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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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"16 GB of built-in memory . . . only camera company with the courage to be that different."

Given the unique "the higher the price, the better" strategy, I'd say the internal memory shows it is the only company not to care about adding $5 to the cost of a camera.

Given the industrial design, mechanical engineering, and brief electronics specs listed I have to wonder if Leica partnered with Apple on the development of the T. This would be very interesting if it ran IOS along a Leica "camera" app!

Instead of "Leica Goes Mirrorless", I would title the article "Leica goes Optical Finderless". A lot is going to depend on how well they do the the electronic viewfinder.

Re: your comment "It's the only camera company with the courage to be that different."

The Audi-designed unibody construction is cool. Otherwise, it's just Leica's take on established genre that doesn't break new ground. 16MP, fixed LCD, add-on EVF, no focus peaking, few direct controls, menu-based, small lineup of conventional lens choices. Maybe it was a courageous move *for Leica* ... but compared to other manufacturers ? Pentax has done the 'Q' and the ill-fated K-01 "brick"; Ricoh tried the funky module system; Sony ditched the DSLR altogether in favor of a live-view only lineup. Leica's decision to throw in a little built in memory is interesting, but barely a blip on the "courage to be different" radar screen.

Well, I like it, at least the all black version shown here. It's certainly interesting that they have skipped software correction yet still managed to make their lenses small. No IS means no help for the yips, but at least you can't blame the IS for making things worse. I suspect they will sell a fair number of these for a Leica.

W.r.t. the built-in memory, one thing I learned from my short career working on mobile phones is that regardless of how cheap small amounts of memory (and 8-16Gb is a small amount these days) may be by itself, you have to multiply that small price by the number of units sold to understand the impact on the company's bottom line.

Ever wondered why entry-level smartphones still come with 4Gb of storage when 8 or 16 would hardly cost more than an extra dollar or two? Each dollar of RAM times millions of units does add up, and few companies beside Apple can charge you an extra 100$ for 16Gb of memory.

Obviously neither cost nor number of units is an issue with the "T" so it makes sense that Leica would be comfortable trying this.

I don't need no stinking dials all over my camera. Good for you Leica.

With built-in 16GB and Wi-fi on a professional camera? Oh my.

For us 97%ers it's only a case study camera. Now we need Canon, and Nikon to show courage. Yes the Nikon 1 IS different but it lacks just about everything but fast focus.

It's an interesting design exercise, but at the price that's the only interest I shall have in it.

But why the knocks at Canikon? Are their users not happy (I am...) Are they losing significant sales to mirrorless? (I don't think so.) Do mirrorless cameras produce better results, inevitably and always? (Again, I don't think so.) So why the criticisms?

It's good that there is choice in there market place, and it's also good there are new ideas coming along. But I don't see the need to knock manufacturers who choose, for reasons that seem good to them, to eschew certain new trends.

A few years back I came to the conclusion that, amongst photography enthusiasts (ie the type of person who reads ToP), the Leica brand has become do divisive in the digital age that new products are basically not worth discussing.

I agree 100% with Ken's comment.

The Leica T is what Sony sees when it looks in its rearview mirror.

If you want something to help you take good photographs there is always something better at far less cost. If you want to look good taking photographs buy a Leica.

Ummm, Panasonic GX7 or Leica T?? I'll take the Panasonic. With the money left over I will take a vacation and actually take some photographs. Not saying those that can afford a Leica T would not go on vacation as well, but at the end of the day our pics taken of the same subject will not be look any different.

It looks kind of like my tricked-out X2. Like the unibody construction - Audi won Le Mans last year, y'know.

This is a sexy camera, to paraphrase Michael Reichman's quick take on it, over at the LL site.

But when I look at it, what comes to mind is how similar it looks to Samsung's mirrorless cameras...

Where is Canikon? Well, Canon put out the EOS M a few years ago, with a couple of metal built lenses: 22 f2 and 18-55 zoom, which were also quite good optically. And with a great touch screen interface. Perhaps what was missing from it was a red dot, to gain some attention?

Funny, 'Leica goes mirrorless', but the separate EVF is called ... Visoflex - just like the separate Leica mirror box of old!

