a Leica?” people would ask as now there are many similar cameras on the market, Leica cameras produce a “special” “Leica look” to images, typical very high quality German engineering and superlative optical quality, sure one can buy a Steinway or an electronic keyboard, both have 88 keys, 56 white, 32 black, one isn’t wrong and the other right, they both do the similar job but usually the more expensive one is “special”, collectable or of outstanding lasting quality.

    • If you don’t like the X-Vario I doubt you will like this one unless it’s just the design of the body and not the tech we’re talking about. … and yes, the Fuji’s, especially the X100S and XT1 are great APC cameras.

  28. Hm, i will definitely stick with my X100s. Best camera ever made in history so far!

  29. How is size compared to the A7 or the Rx1?

  30. Looks like the M-Adapter-T is only $395 off the Leica website…not $300 like you wanted, but better than $600!

  31. Hey Steve, thank you for the nice review. I think the touchscreen could be the weakest point in order of longtime build quality. Are there any statements about the touchscreen being prone of scratches?

    • I think it is too new to see how it holds up for scratches. The one I used for a week never had an issue but I would probably put a protector over the screen for my own use just in case. I do not think the touchscreen is a weak point though. As long as one does not abuse it, then there should not be an issue. I know people who still use the iPhone 1 and the touch screen is fine. :)

    • The M uses Gorilla Glass. I can’t find any reference to the T yet, but I would expect it would be of similar quality. Leica is not a manufacturer that is known to skimp on build quality.

      Personally, I’m more worried about the sensor (already 2-years-old) become irrelevant sooner than any part of the camera breaking down. Film cameras have proven to be timeless – digital, not so much.

  32. I admit the “fantastically cool” rhetoric pegged my snarkometer, but it IS an interesting concept, especially the all-touchscreen interface. Question about that: When you’re using the EVF, is the touchscreen smart enough to ignore touches by your nose or upper lip?

    • When you place your eye to the EVF, it automatically switches on, and therefore switches the touchscreen off. So, no problem with your nose.

  33. The shutter sounds almost identical to a Fuji

  34. Steve; I was almost cured for my G.A.S. Please stop making me ill!

  35. Wow, This is one sexy camera. Too bad I wont be able to afford it. The body itself is priced right but 1900 for 23mm f2, 600 for average quality evf, Eventually there will be other primes, 50mm, 85mm, 14mm all will be around the 2000 range. Its just too expensive for an APSC system. I guess it all depends on how much you value the Leica brand, but these days a full frame camera with prime lens can be had for the price of a single Leica T zoom.

  36. OK. First of all great review Steve, very comprehensive as they usually come from your hands.
    Now my conclusion after reading and watching it:
    Leica T is a 2 year old sensor that wasn’t amazing 2 years ago in a nice apple-like body. Add to that a slow 1.7k USD “kit” lens and it just doesn’t sound right. It sounds pretty bad to be honest.

    Oh well let’s wait another 3 years maybe next time they will get it right :)

    • Actually, it is one of the best APS-C sensors out there right now. The T provides the best APS-C IQ I have experienced. I predict this will sell very well for Leica, opposite of what I predicted (and came true) for the X-Vario. When something is this good, it works well. When it works well, then people will want it. This is a good thing :)

      • You are most probably right but it still is a 2 year old tech. And most reviews I read on it stressed that it performs very well but it needs good light – you have also mentioned that I think.

      • I think the Nikon Coolpix A slightly outperformed the Vario, especially in dynamic range, but that was a couple of years ago. I thought most of the recent APC sensors (Sony Alpha 6000, etc) were even better than the Nikon now. Is there any evidence that this sensor is anything but the older Vario sensor? Is it just the firmware has been updated to up saturation, etc?

        • The Pentak K5 sensor is currently the APS-C king for D/R coming in at 14.1

          The Leica doesn’t appear to be a threat to any of the more modern sensors when it comes to low light… but it WILL be interesting to see how the dynamic range stacks up!

        • Couldn’t have been a couple of years ago, the Vario has been out for just over a year. The sensor in the T is the X Vario sensor, just new processing and software. Better AWB, faster speeds, etc. The sensor is fantastic and is different in any camera it is used in. What makes it different is the way it is implemented with the processing and software in camera.

  37. Well there’s no doubt about the quality build and the photos coming out of it. Daylight shots quite impressive. Look like they were taken with a ND filter. Beautiful.

    But…..while the price is low….for a Leica, it remains out of the reach of most of us…..like a Leica!

    For my money I’d grab the new Fuji XT-1 and the gorgeous 50/1.2 lens. That’s about $1200 less than this Leica with the zoom. I know you’re expecting to hear similar opinions on this. It’s the naked truth though.

    If I HAD the money? Sure, I’d be tempted. But still, the EVF is another $600 and the M mount too. Another $1200. Ouch.

    Great design. Great quality images. Love the onboard 16GB of storage. Why others don’t include this is beyond me. Loved reading this review too. Appreciated. Bottom line is that a lot of us would like this but, economic realities being what they are, we can only dream.

    • Interesting quotes: “But…..while the price is low….for a Leica, it remains out of the reach of most of us…..like a Leica!”
      “If I HAD the money? Sure, I’d be tempted.”

      I could buy one. I’m not tempted. Even if I were in the market for an ILC, I’d probably go for Fuji, and if not Fuji, anything but Leica. Simply because whether you have the money or not, it represents a poor value, *unless* you place high priority on the intangibles that Leica offers (namely being part of that exclusive club of Leica owners). I get the appeal after having picked up a box of LFI magazines and browsed through the great photography (all stuff that *could* have been done with many other cameras, but wasn’t) and articles praising the optics of one lens or another. Where we guess at which companies in which countries produced parts for which lenses for Nikon, Canon, etc. there’s a heritage and history behind Leica – interviews with people in the know and so on.

      All of which gives Leica a certain mystique that would make me happy to own one. But there are plenty of us out here who are simply frugal enough to find little financial value in such things; who buy what’s practical (and still enjoyable) and to save our money for other things.

      “The price is low” … for a 16MP APS-C sensor in a body with few moving parts, a fixed LCD and no EVF ? A $300 Sony NEX is cheap; this is hidously expensive (whether Steve expected $3500 or not !) The M bodies have all the mechanics of rangefinder focusing; these things have none of that. Sure, the construction warrants a premium; German labor is expensive and economies of scale work against Leica, so I won’t claim that they’re gouging or anything like that … but the price isn’t low unless you’re comparing apples to oranges … it’s low compared to an M. It’s low compared to a yacht. It’s not low compared to any reasonable competition.

      As for image quality, IQ from competition is already great; M lenses can be adapted to the competition; and FF is available at a competitive price (including Sony FF ILCs with Zeiss lenses).

      This is like any other Leica; a very good camera, but one with a price that requires you to place a high value on things that have little to do with photography. I’d consider one at around half the price (though I’d still have to consider the pros & cons, because the lack of external controls, like exposure compensation, makes it seem like a very compromised camera). If I were given one, I’d keep it, rather than sell it. And I’d buy one long before I’d buy a Hasselblad-branded Sony ! But otherwise, it would be the last camera I’d spend my money on.

      • Very well said.

        And if you really start thinking about applications for this camera, it quickly falls apart.

        For instance: Let’s say you have legacy M glass and want to use it on this camera outdoors on a bright, sunny day. Good luck trying to focus manually using the back of that LCD screen, particularly without peaking. Maybe if you have 20/20 or better vision. But even then…

      • “because the lack of external controls” Dennis I think this is something they have done well with this camera…..simple, to the point and control the basics. I do agree with you though, it’s still expensive in my opinion. At least with the M it’s the only real option in town for a rangefinder. This though….mmm…I’d go the EM1 or XT1 with their lenses over this.

  38. Awesome Review Steve… Thanks for the in- depth analysis… Kudos to Leica for the “Renegade” design – probably an homage to the new defunct RICOH GXR with the A-12 M mount module.

    It would be awesome if Steve could do a GXR and the Leica T comparison. :)

  39. Thanks for the article. A few questions: Can the touch screen be locked and unlocked in a simple way? Is the camera easy to shoot with one hand?

    By the way, I think viewfinders should be optional on smaller camera’s. They add weight, bulk and cost, while I have no use for it, being an outdoor guy.

  40. Hi Steve,

    I´m surprised a little bit about your positive conclusion, as often when it comes to Leica cameras.

    I am German, I am no Leica hater at all (I actually do not know even how to hate a company that produces cameras) and I am a huge, huge fan of high quality products. But, sorry, Leica is on the wrong track. Completely. Maybe not in an economic sense, but in an innovative and technological sense. Their products are absolutely overpriced (OK, they have always been, but not that much as they are today), not innovative at all and by far not even good enough to compete with many other products from companies like Fuji or Olympus (or Nikon, Canon, Sony …). That´s a fact!

    I have no problem if people like to own Leicas, like to shoot them, like to look at them, like to collect them or whatever they want to do with them. But I am really sceptical towards reviews raving cameras because they are a Leica.

    1850$ for the body only is a lot of money. A camera is not worth the money automatically because it is produced in Germany or because it has a red dot. It is worth the money if a) it is that good or if b) the market appraises its worth so high. And that´s the problem: Leicas have that worth because there are – beside some photographers of course – many rich people and collectors in the world who are willing to pay so much money for them. Period. This is not a new product from Apple, which mostly is (was) innovative and sort of special. This camera is not unique by any means. It´s just another MLC…

    Leica did so many embarrassing faults in the last years (M8 sensor with magenta problem, M9 with a crappy and cheap display and not competitive ISO performance, X1 (puh), X Vario (oh my dear…), and so on). Normally a company producing non competitive stuff would become bankrupt. They are not because they have found an austrian investor a few years ago and they have managed successfully to implement their Leica myth: ‘concentrate on the essentials’. I can´t hear this slogan any more ;-) They still use this let´s say 40 or 50 year old marketing slogan not because it´s the right way, not because it stands for ‘pure photography’, but because it´s hip and smart and they are not able to produce innovative products. Period again. There are many products made in Germany which are good, sometimes unique and which give you a value for the money. Leica products don´t. They give you the feeling to belong to the family of serious and famous photographers and using a special tool. Everyone should be free to be willing to pay for this, it´s OK. But…

    Just the 5 cents of a German non Leica hater who is disappointed that a German company deeply related to photography and known to be a milestone, maybe THE milestone, for the history of (editorial and documentary) photography is going this way…

    No offense meant!

    Enjoy and keep on shooting, with Leicas or whatever ;-)

    Cheers,
    Peter

    • I call it like I see it, just as I did with the Leica X Vario (which I was not a fan of). You have noy used the T, I have. My comments are based on my actual use of the camera, not by looking at an image of it and feeling disappointment (as I did before I saw it and used it). Leica will have a hit with the T, I guarantee it. I predicted the flop of the vario, and it flopped. But not everyone will like it, its all personal choice and preference.

      • Maybe you will be right with your bet on a hit. I would not understand this and I´m pretty sure it will no be a huge success in Europe, but maybe in other parts of the world. We will see…

        Apart from this… sometimes there is no need to use something to like it or not. There are other cameras I did not shoot with and nevertheless I know exactly I´m not interested in. Yes, I know that this will not be my camera just by seeing an image of it, the price of it and the concept of it. That´s all.

        And I still can be disappointed by Leicas way and critizice it… others may think different. My point was a little bit more complicated and concerning Leicas products more in general. But it´s a free world and it´s good to have the choice. If others have other priorities and another view on things, hey, OK. The only thing I don´t understand is the ‘argument’ not be able or allowed to criticize something without having used it.

        Cheers,
        Peter

        • How many lenses and cameras do they actually have to sell for this to be a “hit?” The profit margin on the lenses must be huge, and pretty high on the camera itself. If you were to buy both lenses and camera you would have to spend $5450… That my friends is insane. I am not a Leica hater either, I have an M6 TTL that I adore. Other than design, I just don’t see any class leading innovation here. I agree that a product produced by Leica in Germany does not automatically command a luxury price; this is branding plain and simple. Aesthetics and UI are important, but as Steve has pointed out multiple times in this review, we have reached the point of convergence and sufficiency with digital sensors in all classes: APS-C, FF, Meduim format. Especially as there are only a few sensor producers, you can get the exact same sensor in multiple different brands/systems. This product is too little to late, and much too expensive. That being said, I don’t care if someone wants to buy one, but I just think this is a bad product for Leica too. It reminds me of the Hassleblad lunar. Upscale materials, middle/upper pack performance, stratospheric price. I don’t care how good that zoom lens is, it can be 2X-3X times better than a competitor, and I think it will go down as the most expensive, slowest APS-C lens in human history. I agree with you Peter, we should be able to criticize what we see here because its a known quantity. In other words, that chip is ubiquitous in the market, and even its its implementation is slightly better here than others, the cost is still prohibitive. Plus the reviewers have told us its not the fastset to focus, and the EVF is not the greatest. PS this thing is not handmade. Its prob CNC and PCB. Maybe someone screws the boards together, but a handmade Leica is something of the past.

      • While I’m not sure the Leica T ‘is for me’, I definitely agree Steve. I think this model will ‘re-invigorate’ the Leica line and open up a new market for them. I expect it will be a big success!

        And more quality camera manufacturers… more photography innovation… is always a good thing for the consumers regardless of whether you shoot Leica, Nikon, Canon, Sony or Olympus!

        So… well done Leica!

    • Peter, I was like you at the start of this morning. I predicted that Leica would produce another run of the mill, expensive toy for the rich and ignorant. Even when the presentation started and all they talked about was the block of aluminium and 45 minutes of hand finishing. My immediate thought was “that’ll make it cost more! I was sitting with my friend and dealer and we both had written it off before the presentation ended. We hung around because they had some for us to play with and after 20 minutes with it, I really wanted one. It felt rock solid, the interface was astoundingly good and very intuitive but I felt that the grip was a bit too wide for my hands The only downer was that I’d have to wait until July for the black one.

      I didn’t really get the coloured covers, but whatever floats your boat. They had one with the yellow cover on it and I have to say why produce a gorgeous aluminium body and then cover it in a plastic cover (and matching strap!), but as I said, whatever floats your boat.

      As for the price, when I saw the price list I though the body was well priced (on the Leica scale of pricing), which was a major surprise, but the lenses and other accessories were a bit steep. But we’re talking Leica here, a smallish producer whose reaction to high demand seems to be to put up prices.

      Just my 2c

      • Hi calvin228,

        I´m still neither impressed nor convinced ;-)
        4K $ for a block of aluminium with EVF and 2.0/23mm lens… and NOTHING special. Sorry, no way. But I´m impressed by the state Leica or Made in Germany still seem to have in the world… and enjoy using superior cameras for 1/4 of the price ;-)

        I lost the hope Leica would produce something like a Fuji X100 or X-Pro1 in a superior quality AND with an innovative concept…

        • Peter, Your” facts” are opinions. You say you are not a Leica hater but that is all that comes through in your comments. It is clear in your dismissal of the M8,and the M9 which have been used to take zillions of superb images. You simply spout nonsense, and I doubt that you have ever used a Leica.

          • Wow, I didn’t know there were people out there who thought you HAVE to use a Leica, in order to take great pictures.

            By the way, some iPods are made from one piece of Aluminum, nothing special, really.

            And I’d bet the Fuji X-T1 will run rings around this Leica, performance, IQ and Ergonomics.

            • The X-T1 will absolutely run rings around this new Leica.

              Doesn’t have an Oyster case, though. ;)

              However, fyi: the latest magnesium alloy is 35% lighter than aluminum and 20-40% stronger.

              Leica = aluminum chassis
              Fuji X-T1 = magnesium alloy chassis

              Hmmm…

              • I have to reply here because space has run out in the sub-thread below.

                Apart from the qualitative assessment by Steve on this website, the quantitative numbers can be found on photozone.de under their lens review section.

                On finding them, I gather that you would be able to work out how to consolidate their MTF numbers taking account the difference in c.50% linear resolution between A7r cameras which FE lenses are tested on and X-Trans cameras which Fuji lenses are tested on.

                I’m a believer of one having to do some (correct) legwork to arrive at an objective conclusion by oneself rather than us wasting more space below so hopefully you can do that.

                “Not that numbers and graphs mean squat to photographers” so I gather that you (or me) demanding to see them means that you are not one? I think this casual dismissal is a poor sidestepping move.

              • Robert, I was wondering, apart from the obvious technical complications in cutting (CNC) a block of aluminium to be a camera body, it would also make maintenance, in the sense of reaching the innards, a strange affair. I suppose (almost) everything is attached to the large display, which also functions as the entrance door to the body?

              • Just to add but not directing at you. Why is it that Fuji camera owners have to come to all the posts/threads to say that their camera is better?

                Don’t see many Canon/Nikon/Sony/Olympus people doing that around here.

              • Simple. Canon and Nikon don’t make mirrorless cameras of any consequence, or that compete with this Leica.

                Couldn’t tell you what’s up with the Sony owners, other than the fact their system is fraught with problems.

                Olympus doesn’t really compete either; smaller sensor

                Fuji has the best APS mirrorless system today, bar none.

              • Robert,

                Can you expand, please? I have a Nex 5N and an A7, and an R1, but this doesn’t count in the current discussion. What exactly are the fraught with problems I’m supposed to be experiencing?

            • For one, I don’t think so. I have an X-T1 and am considering selling it and getting an X-T1 because of the X-Trans supposedly good IQ

              Also Fuji lenses are claimed to be sharp but they (including the ‘pixie-dust sprinkled’ 561.2) are not compared to Leica or Sony (55 FE). There are numbers and graphs to back up this point.

              Now to my opinion, I want to like the hipster X-T1 design but I just can’t but I am liking the T design

              • Sorry what I meant is that I have an X-T1 and am considering selling it and getting a T

              • Sorry, but that’s nonsense. Particularly when comparing to Sony.

                Let’s see those numbers and graphs. Not that numbers and graphs mean squat to photographers.

              • TerryB:

                Sorry, I should have qualified what I said. I was only referring to Sony’s interchangeable lens cameras. They have a reputation for not supporting them properly, completely revamping lineups without warning, and offering insufficient lens options.

                And ergonomically I just can’t get behind the A7 series. At all.

                I’ve always been a fan of Sony electronics, but I’ve never warmed to their cameras (a bit of an emotional response, I’ll admit), much in the same way that the Minolta autofocus 35mm SLRs always left me cold (though I loved some of the Minolta SLRs from the ’70s).

                IMO, Sony will never be a serious still camera contender. Not unless Nikon or Canon fold up and create a vacuum that is.

