The Leica T Software Correction Conspiracy

The Leica T Software Correction Conspiracy!


It appears that long running camera review mega-site DP review has found out that the Leica T applies software correction to the 18-56 zoom lens in JPEG output as well as when using ACR for processing the RAW. By reading some of the comments in that article it appears that the Leica haters are out yet again and acting surprised or shocked at the it was some kind of conspiracy and Leica was trying to hide the fact that they apply corrections. But I am here to tell  you that there is No conspiracy!

But the truth is, this is not a big deal AT is the norm. Why? Well, because just about every camera today provides software corrections to fix barrel distortion or vignetting in lenses. It is a fact of life in digital camera world today.

So what are just a teeny sampling of amazing cameras that apply corrections?

The Sony RX1 and RX1r for starters. When you turn off the correction in these cameras you will see massive barrel distortion. This does not take away from just how special and good the RX1 is. In fact, it is still, IMO, the best 35mm IQ you can get today and yes, at $2800, the RX1 applies software correction to their 35mm f/2 Zeiss lens. They have to as the lens is so close to the sensor. It takes nothing away from the IQ or experience or value. In fact, it helps to make it what it is.

The Leica M9 and M 240. The Leica M’s apply correction to the M lenses to fix vignetting and corner color shifts. Again, it is a sensor/digital thing. Even the $11,000 Noctilux needs some correction in camera.

Various Sony, Fuji, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus and DSLR’s. They all apply some sort of in camera correction to many of the lenses. It is just how it is with digital and one reason why results today are better than they were many years ago when this digital thing was still new. This is no longer the old film days, we are high-tech in 2014.

So it should come as no surprise at all that the Leica T, just like the M and X-Vario and other brands of cameras apply software correction so the image quality comes out as we expect it to. To keep sizes small, and quality high software correction is needed, and they all use it. Yet by some of the reader comments over at DPreview you would think that Leica broke some law or rule by doing what all other cameras already do. Strange. Again, nothing new here at all.

When I viewed the camera and lens in NYC with Leica (before getting a review sample in a private meeting, just me and them) and questioned the high price of the zoom I was told “but these are real Leica lenses, superb performers”. Leica never said to me that they did not apply software correction with the T, but they never said they did either. Then again, I did not ask! Why? Because it is to be expected as EVERYONE does it, even Leica with the other (much more expensive M and X) cameras. It is nothing new, or shocking or earth shattering. If the T did not use corrections it would be an incredible feat, even beating out what the M and the latest Sony tech can do.

Did they tell DP review that there were no software corrections? I do not know, I wasn’t there. If they did, that was silly of them to say.

To me it is a non issue. All that matters is the final output and if that final output is superb and up there with the best, it is indeed a non issue. Now just how bad are the files without corrections? I am not sure… but again, not really an issue as I have not witnessed any distortion or problems with the shots I took for the review. Why? Because they were corrected automatically as they should be  🙂

I remember my 1st day reviewing the Sony RX1. I looked at the JPEGS and they were awful with barrel distortion that I did not expect. I approached Sony and asked what was going on. They said “Oh, you have to enable corrections”. I asked “why are they not enabled out of the box”? Of course they had no answer but once I enabled the corrections there we no issues and I was rewarded with the best IQ I have ever seen from a 35mm camera. Again, a non issue! No one made an issue of that one yet the Leica haters are already starting the nonsense like silly children bickering on the playground. It is quite amusing.

Leica does not have a secret magical method to avoid what no one else can as it is a digital/sensor thing. What matters at the end of the day is the output and if the user is happy with it. if it takes corrections in camera or in RAW to do this then so be it! I’d rather have this then a lens 2X the size and 2X the cost.

Do I think the zoom is overpriced? Yes of course I do. Just as I said in my review I feel it is overpriced by $600 or so. Nothing has changed 🙂 Even so, many will buy it and many will love it to death as it delivers superb results, and that my friends is all that matters from any lens. It is the best 18-55 style lens I have had the pleasure of using when it comes to IQ and build but it should be for the cost. So again, no surprises. 

My T will be here at the end of the month and I am excited to test it with the 23 f/2 as that seems to be the jewel of the two for the look most Leica users are searching for.

For those that did not feel the need to read what I wrote and skimmed down to the bottom? MORAL of the story…

ALL cameras these days use software correction. Leica M, Leica M9, Sony RX1, A7, Leica X Vario, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, etc etc. It is the reason why IQ is so good today and why cameras concentrate on the processing engine and software. It is one reason we enjoy such amazing quality from all cameras. Even the Canon 24-70 is corrected by some Canon bodies. That is a $2200 lens. Leica never said TO ME that they do not use software correction, they said the lenses are real Leica lenses and of high optical quality, which they are. Corrections on the 18-56 mean nothing just as it means nothing when the Sony RX1 is massively corrected or the Noctilux is corrected on the M. ALL that matters is the final output, period. With the T the final output is superb.

If Leica made the T zoom in Germany and it was optically corrected to the level of a Zeiss Otus and lets say they made it f/2.8..well, it would be HUGE, HEAVY and about $5,000 and people would be up in arms attacking them for it. Look at the cost of the WATE M lens that gives you 16-18-21mm. People just have crazy expectations and somehow think Leica would release Zeiss Otus quality glass for $1000. Leica will never be low priced, ever. If it is not for you it is not for you.

Anyway, Have a great weekend everyone! I will be traveling next week so will be on the road shooting the M, the Sony A6000, and a couple of other things 😉

The site will still be updated as always!


  1. Hi Steve,
    thank you for the grade review.My question is which IQ you prefer the IQ from Leica T or the IQ from the Olympus OMD (1..10).in your opinion?
    Thank you and greeting from Germany Jan

  2. Oh dear, oh dear.

    I’ve just received DPR’s latest newsletter. In their preview of the T, they now say this:

    “During pre-launch briefings for the T, Leica was very keen to stress the optical quality of the new lenses. Most interestingly, we heard that they relied on optical corrections, rather than software, so as to project the best possible image onto the sensor.” (This is copy and paste, as was my earlier submission, so no room for me to misquote them.)

    Now, “we were told…..” has been quietly substituted with “we heard…..” and it could mean the same if what they “heard” was factually correct. However, as I posted elsewhere, to be told something is emphatic (and by inference not open to other interpretation) but “we heard” is open to misinterpretation, just like the Chinese wall.

    • Any news from DPR on the actual source of the info? They must have made taped recordings. Or video, even. In the case of Leica denying they were working on a compact system camera, both BJP and Amateur Photographer provided taped evidence. AND they followed up by asking Leica, specifically, for clarification after Leica dissed them in public.

      With the DPR case we are still stuck with hearsay. “We heard” vs “We were told” mean the same thing. Semantics.

      Also, “we heard that they relied on optical corrections, rather than software, so as to project the best possible image onto the sensor” doesn’t sound like Leica said they ONLY used optical corrections, to me. That they did not use software corrections AT ALL. They were talking about correcting the lenses to project the best possible image on the sensor. So? Who doesn’t? Did they say what they did to that projected image AFTER it has hit the sensor?

  3. M lenses are dual use, i.e. for digital and film bodies The latter can’t do corrections. And some deficiencies don’t show on film, i.e. pixel shading and colour shift in the corners.

    T lenses are not meant to be used on other bodies than T. Makers of third party image processing software depend on Leica data on required corrections or have to find out themselves. The latter would defeat the purpose of a matched, all Leica-made system of lenses, bodies and software. Perhaps raw shooters and users of external software are not the primary target group.

    Ultimately it all is down to the question whether Leica was dishonest or misleading. Of course the myth of the perfect lens helps to justify the hefty price tags. But the T 18-56/3.5-5.6 has similar specs and size as other lenses for APS-C mirrorless bodies. Within these parameters Leica can’t do miracles, only by more accurate lens grinding or assembly, additional computing or exotic glass materials. Lenses with better image quality than the competent competition tend to be larger: Zeiss Otus, Sony FE 55/1.8, Sigma 50/1.4.

    Leica T lenses are similar to Leica µ4/3 lenses, made by an unnamed Japanese OEM. But R&D and tooling cost need to be divided into substantially smaller production numbers. Irrespective of production cost the Panasonic-Leica consortium will not allow a Leica-distributed line of lenses (and bodies) that compete with µ4/3 at similar prices.