I'd expect more lenses to come. I can't see any Leica connoisseurs buiyng those slow zooms (and that is if they care about this camera at all). In order to make this a credible product, Leica will have to supply the sharpest, fastest lenses available for the APS-C format. The 35mm efl prime may be just that, but the slow zooms won't do Leica's reputation any good.
And, of course, this is a perfect example of a Verblen good. Aside being milled from an aluminium block, its specs are really nothing to write home about. One might say it has fierce competition, but that would not be true because it is a Leica. And people who buy Leica do it because of that famous red dot. 'Competition' is a phenomenon alien to Planet Leica.
On the plus side, that has to be the cutest electronic viewfinder ever! I don't find the camera so nice - it looks like the offspring of a forbidden love affair between a Samsung mirrorless camera and a Sony NEX -, but that EVF is gorgeous.

The headline over at The Verge says it all: Leica's new camera is a stunning work of aluminum art

Actually taking pictures seems to be secondary to how you look it looks as you stroll through MOMA or along Rodeo Drive.

Sure, it's very loverly. Like a colorfully striated rock, or a beautifully flowering shrub, 'tis.
But in this workspace, the Fuji X-series (followed closely by several others) was the one to beat, and this "Leica T" with no built-in viewfinder or onboard image stabilization will become just another footnote of history. In my humble opinion.

Their 'red dot'... is on your wallet.

Also, this must be the most expensive kit lens one can buy? Unstabilized to boot.

And Mike, not to sound like a shill, but, as I commented previously, the EOS M is a great little photo maker with killer lenses. Canon did a lot right with the M.

The EOS M, 22 f2, 18-55, 11-22 and a flash cost me approx. $1,000 CDN. The Leica T and first two lenses will cost about $5,500. I can only imagine what they will ask for the wide zoom. That will push the equivalent kit up into the $7K range.

But you know what they say about fools and money.

Everything that Ken said is missing would have added bulk to the camera. I like where Leica is going with this.

Functionally, it's an EOS-M with WiFi (same lenses, same touch screen interface, same solid build, same flash-less body), but it may transcend the category with its simplicity and style.

My prediction: the T701 will get a lot of press but won't sell a lot. It will be seen being used -- or at least carried -- by a number of celebrities, most of whom won't have paid for it.

Within a year we'll see at least one other model, and that model will include buttons and an SD card slot. It will sell for about $200 less, in order to keep the T701 established as the "prestige" model.

[Sorry Ed--I thought it went without saying, but this camera does take SD cards. The built-in memory is in addition. --Mike]

A beautiful design, but although lack of image stabilization goes nice with the minimalist, rugged concept, it would in my shooting be very limiting, particularly when walking around taking pictures of the local river; running water needs a proper choice of shutter speed, and wild birds and insects don't wait for you to setup a tripod.

I'm with Ken. A DOA product that can surely only appeal to those with more cash than sense. It's like a mash up between a Sony NEX and an iPhone, just extraordinarily priced for so little value.

You know, one has to wonder if Sony's odd QX smartphone lenses are really all that odd. This is practically an iPhone with a lens slapped on the front. The only difference is the size of the sensor.

It all really makes me wonder where cameras are going in the coming years.

If Apple built cameras this would be the sort of camera they'ed build.

A comment on the comments. They sound a bit like the old PC versus Mac arguments ("Real users don't need a GUI"). A lot of commentators miss the point. This camera isn't built for you. To riff on the old Apple line "This camera is for the rest of the 1%".

It's an interesting break with previous geeky Leica designs. It's very stylish. Very minimal. And very expensive.

I don't want to admire it but I do. As a camera, it may not be state of the art, but seems far from being a dog. However, as a veblen object/accessory, no other camera can touch it; as a camera, no other veblen product can touch it (except maybe an M).

Is anyone else amused at the recycling of the "Visoflex" name? Though it seems appropriate w/ respect to function.

And isn't it about time someone figured out how to get rid of strap lugs?

"No word on who the electronics partner was—Sony or Panasonic, probably."

The dials remind me of the NEX7; wouldn't be surprised if Olympus had a hand, as well--the previous Leica EVF seemed to be a rebranded Olympus EVF (and didn't Sony buy a stake in O.)?

Ken is spot on in my opinion. And I'm a 40 year Leica user. I like the digital Ms. I like my Canon gear too. But I think Fuji must be the company credited with innovation these days

Do I get AF at this price point? I haven't seen it mentioned either way in any write-up.

the Leica T is simply a dud. APS-C sensor, slow zoom lenses, no tiltable LCD screen, no integrated EVF, ergonomics that only an NC robot could love. What's to like?!

Other than the slow zoom, that could be a fair description of the Sigma Merrills - which, I have no doubt, will provide vastly superior image quality at a fraction of the cost.