                On the other hand, stranger things have happened.

              • Andrew Yates:

                OK, first off, a word about tests (photozone.de or anyone else): conditions and samples very widely, and since there is no international body that standardizes camera tests; uses the same procedures and equipment; evaluates under the same conditions; adheres to strict criteria for the calibration of measurement equipment, etc., etc., etc., it’s wise to take all these tests with a grain of salt.

                Now, on the other hand, if you get a general consensus among different tests all saying the same thing, then I’d be inclined to use that as a general jumping off point for further exploration of one’s own.

                The GENERAL consensus is that the A7r and D800 offer superior resolution to other full frame (or smaller) sensor cameras. But this is common knowledge.

                You seem to be claiming that the Fuji lenses are not as good as Leica or Sony lenses, and that there are charts and graphs to back this up.

                I’m sure there are. But I can show you charts and graphs to back up almost any argument; they don’t mean anything on their own.

                There’s also plenty of corroborated evidence to support Fuji’s exemplary optics (for example, did you know that the Hasselblad H-Series medium format cameras and lenses were designed and manufactured in cooperation with Fuji?).

                All of this is academic nonsense. I’ve said this many times but it bares repeating: all of today’s high end cameras and lenses are capable of producing better IQ than their owners are.

                As to sidestepping, no idea what you’re talking about there.

              • Robert,
                Well-said comments about lens quality of various manufacturers outside of Leica…I concur with your assessment of Fuji for example. When I shot large format in the ’70’s and ’80’s, I used some superb Fuji glass, along with Schneider, Rodenstock, and yes, NIkkor optics! The resulting 4×5 and 8×10 chromes spoke for themselves.

            • I did not say you have to have a Leica to take great pictures. I merely said that there have been zillions of great pictures taken by M8s and M9s. Does anyone dispute that? The depth of anti Leica nonsense that comes out here is incredible. Pure bile and green envy.

              • There have been (and are!) zillions of great pictures taken by any kind of camera, including Leicas. Why is it that everyone not joining the Leica congregation is earmarked as a “hater”?

              • “I merely said that there have been zillions of great pictures taken by M8s and M9s. Does anyone dispute that?”

                Zillions, huh? Not millions, or billions, or trillions. But ZILLIONS.

                Yep, I’ll dispute that.

              • Hi Robert,
                No dispute from me, sir…I fully acknowledge that Leica equipment is superb, and great images can result from good use of it. I merely stated that great images can result from ANY brand…it’s what’s 6 inches BEHIND the lens that TRULY matters (the human brain)…not what brand the equipment is. If that brand happens to be a Leica, more power to the user! Indeed, I wouldn’t turn down an M9.

          • Jack, come on. Did You really read my comments?
            OK, you´re right. Some of my facts are opinions, because I´m not willing to compare all the facts and specs about camera a and b. But that´s not the point at all. The point is very simple. Beside the fact that it doesn´t matter if a good photographer uses a Leica or a Holga to realize his or her vision in great pictures I just criticized the development and some activities of Leica from the viewpoint of a customer. I´ve used Leicas with film (which was a great experience and fun) and I tried the Leica M8 and M9. But I decided that I´m not willing to spend several thousands of $ for a digital camera with an almost useless display or a technical problem to take images of black textiles without a filter… that has nothing to do with purism, it´s a joke and mockery of customers. And it had nothing to do with a conscious decision of Leica… they just didn´t have better technology at hand.
            A few years ago you didn´t have so many alternatives -beside of heavy and obtrusive DSLRs- if you wanted to have a good tool for some kinds of photography like documentary. Today you have, and many alternatives are superior in my eyes to the Leicas related to usability and cost effectiveness. Sad to say because once it was a great company with a great vision… but life goes on and others don´t sell just a myth, they sell useful innovations for us photographers… That´s fun for me!

            • Unfortunately, one runs into this on occasion: Leica apologists or evangelists who stubbornly refuse to separate myth from reality, and resort to pejorative attacks on anyone who criticizes Leica, even when their arguments are intelligent and backed up with substance or evidence.

              It’s a bit like trying to argue with someone who staunchly believes the Earth is 6000 years old, even though cutting down a California Redwood and examining the rings within conclusively proves that it’s utter nonsense.

              Is Leica important to the history of cameras…and photography? Unquestionably. Are their cameras beautifully made instruments? Absolutely. Are their optics magnificent? Inarguably.

              Are their designs and functionality infallible? Absolutely not. And this is where they warrant legitimate criticism in the face of the competition. Particularly at the prices they charge.

              If I had tons of disposable income, would I buy a Leica M240? Sure, why not? It’s relatively light and compact, has a good 24mp full frame sensor, and the lenses are stellar. I’d use it for slower work where I had full control of the subject or environment and could take my time.

              But would it be my choice if I had to grab one “go to” camera capable of capturing images under the widest array of conditions? Not a chance. For that, I’d grab my Nikon D3s and the Holy Trinity of lenses — weight notwithstanding; because when you absolutely, positively have to get the shot… well, you know the rest.

              • These should be the closing words… arguing doesn’t make sense anyway. It’s emotional, not rational… ;-)

                Cheers,
                Peter

              • Robert,

                This will appear out of sequence as there is no reply radio button to your earlier reply.

                Just to say as an A7 owner, I’m not too happy about the ergonomics of holding it either. But, there has always been something with which I’ve been dissatisfied or not entirely happy with every camera I’ve owned. Everything is eventually a trade off.

                And in another comment you queried why Sony owners were quiet. Well, I doubt the T will have any worthwhile improvements over my 5N, and I know my A7 is better. :o)

        • I think your points are very valid, Peter. Building a Leica out of unobtanium or vibranium, or some other rare Earth material, does nothing to improve one’s photographs. Not in the 21st century at least, where product life-cycles are about 2 years.

          What it DOES to is jack the price of production, whilst siphoning R&D funds away from where they’re truly important: producing quality images under a wide variety of conditions…aka, the guts of the thing.

          I suppose the body, with its one-piece “Oyster case”, will make an appealing fashion accessory to those who don Rolexes. But what does that have to do with helping a photographer make better images?

          Nothing.

          Leica needs to innovate where it counts: sensor performance and functions that work together harmoniously to produce either better imagery, or that help one to capture imagery in a host of conditions (not just outdoors on a bright day).

          With the Leica T, the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Case in point: a 2-year-old sensor with modest high ISO performance, coupled with slow lenses, minus any sort of image stabilization = next to useless low-light performance. So the camera is handicapped straight out of the gate in a crucial application capacity. But the BEST part is that you have the privilege of paying a premium for that subtracted capability.

              • You people just don’t like Leicas and will use any chance to dismiss them with all the same tiresome arguments. Quite boring and repetitious. Again, all I said was the fact that zillions of great images have been taken with M8s and M9s. I used both, always “got the shots”, Robert, and never had any problems. Both cameras were successful for Leica, and Leica is doing quite well financially. Both cameras still take great images. I would never “grab” a Nikon D4 because it is a brick that breaks my shoulder and is hopelessly complicated. I don’t think it create images of the quality of the M8, the M9, the MM or the M240.
                I shot a golf tournament with the M240 recently where there were many guys shooting D4s. Comparing my pictures to the D4 images reinforced my view. Sorry. This is a valid position that many people agree with. Screaming vituperation does not change what I see or change my mind. Its a Ferrari versus a Ford pickup. Get over it.

              • You epitomize the attitude of the typical Leica evangelist very well, Jack, I’ll give you that.

  41. Hmm, I really hope you reply to this Steve!

    I am a proud owner of the EOS-M and love it to death! So the new Leica T with its lens lineup made me feel like I had seen something like that before? The 18-56mm lens with the same aperture values and the 23mm

    f/2…ok. Now I’m hoping that I wont offend you with my ‘Opinion’ since thats what it is.

    I will quote some paragraphs from your EOS-M Review

    “The EOS-M is also very small and overly simplified to the point where it is basically a point and shoot with an APS-C sensor. There are no real dials or enthusiast buttons and I am puzzled as to why Canon even released

    this.”

    BUT for the Leica T

    “The new touchscreen system is an absolute JOY to use. Simple, smooth, fast and very intuitive. I have not seen anything like it in ANY other camera. This is a forward move for Leica, and IMO, a good one for this

    camera. The surprise is that there are NO buttons or dials on the back. It is 100% touch for the settings and menu. In fact, it was so intuitive I started to easily prefer this to any other cameras menu system! No D-Pad, no

    dials, no buttons to bitch and moan about”

    The EOS-M

    “They only have two lenses for it, the 22 and a 18-55 kit quality zoom. That is it. For $799 with the 22mm (which will almost give you a 35mm equivalent due to its APS-C sensor) and no EVF, VF or real controls, I would

    buy a NEX-6, NIkon V1, Olympus OM-D or even a Fuji X-E1 over the Canon EOS-M”

    My say about the M (The M…lol)

    You never mentioned the amazing magnesium alloy body which screams of luxury. It is for a fact that the EOS-M is built like a tank. I understood the part where you didn’t like the camera due to the old firmware which

    resulted in turtle slow AF like you said but you never even bothered to write a review again with the new firmware which makes the AF faster or on par with most bridge cameras or high-end point and shoots or post

    some shots with the Summilux (I really wanted to see that post Steve!). The EOS-M can easily shoot acceptable shots at ISO 6400 with a bit of NR in post maybe but it is extremely good till ISO 1600 or even 3200 like other

    Canon DSLR’s with the same sensor(Please Canon, change the sensor already!). So the EOS-M is on par with the Leica T in the High ISO Department as well. As far as IQ, colour and sharpness is concerned, The EOS-M

    with 22mm f/2 lens which is mind-blowing produces punchy shots with great sharpness. I really don’t know how it would fare compared to the Leica T but I would really love if you could do a comparison in the coming

    months?

    All I can say is that give the underdog a chance and maybe review it again! It really is an excellent camera Steve :D

    • The EOS M is NOTHING at all like the T. I should know, I had one here for a while. I hated it. It was nothing like the T in its simplicity, elegance, use, IQ or lens quality. It felt like a toy and was very slow to focus, much slower than the T. It had no future in my eyes and it was a sales flop for Canon. The EOS-M is a different kind of camera. IQ, color, sharpness goes to the T without question. Ive used them both and it is no contest for joy of use, build, feel, design, lenses, color, sharpness, micro contrast, etc. I do not like the EOS-M and there are not many reviewers who did.

      • Steve, I think you did not answer the question:

        “The EOS-M is also very small and overly simplified to the point where it is basically a point and shoot with an APS-C sensor. There are no real dials or enthusiast buttons and I am puzzled as to why Canon even released this.”
        BUT for the Leica T

        “The new touchscreen system is an absolute JOY to use. Simple, smooth, fast and very intuitive. I have not seen anything like it in ANY other camera. This is a forward move for Leica, and IMO, a good one for this

        camera. The surprise is that there are NO buttons or dials on the back. It is 100% touch for the settings and menu. In fact, it was so intuitive I started to easily prefer this to any other cameras menu system! No D-Pad, no

        dials, no buttons to bitch and moan about”

        Did you change your opinion?
        To me both seem like a point and shoot in a APS-C sensor. What’s the difference?

        • Who cares? You’re an adult (probably), you can make up your own mind. Just go ahead and do it. And while we’re on the subject of adults, consistency of opinions proffered to the environment at large is something you teach your kids, not necessarily practice yourself.

          • sorry I really don’t understand what you mean. Adult? well I am 57

            And old enough to understand that the reason for a reviewer to hate a camera is the same for him love it.
            Sorry to much controversy about a point&shot……

  42. Leica have produced a very beautiful camera with the qualities I (as a long time M user) have always admired them for namely: Elegant design, Simplicity of use and most importantly beautiful images plus that something extra- you call “fun factor”. Excellent review. As you Americans say “What’s not to like?” Price maybe? but in a same same world of today -maybe you have to spend some more to get something unique.

    Best Wishes

  43. That new 23mm Cron would be nice on the Fuji X-T1 :)

  44. I dunno. Seems awfully similar to the Sonys and their brethren. I can see this as a second camera for someone with an M system who wants to travel light and bring this body and a couple of M lenses. But, as a main camera, You would really need to buy M lenses to get the most of what this camera would seem to have to offer. At that price, a used M9 or ME might be a better choice.

    • So not true. I suggest reading the full review. An M-E would cost you MUCH MUCH more and you will miss out on a few things. Native lenses will get you the most out of the camera. M lenses will give you the shallow DOF possibilities. No focus issues (like an ME will get you eventually), AF (which the ME does not have) – $1850 vs $5k for the body (used ME not the best idea, no warranty) – M lenses are much more expensive than the T lenses – IQ wise, the T offers the best WB and color of any Leica camera made today besides maybe the S. The T is NOTHING like the Sony, Fuji, Olympus, etc. That is the point. It is simple, elegant, extremely well made, high performance, awesome to use and the best APS-C IQ I have seen from any camera. Does it cost more? Yes, but you get what you pay for in more ways then one (build, joy of use, IQ, etc). Some will hate it, some will love it, but its a great option for those who want a VERY nice camera without spending M money. Use one for a week or so and see for yourself.

      • Well right now I’m still enjoying my X2, and I know the mixed reception many gave that camera. I guess I just enjoy the “old school” feel of a camera with dials and knobs. Then again, that’s not for everyone. I will wait to check the T out at my local dealer. I trust your reviews, and thanks for the time and effort you put in on this one.

  45. So, as suposed (even tho it was lower than I thought) … overpriced :-( like everything Leica touches.
    The Screen interface … good for my wife and that type of people (God bless Apple is not making cameras).
    The camera itself … Fugly as a Nex7 (is the first camera that came to my mind as soon as I saw it).
    The viewfinder … I was expecting $300-400 but this is ridiculous.

    Image quality looks nice from the examples we see here.

    The niche cameras, the pride of ownership … screw it!. Give me something that works and works good, sturdy and reliable. To the day the only cameras Leica has like that are the M series and we all know. “But man!, the T is made of a solid aluminun block!”, yup, and the back of the camera is a whole piece of glass.

    You might or might not like the X-Trans sensor look (and I’m not a Fuji fanboy, as a matter of fact I only have an X10 and I’m thinking in selling it), but so far seems than Fuji, and latelly Sony (A7 series) are the only brands that know what they are doing. I wish other brands would copy their approach.
    We want OVF/EVF build in camera, we want solid metal bodies and … we want buttons!, physical buttons that we can touch with our fingers without needing to remove our eye from the viewfinder.

    Obviously this camera is casted to the amateur photographer that has money to burn or want desperatelly to have something with the leica logo hangging from his shoulder. For those that take photography more seriously I think this camera is just another Leica joke.

  46. Maybe a stupid question …. But is there a reason to choose for the letter T?

    • Joop,

      There probably is. M= Messersucher (rangefinder) and R = Reflex, and T = ? Dunno. :-D

      • T for Typhoon says Ming Thein in his review, so does Sean Reid and that other guy :-)

      • (zu) Teuer.

        • gh,

          I see a man with a great sense of humour. :-D

          • Turmsucher. Look it up Terry!

            • Oh well. Turretfinder. But it doesn’t find a turret. I think.

              • Using google translate provides “tower viewfinder”, and which looking at the camera with it attached, sort of makes some sense. But I suspect it is a word that doesn’t translate well into English.

                I did like Teuer though – “expensive”

              • Hello guys, I´m Austrian (Vienna), so maybe I can help… M stands for Messsucher (not “Messersucher”, this would mean “knife finder” in German ;-)). The T stands for Taifun which means typhoon. This had been the poject name during the development and Leica decided to keep it because T is a symmetrical, sexy letter ;-).

                Liebe Grüße aus Wien
                Patrick

              • Patrick,

                Thanks for the correct German. I don’t speak German and relied on my memory for what the M stood for.

                It was interesting to learn that even a spelling mistake by me produced something that made sense. :-D

                The letter “T” sexy? No, but “S” is. It positively ssssssizzles,

  47. I find it incredibly…. ironic?… that Leica, with all it’s history of being the “photographers camera” is putting something out that is more akin to what Sony might have done, with the touch-screen-only interface and lack of dials and buttons, while Fuji has found so much success in it’s back-to-the-basics ergonomics.

    Not to say that’s a bad thing at all… it’s just… interesting. This is not the camera I would have expected Leica to produce… in so many ways. And even the price-point!

    It looks to be a great camera and I’d love to try it, but my heart still wants an M-E or M9. :)

  48. Great review, thanks.

    About the camera – the looks are very modern, and cool – until you add on the EVF which looks like a periscope. I do believe I would love the back screen.

    Price seems fair for a hand built Leica body and Leica quality lenses. I would think this camera would be very appealing to current M owners. The question is, will it appeal to anybody else? I’ve been using Sony NEX’s for the last 3 years and have held off on the new full frame A7 camera because I sense something better and perhaps even revolutionary coming in terms of new sensors. This appears to be a great new system and it’s good to see Lecia moving in this direction. Although tempting, I still enjoy what I have enough to stick with my Sony.

    • Machined body. Polished by hand – in all of 45 minutes, lol. A very expensive 45 minutes it would seem.
      Lenses, made in Japan by “not Panasonic” but definitely using Lumix aesthetics. Look so similar to my Lumix kit lenses that it really makes one wonder…someone will find out, and I don’t think Leica will be pleased when they do.
      And an APS-C sensor that also seems Japanese, and maybe even not the top example of that. Beats an XA1 sensor (Sony?) Not to my way of seeing. Not close.
      Whatever. Only reading from mild interest, nice design, shame about pretty much everything else.
      Gearblographers jump from camera to camera, inevitably displaying their biases (can’t help it, so not condemning ) so, as the poster with the EOS-M comparison , and myself with years of using very comprehensive Panasonic G3 touchscreens, just take another pinch of salt, and disperse it.

  49. Hi Steve,

    You mentioned in the review that you will be only using the M and the Leica T. Does this mean you are/or have gotten rid of your EM1 and Sony A7?

    • I had the RX1, E-M1, M and GX7. I will now have the M, T and keep the GX7 for some video work here and there (youtube). Then when the A7s arrives, it may throw me for a loop if the low light is truly as good as it looks. :)

      • Wow you got rid of the RX1? Just curious why considering full frame/image quality/lens quality for small size…………. I thought that would have been in your arsenal for a long time.

  50. Thank you for the interesting and extensive review. My only concern is that it is hard to tell the IQ of the camera from the posted images since, with all due respect, many look like they are ever so slightly out of focus and appear over-sharpened. I may be wrong but that is how they appear to me (my monitor is color calibrated and my ipad has the retina display). Once the firmware is final production, it may be useful to post unprocessed raw files and make a comparison with the Fuji x-t1 as both the T and the Fuji are class leading at this time, with the kit zooms and with an M-mount lens.