    • My (limited) understanding of how sensors work suggest that if you built lenses for film, they would need software correction on digital bodies, particularly in the edges. Leica mitigates this slightly in the digital M’s by having offset microlenses. Other compact cameras don’t have microlenses, which is why most don’t do well with wide angle M lenses.

      This suggests that if you went the other way, and built lenses that were optically corrected for digital sensors, I doubt they can be used on film.

    • “T lenses are not meant to be used on other bodies than T. Makers of third party image processing software depend on Leica data on required corrections or have to find out themselves. The latter would defeat the purpose of a matched, all Leica-made system of lenses, bodies and software. Perhaps raw shooters and users of external software are not the primary target group.”

      I have read that even some Panasonic lenses don’t work as well on Olympus bodies, yet they both adhere to m43 specifications.

      You could use a T lens on, say, a NEX body and theoretically have the corrections applied in post-processing software, instead of in-camera. BUT then the mouth of the T mount is much bigger than most others except Sony/Minolta Alpha. Which suggests you can’t use them on other compact camera bodies anyway, unless you used an adapter with a special glass element.

      People who want to use a T lens will have to get a T body. That seems to be the message Leica is sending.

  4. Steve, you skipped the part where DPReview said Leica specifically told them no software corrections were applied. The story was not about the corrections, but about the discrepancy of what Leica said and what Leica did. Seems fair game to me.

    • Yes. And it is only fair for DPR to give us the hard evidence that Leica said this to them. “I think they said that” doesn’t sound very convincing.

  5. This is really a non-story.

    Everybody does software corrections nowadays.

    The Leica S has an adapter for Hasselblad HC lenses and Leica even does software corrections for the Hasselblad lenses… just like Hasselblad itself obviously…

  6. I really like Leica for using software correction on this lens as it just makes so much sense with this camera system. Would be strange if they did not. This lens is desinged to use it on the T and no other camera. So if they need software correction to make the lens much smaller and cheaper (apparently not that much, but it´s still a real Leica) and manage at the same time not to loose VISIBLE image quality, why should they not do so?
    Not to use software correction and on their m-lenses on the other hand makes sense because people want to use them on their manual m7s,6s,5s … and then on the m9/240 they digitally correct all the problems that come along with a digital sensor. If they produced M-Lenses for digital sensors only they would defenitly have some lenses that rely even more on software correction because it makes sense in the digtal world.

    Some people above said the problem ís not that they use software correction, it´s beacause Leica lied.
    Cmon people! You relly think they are that stupid? Telling one person (dpreview) it´s not digitally corrected and another one (eg Steve) the opposite. There clearly has been some missunderstanding.
    And If they really did so: BAD LEICA!!!

    And in the end this lens will beat most of the competition for built and image quality, but not the price. So if you don´t like that don´t go for Leica. I don´t cause I´m a Sony fanboy 😉

    I rally can´t see the big problem here,
    but that´s internet. Sometimes just annoying, sometimes kind of funny.

  7. But wouldn’t we all feel at least slightly disappointed if cameramakers (certainly Leica!) would just stick some cheap pieces of glass in front of the sensor, and do the rest with software? Come on, get real!

    • Why not? If you want small and compact lenses on small and compact systems, you can’t beat physics otherwise. Not with current sensor technology. That’s being realistic. I’ve never found lenses with 58mm or 67mm filter diameters on the Fuji mirrorless to make any sense; you might as well just get a Pentax K.

      • Well, Origami, I’ve always respected Leitz for being able to design and manufacture excellent optics that, in the digital age, rely on optical corrections “rather” than on software corrections. I would rally regret them leaving that course in favour of “sticking cheap pieces of glass in front of the sensor”.

  8. Isn’t that a rather philosophical discussion? It starts with the genesis of a digital picture: An algorithm is used to convert photons into a photo.

    And then, who doesn’t use auto white balance for his photography for his leisure photos? I set my own white balance only in a few, sheltered situations when I know the light won’t change for a while around me (e.g. closed rooms at night).

    The rest is done in Aperture — I don’t rely on the camera (I have an M9 for my main) to get everything right. I shoot everything in RAW, usually with lens correction. I sometimes go “bare” with my Zeiss 21mm for natural vignetting but only once in a blue moon.

    Who would mind auto correction of barrel distortion? I can’t see a trend where you look at a picture saying “oh look at the beautiful banana effect on the lamp post”. Seriously.

    What I’d find very interesting is a kind of “unplugged mode” where you could get rid of most auto corrections. But this mode would only make sense if you don’t post process the pics. Which would defy the purpose and leads me to my original argument: Does this really make sense?

    • I agree, the digital trip is about manipulation from beginning to end. No reason to derail the trip at the lens.

  9. The reason why you would design a lens for software correction, is that you can focus on the things that can’t be corrected in software. A lens that has to correct everything will probably do a few things worse than a lens that doesn’t have to correct for distortion.

    Distortion is corrected well in software, and will not lower resolution (much) compared to doing it in the lens. Doing corrections in the lens decreases resolution as well. Bend light, shuffle pixels. A combination of lens correction, and software correction is the best move.

    A zoom lens with nice background blur, high resolution, good contrast, no aberrations and no distortion is probably not possible to do without software. Distortion is pretty obvious, but it’s definitevely the first I would give up, because it’s hard, or impossible, to correct many of the others in software.

    Also, corrected distortion introduces new distortions. Things in the edges will be stretched, which sometimes makes a corrected image look much worse than an uncorrected one. So, I would argue that it’s stupid to correct a lens for distortion with a digital camera.

    • Staffan,

      Regarding your third paragraph, if by “no aberrations and no distortion” you mean none at all, then you would be correct. But some designs can get very close to the ideal, with little sacrifice, except perhaps weight and size. See the post from Francis, #37, and my response. If only Sony could transplant a modern sensor in the R1.

      • I’ve never owned or even tried the Sony R1, but found it very interesting at the time. As I recall, it wasn’t very fast writing RAW-files though.

        The point I’m trying to make is that distortion is the least important flaw of a lens in the digital world. Even chromatic aberrations have a greater impact on final image quality, because you lose color data. I use DxO, and keep correction on for architectural work, but turn it off for many other things. I prefer wide angels to be completely uncorrected, as they will actually give the best representation of proportions.

        Also, you only lose resolution compared to the uncorrected image. Comparisons to a lens-corrected image can’t be made, unless you somehow design the same lens twice – both corrected and uncorrected. But then they won’t be the same lens anymore.

        On the other hand, correcting in software makes it less compatible with other systems, as the correction is lost when the lens is converted. People tend not to convert auto focus lenses though, so I’m not sure it has any real meaning. Maybe in 20 years time when you need that -10s look…

  10. Dear all, this has been the least relevant “discussion”, since I started reading Steve’s blog!

    • Probably because it’s about the least relevant camera and lens that Leica has ever put out! 😉

      • I beg to differ. IMHO, it is the first real up-to-date Leica advanced “point-and-shoot”. C’mon, not everyone is into the rangefinder thing, but perhaps want Leica quality paired with modern concepts… A MILC at an affordable price, with its lens lineup, and able to take M-mount lenses – I think they will sell a ton.

  11. Lens correction can degrade IQ (adding grain for example when removing vignetting). There is almost always a tradeoff when a lens needs software correction. When lenses are tested and compared to the market it is only fair to compare the lenses with AND without their software/in camera post processing. Still its true that such kind of processing is nothing (Leica) specific. But that is how i see it only.

  12. This issue is not about the camera applying corrections.
    Its about Leica stating that all corrections are optical.


      • But, take a look at the uncorrected RAW image. It is clear that Leica is not applying any significant optical correction. In fact, given the asking price, this is, IMO, a very poorly corrected lens as regards curvilinear distortion. And the fact that this may be seen in other makes of lens, doesn’t make it excusable or acceptable. If it were, it is tantamount to saying Leica is no better than the competition.

        With pukka M lenses, at least one knows what one is paying for.

          • I understood your point very well. I was moving on and asking people to look at the uncorrected RAW image where it is clear significant software correction is needed to correct the severe barrel distortion this lens exhibits.

        • You’re now applying subjective words. What is significant to you? Again the point is that DPR claims Leica said “only optical correction”. Not optical and software.

