This is Leica’s new T, a camera with just a few buttons, and which is milled from a solid block of aluminum. Sound familiar? Hell, it even comes with a Smart Cover.
Specs-wise, this thing looks great, with Wi-Fi and a very clever way to add GPS. But I do worry about that lack of buttons.
The sensor inside the T is a 16MP APC-C number, like you find in most DSLRs, and the body has Wi-Fi built in. Two lenses will be available for the new mount on launch – an ƒ3.3–5.6 18–56 zoom and a 23mm ƒ2 prime – but an M-mount adapter lets you use all your old lenses.
There’s no viewfinder, but you can add one to the accessory shoe on top, and this (optional, $595) viewfinder also has the GPS unit inside. There’s also a neat strap system. Instead of ugly lugs, the camera has covered holes, and you press studs on the ends of the strap into them. This means you can’t use any third party straps, but Leica’s straps are some of the best, so there’s that.
Finally, we get to the controls and the touch screen. Up top there’s a shutter release with a power switch on a collar around it, a video “shutter release” and a pair of anonymous control dials. Everything is controlled from the large, 16:9-ratio, 3.7-inch touch screen, which works in concert with the two control dials.
I wonder about this approach. One of the things I like most about the “retro” styling of cameras like the Fujifilm X-series is the return of manual controls, which let you manipulate setting fast, and with the camera up to your eye.
The Leica T comes with that neat strap, but there are more accessories. The T-Flap is a sSmart Cover for the rear of the camera, plugging into the strap holes and protecting that screen. It’s joined to the bottom plate of the camera so you can flip it down when taking pictures. There’s also a T-Snap, a kind of stick-on protector that comes in bright colors, a hand strap, plus a (non-dorky) leather holster, colored straps and a leather half case.
Theses will sure cost a fortune, but I like the idea of custom add-ons.
Price? I knew you’d ask. The body is $1,850, the zoom is $1,750 and the 23mm prime $1,950. Ouch.