    • Thanks for reading! I have to say that I do not see one image that is even a smidgen out of focus. Care to fill me in one which one you are looking at that appears to be out of focus? Unless you are looking at the few with shallow DOF and mistaking that for out of focus. 75% of the images here are direct from RAW, a few have had adjustments within the RAW processing (a slider here or there) but no Photoshop PP.

      • It appears I was mistaken; my apologies. I didn’t realize that a larger, more detailed image was available on clicking. On rechecking though, and given the harsh light and the images are direct from raw as you say, the camera looks like it has a smaller dynamic range than other mirrorless cameras (bearing in mind that digital cameras are more like the slide film of old with their narrower dynamic range that negative film). I’m thinking Sony A7 or Fuji X-T1. See in particular the betting image, the background of the gas pump, the background of the racing horse, the store front. They appear over-sharpened and harsh but then again this could be Arizona light. Also, there is purple and green fringing in the two donkey image and purple fringing in the hair of the donkey by the blue pails. Is it also possible that the camera’s white balance is off in the 3 gas pump, the wall painting? I’m wondering if this camera shares some of the weaknesses of the M240 in dynamic range and auto white balance. Mind you, some if not all of these issues can be corrected either in camera through scene/light choice, custom white balance and post-processing. Having said this then it is difficult to determine if the sensor and its processing software is no better or worse than other mirrorless sensors and the degree of difficulty required to obtain an excellent raw image to produce a gallery quality print, even if the camera is Apple-like in design and with several innovative features to it. Again, many thanks for your very helpful review and posted images that stress tested the camera.

  51. Great review, beautiful camera. One question. Do you know if two wheels are programmable? I would love to use one to control the exposure compensation.

  52. How does it compare in size; to the X1/X2, Sony A7?

  53. The o t h e r great photo blogger, Ming Thein, on the T: “I believe the Leica T is the first generation of a paradigm shift in the way we control and interact with our cameras.”

  54. over the last years, the camera producer launched so many great cameras, starting with the x100, the omd, the A7 and lots of others I was really excited about, but that is in my eyes pretty boring and only for the guys who are willing to pay extra for the red button.
    a camera i’m absolute not interested in. sorry leica

  55. I’m really intrigued by the new T. Looks like a stunning camera. Thanks for the write-up!

    Any chance of seeing out of camera jpgs, that haven’t gone through a lot of post-processing?

    I’m especially looking at the photo of the Mobilgas gas pump, which shows typical HDR halos.
    This makes me wonder just how much “the lens made this image pop”, and how much you did with post-processing…?

    • Sorry about that! I just replaced that image with the correct one which is a direct from RAW file. JPEGS will all be different depending on the color mode you choose. Vivid is a bit overdone and has too much contrast IMO, and I had the camera on Vivid for that shot. For the RAW file though it does not matter.

      • Thank you, Steve! Looks much more natural to me now – and still an amazing amount of detail and microcontrast…

  56. An interesting camera.
    Not sure about the touch screen.
    Love the fact that there is M mount adapter opens up a whole world of lens.
    Steve what about other M mount lens … that are not 6 bit ?
    How is the camera working with those lens?

    • Cant say as I did not try any that were not 6-Bit.

      • hmm, would love to seehow the adaptor handles the M glass, the Leica site creeped me a little by being oddly specific about ’20 different M lenses’ perhaps thats just referring to the current lineup though. Would lve to see hw the the f1 or 0.95 nocti look on it, or maybe some vintage glass like an old 5cm summitar… might just do that if the GAS gets me ;-)

        • Yes, please, test some non-coded lenses and especially the zeiss zm’s – when you get a chance. Obviously important to many of your readers.

          • I would if I could but had to send it back. I only had it for 7 days, and those days flew by and were filled with me working on the review every day. Did not have any non coded lenses on hand. When I get it again in May I will test these things but I am sure someone else will beat me to it.

  57. All that’s needed now is a nice autofocus Contax-G-to-Leica-T lens adaptor, and there’d be ready-to-use 21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 45mm and 90mm wide-aperture autofocus lenses (at low prices) just scampering off eBay and jumping onto this body.

    • This has been the holy grail of the NEX community for years. Owning a Deo-Tech AF adapter I’m very skeptical it will ever be done. The E-mount is supposed to be “open” and the adapter is still very slow and rudimentary. With PDAF support (which Sony’s new cameras have but I don’t believe the X/T Leica sensor supports) Contax G AF will always be slow.

  58. Well, it seems like I have a perfect solution, just watch and wait as cameras get neater and cooler. I waited for seven years with my Nikon D70s, then bought two years ago, thought I was cool for while, got bummed that I wasn’t anymore, watched cooler cameras come out, waited some more, decided the problems with my pictures are still usually caused by the guy pressing the button not focusing, shaking the camera, or not seeing good pictures. I think I’m going to stay in wait mode for now. Seems like the rate of change is only speeding up. This one seems very interesting. So does the A7s. The longer I wait….

  59. Dear Steve, can you shot RAW file alone? Can you store files in SD card and internal memory as an back up ?
    Thanks for the great review….
    Alexander

    • Alexander, It cannot at the moment just shoot RAW. According to the manual, if there is a card in the slot, it’ll save to the card. If no card, it’ll save to the internal memory. There is a menu option to copy files to/from the card/internal memory, but I saw no other memory card management options.

  60. The question is: is this new Leica body better than the A7r? I suspect is not. So…why would I want to cash out nearly 2000 USD for the Leica T when I can get an A7/A7r?

    • I guess for the same reason as why you would pick more attractive women over the less attractive one and even if you did end up in the situation that you’d have to pay for one the same amount of money, choice would be even simpler i guess ;)

    • You wouldn’t. And I bet, won’t.

  61. No inbuild EVF… Hugh disappointment!
    No silent electronic shutter… Just not interesting!

    • Pierre, I do not pretend to understand the engineering behind digital sensors. However, it is not as simple as you think to make a sensor with a purely electronic shutter.

      The RED sensors (13Mpx and 18Mpx) do have purely electronic shutters, and their refresh rate is very high. But such sensors use a lot of power, and as a consequence, produce a lot of heat. The Nikon 1 cameras (and of course iPhones etc.) do have electronic shutters but those cameras have small sensors.

      If anyone knows better, let me know!

  62. Would comment on your thoughts of the buying a OMD-E1 vs. the T?
    Thanks, and great review!

  63. Beautiful finish to the camera though not very practical….would likely result in tonnes of scratches and/or easily dropped due to the smooth finish. Maybe I’m the only one but I am underwhelmed by the colours in these photos….not to my personal taste.

    Nice review, quite thorough and an interesting read as always!

  64. While the Leica T is not for me — the only lens that interests me is the 23/2, and I already have an RX1 — I applaud Leica for making a beautiful, apparently thoughtfully designed, truly premium product. But I do have a question: is the EVF “haptically” compatible with the touchscreen? I would think it would be difficult to work the camera’s controls while holding the camera to your eye.

  65. Thanks for the review. These are some of my favorite review pictures you’ve taken and I am impressed with the IQ/size of the zoom. Leica being Leica can get away with a lot. I wonder what Fuji (or even, dare I say it, Sony) could do with a variable, slow aperture zoom with no stabilization and a $1700 price point.

    While I think constant aperture and stabilization are often overrated (I use a lot of great vintage glass and rarely feel these two points rarely hold me back) any other camera company would be crucified for releasing such a lens—with any level of IQ—at any price point.

  66. My concern would be grabbing the camera normally, and any unintentional soft button presses of my thumb on the touchscreen, what was your experience with this?

  67. Hi Steve, thank you for you very thorough review. The review is very balanced. And I tend to agree with you. The Leica T will probably be a hit. I have been searching for a while for a perfect digital camera after I stopped making color slides on film with my Minolta XD7. Most digital camera’s did disappoint or ended up unused because I did not like the outcome or the camera haptics. Then I settled for a Ricoh GXR M Mount. And I really love that little camera for haptics and image quality. Nowadays the Ricoh GXR is my compact backup camera next to my Leica M240 with a few Leica lenses.

    Would it be possible for you to make a comparison between the Leica T and the Ricoh GXR M Mount both with manual focus Leica lenses? Can the Leica T outperform the Ricoh GXR ?

    Cheers,
    Daan

  68. At some point plastics and carbon composites were the materials of the future. Incredible strength and lightness….what happened to that.

    ……where is my carbon fibre camera..with carbon fiber lenses surrounds.

    I don’t honestly care about things being made of “metal” I want them to be made well…and mostly be made of kick ass!

  69. Not read the entire review but the look of the images from the review, especially the two guys betting at the races (great pic, by the way), remind me strongly of the look from my Pentax 31mm Ltd. High praise indeed, for those who know. Body price lower than I expected.

  70. Thanks for the comprehensive review here, Steve.

    Although the camera has a nice built and usability quality I really cannot aggree with Leica’s strategy. After the X and X Vario now again an APS-Camera?? I don’t quite believe this…

    This T-Model should have been the M for the next decade or so! But not with this specs… I haven’t been moving from the M9 to the M (240) but I’m using the Sony a7R now most of the time and probably I will trade the M9 in for the a7S soon. I even got used to the strange Sony-menus and somtimes the shutter vibrations…

    I love the build quality and the usabiity of what I see here in the T, but the technical details are not what I would need at all. I would love to see an M (241 or whatever number) that looks and feels like the T, maybe a little bigger, but with a “real” sensor, silent shutter and EVF. If they have that ready I’ moving back from Sony bodies (which are totally fine with the Leica lenses that I’ll keep forever b.t.w.)

    Sorry, another disappointment on my side again.

    Best, Robert

  71. “For my personal use I will eventually just own the M and a T.”

    Steve does that mean you won’t be using your EM-1 anymore? If so that means this is a pretty impressive camera!

    • Steve said that the EM1 had become an indispensable camera for him..He wrote that its combination of great IQ, size and shoot anything anytime speed and accuracy was a killer combination. And now all of a sudden, after a short few moths Steve is selling his EM1 for this Leica. Steve, go back and read all the reviews you wrote about how the EM1 satisfied all you needs and was so spectacular. And now tell us why all those qualities no longer matter to you as they did? It looks like the main reason seems to be you like the picture quality a bit more and not much else. It seems your caught up ion the emotion, like you were caught up with the EM1 and that within months this new T will be sold too. jeremy

      • It has been almost year since I have had the E-M1 in my hands for the 1st time. As I have stated about 20 times here, it is MY JOB to change cameras often, it is what I do. I shoot for this site, I review cameras, I have to use the latest and greatest ALL OF THE TIME so I can write about them, report on them, etc. The E-M1 is one of my favorite of all time, as well as the RX1. IN my top three of all time, for me. But I can not keep EVERY SINGLE camera that I buy or use or own when I have to constantly buy new ones that come out. I still own a GX7 which I will be using for the next 6-12 months, a change of pace from the E-M1 so I can full appreciate the differences. Just because I buy and E-M1 and love it and make it “camera of the year” does not mean I will keep it forever or for more than a year. I still have quite a few M 4/3 lenses (12mm, 20 1.7II, 42.5 Nocticron, 45 Oly, etc) but the bodies come and go.

        It seems you get caught up in your own emotion as I am guessing you own an E-M1 and for me to state I am no longer shooting with one upsets you. Odd, that my choice of what I keep and sell would affect anyone. The E-M1 is a hell of a camera, one of the best. If I did not run this site I would own an E-M1 and M, thats it. Maybe even an E-M1 and RX1. But again, I am a reviewer and this is my 60 hour per week job. If I kept old cameras I would have nothing new to write about. So many fail to understand this when it should be plain as day. The T will be kept for 6-12 months as I use it long term, then it will be on to the next. The only camera I will ever keep long term is my Leica M as I did with the M8, M9 and now M 240. That is my #1 fave. The #2, #3, etc – they all have to say bye bye eventually. I do not have the unlimited funds to keep them all. Wish I did, as it would be even better for me and this site but just not possible.

  72. Nice review & vid, thanks Steve.

    Looks nice for what it is, well made, nice touchscreen etc, etc but ….. UK price is £2700.00 for body & 23mm – £2700.00 !!!!!!!!!!!!! Add to that the cost of the clip on EVF too. ROTFPML – Leica you really are having an absolute laugh!

  73. A few observations:

    With the EVF included it is double the price of the Fuji X-T1 ($2.2K versus $4.4K)…

    The Fuji X-T1 has good ISO performance though and an excellent and bright built-in EVF…

    Only x3 and x6 magnification available as manual focusing aid…? Really?

    About the IQ being better, how can you really tell when only looking at JPEGs? What counts for me is the file you obtain after using a capable raw converter.

  74. This is going to be a real winner for Leica… I already placed my order for the whole package… Great review Steve, another outstanding job… Thank you!

  75. Great review steve, thanks a bunch. Is the touch screen hard to see in the bright sunlight like the iphone?

  76. $1700 for the zoom? Leica is either 1. smoking the good stuff, or 2. marketing genius.

    It’s not bad, but I’m not convinced. I think in the aps c mirrorless world, Fuji is still King (even if leica can charge a premium for the same thing).

  77. +1
    And it looks like a samsung nx300. Same body and same zoom. Oh and the NX300 is only $500.
    But you will not get the red dot.

    • Finally someone else sees that, and dares to post that. LoL! Not bad looking though, if you favour stretched arm photography.

  78. Hi, Steve, I’d like to suggest a comparison between Leica T and Sony A7, since they have similar prices. Regards.

    • I’d love to and will eventually but have to wait until I get the T again.

      • This always comes up with a new camera. I know this is a targeted review but you really should always shoot some duplicate shots with a competitors camera at the same time since these are real world examples. Especially for a new camera that few will have for many weeks. You wouldn’t have to take dups of every shot but static images like the gas pump should have be shot with another camera just so we would have a real comparison. This would be a great service to your readers,and maybe some would take your enthusiasm a little more seriously. Otherwise, those pictures could have been from any recent camera.

        • It must be troublesome to compare every camera he reviews with a peer while not being paid to do so, but If I could ask for another thing, I love those crazy comparisons between very different cameras, like Nikon 1 x Leica M, or Sony RX100 x Fuji X. I’d love to see Leica T x Panasonic GX7, both with Leica lenses more tha versus the Sony A7. :D

  79. Wow, I’m sure the Apple, sorry Leica fans will love it :) If any other company had made this it would be laughed out of the room, machined from a solid aluminium billet – come on how tedious is that! . Every day that passes sees Leica move away from it’s roots and they seem intent on becoming the Apple of the camera world including re-inventing ideas seen other peoples products and claiming them as firsts or their own ideas. And yes I have owned several Leica’s so I don’t hate them or can’t afford them but the ones I owned were worth the premium prices as they were better than the competition at that moment in time, now buyers are just paying a premium for the brand logo. I can’t think of any Leica camera now that is “the absolute best” in it’s class – nuff said.

    • I think the Leica is interesting but have to agree – machining the body from solid aluminum is (IMHO) a completely silly use of resources (the cost to do that could have been better used to provide weather sealing… or better yet… to offer a lower price)

      • It wasn’t the CNC body that raised my eyebrows, as I rather liked that. However, I watched the first 14 minutes or so of the 45 minute video showing the body being polished “by hand” for 45 minutes. Don’t know who else watched this, but he starts off with, essentially, a piece of emery cloth wrapped around a stick. OMG! In what alternate universe is this a selling point? Romania? Circa 1714? I work as a metal craftsman myself, doing custom one-offs, but for something mass produced, this is a nutty level of inefficiency. Besides, aluminum is soft. I love the look of the camera, but, unless it sits on a shelf it’s entire life, that exquisite finish, which most certainly does not need to be done by hand, won’t be unmarked after one week of normal use.
        This reminds me of Kiseki phono cartridges in years past. One of their selling points was that the final polishing of the diamond was done with human hair. Polishing a diamond with hair, think about the futility of that. But, It did add to the mystique, especially if one was already a true believer, or very stupid. Not knocking the camera, but there is definitely a lot of sizzle being sold with this steak, and saying, in essence, “it’s a Leica, you should overpay for it” doesn’t seem an adequate defense.
        Good review, though, as always, and welcome.

  80. It’s always difficult to get worked up about the conveyor belt of technology where practically all cameras deliver adequate images, but Steve’s enthusiasm is catching and that’s a good thing, renewing my interest and anticipation. As usual there’s a lot of talk about value for money and affordability as an absolute measure rather than a relative one. Generally speaking Leica has exceeded expectation and this looks particularly fun. For those who can’t afford an M-240 I’d suggest an M9. For serious photographers, hire a PR company or buy more books! I suspect the T will be interesting enough for many. 50 Summicron T please.

  81. Looks a lot like the NX300. I wouldn’t buy either one because of the handling and controls. Now obviously i have not handled the leica, but I still really like physical controls over a touch screen. Other than that the price of the lenses is way out of my budget for those type of lenses. It is always good to have more options. As always thank you for your work Steve. This was a good review.

  82. I greatly enjoy my M and M9 and while this new camera looks great and seems like an OK performer, at $2,000 for the body, ? for the EVF and $600 for the M-adapter, you’re looking at more than the supposed selling price for the Fframe Sony A7S with an M-lens-adapter, and with the EVF, the Leica is probably the same size as the Sony if not taller than the Sony. This Leica to me, seems more like a design exercise than something that can be marketplace competitive.

  83. Thanks for the review Steve!. In the websites of Leica Miami and BH the price of the EVF is 395, not 600.

  84. Great review. Love the Apple design and interface. I will purchase thru your site from now on to assist your overhead. My question is the use of the camera without the external EVF. Just how limiting is this? What are the pros and cons. Keep up the excellent and timely reviewing.

    • Thank you! You can easily use the camera without the EVF but I am a viewfinder kind of guy so always used it except for 3-4 images. Works just like any other camera when using the LCD to frame.

  85. Awesome review as usual Steve. After the Valley of Fire trip, I definitely have had Leica envy. The EM-1 provided me with great images but the image quality or rendering of Leica is just something special. The cost of getting into an M system (even used) was not in my budget, however. The T, on the other hand, is within my budget. Preordering today!

  86. I don’t think the market is done with the retro styled cameras yet. If they ever will. This looks too futuristic for my taste and takes away some of the historical soul from photography… I think they could have skipped the cold aluminum and used strong polyurethane and kept the price down. But hey that LCD looks user friendly indeed. We’ll see how it will sell I guess…

    • I hope not. Nikon – please, please please bring back the S2 rangefinder design!