          Now you’re saying the software correction is not significant. That is your judgement.

          • It would appear that we speak a different form of English from each other.

            “Now you’re saying the software correction is not significant” is NOT what I said; This is:

            “It is clear that Leica is not applying any significant optical correction.”

            Couldn’t be much different, whether you wish to use subjective or objective criteria.

  13. When the Panasonic Leica 45mm f2.8 macro lens was announced for m4/3 in 2009, dpreview said that Leica would only allow the Leica name on lenses that were not using software corrections. Perhaps that was true at the time and perhaps dpreview just assumed that Leica had the same stance today with their own lenses. Or perhaps that is a requirement for co-branded lenses only and dpreview assumed it was a requirement for all Leica lenses. I don’t own any Leica gear, never have and probably never will, but I think it is unfortunate that dpreview has made the fact of lens corrections into an issue of dishonesty/ false advertising, especially without providing all the background info as to where/how/when and who was supposedly lying.

  14. I’m wondering if dpreview had edited the article?

    Someone told me yesterday that dpreview wrote Leica had informed dpreview there is no optical correction and they did find it was a lie.

    I checked the article this morning, but there is no sentence like that, but many comment was upset not about the optical correction, but about the lie.

  15. I agree with Steve on this one, he was only pointing out the reaction to DP’s review of the Leica T.
    These are people who have never held, tested or reviewed the camera, but feel they can pass judgement about the camera and the ethics of a company.
    This was a design exercise as a whole package from camera body to lens kit.
    Who really cares if there is software correction.
    I don’t feel sorry for these Leica haters.

  16. This is pretty simple, if Leica claimed it’s all lens and no SW correction is used then yes, it IS a BIG issue. If they didn’t, then sure, a non-issue.

  17. To mis-quote the great bard of Sratford Upon Avon, “Methinks certain people doth protest too much.”………and that certain others get too excited about nothing.
    I’m a Leica owner and user of many years (and much cash) and even the great, and I really mean “great”, lenses for the S system, with the possible sole exception of the 180mm Summarit, have some from of digital correction applied in software such as Lightroom. It’s not massive correction like some other system lenses but it’s there all the same.
    It really sums up photography to me nowadays that some people devote so much energy and generate so much heat by a non topic instead of getting out there and taking photographs, which is what it should all be about. In photography, unless direct cheating for gain is involved, it’s the end result that counts, not how it is achieved.
    Sermon over.

  18. I like Leica stuff, but making a post defending them against random internet comments seems just as silly as the “Leica haters.”

    If it’s a non issue then why are we making it an issue?

  19. I agree with you Steve, this is nonsense. Today, most camera manufacturers include those lens corrections. But saying the Leica zoom to be bad is a step too far, the pictures it makes are razor sharp and this confirms the quality of the lens. Here, Sony could ask a 200$ more form some of there cameras and include such a lens, at least a much better one as the collapsible crap they give with their APS-C cameras. From there again to say the Leica pricing is honest and justified, is another step. Here anyone has to judge by himself, I would not pay triple price for any material to get 5% better pictures, but that again is to anyone to say yes or no. Leica is far too expensive, but as it sells for those prices, why would they change their policy, if it fits them that way. Too bad you have no been born female, maybe you could have gotten a new Leica for mothers day, hahaha. So, wait for fathers day then…

    • Because the message doesn’t appear to be to your liking, there’s no need to shoot the messenger.

      It may be true that there are people who are envious, or jealous, of those who, for whatever personal reasons, use Leica equipment, and if their comments are motivated by envy or jealousy then they must be deplored. But the comment of “Sad people these Leica haters” should not be used as a basis to stifle legitimate debate.

      Ignoring the technical arguments discussed in this discussion, what is basically at issue here is an ethical and moral question. Is it ethically and morally OK for Leica to make (misleading) comments about their lenses and which, if true, could, or may, be construed at aiming to support why their T lenses were superior (to the competitions’) and, by inference, to support the higher price Leica demands?

      I don’t see why this shouldn’t be a subject for open, and honest, debate.

      • Hi there Terry!

        I still have my old 50 mm 1.5 and my other two leica lenses. I have sold my M9-P, I received a good offer and since the majority of my shootings demand autofocus ability the choice was quickly made. The summilux and summicron lenses I kept because – they are (at that time) just wonderful by any standard.

        At some point I might decide for the M240 or a follow up if I get more time for photography again.

        The point you make is a very interesting one about ethics and moral – this involves an aspect of reputation and of business strategy as well, which decides what products you want to launch – it can not be about margin alone.

        As a business you need to innovate – with the T I am seeing Leica making a step forward. Leica sells experience, quality and places themselves in a certain market segment. Thats why I and many other people are prepared to lay down the money.

        Lets see in the final reviews what the true experience is!

        Cheers and good light Terry!

  20. May I take a moment to inject a little summary of the issue here.

    It does appear that DP review were informed that the lens was optically corrected, and it does appear other sites were told something similar.

    Steve was not told this and his review and conclusions reflected that.

    In a truly practical sense, forgetting about Leica being able to get away with higher than regular pricing, one would expect that for $1800 the lens would be far better corrected optically than say a $200 kitty. In time this can be tested and such comparisons made, but it is highly likely the new Leica will prove to be a good performer with the corrections applied and for the average user I guess that is what matters…..


    It is certainly not true that software correction is a good as optical correction, correcting vignetting increases noise levels on the edge of the frame, chromatic aberration always means that at least one of the channels are focused fore or aft of the sensor surface and therfore not in perfect focus ( I can promise a lens devoid of CA always resolves the edges and corners of the frame better). Likewise correcting distortion causes cropping of pixels and some degree of resolution loss, mainly along the outer edges and corner of the image.

    There are very good reasons to produce an optically corrected lens if one is desiring to produce a camera and lens combination that performs at the highest level. Leica appear to believe precisely this.

    So it is fair to assume that you are getting something extra or better for your money, the extra effort and difficulty of designing and producing such a lens would justify the expense and on close examination of the RAW files results would be evident by the slightly superior files.

    But if Leica are saying the lens is expensive because it is optically corrected etc and indeed promoting the benefits of such correction, but actually producing a lens that is no different to say a good kit lens, lets say a fuji one, then perhaps photographers have a justification in feeling a bit dudded.

    As Steve and several have said results are what matters, true they do, but the fact is if the lens is truly optically corrected the results will be identifiably better and that is worth paying for, if it is not optically corrected but merely software processed it is therefore no different to any other kit lens and the high price is not justified. Regardless of the fact that everone else is doing it!

    Yes Leica gear has always been more expensive, but truly in the past it was justified by being superior in an optical and functional way….the question it still superior or are you paying for a name and past reputation?

    • After reading the DPR article, it seems to me that the issue is not that Leica has told them that the lens is optically correct, and that this is what Leica had also told other review sites. If so, this would be a fair — if tremendously obvious — statement to make: which lens is not optically corrected??? The inference, therefore, is that the lens is far more optically corrected than other compact lenses.

      The issue is that DPR is saying that Leica said the lens is ONLY optically corrected, without any software corrections done whatsoever. Now this is totally different from “this lens has been optically corrected”. Other sites I have read say Leica told them that lens is HIGHLY corrected optically. But DPReview seems to suggest that Leica had instead told them the lens had ONLY been optically corrected.

      Big difference there, mate.

  21. If some can make lenses that does not need distorsion correction by software then there is no excuse for others to charge more for a lens that needs it (as says it , those great fuji primes like the 14, 23, 35 and maybe even the 56 have no need for software tweak, although the zooms need it, at least those lanched till today) 😉 Weird thing is that the Touit 12 and 32mm lenses from zeiss need the software. Pity.

    • Yep, now I find my Fuji 35mm a treasure in comparison, even my fixed zeiss in my sony R1 doesn’t rely in software corrections, although not perfect it hasn’t so much distortion as the leica lenses (it’s big of course but I know that I’m not losing data).

      • Francis,

        Agreed about the Zeiss lens in our R1 units. Measured optical distortion at the equivalent 24mm w/a setting is a low 1.1%, and at its 120mm tele end there is no measurable distortion. It has an almost equivalent aperture range of f2.8 to f4.8 to the T, and this is a 5x zoom, but it is big.

