Unveiled: The New Leica T Mirrorless Camera System
Just briefly mentioning the name "Leica" can inspire numerous associations, obviously including classical, rangefinder, and "decisive moment." However, with the introduction of its newest mirrorless camera system, the Leica T, innovative and forward thinking can be added to the list of accurate descriptors. Still meshing a sense of classicism with a newly developed design tactic, the Leica T system exudes a sense of intuitiveness and minimalism while also remaining at the technological apex of image quality, lens design, and operability.
"This simple structure enables seamless execution and adjustment of the most oft-used camera controls, without unnecessary controls cluttering the screen."
With respect to imaging capabilities, the most striking aspect of the Leica T's design is its bold exterior. Each camera is machined from a single block of aluminum—hence the title "Unibody"—and features just four physical controls and a hot shoe, with the emphasis placed on utilizing the large 3.7" 1.3 million-dot touchscreen LCD for image composition, review, and menu navigation. Enhancing this screen's functionality further is the unique MyCamera feature, which allows users to program the menu's appearance to just display the desired settings and controls that are accessible from a single touch. This simple structure enables seamless execution and adjustment of the most oft-used camera controls, without unnecessary controls cluttering the screen.
Complementing the svelte exterior are equally apt imaging capabilities, led by the large APS-C-sized 16.3MP CMOS sensor to realize high-resolution imaging and full HD 1080/30p video. A sensitivity range from ISO 100 to 12500 makes working in difficult lighting conditions easier, while a continuous shooting rate of 5 fps is well suited to capturing moving subjects. A fast, near-silent contrast-detection autofocus system helps to acquire critical focus in a wide variety of lighting conditions and is further accentuated by touch AF control for precise placement of the focus point in the composition. For saving imagery, SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards are accepted in addition to the 16GB of internal memory for greater versatility and assurance during shooting.
A first for Leica, the T mirrorless digital camera has an integrated Wi-Fi module that pairs well with the free Leica T app for instant sharing of photos and movies and for controlling the camera remotely from a mobile device. Furthermore, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is included with each camera to serve as the DNG converter and overall efficient post-production tool.
As another introduction from Leica, the announcement of the new T system also brings with it a new T lens mount, along with two new lenses. The Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH is a versatile standard zoom lens providing a 35mm equivalent focal-length range of 27-84mm. Four aspherical surfaces are featured in the optical design, which contribute to minimizing chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range and also benefit overall image sharpness and clarity. Complementing the Vario-Elmar-T's wide-angle to short telephoto reach is the prime wide-angle Summicron-T 23mm f/2 ASPH, which provides a 35mm equivalent focal length of 35mm. Two aspherical surfaces are incorporated into this lens's design and the bright, fast f/2 maximum aperture helps navigate difficult lighting conditions, as well as isolates subject matter for shallow depth-of-field techniques. While designed as autofocus lenses specifically for the Leica T's AF system, both lenses can also be manually overridden for precise selective focusing control.
In addition to these two lenses, two more lenses are already planned—a Super-Vario-Elmar-T 11-23mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH and an APO-Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH—to signal Leica's commitment to the new T system. While these lenses point toward an optimistic future for the new system, Leica has not disregarded their widely acclaimed series of M lenses on which their reputation is firmly built. The M-Adapter-T enables the use of more than 20 M lenses to be used on the T mirrorless camera, and incorporates a sensor to detect 6-bit coded M lenses to enable full exposure metering and aperture priority AE support.
Rounding out the launch of the entire new T system is a wealth of additional accessories, foremost of which is the Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Perfect for working in bright light, this high-resolution eye-level finder attaches to the T camera via its hot shoe and features a tilt-and-swivel design to support shooting from a wide variety of working angles. Additionally, an integrated GPS option serves to geo-tag imagery for plotting to interactive maps. While the T camera is designed to be as aesthetically inspiring as it is functional, a colorful series of dedicated protective T-Snap covers are available, as well as a T-Flap cover for protecting the rear LCD monitor, a Leather Protector for enhanced grip, and both Leather and Aluminum Holsters for quick, seamless access to the camera while it is worn at one's side. Finally, developed in partnership with Audi, there is also a series of colored silicon neck straps and wrist straps available, which quickly attach to the Leica T with a proprietary easy-click system.
While certainly differentiating itself from existing Leica systems, the new T is poised to reside in the middle of the Leica lineup, where it blends an air of understated elegance with notable imaging capabilities. The modern, minimal appearance points toward signs of contemporary inspiration, while the ensured efficiency and simplicity in design hark back to the past 100 years of Leica's innovative history.
|Leica T Mirrorless Digital Camera|
|Lens Mount||Leica T bayonet mount|
|Image Sensor||APS-C CMOS (23.6 x 15.7mm)|
|Maximum Resolution||4944 x 3278|
|Still Image File Format||JPG, DNG|
|Storage Media||16GB internal memory, SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card|
|Card Slot||1 SD card slot|
|Shutter Speed||30 to 1/4000 sec.|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/180 sec.|
|Top Continuous Shooting Rate||5 fps for up to 12 frames|
|Self-Timer||12 or 2 sec. delay|
|Metering Method||Multiple field, center weighted, spot|
|Exposure Modes||Automatic program, aperture priority, shutter speed priority, manual setting, scene exposure modes (fully automatic, sport, portrait, landscape, night portrait, snow/beach, fireworks, candlelight, sunset)|
|Exposure Compensation||+/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps|
|Exposure Bracketing||3 frames at +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps|
|ISO Sensitivity||Auto, ISO 100-12500|
|Autofocus System||Contrast detection|
|Focus Modes||Single point, multiple point, spot, face detection, touch AF|
|Built-In Flash||Yes; guide no.: 14.8' / 4.5m at ISO 100|
|Flash Modes||Automatic, automatic / red eye reduction, always on, always on / red eye reduction, slow sync, slow sync / red eye reduction|
|Flash Compensation||+/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps|
|Flash Recycle Time||Approx. 5 sec.|
|External Flash Interface||Hot shoe|
|White Balance Modes||Automatic, presets for daylight, cloud, halogen lighting, shadow, electronic flash, two manual settings, manual color temperature setting|
|Movie Recording||1920 x 1080; 30 fps
1280 x 720; 30 fps
|Monitor||3.7" 1.3 million-dot TFT LCD touchscreen|
|Interface||Micro USB 2.0, Leica flash interface|
|Wi-Fi||Built-in; IEEE 802.11b/g/n|
|Power Source||BP-DC 13 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (7.4V, 1040mAh)|
|Battery Life||Approx. 400 frames|
|Dimensions||5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3" / 134 x 69 x 33mm|
|Weight||13.5 oz / 384 g|
|Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH||Leica Summicron-T 23 mm f/2 ASPH|
|Lens Mount||Leica T bayonet mount||Leica T bayonet mount|
|Focal Length (35mm Equivalent)||18-56mm (27-84mm)||23mm (35mm)|
|Angle of View||75º-28º||64º|
|Minimum Focusing Distance||11.8" / 30cm||11.8" / 30cm|
|Lens Construction||10 elements in 7 groups||9 elements in 6 groups|
|Filter Ring Diameter||52mm||52mm|
|Dimensions||2.4 x 2.5" / 60 x 63mm||1.5 x 2.5" / 37 x 63mm|
|Weight||9 oz / 256 g||5.4 oz / 154 g|