      • Good shout Mars, Nikon seem to always miss the target with their smaller cameras & CSC’s these days. But a digital version ala an S2 RF with good MF & AF focusing capability would be one heck of a camera system – I’d queue up for that!

        • Great review of this very nice-looking Leica “niche” camera system! As I’m invested in Nikon, I’m saving my pennies for the 60mm f/2.8 G Micro-Nikkor, itself a lens with a great reputation for sharpness. That said though, my “dream” camera is probably a Leica M9 with several of the legacy M lenses! However, that’s quite out of my financial realm at the moment.
          As for the comment about this site being “bought by Leica”…that would have made a great April Fool’s Day headline!

  87. Searching on german language based sides for an explanation for the name Leica-T, I found something interresting. The design is made with a partner more familiar with automotive but now working on cnc solutions for designing. Audi design;

    Bei der Leica T (Typ 701) handelt es sich um eine kompakte Systemkamera, deren Äußeres zusammen mit Audi Design entworfen wurde. Das Gehäuse besteht aus einem Aluminium-Block, wobei die Vorderseite mit einer Materialmischung aus hartem Kunststoff und Silikon überzogen ist, die gegen Kratzer und Stöße schützen soll. Das Design ist minimalistisch – als Bedienelemente stehen neben dem Ein- und Ausschalter und den Auslöseknöpfen (für Foto und Video) lediglich zwei Einstellräder zur Verfügung.

  88. Hey Steve, I have waited for this Leica T since I bought my X1 in 2010 and eventually exchanged it with a X2, which I am so happy with. Since I cannot justify the M I was really hoping for this Leica T. Being so excited about the release I as well was worried about how long a proper review would take, so your review on this release day is just the coolest thing ever, because your reviews are the best anyway! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the Leica T!

    Yours Sven

  89. The one piece body is a masterpiece. No doubt about it. I want to own it for a long time. But the digital components inside have a very short life span. To join this two components with drastic life expectancy creates conflicts in my mind. Don’t get me wrong. I am a Leica fan. I know how good my M lenses are. But the T camera with its high price….just make it so hard to swallow.

    • It makes me wonder if the electrical components may be more prone to condensation…

      • Which wouldn’t have been an issue if they weather sealed it. Which with a monocoque body would have seemed a logical thing to do.

        • There’s so much misinformation here. EH: You make an assertion about the short life span of certain components and provide no basis. Many electronic components are available in high reliability version at higher prices. Most military work uses the “good” stuff, for example. I assure you that the Leica engineers know the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) for every component. But they’re not sharing that data with me–or you, for that matter. My guess is that the vast majority of these cameras will be perfectly functional decades down the road, assuming reasonable care by their owners. (My career is in industrial sensors and electronics.)

          Matt: Condensation is simply a matter of physics. Air contains water vapor, and when air is in contact with a surface whose temperature is below the dew point temperature of that water vapor, then condensation occurs. I assure you that these Leica’s (and virtually every other successful consumer electronics device) employ a humidity seal of some sort over the critical electrical circuits.

          Grant: Weather sealing is completely unrelated to avoiding condensation. The basic design of any interchangeable lens camera allows for ambient air and water vapor to enter the interior of the camera body. When physical conditions are right, condensation occurs (see above). High end instruments sometimes have their containments filled with pure nitrogen before the outer body is sealed. This eliminates the possibility of condensation but the process is obviously too expensive for a consumer product, and not feasible for an interchangeable lens body in any case.

          As a side note, I am humored by those who pronounce that Leica has somehow lost its way, as it appears to betray ignorance of Leica’s financial turn around of recent years. And the turn around happened only because the company refocused on building the products its customers wanted. I’m not in the market for Leica gear, but I admire the company’s history and devotion to quality along with the devotion of its customers. And it’s fun to read Steve’s generally enthusiastic comments about Leica’s. I think he does a good job of trying to convey the Leica intangibles that he and so many others find highly satisfying.

          • I’ve yet to suffer any failure with any digital camera I’ve owned from 2002 onwards and over 4 brands, so this supports what you say, But this could also be due to the fact that they haven’t been abused by being subjected to the rough and tumble of professional usage.

            I’ve also used Canon printers and scanners from 2002, and not one has failed. I did try a wireless all in one from another well known brand simply for when I wanted the convenience of printing documents wirelessly from multiple devices, and this was subjected to very light use and failed after 15 months. I reverted to Canon for its replacement and this has been running without a fault and heavier usage for 2 years, and seems like it will go on, just like the other Canon units I have. Am I a Canon Fanboy? You bet!

            • Earlier this year I researched 13 x 19 photo ink jet printers. I discovered the well-reviewed Canon Pro-100, which also happened to be the subject of a great promotion: $300 back if you bought some paper with it. Great deal. Haven’t set it up yet but I’m really looking forward to making my own prints. I agree that Canon in general does a great job with printers. All my camera gear is Sony.

          • “And the turn around happened only because the company refocused on building the products its customers wanted.”

            Correction, the turn around came because Leica began marketing themselves as a purveyor of luxury goods, hence all the ridiculously overpriced fashion editions (e.g. Hermes), etc.

            But let’s not pretend that the majority of working photographers out there choose Leica. Yes, there are a small percentage who shoot with the M or the S for very specific applications, but by and large this has become a luxury brand marketed to wealthy buyers. None of which has anything to do with good photography or quality images.

            And comments from some like “Its a Ferrari versus a Ford pickup. Get over it” simply reinforce the stereotype of the pompous Leica owner, and explain why there is so much disgust towards Leica and those who blindly evangelize about it.

            • I will not stand corrected. Whatever the tactics and product strategies that Leica employed, and however you wish to describe them, Leica had to sell product, and to do that they had to offer something their customers wanted to buy. Without sales there is no turn around. I made no comments about working photographers or good photography or luxury goods. Your denigration and disgust are duly noted, but they reveal much more about you than anything else. As for me, I applaud Leica’s success and think it’s a good thing that so many people find pleasure and satisfaction in using their products.

              • “Your denigration and disgust are duly noted, but they reveal much more about you than anything else.”

                You should reread what I said, perhaps more carefully this time.

                I never denigrated Leica, nor did I ever say I was personally disgusted. I merely elucidated — read carefully now — “…why there is so much disgust towards Leica and those who blindly evangelize about it.”

                “Its a Ferrari versus a Ford pickup. Get over it”. Comments of that ilk make my case for me.

                And your core hypothesis is faulty. Leica has ALWAYS built products its customers wanted. But the turn of the century there just weren’t enough customers that wanted them.

                Digital exacerbated this problem for the company in the mid ’10s (as it did for a number of camera manufacturers), though we did finally get a digital M camera with the M8.

                It helped. But not enough. The only way to survive the watershed changes in the industry was to market Leica as an ultra high-end luxury brand. Which is what they’ve done. And, yes, they’ve done that very successfully, as it turns out.

                Your argument puts the cart before the horse.

              • Facts: Leica was a high end luxury brand well before the M8 was launched. They were high end luxury with the M7 launch. Nothing has changed in that regard, at all. They always had expensive prices, oddball special editions, etc. The only thing that has changed is we are now dealing with digital, which is always more expensive than film cameras regardless of who makes them. The M8 saved Leica, the M9 and X1 REALLY saved Leica as those sold in huge amounts that they did not expect (which allowed them to start building the new factory). This led to massive lens sales (one year wait for a few lenses during the M9 days) and then they lost it with the X2 and Vario (which had lackluster sales numbers). The M 240 has done very well and continues to do very well for them. The T will also do well and from what I hear, pre-orders are going really good but I hardly call the T a luxury high end catering to the rich. If it were $3500 for the body then yea, high end luxury. $1900, no, not for what it is and offers (which Leica haters will never ever appreciate or see) Not at all. I know guys who earn 30k a year that own a Leica M9 or M and a couple of lenses because they choose to go without in other areas to enjoy their passion, and the M is part of their passion. But Leica has never been a huge volume company, though as I said, the M9 popularity and sales volume surprised them and took them up to a new level. The reason they built the new massive factory, to keep up with demand. Hopefully they can keep the good stuff coming.

              • Leica wasn’t a “luxury” brand in the 1970s and ’80s. I’ll agree it was a “prestige” brand … but the wholesale move towards “luxury” began after the turn of the 21st century (remember: the first semi-auto M didn’t arrive until 2002 with the M7 — that was the camera really ushered in all the “fashion editions”).

                No, the T isn’t really all that expensive. But add a couple of lenses and the equation changes instantly; you’re way above comparable cameras that offer more capability.

                I guess I seem like I’m beating up on Leica. I’m actually not. I think the M240 is damn close to perfect for its application, while maintaining the traditions of the M design. It would be cool on the next one if they had the ability to do a built-in hybrid OVF/EVF like what Fuji did on the X-Pro 1, but that may not be within their engineering capabilities. Give us a bigger, better screen on the back, an improved add-on EVF, tweak the high ISO performance further, and that’s really all they need to do.

                But regarding the T, I do think they could have spent less time and money on a superfluous case and new-fangled strap lugs (the solution to a problem no one had, frankly), and more on harmonizing feature sets so that the photographer can use the camera under a wider array of conditions.

                It’s certainly not an awful first attempt, technology-wise. Assuming it’s the Sony sensor (we don’t know that yet), then it’s a proven design. And it sounds as though the autofocus is competent. But there’s nothing here that is cutting edge, or class leading in the electronics department (admittedly, that’s never been Leica’s strong suit). Still, omitting image stabilization of any kind IS a serious handicap for this camera, IMO. I’m not convinced this camera is being marketed to serious, discriminating shooters.

                Now that Leica have been marketing themselves for a while as a luxury brand, it’s hard to differentiate on technology (especially against Japan Inc.) … so they differentiate on fashion-centric things like hewing the case out of solid aluminum, etc.

                As far as industrial design goes, I personally don’t find the T attractive at all. It really does have the same basic shape as an NEX, a design I always disliked. Seeing that form factor on a Leica just looks wrong to my eye.

                But again, the design aspect is really a personal thing.

                The tech argument is another matter, however.

                All of this excludes any discussions about Leica optics, which are, of course, consistently stellar.

  90. Great review, seems to be great piece of equipment but why the hell they release 3 Zooms and just one prime??? Would love to see a 14mm and a 60mm to go with the 23mm. Each attached, and never ever removed, to a T Body that would be my favorit travel gear. In that combination the external EVF makes sense cause you just carry one instead of three.

    • That I can not answer. For some reason Leica is on a Zoom kick. Maybe after so many years of making primes they feel excited about zooms. Not sure, but they are superb quality. I asked them for more primes BTW..

      • Steve,

        We know that Leica has been designing zoom lenses for Panasonic for a number of years now, and these perform very well indeed. Leica zoom lenses in their heyday of film cameras weren’t Leica anyway, either Minolta or Sigma. So this expertise is relatively newly acquired and designing for an APS-C sensor should mean they can produce lenses of high quality, in keeping with their lens pedigree.

        I’d guess that most shoot with zoom lenses today, and only need primes when there is a need for their fast apertures, or for the ultimate in image quality. So Leica concentrating on zooms makes sense to me.

  91. Thanks for the nice review Steve. I think Leica is finally figuring it out and they seem to “get it” with this new IQ/Interface. I think its pretty cool you can control the camera with your phone. Will allow some interesting uses with the camera. I also appreciate the M adapter from the get go. Of course being an APS-C sensor the less chances in having issues with shooting the wider M lenses. I would assume with the latest 6 bit coded lenses the new T takes all of that info into account.

    I may not buy the new T as I’m perfectly happy with my M-E. But I see Leica heading down a different path and keeping things as simple as possible yet ensuring all the bells and whistles are there.

  92. Steve, great review…thanks for all you do!!!! I am wondering if you could comment on images from this new Leica in comparison to those you have experienced from the full frame Sony A7r with the 35mm fe lens?

  93. Hi Steve, great review as usual.
    When using the T with M lenses, is it working on M mode only or you can use it in Aperture mode ?
    Thanks

  94. Cough, when I can’t swallow is the price of the adapter, Cough

  95. Sonyalpharumors is reporting that this Leica has the same sensor as the $300 Sony NEX-3n.

    • Perhaps sensor size.. I don’t see Leica buying sensors from Sony.

      • According to that site, it is the exact same sensor.

      • Why not? They make excellent sensors. Even the one in the Nikon D800 series, for those who may have forgotten.

        • Which is a truly excellent sensor!

          • Ditto for the sensor in the Nikon D5300! The sharpness and clarity I get with that “low end” DSLR (with its 24MP OLPF-less sensor and Expeed4 engine) plus good Nikkor optics is quite exemplary. It easily handles most commercial and stock requirements, not to mention large mural-size printing…something that a lesser APS-C system would have difficulty doing, IMHO.

            • Obviously, but it’s iq is pedestrian, compared to Leica APS-C iq, which has magic and wow.

              I think I read that somewhere.

              • “Pedestrian” IQ from the D5300? I respectfully disagree…Though I’m the first to admit to the overall superiority of Leica (and Zeiss) optics, obviously, Image Quality (and printed output in particular) from ANY digital camera is a function of the photographer’s technique PLUS the lens (AF, aperture, sharpness, CA, diffraction and the like) PLUS post processing PLUS camera components themselves (sensor, Processing Engine, image processing pipeline, RAW v. JPEG), not to mention subject lighting, subject contrast, movement, etc. Thus, if ANY one of these components are less than optimum in relation to the other parameters mentioned, I suppose one could get “pedestrian IQ” from ANY system. Therefore, I think that to make a blanket statement such as “it’s (the Nikon D5300) iq is pedestrian, compared to Leica APS-C iq” is misleading at best, as it implies that ANY images from the D5300 are necessarily lacking inspiration and dull, simply BECAUSE it is not a Leica? And further, your “magic and wow” are subjective terms, not scientific quantities. I submit that in the hands of a good photographer, many other systems, in addition to and including Leica, can also evoke the “magic and wow” you speak of. Sure, I’d love an M9, but I “make do” with Nikon products, and as countless other photographers, am quite pleased with output from that system.

              • Steve, my tongue was in my cheek!

              • Ah, OK then, Michiel…my bad! Thanks for the clarification!

    • same sensor as the X Vario – and IQ from the X Vario is stunning; I’ve used it. only bad thing about the Vario; slow lens.

      • and the X Vario sensor is from Sony – same 16mp sensor as the old NEX-3.

        • Surely not the old Nex 3 sensor? This model came out in 2010. But if it is from a Nex 3 model, it must be one of the variants to come out later.

          One thing is for sure. There was a significant improvement in Sony’s sensor technology from the first Nex 3 and 5 models to the later incarnations. I bought into the Nex system when if first came to market in 2010 with the Nex 5. I later bought the 5N and this was a significant advance over the 5, as Steve once testified. And I’m sure Sony has moved on from this.

          The obvious question this raises for me: is the Sony sensor used in the T not of the latest generation and, if so, it is already out of date by definition. Quite a concern considering the cost of the T and a lens.

          Or, has Sony “tweaked” it to Leica spec, so it is not exactly the same sensor as used in the earlier camera?

          • I’m sorry – should have said the NEX-3n which has the “old” entry level e-mount sensor vs. the “new” 20mp sensor in the A5000. I also bought into the system with the original NEX-3 which had the 14mp sensor. I still use it as a back up to my NEX-7. After 10’s of thousands of shots and being abused by me, it still works great.

          • Does it matter where the sensor come from? I have shot with the X Vario; trust me: IQ is great.

            • It does mater… if it’s the same potential quality as the NEX3…you might want to put your money into a more modern sensor and bolt a M-mount lens to it instead… especially if it’s significantly less expensive. Would you care that if you bought a Porsche and it was a older VW with a nice bolt on body? Even if the body was shiny silver?

              Cameras are technical devices and judged as such. Art from those cameras is subjective and as we all know, incredible art can come from anything… but I assume we’re talking cameras and not art at the moment.

              • DanielD,

                +1. At the asking price of this camera, one would expect the latest generation sensor at least, wouldn’t one?

            • Does it matter if the sensor (I don’t mean the accompanying processor software) is two years old? Having a two year old sensor doesn’t seem to cripple the Df, nor the D800. Let’s concentrate on the (raw) output.

              • Hi, Michiel,

                I believe it should matter, but accept it may not. When paying top whack for technology if a buyer found out they weren’t getting the latest technology for their money, wouldn’t they be a little upset?

                Now with a sensor that is already a 2-year old unit in a rapidly developing technology sector, it begs the question for how long Sony could justifiably continue to support manufacture of the original spec item, when they are geared up for more advanced spec items. Leica T owners will have to hope that Leica have a sufficient reserve in stock, just in case. How many M8 owners know that Leica can’t repair it if the screen fails?

                Of course, this problem is not unique to Leica, but at the prices Leica gear commands?

                Where it doesn’t matter, imo, is where the latest technology is actually no improvement over the older, or is indeed a retrograde step. But then the buyer makes a positive decision to go with the older product. And sometimes can actually buy it for less as it is remaindered.

                Terry. :o)

  96. Hi Steve, thanks for the review. My only concern is the resale value of the lenses against that from the m system. Don’t you think a m system is a better investment?

  97. Bummer, I was hoping to be impressed with this new leica system, very lackluster (my opinion). Nonetheless thank you for the taking the time to write this review Steve.

  98. You mention the build quality of the lenses but it’s hard to tell from the photos … I assume they are metal? And, is the 18-56 roughly the size of the X Vario or smaller or larger? I did notice one thing that would be annoying if you were using this alongside an X Vario … the zoom and focus rings have not only switched locations but the zoom direction is different as well. That will probably only inconvenience very few people in the future.

    For the record, everyone likes to bash the X Vario but I like it a lot, and I’ve owned a Fuji X-E1 and a Sony A7. For my needs, the X Vario works better than either of those.

    • They are Metal, it is smaller than the X Vario lens. The X Vario has the IQ but for usability it failed for me. I much prefer the T in use to the Vario but your results may vary :)

  99. Has anyone noticed a strange similarity between the T and the Samsung Galaxy Android in white? OK, not interchangeable lenses, but a full touchscreen at the back with no buttons. And the price of the Samsung? A staggering £199 on offer! Sorry, Leica, Samsung got there before you, so nothing innovative here.

    • Are you Samsung-people serious? Most cars have 4 wheels. Most cameras need a grip.

      • Tor,

        You seem to have missed the point of what I thought was a light-hearted comment about the T looking a little like the Galaxy and being controlled solely by a touch screen UI, as though this was a staggering innovation from Leica.