        Regarding vignetting, at f2.8/24mm setting, it was below average at 16%,and barely discernable; at just one stop down, it reached just 12%, and stayed the same throughout the range.

        This sort of optical performance was available in 2005, but the penalty is weight and physical size. It is not a sleek modern CSC.

  22. This thread has really alerted me to something I wasn’t aware of. Does my D800 apply software corrections of any kind to my raw images, shot with my lowly 1.4 primes, which are inordinately expensive? As much as that would be needed (LR4 offers the option), I certainly hope not. I prefer to deal with the imperfections myself.

    • Michiel.

      It got me thinking about my A7, too. Checking this out, it is clear that with Sony E mount lenses the camera will correct jpegs for vignetting, CA, and linear distortion, but the functions can be selectively disabled. And I assume RAW files remain untouched. Which is good news. Also, with third party lenses, no corrections at all will be applied, leaving me to do this with third party software..

      • TerryB and Michiel953, I know for a fact my beloved Sony RX100 corrects lens distortions in camera, even for RAW, and this can’t be turned off (article proving it here: Honestly, I’m fine with it, because the results speak for themselves. My Canon 6D has the ability to do vignette and chromatic aberration corrections for Canon lenses and I turn these features on.

        I know there are a lot of photographers out there who don’t like the thought that automated corrections can’t be turned off, even for RAW. I personally am not bothered by this trend. I believe the manufacturers know their lenses better than anybody and they would know best how to correct the shortcomings of the lens. Maybe it’s because I’m an engineer, I tend to trust that the lens engineers and designers know what they are doing.

        Artistically speaking, I understand that the “faults” of lenses can be used creatively and photographers have been using vignette, distortion, etc. creatively for decades. I find it ironic that the camera and lens manufacturers are moving towards correcting all lens faults, while modern photographers have started adding back in vignettes, doing selective distorting, etc. in post processing, and they have no clue these were once undesirable “faults” of lenses.

        • Hi, Jonathan.

          Wow, that is some curvilinear distortion. However, the in-camera corrections work, and this is what is important. I was surprised to learn that the corrections can’t be turned off for RAW. However, the more I thought about it, with such a degree of distortion and this being a potential cause of problems for third party RAW modules, it began to make a lot of sense,

          This seems to be a good example of a marriage between an optical design and modern day technology. And this is probably the extreme example of what is possible, and not too expensive either.

          I followed up on my A7 as I regularly set this to RAW+jpeg shooting and I wondered if the facility to turn on or off the in-camera corrections was “dooable” in both individual settings, and it is.

  23. Oh, Leica did so bad things like software correction?? Realy??? It is so stupid like Toyota told everyone that a Audi is using Gas and destroy the enverionment

  24. Steve,

    I couldn’t resist this which someone posted on the internet, albeit nothing at all to do with a photographic context:

    “The truth may sometimes hurt for a moment, but the pain you experience from a LIE CA(n) last forever.”

    I like the play on words, which I’ve capitalised for visual effect.

  25. The problem is not that is it software-corrected, nor is anyone talking about a conspiracy. Software correction is so par for the course it is no longer news. Even less is it Leica hatin’.
    If you sell a $1700 18-56/3.5-5.6 and extoll its optical qualities and then not only correct the JPEGs but also the RAWs automatically then that’s the problem. You shoot RAW to get the unadultered image so that you can PP as you wish.

    Even Steve said “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)”

    What if the Otus was found to have software corrections? Nobody would say “the results are what matter”. You paid 4 grand for the glass.
    What if the T wasn’t a hand polished but machine-polished? “Results matter”?
    What if it weren’t a block of alumimun but aluminum-plated composite? “Results matter”?
    What if were actually made by Panasonic? “Results matter”?

    Of course results matter, but for that price most wold’ve expected something better.

    No hate. No conspiracy, simply that making the best slow zoom with software correction at 1700 is not what most expect of Leica.

    • Almost all lenses get correction today and there is a reason for this.

      Let us take a look at a $2300 lenses from Canon. The 24-70 2.8 II zoom. Does it get corrected in camera? Yes it sure does with some Canon bodies. Why? Because it needs it even though it is a $2300 lens. Canon has always been less expensive than Leica but in this case, Canon is more expensive and guess what? The lens still needs some correction! Sure you do not have to have it corrected but it gets much better with it. It is what it is. As for your other statements, I could care less WHO makes the T lens, I said this before. If Panasonic made it that would have been great actually…the Nocticron is jaw droopingly good and made by Panasonic and comes in at $1600. Well worth it too. So if Panasonic makes the T lenses, it would be fine with me though that would mean Leica told a fib. The T being hand polished? It does not relate to output at all like a lens does so it is not even relevant to the conversation. The polishing adds to the value and the beauty of the camera as well as the pride of ownership. Why should Leica release a plain old plastic body like everyone else? Then everyone would say “Its plastic like a Sony, I thought Leica was about quality”.

      No matter what they do, haters will always hate. No matter what. It’s sad that so many waste time behind their computers complaining instead of going out and shooting and enjoying using their cameras. What did you expect from Leica? A perfectly optically corrected zoom, small size, high build and coming it at $1000? Not even Canon or Nikon can do this. The T lenses..if they were made in the new Leica factory in Germany, to the level you would like then that would mean a price tag of $5k per lens. THAT would be a disaster of epic proportions, and they knew this.

      Leica has never been cheap, ever. Never will be. Ever.

      • C’mon, Steve. Compare cheese with cheese.

        “Canon has always been less expensive than Leica but in this case, Canon is more expensive….”

        The Canon f2.8/24-70 is more expensive, but it is also a constant aperture f2.8 full frame zoom.

        • Its 2.8, its 4x the size and weight, yep. Its Canon. Even at 2.8 you would expect ANY Leica lens to be more expensive. My point is that the Canon also needs correction, costs more than the Leica for the same focal range. Would you not expect optical perfection in that Canon for the cost?

          • Steve,

            I’m sure you do know better than to compare two completely different lenses, purely on the grounds that they have the same equivalent focal length range? And surprise, surprise, the FF constant f2.8 aperture zoom costs more then the T’s APS-C sensor run of the mill f3.5/5.6 aperture lens which is common to about every other APS-C camera kit lens going.

            No, I wouldn’t expect optical perfection, because I know no lens is. It is how closely the maker manages the distortions that is of interest, surely?

            So I’m not really surprised to learn that it does need some correction. But, I also don’t know by how much the Canon lens does distort and therefore how powerful the digital correction needs to be.

            The Canon isn’t cheap at $2,300, but how much a Leica lens of the same specification, if one were available? This would be the valid comparison.

          • Steve, The Leica is a very slow, variable aperature lens made for APSC mirrorless. Of course it will be smaller, lighter, and should be MUCH cheaper than the Canon, which is a professional, constant aperature, F2.8 zoom, made for a full frame DSLR. The Canon certainly improves with software correction, but that is only with the newer cameras, and it still is pretty darn good without it.
            Software correction for a lens can a good thing. It allows companies to make lenses smaller, lighter and cheaper, as the designs don’t have to be as complex. So why is this slow kit zoom so expensive? Because it has a red dot.

  26. Steve their gripe is only with the fact that they were told by leica that the corrections were optical and not done by software. They don’t have any actual problem with the fact that software correction is used and they say that the results are good. They justifibly fell that they have been mislead

    • I have nothing against dppreview or their post. At all. My post is not a complaint against dppreview, not at all! It is a post pointing out that they discovered something no one knew, so I was sharing the news and also sharing my thoughts on it.

  27. I googles at least 10 sites that stated Leica corrected these lenses optically, so Leica must have disseminated this information, or “terminological inexactitude”, Churcill’s euphemism for a lie, at their launch. In itself, software correction is not a major problem, although it reduces micro-contrast and increases noise, especially vignetting correction, but they should have been transparent.

    • I agree. If they told others these lenses were only corrected optically then it is an issue. Not sure why they would do that unless someone was speaking that was not aware of it. Odd.

    • Stephen, would you be so kind as to share your Google search results? Though I do remember reading (probably on DPR) the comment about optical correction, I had much more difficulty than you did in finding supporting material on Google.

  28. Sorry Steve, man, but I can’t agree with this one. The Leica T was promoted as having optically corrected lens and no software corrections. I accept I could be wrong on that one but that’s what I remember reading around (all over web) when it was announed.

