Introducing the Leica T, a compact system camera 'handcrafted' from a solid lump of aluminium, complete with new lenses and wifi
To coincide with its centenary year, Leica Camera AG is unveiling a ‘handcrafted’ mirrorless body built in Germany around an APS-C sensor, high-performance processor and touchscreen, linking directly to a dedicated app via wifi.
The Leica T-System camera will be released on 26 May, alongside two lenses initially – the Vario-Elmar T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH, and the Summicron 23mm f/2 ASPH, which has a focal length equivalent to 35mm in full frame format. The new T-System optics retail at £1250 and £1350 respectively.
Two other lenses are due for release later in the year: the Super-Vario-Elmar T 11-13mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH wide-angle zoom lens, and the Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH telephoto zoom, which are due to be presented at Photokina in Cologne this autumn.
Manufactured and handcrafted from a single block of aluminium to create a ‘unibody’ (similar to a MacBook Pro), the T-System camera has a large APS-C-format CMOS image sensor with more than 16.5 megapixels and touchscreen display. It records video in MP4 format at selectable 1920x1080p, 30fps.
It is the first Leica system camera to feature an integrated wifi module. This will allow users to transmit images and videos straight from the camera to a smartphone, tablet or computer; these can then be shared by email or social media. A free Leica T app for iOS devices is also available from the Apple Store, which will allow users to wirelessly connect their smartphone or tablet to the camera.
The Leica T-System, which has been two years in the planning, is designed to appeal to consumers who appreciate design and style, says Leica UK director David Bell. “The T-System opens up a new target market for Leica – a market that applauds craftsmanship. We want to target people who want more from their smartphone camera. To get them to upgrade to a Leica M camera is [tricky], so this is where the T-System comes in; it is not so much of a leap.
“The Leica M is still our [artisanal] product, but we’ve decided to go in a new direction. So we went back to the drawing board and thought about form and texture. We created a camera with clean lines and took away all the unnecessaries.”
Contrary to rumours leaked online, Panasonic was not involved in the new T-System, Leica tells BJP.
The Leica T-System retails at £1350, and is available in silver and black, with a range of accessories including a high-resolution electronic viewfinder with a selectable, integrated GPS feature. Also available is a new Leica SF 26 flash unit and the Leica M-Adaptor T, which allows users to mount and use Leica M lenses on the Leica T camera body.
The Leica T-System is the fourth new system produced by Leica in more than 50 years, following in the footsteps of the Leica M, R and S-Systems. “Our customers aren’t especially wealthy,” adds Bell, “but they are passionate, and we feel a responsibility to them.”
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