        And still on a lighter note, the only time I get flak for being a Samsung person is by daring to use a mobile phone that is not an iPhone. lol.

  100. ”… the hand polishing process that is painstakingly done by one gloved hand man for each and every T body made”

    This makes such a camera unnecessarily expensive. A machine can do it faster and better and… without gloves.

  101. A nice camera to see, but the silver metallic color attracts a lot of attention and that is the last thing a photographer wants.

  102. To me no integrated EVF means no buy. That huge touchscreen needs to be used with care, I can’t imagine an owner’s face looking at a scratch on it… Anyway, I showed your video review to my girlfriend and she said: “Will we buy one?” :) We’re getting married in September so for the moment my mind (and wallet) is busy, but then I will go on saving for the last Special Leica, Monochrom. The best and more complete review Steve, it’s always a pleasure to read.

    • I feel the same way. It bothers me in a way, the idea of spending that kind of money for features that are not up to par with less expensive systems. I love having an integrated EVF and can’t spend ona camera without one. Plus, integrated EVFs just messy so much better than these add ons that can get lost easily.
      But I will admit that the design is beautiful. But I will be sticking to my GX7’s and Oly bodies.

  103. It’s an interesting camera and whether or not a particular reader is a Leica fan, you have to give them kudos for thinking outside the box here. Question though Steve, for such an advanced camera and the slick menuing system, no “mute doggy” option?

  104. I read your exhaustive review, for which you are to be thanked by the community that is interested in a high end (i.e. costly) camera like a Leica. But what I don’t see much elaboration on is your comment about image stabilization. This is important to some of us who like me may be older or have a condition that doesn’t allow for no shaking of any degree. Could you, Steve, or someone with knowledge, comment on this issue, please? What does the IS of the T do and not do, for example? Thanks.

  105. “This is just like a NEX-7″

    No Steve this Leica really isn’t nex7. The NEX has 24.3 megapixels so it is so much more camera and cheaper price and obviously NEX have better picture quality.

  106. Great review. It really looks sexy like it says on Luminous landscape as well. Looks very tempting, but I think I will wait for A7s and zeiss manual prime lenses to be revealed this year.

    I noticed a few instances of purple fringing, e.g. in the photo with title “Again, the 18-56 Zoom in action in Oatman AZ with the burrows” you can see that around a kid’s head.

  107. Interesting read. A very pretty homage to the Fijifilm X series cameras. That 45 minutes of hand polishing that solid block of aluminium body has got to ad $1000 alone…. Maybe in 10 years they will come out with a solid gold body commerative,model.

  108. Hm. The aluminium body looks lovely & durable – however, one half of the camera is a touchscreen. And, while I’m sure we all know someone who continues to successfully use an old touchscreen phone, we probably also all know someone whose screen has died. I can’t see a camera like this as a valid long-term proposition – it’s the luck of the draw as to whether your complex electronic components survive, and really your odds are the same as someone with a $300 phone.

    This renders the aluminium chassis totally unnecessary for durability (much cheaper materials would still long-outlast the electronics) and thus simply a piece of nice jewellery. And it is very nice looking – but I would simply be unable to overcome my cynicism to pretend that this is primarily a camera and not an ‘accessory’ were I to have one. Ah well. Enjoy it nonetheless!

  109. Very nice review Steve. The camera and the images look first class. The simplicity is very appealing. Great lenses. And great images taken by you. Congrats.

  110. Steve,
    I read the full review. Mostly what I expected. Like you say, basically every camera made today is great. This one is too. I am trying to find a reason to buy this over, say, an olympus, panasonic, or fuji. I can think of two reasons.

    First, the red dot. As Woody Allen said, “the heart wants what the heart wants”

    Second, because you enjoy the experience of owning a beautiful camera that is simple. The manager said “It is about the experience and the fun factor..the joy of using the camera as well as the image quality..the build and design“.”

    The first reason for me has never been a factor, in fact the red dot pushes me the other way, but that’s just me. The second factor, well, I think that sounds like a lot of marketing. At the end of the day, for me, a camera is a tool. I want it to have great operability and haptics, and that will give me a little pleasure, but more important I want it to be able to help me create the images in my mind’s eye. I just don’t see how a being crafted from a block of aluminum helps me there.

    Overall, I’m glad you liked it. I expected you to. But I don’t see this displacing an E-M1 or X-T1 any time soon, for me (neither of which I own, because they are too expensive for me at the moment).

  111. few comments just from an engineering department perspective:

    – hand aluminum polishing has nothing to do with a quality and does not bring any technical value to this or generally any product (this is technical fact). It is just cool for some people, nothing more.
    – milled aluminum does not make any difference from that one made from cast aluminum. the Young modulus of milled and cast aluminum is just the same. All depends on material redistribution.
    – The strength of milled (assuming from forging or bar) aluminum is higher but it is just ultimate strength, the level which is way above any reasonable loads a camera can see (id it does see it will just brake in other area that the housing)
    – the zoom glass is a high quality (per this test) but it is simply terribly dark and yet no one will see any difference from a few top glass zooms from competition like Fuji, Olympus or Panasonic (read Leica) in the picture with magnification we use on daily basis (it was shown many times by many testers, including Steve).
    – viewfinder is pretty good but not integral…better than nothing, that is it. How it performs in the dark?
    – AF speed decent or pretty fast…..for the still objects. Tracking? Comparable to E-M1? Comparable to the X-T1 (which has the best tracking AF from any mirror-less cameras including the Oly E-M1 (which wins in the single shot AF department)). Fore the $$$ we will have to pay expect to see something special.
    – ISO good but not even close to the Fuji

    – touch screen….not sure ..there will be a lot of argument about that…maybe this is the future current photographs do not get yet?

    – fun/pride factor: high!

    Summarizing: expensive toy capable of making good or decent pictures- a toy wich can be easily replaced with quite a few recent cameras.

    • Can you comment on how long the aluminium sheen can be expected to last when the body is subjected to a lot of acidic sweat from being regularly handled?

      • Terry, there was some German gobbledygook on that subject not a million comments above. The Germans appear to have figured out the scratching bit on the front. Not sure about the touch screen smudge marks on the back, which might get in the way of your stretched arms photography a bit, if your funds don’t stretch (forgive the pun) to acquiring that EVF…

  112. I’ve used most Leica cameras of one model or another for almost 40 years. Film is my choice, digital is second. Still, I have been burnt by Leica’s new owner(s) as an R user, and I’m not the only one. Fortunately, Canikon still make excellent FF DSLR cameras, and while Leica now moves towards a lower-cost luxury-esque market, I have stopped being in awe of the brand.
    The glass is good, but there are also other brands of glass now that have are excellent too.
    So, this camera isn’t for me. In fact, I see Kaufmann sitting there spewing out the verbage as if the camera is magic and it’s a bit embarrassing. Yes, a computer driven milling machine cut it out of aluminum to give it a Leica ‘feel’ Then they screwed in some outside made components and call it nearly beyond compare- for it’s FEEL – okay – including what sounds to be a Sony sensor, for new line of APS lenses.
    As was said – there a LOT of excellent or highly capable cameras out there now. This is Leica’s chance for the high-priced end of the market – Here’s what I would be interested in: a FF sealed, slab-like camera, priced at $2500, with an optional usable EVF that costs $350, likely will never happen which is why I don’t see Leica as the serious company I used to, but it’s a fancy one now.

    • The real problem for Leica, I think, is that Fuji will clobber them by the time the X-Pro 2 arrives.

      My understanding is that the X-Pro 2 camera will boast an improved version of the current X-Trans sensor; a much faster processor; weather sealing akin to the X-T1; a continuation of the hybrid OVF/EVF, where the OVF is further iterated and the EVF is at least as good as the one in the X-T1; the possibility of a tilty-flippy screen with touch capability; and a bunch of other improvements and new features … all in a body that remains 90% the same aesthetically as the X-Pro 1 (oh yeah, and it will remain APS-C — no full frame sensor for the X-Pro 2; that much has been verified to me).

      High ISO performance on the current X-Trans cameras is already superior to the M240, to say nothing of this new Leica T.

      • Couldn’t agree more! I own a Fuji X-E2 and the main reason for not getting a X-T1 is the expected announcement of the X-Pro2 by the end of the year! If just half of the specs will come true, the X-Pro2 will be the gravestone for Leica… and I really mean for Leica, not for other competitors on the market, whether FF or MFT but priced reasonably and in line with today’s market offering… I have seen a comparison made with cars, and that’s fine, but a Ferrari is not only a status symbol but – at the end – you really get what you paid for in terms of materials, technology and performance and every model will remain a jewel which will continue to have a market for the years to come. This is not true for Leica and for any digital camera whatsoever … and even more so for this Leica T, which still adds up to quite a lot of money when just a ‘kit’ zoom lens is added to the body, not to mention the insanely idea of making the EVF an option. I really don’t get it, since with much less dollars it is possible to achieve a much more enjoyable experience and higher image quality.
        I also don’t get how come with Leica it is always possible to jump from one side to another, once claiming that they are the only one capable of offering the truly classic photography experience and now promoting them as the only ones who can give a breath of fresh air to the whole industry. Yet another non sense… sorry!

        • I don’t think it’s going to be the gravestone for Leica. Someone who wants an M is absolutely going to buy an M, especially if it’s a prestige buyer.

          But I do think the X-Pro 2 will make any serious rangefinder-style photographer sit up and take notice.

          Ironically, the X-Pro 2 has already developed a bit of a cult following of its own, and will probably be heralded as a modern classic, despite its shortcomings. I think some of this has to do with the fact that it contains a lot of the Fuji DNA that the company employed when they built cameras for Hasselblad … the amazing X-Pan being a prime example >> https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7091/6975343930_9cd66d224a_z.jpg

          Fuji has laid an extraordinary amount of groundwork in a very short time with the X-System. And all the operational issues folks had with the X-Pro 1 will be resolved with the X-Pro 2 … and then some.

          Who knows? Leica might sit up and take notice and work even harder to make the next M better still.

  113. Now folks can take their $7,000 camera gear, hit the streets and take photos of unfortunate homeless people without feeling guilty because this is a much more affordable Leica. sorry….feeling like a grouchy pants today.

  114. Looks nice…i doubt I would sell off my fuji gear for it though. Would have liked a full frame fixed lens camera instead..i.e. a bigger sensor X2 with an f2 or faster lens.

  115. I’m trying to find 23mm sample, but I couldn’t….

  116. One can only imagine what the next M will be like – already salivating :)

  117. When did Aluminum became better than Magnesium alloy for cameras?

    • No one said any material is better. What feels better? What looks better? All up to the one purchasing. I can say that the T feels very tough and solid/sturdy. Most magnesium alloy bodies do not feel this solid. But better? They are all good.

  118. Some very interesting features, and a solid first mirrorless attempt by Leica.

    Functionally, though, it’s let down by one major handicap: the sensor is 2-year old tech now, and not exactly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible when it comes to high ISO.

    You can argue it doesn’t matter and that it’s perfectly acceptable up to ISO 1600, except for this one [not so] tiny detail: when you combine that limitation with slow lenses and no image stabilization, you quickly start running into real-world limitations in terms of what you can shoot as the light falls … unless you want to pack a tripod (which most don’t in this category of camera).

    The monocoque body is cool, I guess, and will appeal to the collector set, and the touchscreen interface is gorgeous, I’ll admit. But when you get into the guts of the thing there isn’t really all that much to crow about.

  119. Great review Steve!

    Will you tell me if Voigtlander 50 1.5 Nokton works on Leica T with adapter? That will be very good combination I hope or Voigtlander 35mm lens will me much better?

    • It should work. I believe ANY M lens will work, you just will not have EXIF info with an non coded lens.

      • Steve: wonderful review.

        1) how do m lenses work with the T?
        2) does the 6 bit coding allow for distortion correction?
        3) for non coded lenses, is there a database to bring up the proper corrections like the M9?

        4) does the EVF lock onto the T and is there a lock release?

        5) Is the T the modern Minolta CLE?

        6) Many of the comments in the review seem to ignor one of your favorite cameras from the past 2 years… The Nikon V1 and V2. They have no Shoot without lens option. The Nikon 1 does have superb fast, accurate AF.

        • It’s all in the review. I know it is a bit much to read, sorry :) But the M lenses work great with the T, at least the two I tried. The 21 and the 50. Easy to focus, no issues. As for the 6 bit coding, I have not heard back from Leica on wether it corrects but I think it does, which is why they have the special adapter. The EVf does not lock on. It could be a modern day CLE, but it is a bit different in the control department. As for the V1, I have used M lenses in it without an issue.

          • [ As for getting back to the speed, the T is more responsive and faster to auto focus than the Leica X1, X2 and X-Vario. It is the fastest German-made Leica to date, and for me it is about the equivalent of Sony NEX or E-M5, a little bit faster than the Sony A7. So while not up there with an E-M1 it is very close to everything else when using the 18-56 Zoom (the only native lens I had to try). ]

            from your own reviews, the mirrorless Nikon V1 and V2 should be faster and possibly more accurate at AF.

            • Speedwise when using the zoom – compared to the Nikon V1 the T can be a little faster than the V1 (depending on what lens is on the V1) to slightly slower. As far as accuracy, the T never gave me a missed lock, ever. So it has, for me at least, a 100% accuracy rate in my short testing. The V1 is equally as good in this department but remember, the V1 is 3+ years old now and not the latest tech when it comes to AF so as time goes on, cameras get faster than previous years cameras. How it always is. The Leica T is not blazing (I am spoiled by the E-M1 and E-M10) but it is good. Far better than previous Leica Germany efforts (X1, X2)

              • which raises the question of why Leica is using a 4 year old sensor…

              • Well, the answer could be for a couple of reasons..

                A: It still performs just as good if not better than current sensors (for example, the NEX5n had better IQ than the 6 imo, but the 6 body was better)
                B: They had a supply of them from the Vario

                I say it is both reasons. The sensor is a fantastic sensor just as the Sony RX1 sensor will still be fantastic in 5 years. Just because it is an older sensor does not mean it will not deliver quality results. As it is, I have seen nothing deliver better IQ in the APS-C world that what the T is capable of (resolution, pop ,micro contrast, color, etc). So why mess with a good thing? Since Leica does not use any in camera NR, the files will show more noise at higher ISO but turn off the NR in competing cameras and it gets to be the same. The new Sony A6000 gets noisy at 1600 with NR turned off yet it has the latest and greatest sensor. NR creates a lot of mis-information.

      • Steve, I wonder what happened to the Voigtlander 50 1.5? You mentioned that it bacame your favorite 50, that you like it more than the lux and I see you’re now using a cron stead. Did you have any issues with Voigtlander after the review? If not, why did you swap it for cron? Or did you?

        P.S. Thanks for the review. Enjoyed it a lot. Kind of got me craving for the T! Although I switched back to FF from APS-C a while ago. I just wasn’t getting that look from APS-C. So, not ready yet.

        Thanks again!

  120. Great Review Steve … love the pros and cons and summary of what the camera can and cannot do. I’m definitely placing my order for one. Sure a full frame would have been nice but those images look great, the essence of a fun loving street camera, i love it :)

    Best Regards Paul

  121. I just bought an immaculate 1970 Nikon F2 w DE1 finder (meterless) from a little old lady in Pasadena.

    So I guess I’m not the market for this camera…

    It does look neat though.

  122. Leica moves forward. If all is said is true. The AF is not up to Oly or the X-T1, but up dates to firmware and designs can be forth coming. It would help to have a built in EVF, the only saving grace maybe a better design may be on the way and you would not have buy a new camera, just a new EVF. the sutter speed does not both me in the least, 1/4000 is fast enough. I was hope for better ISO, it is only 16MP, but it is not far off the mark. No built-in EVF maybe for those who just want point and shoot. No AA is a very important part of it all. But Leica coming out with a price well below $2K is really remarkable. I think these camera matches well to Fuji. I still like my Fuji more, but would think about this a second camera. I think Leica has a fine camera in the mirror less market. I would that they would come out with lens at a fast pace, a 23mm F2.0 is ready to go is good sign, $2k for lens is high, glass is always a better investment then cameras.
    Good work Lecia.

  123. So you have to push two virtual buttons and move a virtual bar in order to set tour exposure compensation???
    Really????
    And tha same for almost everything else?
    R U kidding me?
    Look at 10:26, Steve struggling through menus and submenus. AAAhhhhhhh.
    Fuji guys aro so laughing right now.

  124. I have read through most of the comments above and am enjoying the cut and thrust of the points being made. Then somebody mentioned the dreaded RED DOT!!!!
    I have used many Leica products.As a birdwatcher I have used their binoculars as have countless other birders -none that I know of have ever done so because of the Red Dot -superb image and build quality perhaps? I used to work in the high tech electronics sector guess what we used in the labs? -Leica Microscopes. Nobody ever thought they were used because of the red dot. Forensic and Medical labs worldwide use Leica optics as do civil engineers -must be that Red Dot! What else can it be?

    Best Wishes and good luck Leica with the new T camera -shame about that Red Dot.

  125. A very beautiful camera indeed! You so lucky to have it before everyone else, Steve! But no matter how great it is, it’s not for me. I always feel there’s something missing with APS-C size sensor compare to FF. Others may defend that there’s no real different between apsc and FF, but I can feel it. So for now my a7 will be staying with me.

  126. Question – I understand that the adapter recognizes and corrects coded lenses. Is there, as on the Ms, a manual setting for uncoded legacy lenses?

  127. It is a beautiful camera indeed. And the touch screen is a stroke of brilliance, I’d say. But…I think I’ll stick with my RX1 for a while longer.

  128. This system will fail.

    Existing Leica guys with GAS? They will not bite. Leica want-to-bes won’t either.

    Both groups are smart enough to figure out that one of two future conversations will be had…

    Conversation #1:

    To Leica M Owner: “Is that a top of the line Leica? Nice!”
    Leica M Owner: “Thanks!” (proudly chats and shows off his camera)

    Or Conversation #2:

    To Leica T Owner: “Is that the mid-range Leica? Did you think about ponying up and getting an M?”.
    Leica T Owner: “uh, um, blah blah blah” (sheepishly walks away)

    Used M9 plus Zeiss glass for the win for the “new to Leica crowd”. Sorry, Leica T, this is the route the smart $ will go. Chasing the dumb $ hurts your brand (see Hasselblad Lunar).

  129. Great to see some Steve photos. Nice work!
    The camera doesn’t appeal to me so much but hey…
    I do wonder if it would be cold to hold in winter.
    Thanks Steve!