    And yes, at the asking price and the brand name I expect the higher standard. Otherwise it starts losing some unique. No?

    Optically correct is always better.

    • Again, not true at all. The T was NEVER EVER promoted as not having any corrections to the lenses, never. Can you provide a link to where they promoted this? Where they say “The T does not use software correction”? Id love to see it. They said, and I repeat once again, that the T lenses are all optically good/superb, etc. They are. As I also stated, the best 35mm lens I have ever used, the Sony Zeiss 35 f/2 on the RX1 is heavily software corrected. Does not make it a bad lens, not at all. It is praised as one of the best, if not the best 35mm for full frame. So, as I said in this article, doesn’t matter in the slightest as all that matters is the output and the T output is fantastic. Period.

  29. I think people are surprised because the assumption is that for a $100 kit zoom, cheap materials are used and optimized for sharpness leaving digital correction to make up for metrics like vignetting and distortion. However, in a $2000 lens, one could assume that Leica spared no expense and used more exotic types of glass to offer higher optical performance and no digital correction, like what Zeiss has done with the Otus.

      • Good example Steve, the Otus is as perfect optically, as one can expect in a lens. I just think for the money, people were expecting more of Leica.

        • Following Steve’s reasoning, Leica is making compromises in lens design for bulk and weight reasons. Maybe they’re not the only lens manufacturer to do that, even though that might come as an unwelcome surprise to some.

          • That’s not such a big secret: in explaining why the X Vario zoom is so slow, Peter Karbe said it was a conscious compromise. To keep the image quality high while keeping the size and weight down. Congratulations for hitting the nail on the head, even if you didn’t mean to. Haha.

      • I disagree. The Otus is a highly corrected 55mm f1.4 for a slightly-larger-than-FF image circle. A highly corrected 23mm f2 lens for an APS-C image circle can be much smaller and also cheaper. Also, the difference between f2 and f1.4 would make a huge difference in size; The Leica APO 50mm f2 is made for FF and is *much* smaller than the Otus. For $2000, the 23mm *should* have been optically better and required less in-body correction.
        The Otus doesn’t offer digital correction because it is designed for 3rd party cameras and can’t rely on digital correction, so Zeiss worked hard to make an optically superior lens. Leica is being optically “lazy”, cheap and disingenuous.

        • Well no one has tested the 23mm for correction yet to see what is being done to it. Only the zoom. No one knows what is happening with the 23. But as I said, the best 35mm f/2 lens I have ever tested has been the RX1 lens, and it has plenty of correction going on in software. This leads me to my original statement. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is the final output unless we all just want to be geeks and nerds and obsess over things that really have nothing to do with making the images. The Otus is 20X the size of a 23 f/2. If Leica wanted to make it (the 23) perfect for the T system it would be larger, heavier and probably come in at $4500 instead of $1900. But again, no one has checked what kind of correction is going on with the 23. All I know is that the output from it is beautiful.

          • To test it all you have to do is import a dng to Picasa and compare it with the same dng (or a jpeg) in another raw converter… The 23mm needs distortion correction…

          • I agree – it looks to be a nice lens and focal length (identical to the fuji x100). It’s just unfortunate because the lens can’t be adapted to other systems. In 10 years from now, if Leica drops the T system (like the now defunct R system), what will these lens “investments” be worth on other bodies that don’t have in-body digital correction? I use some Leica R glass on a modern FF body, and it’s an amazing experience because the lenses were corrected optically, not digitally.

  30. There’s photography and then there’s everything else. These days the “everything else” takes up way too much time, attention, printer’s ink, yakking, opinionating, and on and on and on …

  31. Well, on camera optics correction is now a way of life, regardless the type and price of the camera and lens. For example Hasselblad H series cameras and their Fujinon lenses had benefitted from lens correction from the beginning. Professionals never had any problems about it, and Hasselblad H system remains the professional camera system of choice despite their recent faux pas such as the Lunar.

    These so called Leica ( or Leica T ) haters, can scream conspiracy all they want, but lens correction is also found in whatever DSLR or mirrorless cameras/lenses owned and used by these critics as well.

  32. It is only embarassing for dpreview. They simply got the message wrong.
    For good image quality you need to have good hardware first. You might correct/optimize your image in a second step by software and actually all players are doing this nowadays. But you won’t turn a shard of glass into a Summilux Asph. by software correction. So, dpreview turn the noise down.


    • The problem here is there is clearly a dpr comment about what Leica said at the presentation. And this is why they were surprised when the image was opened to get the message they did. Either this statement/comment by Leica has been reported correctly (and with respect to you, why do you assume it hasn’t been?) or it has been reported in error, or it has been misconstrued by dpr. If it wasn’t said, or it was misconstrued, then may one expect a retraction from dpr?

      Whatever, I would say that no one posting here, really knows one way or the other. Sides have been taken and the lines drawn, and this is what I find amusing, as the facts of the matter aren’t actually clear, are they?

      For me, as I said in an earlier post, the actual practice of using digital correction isn’t an issue. What would be if I was asked to pay a premium price for a product that was said not to use such methods and that its optical performance was entirely due to the characteristics of the lens and not to electronic means.

      And no, for any that may wish to strike back that I am a Leica hater, read it here: I own seven Leica film cameras.

      • I never said they reported anything incorrectly, quite the opposite. I said that they (meaning Leica) never said the camera did NOT use software correction. Read what DPreview wrote. Leica never told them “the T does not use software lens correction”. They told them basically the same thing they told me, that the lenses are all optically fantastic, and they are. Just as the Sony RX1 35 Zeiss is among the best I have used, beating the Leica 35 Summicron on the M. Though that 35 Zeiss has pretty bad distortions before being corrected in camera or in software. Still, hand down, the best 35mm I have ever shot with. So what Leica said is correct, and they never did tell DP review the camera does not use software corrections, even DP review is not saying they said this. Only those who read it wrong are 😉 Dp review posted correctly and I enjoyed their post. It was many of the comments in that post that I found ridiculously odd.

        • Steve, what is causing confusion here is what dpr have said in their own site, and I quote:

          “Most interestingly, we were told they relied on optical corrections, rather than software to project the best possible image onto the sensor. So with this in mind, when processing some images from the Leica T, we were surprised by a notification that Adobe Camera Raw gave us.”

          It is the use of the phrase “rather than software” which is crucial to the interpretation, as it precludes the use of software.

          If this statement is true, and it is indeed what Leica told them, then it is unequivocal. As I alluded to earlier, no one posting here really has a clue. I don’t obviously include you in this, as you were there, but there is clearly something not quite right, wouldn’t you agree? Either dpr got it right, or they’ve misconstrued what Leica said.

          • I was not with DPreview at all. Leica gave private separate meetings – in my meeting they never said anything about optical corrections or corrections of any kind. So what they said in my meeting differs from what could have been said in DP reviews meeting. Who knows. It could be that they were speaking on the 23 f/2 as well. For that lens they told me it was optically perfect, so maybe, just maybe they do not correct that lens.

          • Thanks, Steve.

            What you are saying does help explain a lot. All will be revealed when you and dpr get hold of the final production unit for testing, especially the f2/23.

            I believe a lot of your readers are now going to be very interested in this lens, for it that, too, uses optical correction, then it can’t be optically perfect. Now, I’m running with Leica on their comment about this lens. So if….. well this is jumping the gun.

          • The 23mm needs distortion correction from the raw converter as well. A specific review on a subscription site has shown this.

          • Lost in translation, nothing more. My wife is a native German and a full -time university professor in Michigan teaching English-German and German-English translation. Ever watched a foreign language film dubbed in English?

            Written translations provide for editorial reviews and corrections to be made. Conversational translations made by a speaker using other than their own native language do contain unintended errors, with the speaker often not realizing it unless someone interrupts and asks to confirm or clarify what they just heard.

            The German speaker that dpreview heard may not have distinguished in his/her own mind or words between automatic in-camera corrections vs. post-processing. Much ado about nothing IMHO.

          • You may well have a point. You only have to read the threads in this discussion to see that there are already misunderstandings about what people have actually posted.

            Face to face, discussion is easier as clarification proceeds apace.

