Mention Leica and one would immediately think of engineering, craftsmanship and exquisite industrial design. The renowned German optics and premium camera manufacturer has introduced a new system camera – the Leica T-System – the fourth only system introduced in its 100-year old history. The Leica T-system is a camera with unmistakable Leica finish, proudly ‘made in Germany’ coupled with a portfolio of precise, high performance lenses. I had a taste of the new system camera at the intimate Malaysian media launch at the rustic Wei-Ling Gallery in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Officiating the event was Sunil Kaul, Managing Director of Leica Camera Asia Pacific Pte Ltd; joined by Mathieu Musnier, Area Sales Manager SEA, Leica Camera Asia Pacific Pte Ltd; Gracia Yap, Manager, Marketing & PR, Leica Camera Asia Pacific Pte Ltd; Johann Affendy Mahfoor, Senior Executive, Leica Camera Malaysia and Shannel Woo, Retail Manager, Leica Store Malaysia.
German precision design
The Leica T camera was developed in collaboration with AUDI Design, with the typical design language of Leica cameras as we know it, revisited and reinterpreted. The result: a unique, minimalist, clean design – both modernistic yet timeless.
The camera looks amazing, itself machined down from a 1kg single block of aluminium to a ultra-light, ultra-durable 96g unibody. Hand-crafted and hand-finished to the core, the machined chassis is painstakingly hand polished for 45 minutes, at the Leica factory. Like any Leica, materials used are premium, and build quality as well as finish is exceptional.
If you have 45 minutes to spare, watch this video:
In the heart of the new camera is a large APS-C format (23.6 x 15.7mm) CMOS image sensor boasting over 16.5MP (effective 16.2MP), an ideal solution in the compact camera class.
The Leica T comes with a 3.7-inch TFT LCD touchscreen display pushing out 1.3 million pixels. The menu design reflects the purist design on the camera – simplistic, clear and intuitive. Camera functions and playback can be controlled by touch. Its simplicity lets users concentrate on composing their pictures, without clutter or unnecessary distractions.
The MyCamera menu offers great flexibility and customisability for users – functions can be configured to users’ preferences and requirements giving them fast access to frequently used features and presets.
A first for Leica system cameras is the integrated Wi-Fi module. This means three things: the ability to use a smartphone or tablet as an electronic viewfinder and remote trigger. Next, pictures and videos can be wirelessly transferred to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Additionally, it’s easy to share media via email, Facebook or other social networks.
Complementing the new Leica T-System are a multitude of sexy accessories that a perfectly harmonised with the camera. First up is an high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EV) with a selectable, integrated GPS. It has a tilt and swivel function that suitable for creative photography and shooting from unusual angles.
Next is the new leica SF 26 flash unit which has a flash reflector with adjustable angles. The unit can also be used as an LED light source for video recording.
A handy accessory, and one that should be in the collection is the Leica M-Adapter T, which allows users to mount and use Leica M-Lenses on the Leica T body. This opens up the extensive Leica M-Lenses portfolio to Leica T-System users. A built-in sensor within the adapter adds support for 6-bit coded M-Lenses enabling full Leica T functions such as exposure metering, aperture priority mode and manual setting capability.
AUDI didn’t just design the Leica T camera proper, but also worked on camera accessories including an extensive range of premium bags and cases. Camera accessories are available in four trendy colours – melon yellow, orange-red, black and white.
The Leica T-Snap provides optimum protection against scratches and knocks. Made from hard plastic and elastic silicone, the T-Snap protects while looking great, and adds a personalised look.
Complementing the T-Snap is the soft silicone T-Flap, that protects the back of the camera with the display and controls when the camera is not in use. Both T-Snap and T-Flap can be attached to the Leica T by Easy-Click, a convenient one-click system for connecting accessories. The unique system is clean and uncluttered in design.
There are currently only two Leica T-System lenses available. First is the Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 and the brilliant prime Leica Summicron-T 23mm f/2.
Pricing and availability
The Leica T is available from 26 May 2014 onwards from authorised Leica dealers. The full range of accessories will be available as well. The Leica T retails from RM13,000 onwards (RM6,000 for body only).
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for Apple OS X and Microsoft Windows is included in the Leica T package.
Read more about the Leica T-System.
More photos of the Leica T launch on Flickr.
Beautiful. Exquisite. Sexy. Just like any other Leica camera, the Leica T exudes class and style. I appreciate the clean, minimalist, uncluttered design and its exceptional build quality. The menu system is easy to grasp, and while I personally prefer tactile dials and buttons, the touch-centric controls brings the Leica into modern ground. Built-in Wi-Fi is an added bonus, making it easy to share your photos on social networks, as well as remote trigger if you need to.
Make no mistake, this is a premium device and it does come with a heavy price tag. But if money is no barrier, and if you’re one who appreciates top class industrial design and build quality, then the Leica T certainly makes a sexy snapper for your collection. Leica’s portfolio of incredible lenses both in the Leica M range and growing Leica T range will satisfy Leica fans and camera enthusiasts alike.
I can’t wait to get my hands on a test unit, and will certainly post a more in-depth review of Leica’s new kid on the block.
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