  130. Steve,

    As always, you do great reviews and thanks so much for this one. I love your website and candid reviews.

    For background, I’ve been a 5DMarkIII user, but over the past couple of years have migrated to the X1/X2 due to the quality/form factor. Most recently, I briefly considered the XVario, but opted instead for the RX1R, based upon your review and those of others. I absolutely love the image quality of the RX1R. It’s a fantastic camera and it is clear that Sony had the photographer in mind when designing that camera. So I bought one and will now officially thank you, as you suggested in your review. But there’s the obvious 35mm limitation. Not terrible and can be overcome with a mental shift.

    I would likely consider parting with my bulky Canon DSLR / lenses and intend part with the X2 very soon (since upgrading to the RX1R makes it somewhat (but not completely) obsolete for me). But I guess I’ve been waiting for the right combination of system, ergonomics, simplicity, and image quality to come along. The Leica T (and maybe the Sony A7R) are the latest to come close to what I have been looking for in a system.

    As I read your review and watched the video, I was thankful for your review and initially impressed by the whole touch screen system on the Leica T. And BTW, if Leica doesn’t want to be acquired by Apple, I hope they sought tacit approval for copying the Apple strategy with the design, right down to the “aluminium”. I know those lenses will be made in Japan, but I hope that the packaging indicates they were “Designed in Germany by Leica.”

    Now finally for my real question. I honestly began to wonder about the shooting experience with the touch screen. I think we all become accustomed to knowing which buttons control which features of our cameras, such that when we are shooting and looking through the viewfinder, we can make quick adjustments on the fly to aperture, ISO, focus point, etc. with our fingertips without ever pulling away from the viewfinder to look at the screen. I am so curious about the experience with the Leica T. Did you find yourself fidgeting with the touch screen before shooting several images to get the settings right, or have they incorporated a design that lets you use the viewfinder and the touchscreen together for an overall intuitively user friendly experience. I think if I had to pull away from the viewfinder to make several adjustments as I shot each image, I just might get frustrated and annoyed. And another question – are the two dials customizable with regard to function?

    Thanks,

    Christian

    PS I’d recommend they meet with the Siri team as soon as Apple acquires them, as voice control over the settings would eliminate the issues I suggested. :)

    • Thanks for the comments. To keep it short, once the camera was set up to my liking I never had to touch the screen while out shooting, at all. I just controlled the aperture and ISO with the thumb dials. One time out of 7 days did I go back in to the menu and that was to change the color mode to vivid from standard. The dials are customizable.

  131. Thank you, Steve, for a great review!
    Quick question: the touchscreen, what is it made of? Is it Gorilla Glass or Sapphire Glass? The manual says nothing…

  132. Steve, thank you for this review. It was the perfect thing to read first thing in the morning.

    I was on the verge of locking in the Olympus E-M5 as my next camera, one reason being its very quiet shutter (important for what I shoot most – theatre). But the T may have changed my mind. Maybe. :-)

    Too bad the T doesn’t stand for titanium. Or Terminator! ;-)

  133. A lot of moaners about the cost of the adapter! Why not just wait for the 3rd party one to come along?

    As for the screen getting scratched, just use a screen protector, I have one on my android phone and works wonders!

  134. Do the lenses have a metal barrel? (this may have been asked or addressed, but I haven’t read all of the comments, my apologies if it has).

  135. So they put the usual and slightly old in the tooth 16MP Sony aps-c sensor into an Apple inspired soap bar shaped Aluminum unibody and borrow Samsung`s touch screen controlled UI to call it a USD 1900 Leica body sans EVF. Where is the technological innovation, Leica? The one we enjoyed with the M9, the first FF compact, the X1, the first aps-c jacket pocket solution?

  136. Now this is a Leica I would like to own………congrats to Wetzlar (jeps it feels great to say that I’m a sucker for tradition) for stepping over your own shadow and thinkink outside the box. This Leica doesn’t seem to be one dollar overpriced and if you compare it with high end mirrorless systems even competatively (sort off) priced. Lenses may be a tad on the slow side but that wouldn’t heart my game since I shoot cityscapes and landscapes not depending on a small DOF so om my OM-D I shoot at aperture 5.6 to 9 all the time. I would opt for the EVF extra though……Visoflex…..wrong name with a lot of hassle associations.

    Greats, Ed.

  137. Another site says the sensor is from the 400,- € Sony NEX 3N.

    Truth or fiction?

    • The Sensor is from 2012 and I believe a modified 5n sensor, which is one of the best Sony sensors made, beating out the one they used in the NEX-6 even. If you look at my NEX-5n review the images are much nicer in IQ than from my NEX-6 review. Not sure why Sony feels they need to make a new sensor every year when sometimes they go backwards. Doesn’t mater though if the sensor is from 1996, it is the IQ and performance that matters.

  138. Relative pricing of Leica T versus the rest (Nex 3/5, Fuji X-M, Samsung NX) is similar to the iPhone. That means user interface, haptics, design and that extra bit of image quality can command a substantial premium.

    But in absolute terms the premium for the iPhone is “only” $300-500, for a heavily used item which in addition serves as status symbol and fashion statement 24/7.

  139. Steve,
    Yes I’m surprised as it is true, came in $1850. It would be best alternative body for experimenting with various lenses like what you usually did and compare them. What the ‘T” stand for? Terminator or Technology?
    About the IQ, I doubt it if it better than Vario, if possible I wonder if you can compare them side by side. The color and rendering is not like what leica usually performs, probably is more like Ep5 color render here. Are they using the same Vario sensor in T?

  140. Strange how when Nikon launched their mirrorless camera, the V1, they were criticised for the lack of external controls on the body. Then Leica produce a camera with even fewer controls and it’s hailed as a masterpiece of Apple-like minimalism. Two tips for your next camera launch, Nikon.

    1. Replace the guy in the lab coat with a German dude in a turtleneck and steel rimmed glasses talking about returning to the essentials, the essence, the very soul of photography (preferably using the impressive, polysyllabic German equivalent word).

    2. Double the price of the camera.

    That’s marketing gold right there.

    • Yeah. I always thought the original Nikon 1 cameras had fantastic design. I personally believe that Nikon 1 was intentionally crippled (1″ sensor) by some executives that didn’t want it to cannibalize DX sales, while DX itself is designed not to cannibalize FX sales.

      My opinion is that any other sensor size would have been 1000x better for Nikon: either join micro four thirds, or replace the entire DX line by an APS-C mirrorless, or even an A7-style full frame mirrorless.

      It’s quite sad, but this intentional crippling of products is what eventually turned me away from Nikon. Canon does the same.

      • Nikon 1 is fantastic cas it is, still one of my fave cameras ever. Still own a V1 and J1. I did not feel they were crippled in any way, shape or form. In fact, the opposite. People get way too caught up by sensor size and somehow fool themselves into thinking they can not take a good image with a small sensor. That is nonsense.

        • Certainly agree with you on the ridiculous obsession with sensor size. Not an issue at all on the V1.

          Going back to my comment above, I’m not in the market for a Leica T but my point was that it’s interesting to see the company moving towards a really minimal external design with just 2 physical control wheels. Before owning a V1 I would have said that as a photographer I needed multiple external buttons/dials to control as many camera functions as possible without going into the menu. My V1 experience has showed me that actually it’s liberating to only have direct access to the 3 truly essential camera controls: focus, aperture and shutter speed. Other functions are easily accessible in the menu but I try to concentrate on the basics of taking an interesting photograph rather then remembering what the 4 customisable function buttons do or whether I should be tweaking one or more of the other dozen external controls available.

          When we look back on the Leica T in a few years I think this bold step towards stripping back external controls will be seen as the true innovation (and not the frankly irrelevant fact that it was ‘hewn from a solid block of aluminium’ and polished for 45 minutes by a German with a PhD).

    • I think they already doubled the price on launch, lol!
      And found out later that it doesn’t always work…but they are still trying.

  141. Hi Steve
    I am a Leica M fan , I love the M9 as i think it has Diferent Leica colors,
    I know the M 240 is considerd one of their best M cameras. I dont like the M as i still think its colors became regular Canon, Nikon colors .
    When i looked at the pictures of the T i fet i saw the Leica special colors again.
    I am an M lover and yet i think Leica came out with a beautiful balanced small machine that will apeal to alot of Leica lover/ haters .
    As Steve i also think i miss the built in viewfinder but i can live with and even enjoy the touch screen
    I think Leica has a winner !!

  142. Firstly congratulations on a fine review, I was so pleased you had one for launch day, and pleased also that Leica finally put you on the inside. A wise move on their part, knowing how you appreciate good design and quality craftsmanship and that’s what they had (one major caveat later) and not the ugliest leaked product picture ever. The caveat and sadness for me is the external EVF, I would want to use the camera with M lenses which needs the EVF, I’d also like to use the zoom on vacation and would want the GPS which requires the EVF in over words I would only ever use the camera in Clark Kent with glasses mode and never in Superman guise. All of the beautiful product images and clean lines are without the EVF. I’d hope it would pop up, the only possible saviour would be a Aluminium milled and polished EVF that match the body with updated electronics that match EM1, XT1. I feel that would provide a better match, (especially for me as my M lenses are Silver finish), I’d even pay a slight premium on the current price (slight being the word as in my opinion the current one should be cheaper and a milled one about or slightly above the current price.) In my opinion the only hot shoe accessory that looks good is the manual light meter of the M3, in a Laura Croft, Safari ridged Land Rover type of way, but even then only on occasion as a prefer it without).

  143. The T mount supports FF easily size-wise IMHO. If they would go for APS-C only, the mount could have been made smaller. Leica keeps their options open.

  144. Wow! What a massive rewiew. The Leica T seems to be one of these very rare examples of a truly thought through product.

    One question, Steve: Do you had any problems resting your thumb on the touch screen? I mean, do you had any accidential inputs or so?

    BTW, to me, anyone who says the Leica T is overpriced and has no market, is as clueless as Steve Ballmer laughing his ass off after the iPhone launch. And I’m saying this despite I would never buy the Leica T.

    Thank you Steve for your wonderful in-depth review and thank you Leica for innovating again. I am sure, this Leica T will have its impact on future camera designs.

  145. Steve, you are correct…. its not about the price, but what you get for the price.
    for me this does not deliver…images are just as good as all the other brands…no-one really makes a bad camera, so its all about bang for the buck.

    • Well said, honestly, so many cameras now are so awesome. And there are cameras for every type of buyer. Me…I’m a “guts matter most” kind of guy. What the body is made of, I could care less, as long as it’s solid and wont fall apart.

      But that means I don’t get to own a Leica…which blows in it’s own way..I like them and I’m not above WANTING something class…but my brain and wallet wont let my heart do something like that when at the end of the day I’m not rich enough.

  146. Do you have control over the entire frame during manual focusing or just see magnified fragment ?

  147. It is a gorgeous camera, and the photos look terrific!

  148. Most of us don’t own Leica glass, so (at least one) main feature of the camera is wasted on us.

    If you didn’t already own Leica glass, and you didn’t care about the Fuji greens, would you buy this or the XT1?

    • Even if you already own Leica M glass, T body, T viewfinder and M to T adapter are just too darn expensive for being a compromised solution (APS-C crop, no AF, no coupled rangefinder).

      And there is no reasonable Leica M glass that delivers the APS-C equivalent of 35mm.

  149. Hi Steve,
    Really interesting review and video…you can tell how much of an impression the new Leica has made on you. I completely see the Apple references…I wonder if Apple are watching, I’m sure they are.
    Which segment of the market do you see buying this camera ?, you mentioned the Sony A7s and with technology moving so quickly do you think Leica are behind the curve as far as that is concerned ?
    Beautiful looking camera.

    • I think Apple are way above watching anyone else, in their supreme self confidence.
      But they need to,learn, if the post-Jobs era is anything to go by. Hmm, off topic though.

  150. talking about image quality i guess the only advantage of this camera is the missing anti-aliasing filter.

    • The sensor is up with the best of APS-C, period. The lenses are the best for IQ of any competing system, period. The camera is fast, responsive, and also has superb AWB and color. Many advantages…but these are apparent when you actually use one.

  151. Great, comprehensive review and your video is the perfect complement to it. Looks like a powerhouse design and great fun to shoot. Leica is out of my price range these days but it doesn’t cost anything to dream. Thanks, Steve.

  152. Steve & Company, Thanks for your reviews!

    The X-Vario does not have a professional method for using the EVF and a radio slave at the same time. Is there a way to simultaneously use the EVF and a radio slave on the Leica T camera? If the answer is no, then shame on Leica for excluding the second most important component of professional photography, that is, auxiliary lighting.

    • The T is not considered a “professional” camera. Neither is the X-Vario. They are not really studio cameras either. Not aimed at that market I should say. If using slaves is a priority then I would not consider these cameras.

  153. Love the review ATMO. Thanks.

  154. Impressive and interesting product from Leica and great review Steve. Thanks for the hard work.I want to like this one.
    My worries? Have yet to find a touch screen that is clearly visible and therefore usable in bright sun outdoors where many of us take pictures. You compare it ( in functionality not screen quality I know) to an iPad. My iPad is useless outdoors. Can’t see much on the screen except on cloudy days.
    Also the all metal body might be a problem to hold in very cold temps. So would it work with gloves?
    Another dorky looking underpowered flash. Why can’t they do a better job with built in flashes? they look like design afterthoughts. I’m not expecting a high power floodlight but…film compacts in the 80’s had better built in units.At the end of the day though it has three REAL plus points.
    1. IQ
    2. ability to take my M lenses
    3. Simple operation and menu ( Praise the Lord! )
    maybe these are enough to make it a great camera.
    Hmmm, must investigate more.
    I think the body with adaptor for those with M lenses already is an interesting proposition.
    Not going to pay that much for an EVF though, sorry Leica,

  155. Hi Steve and thanks for the effort. Really appreciate it. It was fun to read and I really liked the images.

    Allow me to ask you one off-topic question:

    Reading what you write about your present ( and possibly ) feature camera gear, I’ve noticed you no longer posses MM? If I remember it right, at some point in the past you had to choose between M and MM and you decided to sell M and keep Monochrom. I’ve noticed you bought M again afterwards but didn’t know you get rid of MM…What was the reason to sell it, if it’s not too much to ask…?
    I am asking out of plain curiosity and also as someone who is to decide which way to go after M9 – M or MM?
    Thank you once again!
    BR/Alex

  156. The font they’ve used for the touchscreen interface is ugly and hard to read – and in upper case! I realise they use it on their lenses, but a touchscreen interface is an altogether different animal and they need to license and use something modern, legible and attractive. Please, Steve, if you can channel suggestions back to them consider channelling this one. I know you too are heavily into good design (those awesome speakers)!

  157. I have read Steve’s reviews over the years with interest. Unfortunately this review felt like he is now ‘owned’ by Leica – I guess this is what happens when an independent reviewer is invited into the elite circle of early reviewers. Give a bad review… and you don’t get invited again. So sadly, this is a review that I take with a pinch of salt – too many things don’t add-up….

    • Lol, this is too funny. “Owned” by Leica. I have been reviewing Leica since the M7. I have been invited and dlown to Berlin by Leica (Launch of the MM) and what did I write in my report, live from Berlin? That they screwed it all up. I made them a bit angry with what I wrote. I reviewed the X-Vario and told the truth about it. Leica did not like that so much. I always write the facts, the truth and the real story, no matter what.

      It sickens me that idiots like yourself come here to my site, which is 100% free to you, that I work my ass off on every single day and write idiotic and outright stupid comments like the one you just wrote.

      I will always tell the truth about ANY camera I write about, no matter who makes it. If I like it you will know. If I do not you will know. The fact is that the T is a superb camera system, I ordered one and am paying for it with my own money. I would never do this if it was sub-par.

      So stop the nonsense and if you feel the way you do, I suggest not wasting my bandwidth by being here. I love how when I positively review ANY brand I am labeled a fanboy of that brand and it is ridiculous. To date I have been called an Olympus Fanboy, A Sony Fanboy, A Leica fanboy, a Ricoh fanboy – a few more. As for being “in the elite circle or early reviewers” – I have been in that circle for many years now, nothing has changed.

      TIP: If you spent your life being positive instead of being negative on everyone around you then your life would be much happier. But I suggest not coming here anymore.

      • lol,lol.
        Well said Steve
        I have to agree with every comment you just made above.
        Excellent inpartial review

      • Steve,

        I think you’re a gear fanboy and you’ve built a business based on this. That’s really cool. I think we all are and believe that’s why we keep coming back for our fix.

        I enjoy your perspective, and you write with great enthusiasm. So what if people come to different conclusions? I’ve reached different conclusions than you quite frequently and that makes the exchange of ideas much more fun, which is what this hobby should be, no? Besides, put 3 gear fanboys in a room and you’ll get 5 opinions. And they’re all 100% correct!!!

    • This is a little harsh. OK, everyone knows Steve’s reviews are full of hyperbole, and the superlative “awesome” gets over-used (to the extent he may have to invent a word to better it, :oD) but readers should be able to read between the lines and form an independent opinion.

      He publishes images using lenses he, subjectively, tests and we can all see them. To be honest, I don’t much care for those from the T, I don’t see much in the IQ at all that Steve seems to, and we are looking at the same images.

      • Something happened and my last sentence got missed off.

        My posting should end with

        “But to say he is now “owned” by Leica is a ridiculous and stupid comment.”

        • I dont think Steve is bought and paid for by Leica, but I cant see anything even remotely special with this camera, especially for the laugh out loud stupid price. I would never, EVER pay good money for this epic failure by Leica.

          • Hey Joker,
            Perhaps “epic failure” is a bit harsh… The Quality of Leica products, particularly their lenses, is irrefutable. I would be more inclined to call this “T” System a niche product.

      • Well, we’re all human, and Steve appears to own this site. How’s that for TRUTH staring you in the face? Anyway, I’d appreciate a little (maybe a lot) less hyperbole, and some more humour in the comments section. As for the reviews? I can make up my own mind; I don’t let others make my buying decisions

      • If I want to see more generic review, I just go to the other site. What I like most about Steve’s review is he is biased in very convincing way. It’s not easy to review like him.

        • This is an interesting concept: “being biased in a very convincing way”. One is either biased, or one is not. If one takes the corollary of what you said, how would someone come across who was biased in an unconvincing way?