            “Most interestingly, we were told they relied on optical corrections, rather than software to project the best possible image onto the sensor.” As I mentioned elsewhere, this statement is unequivocal, and ASSUMING it was said, This comment makes no reference to it being in respect of in-camera software or that of a third party. It says “software”.

            As I am sure you will appreciate this subject is likely to run and run simply because of what Leica is stated as saying doesn’t actually fit the facts regarding the optical distortions of this lens.

            Now, if Leica had, for example, said something along the line of ” We rely on a high degree of optical correction but to get the final result we desired it was necessary to apply a limited amount of software correction to obtain an image that is simply unobtainable by conventional optical means.” Would this have raised an eyebrow?

            The T lens is a kit lens of conventional 18-55mm focal length and f3.5 to f5.6 aperture range. Nothing at all extraordinary about this specification of the lens to set it apart from virtually every other APS-C kit lens. So that leaves IQ. If it is demonstrably better than the competition, Leica has made its point.

  33. Very much a non-issue.. don’t most m4/3’rd and some Sony’s do the same- who cares! Sour grapes.

  34. Dpreview clearly states in the 1st paragraph that:
    “During pre-launch briefings for the T, Leica was very keen to stress the optical quality of the new lenses. Most interestingly, we were told they relied on optical corrections, rather than software to project the best possible image onto the sensor.”

    This seem to be a run of the mill 18-55mm with a great build quality. Anyway I don’t think Leica has to justify its high price to anyone, and should refrain from making statements like this.

    And now to save everyone the trouble: yes I say this without ever touching a Leica T, yes I could buy it if I wanted too, yes you couldn’t care less, yes I will stay with Canon/nikon, yes I’m just envious.

  35. The only thing that matters is the final image. I don’t give a rat’s ass how the camera gets there.

  36. The source of the confusion is probably that Leica branded Panasonic micro four thirds lenses are not digitally corrected, while most other micro four thirds lenses are heavily corrected in software.

    Maybe Leica did lose a bit of its mystique here, but it has always been obvious that the digital M cameras heavily rely on complicated software correction algorithms, and it’s part of the reason for the high price. If not, you’d get what you get when mounting Leica M lenses on a Sony A7.

    • @Mike:

      “…If not, you’d get what you get when mounting Leica M lenses on a Sony A7….”

      Yes. Regular top notch results with the Wide Angle Tri-Elmar (WATE), Summicron M and R 50,Macro-Elmarit R 60, Summilux R 80, Summicron M 90, Elmarit R 135, Apo-Telyt R 180, Elmarit R 180 and usable results with Summilux M 35, Elmarit 28 and Elmarit R 19 (old)…

      And for the price difference between A7 and M240 I bought an RX1, some analogue cameras and a nice family trip to Spain…

  37. Leica’s Peter Karbe in an interview said correcting distortion by software is not desirable. And if distortion is in the order of 1-2 percent then its not that noticeable, anyway. It’s a fact that distortion correction kills micro contrast. Especially given how the micro contrast dives down for wide angles in corners it makes what’s bad worse. I have no problem with the software correction of RAW files although i wish to control this myself. What’s not palatable is that these APS-C lenses cost almost same as some of Leica’s own full frame M lenses which are made in Germany. For the 18mm end of this zoom the distortion is only a bit more than what I have seen in RX1 (and at 35mm focal length for a prime Zeiss lens distortion cannot be an excuse even for a f/2.0 lens). I think Leica needs to adjust the T lens prices downwards before they start shipping and before it gets turbulent.

  38. FYI:

    The first paragraph of the article:

    “During pre-launch briefings for the T, Leica was very keen to stress the optical quality of the new lenses. Most interestingly, we heard that they relied on optical corrections, rather than software, so as to project the best possible image onto the sensor.”

    And that is why one of the last paragraphs of the same article is a very positive conclusion (maybe dpr will change it):

    “We don’t generally talk much about image quality from a pre-production camera or lens, but it already seems clear to me that the 18-56mm is a remarkable performer for such a small lens. It looks to be impressively sharp corner-to-corner wide open at all focal lengths, while showing minimal distortion or chromatic aberration. Leica says the lens is fully optically-corrected, with no software manipulation involved; this is very unusual for mirrorless systems, which tend to embrace software corrections as a fundamental part of their optical design. Perhaps this also explains the lens’s implausible price tag.”

    Possibly some kind overmotivated promoter or some kind of misunderstanding?

  39. Leica haters must be an unusual group of people. I would have thought they’d be using their own gear to busily take shots without looking over their shoulders to see what Leica or anyone else was doing. It’s beyond my comprehension.
    Have they appointed themselves guardians of the Red Dot? Or is it the thought of someone owning something more expensive than they can afford? Is it the tall poppy syndrome?

    No doubt IWC and the like receive their attention, too.

    • Has nothing to do with Leica hating. It is pragmatic reaction to something that makes no sense.

      $1800 for a red dot lens that is that nasty, straight off of the glass? There isn’t an M lens in the catalog that needs that kind of correction. Maybe some vignetting and color shading correction on the wides but all you have to do is look at an M lens on any APS or non-Leica FF system to know that they are generally well corrected optically, especially from normal to tele.

      Perhaps Leica should have upped the T price by $600-$800 dollars and included the 18-55 as a true kit option. They would have been able to better side step this criticism had they.

      • A lens that is “nasty” ?? Now, that’s objective. Have you shot with it? Think I will go with Steve’s judgment.

        • Go look at the DPR uncorrected samples straight out of camera. If you don’t think that is “nasty” you might need a visit with your ophthalmologist.

    • Leica haters come out of the weeds. Or somewhere. Somehow the very existence of Leica triggers an irrational response. And painfully contorted arguments. Lots of cameras can be used to take good pictures. It’s the pictures that count, not the cameras per se. But I think a lot of the haters are mostly gear lovers or computer types. Notice there is little consideration given in the anti- Leica rants to the creation of photographic art. Notice that great photographers seldom talk much about equipment.

      • It’s not just Leica. I see the same in car forums, too. These people are just jealous, and will comment on anything that they cannot afford yet want. When something goes wrong with said lust object, it makes their day and they come out to gloat about their “pragmatism” in not drinking the “kool aid”.

    • The Leica haters prove that the Leica T is just like the Apple iPhone. Ever read any smartphone review? It’s the same discussion, except its Android vs iOS.

  40. I think the point is that if charging a premium price, one should get a premium product, and most people consider optical correction a premium feature (since it arguably offers sharper results). On an inexpensive lens I mind less. On a top tier high price item I mind more.

  41. Many painters like Picasso, Matisse and others used brushes with man-made bristles instead of horse hair. Does this detract from their works? True artists don’t care about such trivial things. DPreview is for gear heads, hobbyists and amateurs. Most artists would not care. Most photographers aren’t artists anyway. Photography is primarily for documenting moments.

    • If your statment is true.
      The brushes with man-made bristles (the leica T lens / T system) should not share the same price range as horse hair (the true leica).

      The implication / reputation of name / brand of “Leica” over the past centry is “superb” optics.
      This is nothing related to any digital correction.
      The “sky high” cost is reflected on the insist for achieving as perfect optics as possible.

      For those do not mind image from digital correction with software, there are tons of options of expexted much cheaper price camera, e.g., a APSC cam with a zoom lens at less then USD 1000-1500.

      “Leica does not lie”, this is a misleading logics.
      As i mention, most people’s expectation of the name “Leica” is selling surperb optics (not digital-correction) for its high price / cost. It is a well-established phenomenon, ie., Leica = superb optics.
      Even without mentioning using digial-correction intead of optical correction, it may already be misleading to most of the people.

      So don’t just repeatedly saying that they never say they did not use software correction.
      You just trick people with wrong logic

      • The T system is cheaper than the M system, body and lenses both. 23 f/2 $1900. 35 f/2 M is $3350. Digital correction has been going on with Leica since they started with digital. Just like everyone else. The M8, M9 and now M does it with almost every lens. It’s a digital thing, not an optic or Leica thing. Now I am tricking people? Lol. I am stating facts, that is all.

        • For digital correction in M8/9 and Leica M, the correction is mainly on some problem arising from digital sensor, e.g., color-shift. This is not something occured in the film era and could not be avoided on digital sensor. So the software correction is mainly for these kind of issue and we well accept these kind of software correction. I think this is no doubt.