And will be almost as exclusive as the Leica given their sales...

"Mike replies: Ken, Ken...you're being too harsh!" No, he isn't. If they really came out with a camera that had "product plus" he might be overstaying, a little, but not much. Complete lack of innovation and imagination. All they sell is the red dot to rich folks that need a status symbol. Sad really, that even one person would buy one.

Let me guess...Samsung lawers would be happy. Now they could have another target to sue for the product design or whatever.

one that's sure to create great excitement among Leica's legions of fans.

Leica prices are for the centurions, not the legions....

Hmm Leica's new camera is like a new Bentley. Same name different body. Bentley has a built-in fuel tank, so does the Leica.
Sort of similarly pricing in the product line as well. You get waht you pay for. And as with the Model T any colour as long as it's black.
Mind an aluminm coloured Leica might be nice.

Ken,
You are an old man from the days of film.
We will be leaving the planet soon, or at least the stores.
Leica and Phase are the only camera companies selling more rather than less cameras. They know their audience. And Leica knows they need to reach a younger audience with AF, as well as an older audience that can't focus manually as well as they used to.

So the iPhone like interface seems excellent and consistent with Leica's desire to minimize buttons. The lenses are really small thanks to the smaller sensor. Apparently only Leica was willing to leave retro behind, while Fuji copies the retro of the M.

They will sell very profitably for Leica and help fund further development of the M and S. I would not be surprised to see their touchscreen incorporated into future S and M models.

But it's OK Ken, you don't have to like this to a T.

To the iPhone generation, but with money, I think they will love it. And hey, it's not $1,000 more than the competition, it's $5,000 less than an M

Very similar to the Fuji X-E2 from distance, but conceptually orthogonal to it. I prefer the latter. Can imagine that a young digital native could prefer the Leica T concept, but is that the target for a Leica?

One of these will look devine sitting on the front seat of my Porche Panamera ... after I win the lottery. Now where are the darn keys for the Corolla ...

You know what I hate about this camera? The proprietary strap lugs. That's what.

Well...I'm Excited! But, I will wait until the Leica T is $179.00 ~ like this mirrorless wondercam:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/801055558-USE/panasonic_dmc_gx1kbody_lumix_dmc_gx1_mirrorless_micro.html

;~))

In the interim, I will plod along with my 40D. Still the best camera I have ever owned.

Cheers! Jay

And once again one wonders, where O where can Canikon be?

Not sure about Nikon, but Canon really seem to have missed the boat with mirrorless (I'm ignoring the halfhearted M series)so they must be going another way.

The effort they have put into updating their top end lenses, coupled with rumours of 40-50mp bodies in the wild makes me think that they're aiming to hit the top end pro market hard - maybe becoming the new Hassleblad?

I think there maybe some big news around the World Cup, or at least some verifiable reports of cameras on test.

Sadly for me these new cameras (as with all the updated lenses) are likely to remain well out of reach.

This camera will suffer from the tiny body but large lenses to cover the APS-C sensor issue that some of the Sony cameras have.

You can already sort of see this with the medium-slow kit zoom that ships with the camera... and the inevitable F2.8 telephoto zoom lens will be even worse. Carrying around a lovingly crafted small piece of milled aluminium is less fun if the lens you want to hang off of it weighs two pounds and is a few inches long.

This is the real brilliance of the m4/3 stuff ... the lenses are actually small.

I’m slightly annoyed that Leica’s new camera might render search engine lookups for “T-mount” adapters — e.g. for telescope optics — more ambiguous and problematic…

In another vein, Leica’s new electronic mount seems to be comfortably able to accomodate a 24x36mm imaging area, as this quick Photoshop job suggests.

A beautiful homage to the Fuji x series, with a touch of sony on the outside. That 45 minutes of hand polishing, $500 of the price? :) When they come out with a commemorative edition in 10 years, do you think it will be gold and leather, or just a solid gold body? That is the most important question one can ask about this stunning piece of work.

If Sony announced a new mirrorless camera, a successor to the NEX-7, with a body by Porsche, Wi-Fi connectivity, available with just two new Zeiss lenses (because this new camera is compatible with neither a mount nor e mount lenses), no internal EVF, no pop-up flash and an unarticulated viewing/touch screen … would they be able to sell it for twice the price of the NEX-7?

I'm with Ken on this one. The value proposition is dubious.