  158. Touch screen on a Leica is a deal breaker for me.

  159. Steve, does the T have a bulb mode?

  160. Steve, will the VF-2 by olympus evf work on the leica T?

  161. Thanks for the review Steve. How you rate the Leica T701 compared to the PEN E-P5. I’m owner of a E-PM1 with zuiko 17mm 2.8 / voigt 25mm 0.95 / 45mm 1.8. I had a Coolpix A but sold it for it’s slow autofocus. I love olympus fast autofocus en superb image stabilisation. I’m ready to get myself a E-P5, but there’s still doubt to maybe get this Leica. I just love the Leica color rendering. The M system is far above my budget, this isn’t. Any suggestions?

    • I love the E-P5, it’s a superb camera and I have not had one issue with the so called shutter shock with the camera. The T is much different. It will AF a little slower than the E-P5 and E-M1. It will not have the 5-Axis (Leica says no IS to maximize IQ) so you may miss it. My suggestion is to rent one when it comes out for a few days or a week. Lensrentals is awesome for this, I rent things all of the time! (and yes, I pay 100% for them even though they are a sponsor). The T is really fun to shoot, to hold, even to learn with. But the E-P5 is the same way so hard to say!

      • Thank you Steve. For sharing with us and the world your passion and the joy for the photographic experience. This is why we (I) read your site, make my purchases through it and will continue to do so.

      • Thanks Steve. I just pulled the trigger and got a refurbished E-P5 on Ebay.

      • Thanks Steve for excellent review.
        Is there a way to use the camera tethered?
        At least there should be a way to remotely release the shutter?
        Re manufacturing the body from Al block:
        It might be quite economical, since virtually no expensive tooling is required. Design goes from CAD to machine rather quickly. One can get the prototype overnight. This approach might save 1/2 yr from design to production
        For production there is no need for expensive tooling. Molds are costly and are advantageous mainly for high volume production.
        NC machine can make 10+ housings/hr. It could run 24/7, almost.
        One can double the production rate just by getting another machine.

  162. Steve, where is the EVF made? Is it metal like the wonderful Sony EVF I use on my RX1R or cheap plastic like the one I have on my X Vario?

    • It is plastic and no idea who makes it…yet. Trying to find out.

      • It doesn’t say on the info plate when you tilt the finder up?

        I can’t imagine the new T can match my RX1R in overall IQ. I’m constantly amazed at how great the photos look with this camera.

        My X Vario comes close. But still there’s a depth and clarity I get from the Sony that places it at the very pinnacle of quality.

        • The T can never match the RX1 in the look and feel of the photos it puts out. It can beat it sharpness (by a teeny margin) but you will never get the RX1 look from a T and you will never get the T look from an RX1. They give out totally different signatures.

  163. Not worth selling my a7R for this. Leica T is just another point-and-shoot with different lenses. BTW, made in Portugal, not Germany.

    • made in Portugal?

      • Leica did build a brand-new production facility in Portugal, last year I believe, but according to Leica there is a new production facility in Wetzlar set up specifically for the T. So unless something comes to light to the contrary, and shame on Leica if it does, then we should believe what they say.

        But, the sensor is from Sony, so this begs the question who makes the camera’s electronics eg. processing engine? I doubt that Leica makes every internal component in-house, so apart from the machined body shell, would “Assembled in Germany” be a truer reflection?

        • The glass is German made, and Sony make sensors for many,many makes so should 98% off the worlds cameras have the “made in XXXXXX” adjusted? Even the latest Rolls Royce is mostly made in Austria but designed by the UK so get real.

          • Jay,

            “so get real”.

            Unfortunately, you are so off the mark with this statement. There is a lot of kudos attaching to “Made in Germany”. Why is it that film Leica’s, and Rollei come to it, that have “Made in Germany” attract more attention that those that have “Made in Portugal” or “Made in Singapore” on them?

            German glass? But the lens is MADE in Japan and this is what I’d expect to see stamped on it. This in no way implies that it will be inferior, Leica wouldn’t allow that, but to a Leicaphile, would he not prefer to see “Made in Germany”?

            Have you not heard of companies that source all their product components abroad but claim the product is made (note: not assembled) by them?

            And as for Rolls Royce? Well no British motor enthusiast considers them British. They are German cars now, German owned and made, not British. So they legitimately carry the Made in Germany, or wherever, label. As for design, if the designs only were produced by a Nigerian, would that make it a Nigerian car?

            I stand by my original statement: if the majority of the innards are not made by Leica but sourced from outside (Germany) then the “Made in Germany” is a misnomer.

            • Regarding the “Made in xx” comments, IMHO, in today’s “global village”, I admit it’s getting hard to pinpoint the actual place of “origin” of any complex item. For example, I still consider the Honda Accord a Japanese vehicle even though it’s “made” (assembled) in Tennessee! By all accounts, it’s still a “Quality” car. I think the same can be said of lenses or cameras. As long as the design is good, and the assembly (including raw materials) is up to the specs of the “brand”, then I think it’s reasonable to expect performance to be of an equally high caliber. That said, I too, still cling to this mindset that if it’s designed AND assembled in Germany, for example, it MUST be superior in quality. But logically, I do realize that Japan and other countries can also produce very high Quality items as well!

              • stevetqp,

                On a slightly different tack, but apropos to this subject, there is a practice in the UK whereby a number of food suppliers source product from outside of the UK, such as chickens, and which are bred in inferior conditions contrary to the latest EU Regulations. They are not British chickens, but because they then process them within the UK, they display the Union Flag on the package.

                This is is a deliberate ploy to confuse British consumers who think they are buying British produce, and naturally, the higher price reflects this,

                Is this important to know? Yes, it is, as there is now a widespread understanding in the UK of the suffering the chickens endure under the intensive battery farming methods, now banned in the EU, but prevalent on non-EU countries, and the majority of the British public abhor such conditions and prefer buying chickens who have not suffered.

                With apologies to anyone expecting a Leica T connotation. :o)

              • Point taken, TerryB…I agree that it is sometimes good to know the origin of a product. Thanks for the education about “chickens”…

              • Steve,

                I love chicken, so the best I can wish them is a happy life before they give it up to please me. And good one, the EU, we Brits are not all against it.

        • I saw an article that says all internal electronics are designed by Panasonic, a company that is co-funded by Leica and Panasonic in Germany. X-Vario was the first product that they did.

          • False information. Panasonic had nothing to do with the camera or the lenses. That was a rumor before the camera was launched, speculation. Not true, and yes, I verified this with Leica.

          • This is very interesting, especially as it has been stated that Panasonic will not be making the lenses.

            Nothing wrong with that decision, especially if Leica doesn’t feel Panasonic lens facilities are up to what they want in what one would call a proper Leica lens, as opposed to a Leica designed and badged Panasonic lens on a Panasonic camera.

            On some Panasonic mini-DVD video cameras, they produced models that looked very close in specs, but one had the Leica branded lens, and the other had a Panasonic lens. A friend has a Leica badged version and I have the Panny. And do you know what? We can’t tell the difference.

            It may make sense in the context that Leica does not want untoward associations with their badged lenses on Panny cameras. It could send out a wrong message, if people were saying it isn’t a Leica lens, as we all know the Panny lenses aren’t, however good they may be. Wasn’t it Coca-Cola that made the point “It’s the real thing”?

          • It’s all semantics. Factories are factories, Leica can say Panasonic doesn’t make the lenses, but the factory that also makes Panny lenses is probably the factory making these new T lenses. Being involved with electronics supply chain, it’s funny how much people care about badges on products and where they are made, when in the end, there really aren’t that many differences between factories. What’s different is the level of engagement the customer (Leica) has with the factory in ensuring the quality of the product doesn’t drop, and it’s obvious Leica will be more involved than a bigger company like Panasonic.

    • Only the M to T mount converter is made in Portugal as it says on the side labelling

    • It is indeed partly made in Portugal.

      Today there was an article on a portuguese newspaper about the new Leica facility in Portugal. They are making the Aluminium Unibodies – Including the hand-polishing.

      Then, the bodies are sent to Germany for the final assembly – I can imagine that this is made on a automatised production line, to very strict quality standards, like everything in Germany.

      Workers in Portugal are very skilled, and the salaries are much lower than in Germany. Would you really expect German workers to polish a camera for 45min, and sell it for under 2000 dollars ;) ?

      • Joao,

        This is another nail in the coffin for the “Made in Germany” tag for the T1. OK, the body and finishing is in a Leica facility, but in Portugal, not Germany, and so is the adaptor. The EVF will undoubtedly be of Japanese origin, the lens is made in Japan, although apparently using Leica glass. The sensor is Japanese and no doubt much of the electronics could be as well.

        Looking at the touch screen, one reads “Leica Camera Wetzlar Germany”. This is not the same as “Made in Germany”. But it is sailing close to the wind and many may not appreciate the difference.

        The Portuguese workers will be every bit as skilled as those in Germany, I’ve no doubt about that, otherwise Leica wouldn’t be using them.

      • Yes. if the skilled Portugese can polish for 45 minutes, why can’t the skilled Germans do the same? so tell me again, WHY are Leica’s so expensive? Because they are made in Germany? Really?Or because they are made cheaper in Portugal and then sold at a German price to the rest of the world? I hope at least the Portugese workers get a better than average local salary for working on a product that is going to be sold at a premium price.

        • FACT: German workers will get paid more than the Portugese workers. If it was hand polished..every single T..in Germany the price would be $3500 for the body only. Even being polished in Portugese, if indeed this is the factual truth (I have yet to confirm this with Leica) makes no difference. It is still a human being dedicated to his job with just as much worth to him as a German worker. Canon, Nikon, sony, Olympus..no other camera company takes this kind of care to assemble a camera. You get what you pay for. You also get pride of ownership. Many people love this aspect of Leica and some do not get it, and never will as they do not care about such things (usually because they have never experienced it). Any way you look at it, Leica has ALWAYS been expensive. ALWAYS. They have never been cheap or competitive with Nikon, Canon or anyone else. Why do some think it is a shocker after all of these years? But pre-orders have been very strong as I predicted so it is already doing well for Leica. They are also very committed to growing this new T system and I see new lenses, fast primes and by the time a 2nd body is released I will bet money that it has an integrated EVF, but this is at least 3 years away.

          • Steve,

            I can’t see how one German worker polishing one body can possibly add $1,700 to the price. Surely, if anything, it should only be the difference between what the Portuguese finisher gets paid per hour and what his equivalent German co-worker gets?

            • It is never like this with ANY business or ANY product! You should know this. Look at any high end product made in Germany (Cameras, Cars, Etc), Italy (Sonus Faber Speakers, high end espresso machines) – there is a price to pay for it. Always.

              • Steve,

                I don’t disagree with you as a generality, but you DID say that if a German polished the body, it would cost $3,500 (each). So this means that the only change in the production line was getting a German to do the polishing, and therefore the only variant in the production cost was the hourly wage paid to a German. And it only takes 45 mins for the polishing anyway.

                So following your line of thinking, 45 minutes input from this German worker has added $1,800 to the price of each and every T.

                In your response, you have confused total overall production costs with the input cost of just one part of the production chain.

              • Hey everyone,

                Of course it is about costs. Work is cheaper in Portugal than in Germany. However, Leica has a tradition of working in Portugal. They have been producing parts for cameras there for about 40 years and some of the workers have worked there for way over 20 years. It is also the only Leica facility outside Germany. So we are not talking about China-low-cost standards. Those are very skilled people.

                I have read that the making of the unibody is a very complicated process and it is even on the limit of what is possible to make with aluminium. If you think about all the R&D costs – They have to pay back the investment and cannot sell the camera for peanuts.

                In times when electronic manufacturers have left the US and Europe for lower income countries, it is still nice to have brands which still manufacture their products in the EU. Think about Apple and the new Mac Pro made in the US. It is nice.

                With that said, I don’t know how much of the Leica M is made in Portugal… I have no sources on that.

                I just wanted to point out, that the video of the guy polishing the camera, was probably not filmed in Germany ;)

                Joao

              • When something is made in small quantities by any factory, the cost is much much higher to produce than factories that pump out products made by the thousands. Leica will make a much much smaller amount of the T than say Olympus makes of the E-M1. This raises production costs. Anyone who has ever designed a product from scratch knows the cost of not only R&D but the cost of getting that product made in a factory. If that factory is not in China when you make your small run of mostly hand assembles products it is going to cost you a fortune to produce. This is another reason why Leica’s are so expensive. They are made in very small quantities when compared to Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, etc. Add in the premium materials, hand assembly, etc etc and you have a camera that will of course cost more than the average mirror less that is pumped out by the thousands using plastic. Many do not even think or know about this fact.

              • It’s called “greed.” Speaking as someone who works in components supply chain for an airplane electronics manufacurer, cost of materials and factory labor isn’t much of a factor in final product price, especially with robots doing all the precision work. The major costs are in overheads. Leica camera isn’t a big company and they are outsourcing much of their production for the T, so what’s left is the profit they want to make from the little red dot. There’s a reason Apple makes the most profit out of all electronics manufacturers, high margin, pure and simple.

  164. Thanks for the thoroughly awesome review Steve! What a cool camera! I think it’s wonderful that Leica – a company that truly respects beautiful industrial design, simplicity, and the analog connection a human has with the camera – has created a digital body that seems to have the most intuitive and attractive user interface, the most stunning housing, and sweet image quality at a price that is only a few hundred dollars more than an EM-1, or XT-1. I’m really excited to try one :)

  165. I wonder how different the review and comments would be if this exact system had a different brand name on it.

  166. How come Steve liked the Nikon V1? I don’t think the same person could be owned by Leica!

  167. I have been thinking about getting this for a while, but I decided to pass it after some research. I like IQ and specular body design, but the lenses are too expensive, although it might be a bargain price for Leica lens. I will keep using A7 + Contax G lenses for my digital rig. I really wish Zeiss or their partner will release Zeiss Ikon or Contax G digital for a bit more reasonable price.

  168. interesting question. The researchers have not yet, to my knowledge done comparative blind testing while subjects are hooked to those PERT brain scanners, on different scanners.
    The take away from studying other products is as follows:
    A good result seems to involve activity in the areas of the brain involving what ever the products utility is, and some of the pleasure are. When an iconic logo is present on the product, you get more pleasure activity, and activity in the areas related to perception of status.

  169. Great review. What an interesting camera. Leica already has a great ff small camera in the m9/mm/m240, so releasing a Smaller sensor camera makes sense. I amazed that anyone would be critical of the sensor in the T camera. The Leica Vario currently has the best IQ of any non ff camera (including all of Fuji’s) on the market. To get the same if not better iq with multiple lenses …. Amazing. I currently have a M9, x100 and d700 so it’s probably not for me. I still respect the camera however… And once a few more lenses are out…. Maybe the x100 gets replaced.

  170. Fantastic review as usual Steve its no wonder Leica chose you to test and review a pre-production model, Kristian Dowling had the camera for a little while longer and got 2 firmware updates ironing out any minor “bugs”.
    Looks like the LEICA T will be my 7th Leica in my collection as soon as funds will allow
    Regards
    Jamie Bell
    Author of “Yo Leica” on Kindle, IOS, Android and PC

  171. Ok, I have to admit I feel like I am missing something with this camera.

    Admittedly I have not held one or used one, so anything I say must be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, The Leica T strikes me as a Sony NEX with just better materials on the body construction and a higher price tag. Now there is nothing wrong with that mind you, but I don’t feel like it is a lot to get excited about either. I just don’t see a lot of value or practical reasoning for buying one.

    Or am I completely missing something?

    I love Leica mind you, and am the owner of several Leica rangefinders, however with all the mirror-less options out there right now, on paper I just don’t see any real advantages or reasons to buy the Leica T unless you just really want that premium body construction.

    • Well, in use it is nothing like a NEX. Thats about all I can say. Best bet would be to go to a Leica store and check it out, or rent one when it is released. It’s not a game changing camera, and as I said, any other camera today will do great but it all comes down to what each person likes. The T does have unique IQ that matches the X1, X2 Vario, etc in the look of the files (crisp, sharp, fantastic color).

  172. The new T zoom is a relatively “slow” zoom with f/3.5-5.6 uncannily similar to the zoom on the X Vario with f/3.5-6.4 but you seem to go easier on the T zoom compared to the justified negatives in your review of the X Vario. Might you go into the differences between them that led to the different conclusions. I also note that Leica “corrected” the zoom settings on the X Vario to reflect their 35mm equivalents where that isn’t done on the T zoom. Did you get any idea of Leica’s thinking of this?
    Keep up the GREAT work. Because of you I purchased an X2 and an M 240 and now the T is definitely calling me!

    • Not true at all. I stated in the Vario review that the zoom was superb..in good light. Amazing in fact. Same thing I say with the T version. The + thing with the T is that you can take that zoom off when the lights get low. I would not use the zoom in low light. I’d swap it for the 23 or an M lens.

      • With my X Vario, when in low light I just crank up the ISO. The camera is quite forgiving, especially in b&w where higher ISO tends to mimic film grain.

        I use my X Vario mostly for b&w. But if I’m in a dark environment shooting color, I attach the superb Leica SF 58 strobe flash set to bounce. The resulting images are excellent.

        Steve, as usual you produced the finest, most comprehensive review. But I think my next Leica will be an M 240. Or perhaps I’ll wait till the next M comes out with a touch-screen and a built-in EVF that can be switched from the rangefinder option.

  173. Steve, I like your reviews. Can you comment on the shutter lag with the Leica T you reviewed?

    • Well the camera I had was not final but when I shot an image I did notice a lag in the EVF when it was replaying the image. If I was in C mode it did not have a problem but in single shot mode there was a slight lag between shots. This is not really shutter lag though. As for that, I did not notice any real shutter lag as I think most cameras today are pretty good in this regard.

  174. I think Steve’s commentary regarding Leica design decisions is spot on in regard to it’s comparison to Apple. The difference is that when one purchases a MacBook Pro or an iMac, you’re not charged extra for the inclusion of a screen or keyboard. Heck, many of the basics are already included with zero bloatware when you buy a Mac.

    In a number of ways, Apple is a lifestyle brand, albeit one that many people prefer from a UI perspective to PC’s. In most ways, Leica has become a lifestyle brand like Hermes or some other high fashion, expensive brand. It doesn’t mean those expensive brands are of poor quality. It just means that the value proposition doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense if you value, well, value.

    Unlike Apple, Leica asks that you purchase a lens to use with their $1850 crop sensor camera. They ask that you purchase a $350 lens adaptor to use legacy Leica lenses and they ask that you pay $600 for an EVF. And how much was their standard zoom lens again? I am pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of a built in flash, though.

    It’s a really cool design for a camera, as all Leicas have been, but that red dot means big bucks. Lifestyle products are never cheap, nor are they for everyone. I bet that when I have a chance to see and hold a T, I’ll like it. But I don’t see ever wanting one.