          If the summicron 35mm asph gives you a severe barrel distortion, but corrected digitally on the digital M body. Is it still acceptable. The answer to most people (both leica fans or not) must be “NO”.

          For those panasonic-made leica lens, the promote the lens as optically corrected. But Leica itself producing lens by software correctiom. What kind of high standard from Leica. Are you kidding me??

          Leica cannot use the excuse of “large size” or “high cost” for making a well-optically corrected lens. You should know making a APSC lens (instead of FF lens) is exponentially lower then FF lens. And now leica is selling the japanese lens in such a high price.

          If leica sells the panasonic-made d-lux 6 and leica C as similar price as leica x2 and x-vario, do you accept this. The answer must be “NO”.

          The event make us have the impression that people now are buying the Leica “sticker” on a camera. And leica is now selling camera as fashion (after purchased by Hermxx) instead of craftmanship.

          Leica seems starting to discard its reputation of a century of craftmanship. Then Leica will become nothing.

          At the end of the day, most of the people are buying leica for its craftmanship of optics (which cost its value) but not digital-technology (which does not worth anything and not make Leica standing out from other japanese camera industry.

          Steve, you may be right that Leica may not actually “say” they did not use software correction. However, they may intended to do so ( because most of us thinking that Leica is selling a much much higher standard of optics).

          Leica is just selling more and more disappointing camera since the leica x-vario.
          Steve, you are just giving us an impression that you are speaking for “Leica” and it seems that you are starting to forgetting why “LEICA” is “LEICA”.

        • Steve,

          I’d just add here, so any readers don’t get the wrong message, that the digital correction being applied is, as you say, not to correct for optical distortions in the M range of lenses, but to manage the problem that FF sensors have with imaging at the edges of the frame.

          Optically, Leica M lenses are very low distortion designs, although some can exhibit highish amounts of vignetting. This is in contrast to the T zoom, which does need digital correction for its inherent optical distortions.

        • in their M system, Leica does NOT correct any lens flaws. The corrections are all about flaws caused by the sensor design (color shift, vignetting). Flaws, that don’t apply when the same lenses are used with film.

          Leica lenses stand for optical and mechanical perfection. That’s why people pay so much for it. It is not the point if Leica lied or not, the point is that people do NOT expect from Leica to correct lens flaws (not sensor flaws) by software. So I can understand, that people get pissed, when Leica does not communicate that fact.

          Emphasizing, that all others do software corrections, changes nothing, because Leica has a reputation to be different than all the others. Because of that reputation, people pay $12k for an M+35cron instead of $3k for an RX1R, despite the end result is the same. Because of that reputation, people expect different things from Leica than from any other brand.

          Think about it. (Not all people complaining about Leica, are Leica haters.)

          BTW, I’m a long time Leica M film shooter and I love Leica to death, even if I can not justify the costs of a digital M. And of course I know there are more good reasons, other than Leicas reputation, to buy a Leica M.

          • Dear Uli,

            your statements are somewhat debatable.

            As much as I am a Leica Fanboy and Leica “analogue” camera user myself (consumed two films last weekend, one on a CL and one on an R7), I would not dare to call the Leica lenses (I own 15+ of them, ±1962..2008 production) flawless.

            The oblique angle beams at the edge which worked (to an extend) with film are a definitive problem with digital sensors, and a ‘feature’ of the lens design. Fully telecentric lenses would be more bulky than current Leica lenses but they would perform equally well on both film and digital image sensor…

            In the area of remote sensing and machine vision, telecentric designs rule for a long time already. Prices are high, but the basic principle could easily be ported to following generations of Leica lenses, relieving the sensor from the stains of having to compensate for oblique angle beams…

            How this can be done – at a cost – can be seen by certain Cine lenses from f. i. Thales-Angenieux. OK, their lenses are more bulky and expensive than Leicas, and so are many other high quality cine primes.

            If Leica decide to economise on lens design, and build in lens compensation into their T Series, I do not see it as a breach of confidence. I just decide the camera series is not for me, as I already decided for the current digital M series – which has put away quite some of the usability the analogue Ms hat (just look at how fat the camera bodies have grown, compared to a classic M3 or M4P…

            Well, enough rambling… tomorrow night I shall have a hands- on on the Leica T and the lenses – there is a ‘touch & try session’ to attend. I am looking forward to it.



  42. Hmmm.. ok.. maybe everyone does it. But if Leica wants to charge those price then those lenses have to be optical corrected.

    It don’t mind general vignetting or colorshift correction for ultrawide (the downside of digital sensors), but everything else has to be optical. Otherwise a 23mm F2 should be no more than 500 EUR.


    • +1. People get into all these weird moralistic beliefs about how lenses “should” be designed because they want absolutes: X is best, Y is trash, Z is right, not-Z is wrong. I think they crave absolutes because they’re uncomfortable with the fact that the purpose of photography is to make photographs, and the appeal of photographs is subjective, quirky, and unpredictable. (Don’t you hate it when you’ve been shooting all day and gotten nothing, and then the girl next to you pulls out her phone and snaps a technically naive but charming picture?)

      Here’s something to ponder: being a purist about lens correction made sense when lenses were expected to form an image only on a neutral surface, i.e. a piece of film. But a digital imager is anything but neutral. It contains its own optical system and introduces its own characteristics into the final image. For Leica NOT to take this account by tailoring software corrections would lead to sub-optimal results from the lens/imager SYSTEM.

      • Spin it any way you want, those look like pretty sub-optimal results from the lens/imager system – especially when you take into account the price. It is only when you throw in a third pillar – post processing (and let’s be honest, that’s what it is), that you get something acceptable.

        I’d much rather pay Leica top dollar for their German engineered optical systems, not their software.

        Or have we now moved on to celebrating Leica magic*

        *from software

        At the end of the day, it isn’t the process that people are revolting against, it is the price. Are Leica programers really that much better than the Japanese?

      • I agree. The problem is current sensor design. Particularly with the edges, you can’t use conventional lens design philosophies unless you can bend the laws of optical physics. You have to use software to correct for the edges — this is why only on the Leica M can you use wide angle M lenses properly.

        The solution might to be to bend the sensor, like what the rumoured curved sensor in the new Sony RX2 is supposed to do.

  43. I’m really sorry. But an APS-C standard zoom lens with f/5.6 maximum aperture for 1.700 Euros and then applying heavy software correction? Labeled by Leica? Sorry. Come on guys…. How can anyone even THINK that this is even remotely okay what Leica is doing there? I’ve been a looong-time fan of Leica lenses, but this just destroys it all. The name, the reputation, the magic ….

    • I have to agree with this.

      Honestly it would have been better if Leica just didn’t say anything about the optical quality of their lenses. They’ve already got a solid reputation. It’s always a bit worrying when companies get too eager with their marketing. Makes you wonder if they’ve stopped drinking their own kool-aid.

  44. As if people don’t know that nearly all major manufacturers do this! Canon 5DmkIII has it and would be a big draw for photographers that want to use their older [eg:- EF85mmf1.2, EF24mmf1.4] lenses and lessen/get rid of things like chromatic aberration, curvilinear distortion, flare, etc., and to gain resolution, sharpness, contrast, more effective bokeh [hate that word], etc.. It’s all micro electronic jiggery-pokery that can be done quite cheaply – and we suckers pay extra £ for it [me included 😀 ]

  45. I’m not at all surprised since this was a product ‘feature’ listed by Olympus on it’s groundbreaking E-1 way back in 2005-6. If I remember correctly this they said was to optimise the lens’s compatability with the sensor. I cannot offhand remember if this data was held within the lens or the body, but I think it was ‘stored in the lens.Some of their lenses certainly did have firmware updates. Some of these upgrades may well have been because the E-1 and other cameras after this, use the ‘Fly by wire’ focussing system.

    • Sam,

      I’m not sure the E-1 employed any electronics in the manner you recall. What was new then, was the new approach to lens design which Olympus were totally responsible for, for use specifically with digital sensors- telecentric optics. It was this feature that optimised the lens to the sensor.

      • Correct!

        The real 4/3 are optically corrected and telecentric lenses. No software correction at all. That’s the reason why they are so big in relation to the sensor size. But the HG and especially the SHG range are superb. The best lenses ever made for Digital SLRs.