And, that Leica zoom is pretty slow...f/5.6 at 56mm? As such, I'm not going to believe for a moment that the lenses will be better than Fuji's. Fuji's been knockin' 'em outta da park with lenses of late. Just think, for the price of that slow zoom, you could buy both the Fuji 18-55 zoom, which is a full stop faster *AND* the incredible 23mm prime. And still save 200 clams!

Ugliest camera I've seen in a while. If it didn't have that red dot...I doubt it would get any accolades. Didn't push my gear acquisition buttons, and Ken hit the nail on the head with his comments.

b

First thing I thought was that it is styled similar to a Samsung NX300....meh...I'm with Ken...though I SUPPOSE I shouldn't judge until I use it....but I'm not going out of my way.

A master stroke! Designing it out of a single piece of aluminum will make it much easier when they come out with the solid silver and solid gold models.

No doubt a cool camera, nifty design and all, but why machined from a solid block of aluminum? And why the removable finder, Olympus made that mistake already, and at a cheaper price!

Speaking of on board memory, take a look at this.
It's a video camera, 20mp still camera, a projector and a breath mint.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/853433-REG/Sony_HXR_NX30_HD_Compact_Camcorder.html

Somehow I read: Pentax has done the Kubrick ;-)

"Pentax has done the 'Q' and the ill-fated K-01 "brick"; "

I already own a Canon 5D Mark III. No overpriced gadgets required. (Okay, I also own a 7D and a Sony RX100II, and two GoPros... and a shipload of sliders and monitors and jibs and lights and cables and high-capacity-extreme-speed cards; but no OTHER overpriced gadgets required.)

My trusty Nikon D7000 has a 16-MP APS-C Sony sensor and seems to produce fine images. Lacks the red dot though but does have a red smile with a stuck out tongue in its favor.

But then again it is a camera rather than a first generation aluminum i-Phone with a lens mount.

The Leica T does remind me of the slab design of the ill-fated 4/3rds format Digilux 3.

http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/default.asp?newsID=2950

Well at least the Leica T looks better than the Hasselblad Lunar.

http://www.hasselblad-lunar.com/

While they're not exactly mirrors, they still use reflection ("reflex") -- and the rangefinders involved prisms, as I recall.

Did the world really need another crop-sensor mirrorless system? Could they really not have licensed or partnered or bartered to use one of the existing five (μ4/3, Sony E, Samsung NX, Fuji X, Canon EOS-M) perfectly good mounts for similarly-sized sensors? Three of these even have impressive-sounding German-branded (if not necessarily German-made) lenses available (Pana-Leica (+Schneider vaporware) for &mu4/3, and Zeiss Touit for E and X), which would presumably appeal to the target market, at least while they're waiting for Leica to fill in the lineup of maximally Vebleny lenses.

I sort of wonder if they decided to go with their own mount to reduce the impression that they were merely rebadging somebody else's camera. Perhaps they learned the lessons of the Hasselblad Lunar a little too well?

I also admit to confusion over the slow 28-80something (equivalent) variable-aperture zoom. I'm sure that at the mind-blowing asking price it will be the nicest-to-use, optically most perfect, mechanically most solid lens of this sort ever produced, but I'm not sure I immediately see how it fits in with either the classic RF gestalt on which the brand is built or the iPhone gestalt they're trying to cultivate with this camera.

But then, there are three or four distinct ways in which I'm clearly not the target market, so what do I know?

Sven - or you could get clearance X-E1 + 18-55 kit ($800, better match for compactness) and the Fuji 23mm ($900) for a total of less than the body-only price of the T.

I know there's a very important sense in which it's not fair comparing end-of-lifecycle clearance prices with just-announced list prices, and of course in the Leica world being expensive is a feature, not a bug, but still...

Michael Reichmann called it sexy. Leica has even produced a 45 minute film of its naked aluminum body being caressed and rubbed 4000x by a man's gloved hand---the world's first true camera porn video. (Seriously. See if you can watch all 45 minutes).

Now this is a nice looking camera from what I have seen, and if done properly, the simplification/minimization of the menus and controls would make this a Leica that I would consider and could afford---if I had some good Leica lenses to use on it.

Unfortunately, Leica has stepped back to Olympus 2009 and added a big hump on top for the EVF. Like an irresistibly beautiful woman or handsome man who walks around with a bucket on her or his head, it sorta takes away from attractiveness of the toned and fit body below. Had they found a way to use a tiltable built in EVF (as in the Panasonic Gx7), it would have been a downright erotic tool. But that big old fall-offable, bangable, damageable, $600 clamp-on afterthought on top is a bit too much.

