Leica T (Typ 701) Review

This year marks Leica’s 100th birthday as a camera maker, and to commemorate this momentous occasion, the venerable German brand has introduced an entirely new

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This year marks Leica’s 100th birthday as a camera maker, and to commemorate this momentous occasion, the venerable German brand has introduced an entirely new camera system.

With an interchangeable-lens version of its X Vario APS-C compact camera, Leica has chosen not to follow the straight path and embrace the current “vintage” design trend. This decision may come as a surprise to some.

Instead, the Leica T is a forward-thinking camera that blends a user-friendly touchscreen interface with a control scheme that caters to photographers in the form of twin dials.

However, before we go any further, let’s clear the air on the cost structure, shall we? The body of the Leica T will cost you £1350 by itself, which is a little bit more than the original X1.

At launch, two lenses will be available: the 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom (27-84mm equivalent) will cost £1250, while the 23mm f/2 prime (which gives a 35mm equivalent angle-of-view) will cost £1350. Both lenses will be available for purchase.

This places it in the same price range as the 36-megapixel full-frame Sony A7R, making it one of the most costly mirrorless camera systems. As a result, only well-heeled photographers are likely to be able to get their hands on one of these cameras.

Leica occupies a highly exclusive market niche, and even though the T is aimed at a different demographic of customers than either the X compacts or the M system, the company does not plan for it to be a product aimed at the mainstream market in any manner, shape, or form.

It’s a shame because the Leica T is a camera with a lot of charm. Its body is hewn from a single piece of aluminum, making it an exceptionally tactile object that is also pretty lovely.

The Leica T was designed to be simple and functional, with minimal controls on the outside of the camera. There is a large handgrip on the front, although it is pretty shallow, and the rounded ends give respect to the conventional body style of the Leica M.

The only thing that can be found on the front of the camera is a button to release the lens, a bulb that illuminates the focusing area, and the iconic red dot of Leica. Even conventional strap lugs are absent from the T; in their stead are two rows of tiny sockets on either side, which are obscured by plug-in covers in this image.

The giant touchscreen takes up most of the real estate on the camera’s rear. It’s a 3.7 “device that has a resolution of 854×480 RGB pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9. The result is a design that is incredibly sleek and fashionable, and it is unabashedly aimed at making the camera an object of desire in addition to being a tool for taking photographs. In line with the camera’s overall emphasis on aesthetics, the black LCD surround extends all the way around to the spring-loaded plastic door that conceals the camera’s micro USB connector and SD card slot.

Leica T (Typ 701) Image Quality

The DNG Raw files produced by the Leica T have a very high image quality, with plenty of detail and information in the highlight and shadow areas. This allows for a great deal of flexibility when post-processing the images.

The noise is handled extremely effectively, partly because of the reasonable resolution of 16 megapixels, and the pictures are entirely usable up to an ISO of 3,200. ISO 6,400 can be used when there is no other option, but ISO 12,500 pushes things too far and requires so much noise reduction that every little detail is preserved in the final image.

The two lenses we utilized with our review unit, the Summicron-T 23mm f/2 and the Vario-Elmar-T 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, produced outstanding results in every scenario, even though they exhibited considerable color fringing in conditions with strong contrast.

What we weren’t highly thrilled about within the Leica T was the autofocus, which, to be quite honest, was not something we expected to perform exceptionally well initially.

The autofocus on the T is relatively sluggish (particularly when light is scarce), and it frequently fails to latch onto the subject that the photographer wants it to concentrate on. This is similar to the autofocus on prior Leica-exclusive digital cameras such as the X, X2, or X Vario (again, especially when the light gets sparse).

Therefore, if fast and dependable focusing is a must for how you like to picture, the Leica T is probably not the camera you should be searching for. If, on the other hand, you place a high priority on unadulterated image quality, you will fall in love with the camera’s output very soon.

Leica T (Typ 701) Video

We weren’t expecting much from the video recording quality, full HD 1080 at 30 frames per second. To begin recording the video, choose the red-dot movie button at the top of the device. Unfortunately, because the camera’s fully automated, it has few options for customizing its settings.

You can change the resolution from 1080p to 720p and toggle on or off the video stabilization. The video quality is acceptable, and the focus is quick. On the other hand, the colors have a dull appearance, and the camera has issues with noise and pixelation as well as judder while panning. The Leica T excels in still photography, so if you want to take casual films, you’re probably better off using your smartphone than the Leica T. Having video capabilities, though, is a great bonus.