    • But Apple products are relatively free of problems. Leica? And, unlike Leica, Apple products don’t cost twice as much as they should.

  175. Steve. will the leica x2 dig view finder work with the T Body

  176. Great review Steve. My only quarrel is in comparison with your previous review of the X Vario. It seems the T has, at its core, the same superb IQ performance. It appears that the T camera has the same slow variable focal length lens issue that you pointed to as a serious flaw in the X Vario but you do not with the T. I understand the new styling and handling of the T makes the comparison difficult, but is the T a real step up between the X Vario and the M system? For $1400 less than the T with zoom lens one can have the black X Vario. The T may bridge the gap between X and M but with the limitations of the T do you think the X Vario is still as flawed as you described in your review?

    • You ust have missed where I mentioned this in the T review. The X-Vario is stuck with that slow zoom as it is an attached permanent lens. The T is not stuck with the slow zoom. I said when the lights get low or you want some shallow DOF take off that zoom and plop on a fast aperture lens, either the new 23 f/2 or an M lens. This is something you can not do on the vario. Also, the vario was large, hard to hold, had button placement issues, etc.

      • I suppose my complaint is joined by the fact that plopping on the f/2 adds another $1800 to the kit. I know the interchangeable lens factor adds value and the new design adds to the experience but I believe the x vario’s performance with a fixed lens (and considering price) is a more appealing choice. The T may add value for one stepping down from a M system with available lenses, but for a photog, with a budget, I’m not sure the T makes sense. Although, it is beautiful.

      • no no the xvario is a very fine camera… with the better german made zoom!!!!

  177. One more thing Steve… Leave the critics (of your reviews) to their work. Zero stress is its own reward.

  178. Looks like a fantastic camera. When you demonstrated the pop-up flash and battery, I just died. So elegant and cool.

    I do wonder about two things: Is there a quick way of getting the image preview to zoom in to 1:1 to check focus? DSLR’s usually have a button for this.

    For long exposure photography I have doubts that this camera is capable. Does it camera have a bulb-mode? And what about filters like NDs and polarizers?

  179. Futuric body; antiquated sensor.

    • It is Sony’s latest CMOS APS-C Sensor and Sony are the market leader each pixel is multi faceted and being CMOS its the most efficient user of power (very low drain).
      Advanced Photo System type-C (APS-C) is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the Advanced Photo System “classic” size negatives. These negatives were 25.1 × 16.7 mm and had an aspect ratio of 3:2.

      Sensors meeting these approximate dimensions are used in many digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs), Mirror less interchangeable-lens cameras (DSLMs), in addition to a few large-sensor live-preview digital cameras (such as the Sony DSC-R1, Sigma DP1 and Leica X1) and a few digital range-finders (e.g., the Epson R-D1).

      Advantages and disadvantages[edit]
      Comparing smaller and larger sensors, keeping all other factors the same, image quality increases with a larger sensor due to its higher resolution. Besides yielding a lower resolution (or lower sensitivity), smaller sensors also have other effects. They increase the apparent focal length of the lens, which means that the lens appears to be “longer” (e.g. 450 mm instead of 300 mm). If the lens is not perfect, geometric distortions (near the picture edges in particular) may decrease with a smaller sensor. And of course, camera size, weight and price decrease as sensor size decreases.
      So Leica have chosen wisely and to keep it compact.

  180. Steve,

    Good review as always. Thanks.

    Leica should have this before the mini M. If they can crank out enough volume, it will out sell the M, mini M and micro M combined. Hand made, that is questionable. Cast magnesium should be good enough for it.

    APSC sensor is good enough to live with for me. Does Lica going to produce an adapter for R lenses? If not, will third party vender allowed to produce it?

  181. Nice and extensive report Steve, a pleasure to read this one

    You write: THIS IS LEICA..a real German-made Leica will NEVER EVER be cheap my friends
    True, but 1800 dollar, will be euro’s here, is good pricing !

    You it’s Apple Like ! 2 remarks:

    1. Yes for the back, no buttons, touchscreen, simple…love it
    2. No for the extra EVF, Apple always goes for stat-of-the-art

    Last but not least I share your preference for a build in EVF/OVF, if they go from 1800 to 2300…a no brainer
    I think The Fuji still have there an advantage with the Hibryde View Finder

    Overal…. nice camera and lens this T

    • Hans,

      Is it good pricing? First deduct your countries VAT to arrive at a pre-tax cost. This represents the base price in the EU. In the UK our VAT is 20% and I’ve seen suppliers listing the camera at £1,350 for the body, so the base price is £1,125. The £ is strong against the $ at the moment, so the conversion into $ is pretty much on target at $1,890.

      But there is a flaw in my figures. Have you any idea what it is? In the EU there is no import duty between EU member countries, but goods to the US should attract US import tariffs and/or duties. But my figures don’t allow for this. So, on the face of it, Leica could be subsidising its US shipments. I understand that some, but not most, States in the US have local taxes, but prices are invariably quoted without the tax. So now you may see the EU price may not be such a good deal after all.

      However, the potential issue for US customers will be when the exchange rates fall against the $ when it turns and strengthens, we in the EU will be immune from this, but the US won’t then watch the price of the T rise accordingly. Unless, of course, Leica really does subsidise its US exports.

      I did try researching US import regulations etc, but it was so complicated I had to give up.

      • Hi Terry

        Yeah it is hard to understand the Why in this.
        Harley-Davidson just use 1 world wide price, so there are very minor differences.
        VAT in Holland is 21 % and there are local differences per country concerning warrantee and tax on electronics for environmental issue.
        Apple is doing the same as HD, however i bought my iPad Min 10% cheaper in Thailand due to tax difference.

        The last time I bought an ONA Bag at B&H, On a is Italian=Europe, With customs Vat and Transport i was till 20% cheaper than being in Holland

        So with Leica most of the time this ‘German produced’ product is cheaper in THE USA than in Germany…beats me.

        Europe is now talking for a free-trading zone which includes europe and usa, but u wil still see differences in local taxes per state or environmental taxes.

        And the strange thing is when the Dollar is weakening opposite de Euro, the Euoprice of USA based products stay the same.

        So subsidize could be a mechanism, depends on market size. Europe is about 450 million people,vs USA 320million…

        So most of the time i look at USA price + VAT (21) + transport… is that still cheaper than here in NL ibuy it there, even so for used-goods

  182. Very interesting review. For the first time in a long time I’m actually interested in the Leica offerings….That zoom looks fantastic actually despite the ‘slow’ paper spec…I wonder how it would fair in the dull light of the UK.

    Every since I’ve made the switch to mirror less I fully get the comment about photographing life….I really like high quality small camera’s with great glass…

  183. Steve,

    Aside from your great review, that photograph of the two gentlemen betting on horses (and loosing you add) is outstanding. It captures the environment, mood and connection between the subjects.

  184. Hi Steve

    Good review, thanks for the effort you put into the website.

    I’ve aspired to Leica for some time and I’m seriously considering the T with the fixed 23mm.

    To my mind, the age of the DSLR is over. Why do we need a mirror which flips up and down in the digital age? They used to say, “With a DSLR you see what the lens sees.” But with an EVF you see what the sensor sees.

    If the T sells well, I fully expect a full frame autofocus touchscreen camera from Leica in a few years. The day may come when they move on from the rangefinder ethos. Sounds like heresy, but if the T was full frame it’d be perfect.

  185. Thanks Steve for your clarification on the fact that it is impossible to use the EVF and trigger a radio slave unit at the same time with either the X-Vario or the T cameras. The Leica T camera system would work for me at wedding receptions, event photography, and magazine editorials if (and only if ) I could use the EVF and my auxiliary lights simultaneously.

    At 61 I am tired of lugging the 1Ds III and 24-70 combo around for four hours and would prefer to shoot the lesser expensive Leica equipment in those event situations. The T camera is producing professional images and has the tank-like build quality which is very appealing. Sorry Leica, but for all of your genius in lens quality, camera innovation and construction, you eliminated the very population that would grow your sales: The working professional. Sincerely Disappointed!

    • Yes, at 61 (my age as well), “tired” becomes a relevant issue. I could give you some tips.

    • M.A.D. …

      You won’t be able to use the EVF and external lights at the same time on the Leica T.

      Have you considered the Fuji X-System? The X-T1 would probably serve you much better:

      – Better sensor with much better high ISO performance

      – Bigger, brighter EVF (and, yes, you can still use Pocket Wizards, etc.)

      – Less weight

      – A VERY quiet shutter; quietest focal plane shutter I’ve heard (maybe about the same as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, I should say)

      – A greater range of optics (with more on the way), and a greater assortment of faster glass.

      – Fully weather resistant

      – Wireless remote control from your smartphone; wireless upload to your smartphone

  186. I am the proud owner of an M240 with 28 and 50 crons and a 90 sumarit. The set-up is superb as are the lenses. I enjoy using it like no other camera that I’ve owned apart from my vintage Rolleicord and marvel at its simplicity of operation.
    However, coming from AF, I have to admit that there are times when I feel a little lazy or am tired of manual focussing. Even with the EVF. The high pixel-count and the ability to pixel-peep with the digital M240 means that it is critical to hit focus spot-on. It may have been a little easier with film Ms but the M240 is very unforgiving.
    So, to me the main attraction of the T is the AF. Finally a Leica interchangeable lens camera with AF. My eyesight is still good but there are many amongst us who cannot enjoy their Ms due to poor or failing eyesight. And it’s good to know that when my eyesight is also on the wain, that I do not need to focus manually if I want to continue using Leicas.
    The design of the T is simply breath-taking. I, like many people today, crave beautifully-designed objects (such as Apple products) and the T will be as cool and iconic as the Ms in years to come. The solidity of the milled aluminium will provide tactile presence and exude high-quality. The uber-moderne touch screen looks like being a software (UI) as well as hardware tour-de-force.
    The T adorned witht the EVF, looks extremely stylish, as does the smart new strap and adds to the over-all aesthetic appeal of the T.
    All in all a very desireable package indeed.
    But all said and done, I am on the fence about getting one right now as I am still loving my M system. If the T has focus-peaking then I will most likely get one to use as a travel camera (the M240 is quite heavy) so that I can also use my M lenses. But I think it doesnt (have focus-peaking???) – which is a HUGE ommission for me.
    Will the T be a hit? I do think that they will sell well (comparatively) but even more so if the prices were lower. The design is so strong and the Leica name so famous in the photo world that even if the camera was mass-produced in Japan (Iphones are made in China) to hit a lower price point, it would still sell well.
    Apple turned around their fortunes with the Ipod and then the Iphone which were premium-priced but still affordable by the mass market. They are made in China but this doesnt deter the general public from buying (and manyworshiping) them.
    Leica could easiliy have used this strategy with the T to turn around their fortunes. The T could have been the mass-market Leica. But at the rumoured prices – especially for the lenses, it will only appeal to a limited market. Shame, as the T deserves more.

  187. Steve,

    Thanks for the nice and useful review. It seems that we share many common view points and experiences. I have an E-M1 and the 21/3.4, 35/1.4, 50/2 M Lenses. I find that in low light the 21/3.4 is not as easy to focus using the E-M1. From what I read the T has a 6X magnification vs the 14x of E-M1. So if you would compare the manual focusing of the two cameras which one is better? Is the EVF needed or helpful in MF?

    I love the looks and the ergonomics. I cannot wait to see what the new M will be like? Based on the reviews that I have read, after reviewing the T at the local store I will be tempted to sell my E-M1. E-M1 is a nice camera.

    • Manually focusing for me was easy, I rarely used magnification as the EVF was very crisp and easy to see when the image was in focus. I only used the 3X mag when I did use it.

  188. ” If Apple made a digital camera, this would be it!” Sure it would… ;)

  189. Steve,

    Yours remain the best review site, for as much your enthusiasm, word selection, and simple hard work as is the fact that you are embraced and criticized by so many on any given review. That is the sign of independence! Keep it up.

    The question that to me is not quite answered within this review is how the new T has gained the immediate capacity to replace your beloved little OMD-EM1. I’m going to miss your consistent references to that as a go to camera for when you are personally shooting, the lens discussion you bring to the Micro 4/3 table, and your enthusiasm as to the format. I read that you are keeping your Panasonic, but mostly as I understand it for video work. I’ll too miss the OM1 images you post from time to time. It seems such a joy to you personally, and despite all the praise for this new APSC offering I still don’t have a real sense of why it beats the EM1 as your non-full-sensor alternative to your M240.

    This query is particularly important to me as I am trying to decide which system to invest in as my ONLY camera: Micro 4/3, Sony A-series FF, or the best APSC offering which seems clearly to be the Leica T.

    • We have to move with the times ….film will not be available for much longer and I’ve finished with darkroom printing and chemicals Tri-x and HP5 years ago. Bite the bullet sell up and get a Leica T system together..I am, just like I think Stev,,Kristian and many more will as they can use the amazing M glass and focus manually.

  190. I agree that if this camera came from any other manufacturer than Leica, there would not be so much excitement about it. Limited native lens selection is another reason for me to stay away from it. EM1 is a better option.

  191. Quoth SteveH: “The surprise is that there are NO buttons or dials on the back. It is 100% touch for the settings and menu. BTW, this is nothing like those Samsung Android cameras…”

    Which is funny, considering almost the entire electronics package in the T comes from Samsung…

  192. Looking carefully at the camera specs and build and I am wondering, who will buy this camera? No matter how well the camera is made and it is obviously made to extremely high levels, digital cameras go out of date so quickly because of sensor development that it doesn’t make sense to me to spend a whole load of bucks on what is basically, a camera which is APS-C and which competes in a very hotly contested world of other extremely competent cameras at a third or less of it’s price. This seems to me to be trying to be the equivalent to the Contax G range of film cameras which, in their day were the best, along with Leica film cameras in the compact, interchangeable lens, film cameras. The Leica T, in my view, is like the Contax G, an exquisite jewel of a camera that is built for rich people to pose with, and, as such, will not sell, except to Leica afficionados and maybe not even to them. If it was full frame, it would sell like hot cakes even if the price was a $1000 more so I think Leica has made a mistake and the camera will bomb, time will tell.

    The body may well be made with a solid billet of alloy but it is still a sensor based digital camera of APS-C. I wonder when manufacturers will get the notion of a beautifully built camera like this with a sensor and electronics that can be upgraded so the money spent on a high quality camera will not be wasted when the inevitable mark 2 comes out. Wishful thinking.

  193. Having read through the whole post once again, I’ve decide Jack Larson gets the award for the funniest entries. Humour has a place here at last!

  194. Steve, is there a bulb function or equivalent to allow for exposures beyond 30 seconds?

  195. Don’t just sit there! OK

    I’ve read the review and the comments. I was personally looking forward to this camera. I love the I

  196. Did I see a film mode in the menu? Please explain Steve!

    • By the way, Im a different John Paul than the the other guy who complained about this being an x vario, sincerely want to know about the film mode… huge fan by the way! keep up the good reviews! Please answer my question lol.

  197. Looks nice, But there could be one thing that could effect sales for Leica and that is the new Sony A7s, it also takes M lenses via a adaptor and because it’s not up against a rangefinder the look and feel issues are irrelevant.

    • The only weakness of the A7 is when using wide angle Leica lenses IMO. Also to some FF is a weakness as you need to stop down more to get sufficient DOF. Many prefer APS-C, many prefer FF. I love FF sensors and the FF look which is why I own an M and adore the RX1 and A7. Totally different cameras for different people. You can buy an A7 for the cost of a T. So at the end of the day, will a T and 50 cron be better than an A7 and 50 cron? IN some ways, yes. In others no. With the T you have to buy the EVF, A7..it is included and built in. The T feels better in my hand, is much more quiet and feels “faster”. But the A7 will offer better high ISO, more creamy results and super shallow DOF if you want it. Two different experiences. The T will give better color without question.

  198. Hi Steve,

    Does the Leica T come with face detection?

  199. Steve, if it’s possible, I’d like you to ask someone at Leica why they released the 23mm (35mm equiv.) before, for example, a 34mm (50mm equiv.). The 50mm lens takes pride of place on the M (and the 75mm on the S). So why not the 34mm on the T?

    Once again, thank you for this review.

  200. This seems like an exciting step for Leica, but does the T make the X-Vario redundant? the X-Vario wasn’t realised that long ago really, seems a big odd to me, the T would be a little more expensive with the zoom lens but considering longevity, that little extra spent make the T seem like a better option in the long run?

  201. Wow! A really great review of this very interesting new Leica camera… From all the above comments by so many people, some loving it, some neutral, and some out right hating it, it is fair to say this Leica T is polarizing readers here as well as on many other sites/forums.

    I think this product is a new milestone for Leica because this camera contains features and functions that are departures from Leica’s core philosophy. Namely autofocusing lenses… As well as other automatic features not found on the M or even S system cameras.

    Photography as an art form continues to evolve, so photographers need to evolve their with their craft as well. No built-in EVF? Simply learn to shoot from the LCD screen. No big deal, and not so different from viewing, composing and critical focusing on a 4″ x 5″ ground glass of say a Speed Graflex from 70 years ago right? We’re humans, and we are supposed to be superior because we can adapt better than other life forms…. So just adapt and stop bellyaching.

    On a personal level, I had never been able to afford Leica products, but the asking price now becomes more accessible and hopefully I will find a way to get this camera.

    I do have a small complain regarding the price of the zoom lens… Regardless of it’s optical prowess and built quality, the specification and overall description suggest it is a kit lens. This is a big mistake by Leica to try pricing it otherwise, and a big factor in fueling the haters of this product. What Leica should do is withdraw this lens, and tweak it into a Quad Elmar lens providing fixed focal settings at 18mm, 24mm, 33mm, and 56mm. Like the WATE lens of the M system. Then without much redevelopment cost justify the premium pricing of the ‘kit lens’.

    While at same time keeping on the Leica reputation of optical mastery and difference from other manufacturers… Lol, ;)

    Thanks very much for your review Steve.

  202. good review, i like ti UX no other camera is offering as of today…well done Leica …but still a stretch for many to reach :-( for the moment i will have to stick to my Fuji XE-1 hope to upgrade to Leica one day .. hope dies last

    • Looks like the dealer sold or is selling his dealer demo model and lenses, which he is not supposed to be doing. Most stores received a full demo set of the T and lenses. That is all that has been shipped out as of to date, until the end of May. Wonder if this dealer will get in trouble..they should.

      • Steve,

        Did you spot that the receipt was from Harrods, the very famous up-market department store