Well, maybe the next version...

I was mildly interested until I realized that the slow kit zoom was $1800 by itself...

This is sort of what the X vario should have been after all the hype. But I don't like it. Minimalistic just for the sake of it. And what is with all the new straps and finders and 'proprietary' electric mounts. They try to lock you into their overpriced system even for accessories. That vastly reduces the interest among enthusiasts who just want a usable and adaptable camera, like almost all other mirrorless ones are.

Looks like a Sauxny [faux Sony, he means —Ed.] to me. I guess the photo jewelry trend is still alive?

Hasselblad Lunar - Leica T - what's the difference? A red dot. They're both aimed for the same market. Remember they both use older Sony sensors.

I know, I know, I haven't used one or even handled one, but.... this looks like a triumph of style over substance. The grip looks like a slippery place when damp and the control dials that made most Leicas such a fast and pleasant shooting experience are gone. Perhaps the twin dials replace the Av and Tv and have A settings as well.
Good luck seeing detail and tones with any non-tilting screen in bright sunlight which means adding the optional visoflex which almost doubles the total size... almost.
The lack of buttons means less direct access so I hope they nailed the touch-screen interface and a menu is available through the EVF.
Sorry, but I'm with Kenneth Tanaka on this one.
I showed the above product photo to my wife, expecting a positive response but "what were they thinking" was the kindest words offered.... I think it's the evf that puts it out of balance. But I do think it's attractive without.

The lenses are made in Japan, although indications are that it's not Panasonic, the 'usual suspect'. Leica seems mum on the issue.

Oy! Ugliest thing that Audi ever designed.

I wonder if the kit lens is smaller than the Fuji 18-55, otherwise, why is it a stop slower on each end of the zoom range?

Much as I dislike Leica's prices, I generally like their cameras quite a bit. I'm looking forward to messing around with this one in a store some afternoon this summer, and deciding for myself whether or not I like it. I can't imagine buying it, but stranger things have happened.

BTW, I'm kind of a cheapskate about most things...

By the way, the title is technically correct--the T doesn't have the mirror and prism found in optical rangefinders, making it Leica's first mirrorless digital ILC (the finderless film MDs have no mirrors; and the Xs have no mirrors but the lenses are fixed).

Having watched this interview video with David Bell in the UK, I can understand the business reason for Leica making this camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKFmLqOaZIc#action=share

I can assure you all that this camera is not for most of the people reading photo blogs on the web, or posting on them. It is specifically for people for whom an M rangefinder is too difficult, but appreciate and can afford nice design.

I hope it sells a lot, as they are partially made in Portugal, my home country.

No viewfinder, no go.

How does that touch screen work at 20 below zero when wearing gloves or mittens?

This design seems derivative of the original Nikon V1- minimalist, broad empty plains or painted metal. A sort of soviet industrial kind of look that is somehow appealing in its starkness.

Of course coupled rangefinder Leicas going back to the 60+ year old M3 are not mirrorless, else there would be no way to superimpose the framing lines at the same time as the rangefinder square within the viewfinder.

The interweb likes to talk about how designs like the Panasonic GX7 are "rangefinder style." They are not, of course, since they have no rangefinder focusing; if anything they are "instamatic style." Google images of the Kodak Instamatic.

Does anyone know if these "overpriced and slow" lenses come from the same place as Leica's S series lenses? If so, I don't care about maximum aperture. That'll be what Leica M primes are for.

Plus in an era where almost every camera, including many phones, are good enough, doesn't the enjoyment of using a camera become an important feature? While I would have preferred an X-Vario with an interchangeable mount the T looks like a camera that wants to be taken with you and used every day.

Gordon

I often read the comment that people buy Leica "because of the red dot" as if all the buyer wants to do is show off that they have money. In my opinion this misses an important point, Leica customers buy Leicas because of the totality of experience that Leica sells. It's a very similar approach to Apple and Nike as outlined by Ben Thompson http://stratechery.com/2014/apple-nike/. Like Apple and Nike, Leica are successful with a segment of the market which wants a particular experience (high quality, great lenses, rich camera and photographer heritage, packaging, smart looking shops, special photo galleries, sponsored competitions, etc with price being a lower priority). They operate in a world where there is very little difference between cameras, many of which use the same Sony sensor. I've no arguement with people who prefer Fuji, Olympus, Sony or Panny cameras. You can get just as far in a day's driving in a VW as you can in a Porsche. It's the experience that differs. Leica know their market and they are profitable.