As for Wi-Fi, Leica has to adjust how it is implemented in practical use. The issue is not with what it has to give (although it is pretty essential compared to what Samsung or Sony can provide) but how well it performs. For example, the T Typ 701 could search for and log onto a Wi-Fi network without any problems; however, it encountered some difficulties when it attempted to connect with an iPhone 5S.

Despite being on the same network as the camera, the Leica T app could not locate the camera. The two could become linked once both devices were reconnected to the web and the app was restarted. However, the camera could not maintain a consistent connection, and when we tried to access Live View to do the remote operation, the relationship failed every time.

In addition, it took some time for the camera to connect to the phone. We attempted a different connection by going onto a Wi-Fi network used far less often. While this resulted in faster pairing times, the camera continued to have problems with stability. We hope Leica will resolve this problem with a firmware update, but if you decide to spend on this camera, you should know that wireless networking is not the camera’s strong suit.

Leica T (Typ 701) Lenses and accessories

At launch, the Leica T will be accompanied by two lenses: a prime and a zoom. The Summicron-T 23mm f/2 ASPH is a tiny prime lens that delivers a traditional 35mm equivalent moderate wide-angle view. At the same time, the Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 is a compact zoom lens that offers a range comparable to 27-84mm.

Both of these cameras have a design philosophy that is entirely up to date, as seen by their electronic mounts, their near-silent internal focusing, and their electronically-coupled manual focusing. Its top plate has five controls: a shutter button, a video record button, a power switch, and two dials; nonetheless, the giant 3.7-inch touchscreen controls every single other feature “touchscreen with a ratio of 16:9.

Leica T (Typ 701) Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialAluminum
Sensor
Max resolution4944 x 3278
Other resolutions4928 x 3264 (max JPEG), 4272 x 2856, 3264 x 2160, 2144 x 1424, 1632 x 1080
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm)
Sensor size notesNo anti-aliasing filter
Sensor typeCMOS
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 125-12500
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes (2 slots)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsSuperfine, fine
File formatJPEGRaw (DNG)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Lens mountLeica L
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Contrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View.
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.7″
Screen dots1,300,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic (optional)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.7× (0.47× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManualScene
Scene modesSport, portrait, landscape, night portrait, snow/beach, fireworks, candlelight, sunset
Built-in flashYes
Screen/viewfinder4.50 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes
Flash modesAuto, auto w/redeye reduction, flash on, flash on w/redeye reduction, slow sync, slow sync w/redeye reduction
Flash X sync speed1/180 sec
Continuous drive5.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesFlash Range
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30p), 1280 x 720 (30p)
FormatMPEG-4
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMINo
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with smartphone control
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBP-DC13 lithium-ion battery and USB charger
Battery Life (CIPA)400
Weight (inc. batteries)384 g (0.85 lb / 13.55 oz)
Dimensions134 x 69 x 33 mm (5.28 x 2.72 x 1.3″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSOptional
GPS notesBuilt into optional EVF

Leica T (Typ 701) Conclusion

Much like other Leica goods, the Leica T may be something of a hit or miss. Its gleaming metal casing and high retail price give the impression of unrivaled quality. Still, when it comes to the most fundamental features, like the absence of an exposure lock button or the sluggish and inaccurate focusing, it soon disillusions users.

On the other hand, the camera is very comfortable to use and hold, particularly when combined with the Visoflex viewfinder and the 23mm prime lens. Additionally, it can produce exceptional-quality photographs, including a great deal of detail, beautiful colors, and an excellent dynamic range, which will satiate the requirements of even the most particular photographers.

Leica T (Typ 701) FAQs

When did Leica T Typ 701 come out?

The Leica T Typ 701 was first made available to the public in April 2014.

How much is Leica Typ 701?

The price of the Leica T Typ 701 differs according to location and the package it was initially purchased with. When it was first released, the chassis could be bought for nearly USD 1,850.

How much does Leica T cost?

The price of a Leica T differs not only according to the particular model and package one purchase but also according to the country in which it is purchased. However, prices start at about USD 1,000 for the chassis only, which is significantly less than what you would pay for a Leica T Typ 701 in most cases.

Is Leica Typ 701 image quality good?

Yes, the Leica T Typ 701 has high picture quality because of its APS-C sensor and the exceptional lens quality characteristic of Leica lenses. However, it is possible that it does not possess the same degree of functionality or features as some more modern cameras that are priced similarly.

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