        What Olympus has down as well well was to implement a userupdateable Lensfirmware so that the DSLR Camera software knows exactly what lens is attached and therefore could do some colorshift corrections – so that by swapping the lenses the color scheme stays the the same….

        Further your could activate a vignetting correction in body.

        Also some of those lenses where actually brighter. The 7-14 F4 is actually closer to a 7-14 F2.8 (and still the best optical corrected ultrawide!). This effect could be tested by pressing the lens release button before taking a shot.

        It sill have the E1. Its not for sale.


          • I have two copies of the e-1 and will never sell them. I don’t use them very much but when I do they always produce film like files and prints that are excellent.

  46. IMO the issue here is that people expect Leica to stand by a claim Leica never really made. The line of distinction is a thin one, though, since Leica did say that the T system lenses are “optically corrected”.

    On the other hand, that level of correction at the 18mm end is insane. I wouldn’t go near a lens with so much distortion plus over a stop of vignetting at 27mm equivalent.

    • Leica M optics can be low distortion designs, but it is not until one gets to the longer focal lengths even beyond 50mm, that vignetting at full aperture can approach 1 stop, and better. Most of Leica’s modern glass exhibits much higher vignetting than 1 stop wide open. The f1.4/24 reaches 3.5 stops, is the worst spec I’ve found, but even around your quoted 27mm, the two current M lenses produce 1.8 stops for the f2.8, and 2.1 for the f2.

      Surprisingly, even the f1.5/85 Summarex, discontinued in 1954 only exhibits 1 stop. I’m guessing, but it seems Leica trades vignetting performance for low distortion, which in my opinion is the right decision, as despite the apparently high vignetting figures, this is less noticeable and usually more acceptable, even with film cameras, where vignetting can not be eliminated by electronic means.

      If you wish to check my comments get hold of Puts, or the latest Hove Leica Handbook.

      • Mmm. I never noticed my (rather expensive) 24/1.4G Nikkor exhibiting that sort of distortion and vignetting wide open. Of course it has some, and LR4 has a profile “correcting” it. I don’t use that, as I invariably feel it makes the image flatter and less interesting. At least I have the choice.

  47. In my opinion, the only wrong thing is Leica lie. IF Leica said the lens had no correction, be it because they wanted to justify the price or for whatever reason, but in reality there’s some kind of correction, then it’s a lie. And obviously haters will attack like sharks. But the fact that they lied remains.
    Personally I’m not surprised, lenses are too small to be “perfect”.

    • Leica never lied. That is the point. They never said the lenses did not use software correction, they said the lenses are of great optical quality, which they are. Almost all lenses use corrections these days.

          • DPreview themselves wrote “The only thing that we’d take issue with is the company claiming not to use this approach, when it so clearly is.”

            I think it is quite clear that Leica did make the claim to DPR about no SW correction. Whether it was a flat out lie or just miscommunication, only Leica knows.

          • DPreview wrote, under Lenses and Accessories; “Where they differ from most mirrorless designs, though, is in using only optical correction for distortion, rather than incorporating software corrections into the lens design.”

            Later, the same DPreview article says that was information they got from Leica. So clearly, Leica never lied, just that DPreview are once again publishing erroneous information about a popular product.

            Or, are you reading a different Leica T preview?

          • DPreview:
            “During pre-launch briefings for the T, Leica was very keen to stress the optical quality of the new lenses. Most interestingly, we were told they relied on optical corrections, rather than software to project the best possible image onto the sensor. So with this in mind, when processing some images from the Leica T, we were surprised by a notification that Adobe Camera Raw gave us.”

            English is not my first language, but “relied on… rather than” clearly signifies only one option being employed.

            Obviously no serious reviewer/journalist goes into such a meeting without a recorder so DPreview can just publish the transcript and the potential buyers can judge by themselves.


  48. What matters is if the end result satisfies, whether you use a Holga or a Hasselblad.

    Best regards

  49. Software correction on many larger camera’s like full size DSLR’s or Leica M’s isn’t so much to do with the lens, but correcting for the sensors imperfections at the current state of design. Used in compact cameras however software correction allows them to be made smaller, along with smaller lenses that defy conventional optical design. I’ve never been one to validate my photographs by announcing ‘this was made with a Summilux’ or treating every picture as a lens test, so if I can’t tell from looking at it if a picture needed background software correction why should I be bothered?

  50. I just don’t get what all the fuss was in the first place, talk about a non story from DPR.

    Who cares HOW it s corrected so long as it is corrected?

    • I agree. If the price tag and that famous 45min video alone can not persuade people not to buy one nothing can. 🙂

      This need not be labelled as “leica haters” saying so either. 🙂

    • +2

      Everyone’s doing it now; it’s part of optimizing the lens and the sensor to get the best output without compromising the integrity of the file too much. Non issue, IMO.

  51. Hmmm their conclusion was: “Our quick tests looking at the T’s DNG files converted through DCRaw (via RawTherapee) show that Leica is in fact employing a thoroughly up-to-date lens design philosophy, similar to that used by pretty much every other mirrorless system. So the 18-56mm lens isn’t fully corrected for distortion optically, but instead integrates software correction into the overall system design. This may not please purists, but frankly it counts as standard practice with modern lenses, and in our experience has little, if any, negative impact on the final image compared to fully-optical correction.”

    Frankly it really doesnt sounds like a conspiracy – however i think its good when the real quality of the optics is analyzed/considered and put into perspective of the pricing.

    • I was not referring to DP Review when using the word Conspiracy, but some of the commenters (Leica haters) who thought it was shocking for Leica to do this. Some are out there saying Leica lied or that because of corrections the lens is no better than a $100 kit zoom, which is nonsense.

    • Hello, Henk,

      I formed the view of a sane and balanced, and overall positive review from dpreview, with the usual caveat of Leica pricing generally, but this is also Steve’s view of the T and its lenses. Is the price/performance ratio justified by the high prices? Probably not, but this is of no interest to the target audience who attach a lot to owning Leica.

      I believe what we are seeing emerging are some contradictions to assumptions that may have been made by many, or indeed by Leica themselves by inferences. Take the polishing of the body. Nowhere have I seen Leica actually say it is being polished at their Portuguese plant, which now seems the case, one infers it is Germany, certainly if you watch their video. The cat would appear to be well and truly out of the bag with this one.

      Does it matter if it uses electronic corrections? IMO, it matters not a jot. Modern technology has enabled superb images to be captured that would not have been possible a decade ago as it frees up the lens designers to work on designs that would be prohibitively expensive to do by normal means, and even then not all the aberrations would be eliminated 100%. So, better for some electronic jiggery pokery that works, rather than a lens that doesn’t quite deliver, even at an inflated price.

      By the way, still shooting with your f1.5/50 Summarit?

    • At least for me the problem with these lenses is, if what they are doing is standard practice for every other camera maker, then why is the price so non standard? IMO Leica is selling the body at a “subsidy” which is then offset by higher lens prices (and the other accessories) – that is also standard practice these days …

      Personally I would be happy for a lens that is a little less optically perfect, has a bit more correction, and costs about $800 less. They can even make it a stop slower, I don’t mind 🙂 Or a super zoom, then I only need to buy one lens …

      • Why is that a problem? If an engine gives you 240hp, would you care how the manufacturer had tweaked it to give you an extra boost? How about getting a PC that goes 3.6GHz on a chip that is designed to output 2.8GHz — would you care how the manufacturer overclocked the system to get that throughput?

        As long as it works as advertised, and there are no problems — heating, frequent crashes, etc — who cares.

  52. Personally, I don’t mind distortion correction and/or vignette, but the other aspects have to be optically correct.

    • I agree. For me the camera is a black box; input – output. Output matters, what happens inside is of a lesser importance. However, knowing the quality of Leica (owner of 2x M6, 5 M lenses), I am pritty sure people would be horrified looking at the inside of many camera’s. Made to break after a couple of years so you will have to buy a new one. I am confident that the T camera will be repairable (if needed). Not a Japanese (made in China!) throw away product!!!.

      • ‘Made to break’ is a myth.

        Manufacturers use the best quality of materials and the best engineering design for a given price point. That’s all.

        As an IC engineer for AMD and others, I had a specification, budget and release date. Within those requirements, it was up to me to design the best product I could.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.