I think Leica will sell a lot of T cameras and the line will expand and grow. From my point of view, as the ancients said, "no blame"

One thing that surprised me coming into photography is how grumpy, uninterested or flat out hostile to certain types of innovation the crowd can be. I've taken pictures for the past X decades and I don't need no crappy wifi/gps/built-in memory/art filters/usb battery charging.

The higher-end the product is, the grumpier folks get on anything which is not an increase in dynamic range or the like.

Years ago Canon already included built-in memory in mid range video cameras (mine is 3 years old and has 16GB), but not to photo cameras. The lowly Olympus XZ-1 will charge the battery when connected via USB to download photos, but not the OM-D models.

I'm glad Leica is advertising these low hanging fruits as real features. I will force other companies to at least talk about "non-dynamic range features" during product planning.

The lenses are being made in Japan and not by Panasonic, according to Steve Huff.
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2014/04/24/the-leica-t-type-701-unibody-digital-camera-review-by-steve-huff/

Is the touchscreen usable on a sunny day?

Pedant mode kicking in. The origin was probably marketing materials but the Leica is not hewn from anything. Hewn means chopped or cut as with an axe or pick, or similar. The Leica T is milled, a process more akin to filing or abrasion rather than cutting.

I gave up on reading about Leica stuff years ago, when I realized their "worshiped" lenses were, in many cases, not as sharp as what I owned from Nikon, and cost more than any professional could realistically afford (or justify to their accountant). I mean, in the midwest, owning and upgrading a Leica over the last twenty years, provided you could even sell professional 35mm work in the market, pre-digital, might be the difference between owning a house or renting a small apartment...

What I constantly find interesting about Leica, tho, is how they stay in business! We need to read more, every time a camera is introduced, about how they actually financed it and the analytics of who they're selling it to. Much more interesting than actually using the stuff...

Once again, off meets rip and the brand-obsessed is pleased

Just imagine if Samsung had produced this. I can't say Sony because Sony has in fact produced a virtual clone of this camera (The NEX-7).

Even though it's not for me, I'm glad there's somobody willing to make this camera. Re the design decisions, comparisons with Apple are as unavoidable in this case as the anti-Leica vitriol. I am also reminded for other reasons of the Leica CL, which I owned and enjoyed for a time, and which (as has been pointed out by Jim Hughes on this site a number of years ago) was also used by Cartier-Bresson. Could this be the modern-day CL, once again in spite of the Leicaphiles?

After spending that much I would not be pleased to have to shell out more money for a proper viewfinder. Especially as it makes the camera more awkward to store.

Perfect, I can keep one in the glove-box of my Bentley. When is the brass edition due out?

But will there a be a pink version? More likely titanium unibody...
Also, I had no idea "Audi" designed NX cameras for Samsung:

Ain't it funny that the T model Leica is made by a car company, like the T model Ford was?

When it becomes bloody obvious that mirrorless is the format of the future, Canikon will release a mirrorless camera or two, APS-C and FF, with a whole bunch of lenses. Because they are Canikon (for the masses, no other camera companies exist), people will buy them and leave the true innovators of the medium (Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Fuji) by the wayside.

Make no mistake, Canikon are in the business of making money, not innovating.

Samsung called today. They want to know where to deliver those custom NX2000 cameras.

In a world inundated with remarkable cameras
the Leica T model is exactly that,a model T!

Hey, Mike, as long as your mentioning the new Leica, how about a shout out to the recently announced Pentax 645Z, a 51MP beauty with a price tag of "only" $8,500? It's a camera that could shake up the digital medium format world. No doubt anxiety is being provoked over at Phase One.

I can tell from the images that, for the sake of my bank balance I must *NEVER* hold this camera in my hands.

My question on this is:
Is this THAT different from the Samsung Galaxy Camera?

For the rest of it, just a big "meh" from my side.

But I don´t tend to understand the german luxury ethos, anyway.

Does it come with an ostrich purse?

What I find really amusing is this: one year ago everyone stared in disbelief at the launch of the X-Vario, fitted with a 28-70 e-mm that dares be F6.3 on the long end, itself not all that long. They claimed it was dictated by the necessity to keep up the imaging quality at the Leica standard, yet today comes a 28-85 with the more usual F5.6, and it doesn't look substantially bigger. So Leica, is the new lens so-so or did you just botch it with the X-Vario?

Other than that, I kinda like this new camera and I'm left a bit puzzled at the general tone of most reactions here. OK, pricing defies all comparisons as is customary with Leica, and there's nothing we haven't seen before in terms of specs. But the controls seems more innovative and daring to me than on most other cameras to date, with the big screen left alone on the back, almost no buttons and the addition of two wheels to keep aperture and exposure compensation at the fingertip. Something like a Galaxy NX but clever and photographic-centred although we can't say for sure before it gets in the world. As much as I like dials and buttons on the XT1 and OMDs, it makes sense on smaller cameras and, just on the looks of it, I'd like to see the same ideas implemented in a Panasonic GM2. And I'm sure we'll see a lot more of the same big-screen-less-buttons in the future from most manufacturers: keeps the costs down (as long as it's not solid aluminium!) and the smartphone generation happy.

Hey, they even say the wifi will work with your computer, and Thom Hogan just wrote that the new Nikon V3 only deigns talking to smartphones! Way to go Leica!

"No word on who the electronics partner was—Sony or Panasonic, probably."

I rather doubt there was an electronic partner. The internet rumor of Panasonic was wrong and perhaps a mishearing of the the lenses being made in Japan. Cosina, perhaps?

Leica already has a "platform" to work with in the X series cameras (and before that the M series). II suspect the T is a extention of the X platform (same Sony sensor, same embedded software and probably a very similar electronic design/ASICs) with a different touchscreen UI on top. Couple that to a new manufacturing techniques (unibody, glued rear screen) gives you the T.

I wonder if P mode prefers higher shutter speed to compensate for that lack of VR. I would have though that the target user is a upgraded from iPhone user rather than a M user (who probably can't see the screen without his reading glasses).

"Fuji's been knockin' 'em outta da park with lenses of late."

Not just "of late" — as anyone who's used Fuji MF gear knows, or anyone in broadcast video, or anyone who owns an XPAN.

Look at the lens bolted onto the front of that $100k broadcast camera. Odds are, it's a Fujinon.

An insult to photographic intellect in 2014. I don't even like the design. As for ergonomics, what real photographer wants to hold a slippery piece of aluminum at a critical moment. What have Leica and Hasselblad come to!

[Don't forget what I always say (but probably haven't emphasized enough lately)--reserve final judgment till you try it for yourself. --Mike]

It's a Model T all right.

What Leica needs to do, either with this system or as a separate body is to make an exact sized replica of M6 or at most M6TTL (a bit higher) with an M mount, as big sensor as possible (APS is ok, a bit bigger even better) and a built in hybrid finder like Fuji X. As the sensor and LCD need a bit more depth than the film plate and ISO wheel (in the M6), the M lens mount can protrude a bit from the body in the front, but otherwise it needs to be the same 80 year old size that was invented by Barnack and proven to be perfect size for a camera that one holds in his hands to make images. The problem with the M line is that they kept going gradually bigger and bigger, first taller with the TTL and then fatter and then bigger again with the latest. As if we did not notice. I am pretty sure this T mount has not been optimised for M lenses Iike the GXR is. So Leica again dumps its old customers like it did when the new SLR system was S instead of R.

I hope this is a successful product for Leica. I hope the early orders include half a dozen for each of Fuji, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, Samsung and (especially) Olympus.

We (Mike's readers) have been fierce in our critiques of these firm's user interfaces, and we need their product planners and designers to absorb and improve on the advances Leica have (apparently) made.

That way perhaps we can have viable firms making viable camera bodies for the lenses we love at prices we can afford, and that appeal both to grumpy greybeards (me, EM-5 user) and to young, switched-on and female image-makers, too.

I do suspect that TOP readers are not exactly Leica's target market with the T... But if it takes nice pics and you want it - red dot or not - and can afford it - what else matters?

Just thought of something: Why not make this a micro 4/3 body? They've already paired with panasonic to make two fantastic primes for that system. Think I how many m4/3 shooters they could convert if they produced more Leica branded lenses and offered a body that was distinctly Leica in function. That last part seems tricky though.... how does Leica retain (sustain?) the Leica-ness when it comes to digital?

The folks who go on about the value proposition have no understanding about the Leica value proposition.

Let me explain.

The lenses for this system will not depreciate. Owning a "real" Leica lens, heretofore the M, only costs you the lost value of investing alike amount in the market. Granted, that may be a bit, but had you kept the money in a money market account, a Leica M lens has simply been an investment along with being a utility good. I have a feeling that the lenses on the T will at the very least stay within a few percent of their purchase price, if only because within 3 years Leica will have increased the current T lineup lens price by 25% making them an attractive eBay proposition.

The body will depreciate considerably more slowly than every other "equivalent" body. That includes every Fuji, Olympus (naturally), or Sony (even more). That is because Fuji, Olympus, and Sony will erode the prices of the "current" bodies to make way for the next and greatest. The demand for a second-hand "real" Leica has always been high. I'd predict owning the T for three years will cost no more than 50%, or less than $1,000. A year will be $200-300.

Case in point. I owned the original X1 for a year. Bought it "used" from a typical Leica owner who purchased the camera and all the gadgets and even an expensive 32GB card. Paid him $500 less than new-- camera had 200 actuations. Sold the gadgets for about $500. Used the camera for a year, sold it for what I paid for it.

Got the X2. Same deal. When I sell it after almost 2 years of heavy use I'll lose about $500 (looked up EBay listings just now).

So it goes.

You will be excused from heavy breathing about the 16MP sensor, blah, blah, blah if you haven't actually used this Sony sensor. It is fantastic. It also sits in a bunch of cameras routinely described as "best" IQ of any APS-C cameras. If you want 12 stops of linear DR and don't care at shooting over 6400, it doesn't get any better out there. Combined with Leica glass, yeah it is that good.

The X2 never got much love out there, but it is a majorly good casual snapper. The UI on that one is great. What I see in the T is a souped up X where the UI goes touchscreen. Bingo, I'm in.


The Leica - Porsche conundrum.

I'm so glad Kenneth Tanaka was the first commenter. Always cogent, concise, and to the point. I totally agree, this is a "non-camera" in many ways - however - they will sell every one they can make. Leica knows it's target market for this camera, and frankly most of that market wouldn't know an f-stop from a doorstop. Nor do they need to. This is an expensive snapper.

In a later comment Eric mentioned that ultimately you can go the same distance in a day in a VW as in a Porsche. Well, no - you can't. The Porsche will hold the road in comfort and security at 10/10ths whereas lesser cars will cause the driver to back off at 6/10ths. And many of the people paying the big bucks will never know or care about the unique suspension, time-tested drivetrain, or hand built flugenheisers that keep your butt secured in the Recaro seats.

They buy a Porsche (or other supercar) for any number of reasons, but the following three are most obvious:
1- The other dentists (agents, brokers, doctors, drug dealers) in this building have one and I'm as successful as they are. At least I can look like I am. “Can you get 'em in automatic?”
2- They assume that in certain goods you get what you pay for. They've always had a Porsche, a Rolex, a Leica, a house in the hills. Their base car is in the $100,000 neighborhood, and they have no problem spending up. The aura of success, wealth, and expertise comes with the price tag, as does the (unfounded) expectation that the car won't let you down or kill you.
3- They really know and love cars, and have studied and test driven and lusted and saved for years to buy one. They learn everything possible about the car, its’ history and legend. They’ll treasure and love the car, drive it as it was meant to be driven (hard, with respect) for the rest of their lives. They will only buy genuine Porsche parts and accessories (must have the crest) and try to inspire the same zeal in their progeny.
Group 3 is by far the smallest.

So it is with this Leica, with one glaring exception: few if any will ever use the camera at even 5/10ths - many, too many, will treat it as the Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Moritz snapshot cam. Many others will wear it as jewelry. Show biz types will buy it because they heard it's the best, young actresses will put their fingerprints in the lens, and some will try it’s waterproof ability.
get.

Genius! Leica needs to do exactly what it is doing, and has been doing for a number of years in order to survive and prosper. Apple packages good technology in great design, and earns a higher margin than most any computer hardware manufacturer. Leica packages good photography with a great name in expensive and exclusive design. They cater to those who can afford expensive toys and photo jewelry. Not most of us.

Cheers!
Gabe

D. Hufford. wrote:
> Leica has even produced a 45 minute film of its naked aluminum
> body being caressed and rubbed 4000x by a man's gloved hand

 

I saw that movie too.

The inefficiency of their budding, half-baked, amateurish hand-polishing process is mind-boggling.

As for this Rolex Leica Oyster’s case innards, they even leave it in its machined state, without applying any proper hand-finishing and decoration !

I realize few people will look at the insides of the body shell, but where are the engraving, the perlage, the anglage, the côtes de Genève, the chamfering of the screw holes, the blued steel screws etc. that one expects in an expensive, “hand-finished” precision instrument ?

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