Leica T System

Leica T and Ur-Leica

Leica introduced a new camera system with interchangeable lenses and a new Leica T mount, the Leica T. It is supposed to be positioned between Leica’s X lineup and the M System and is priced at 1.500 €  for the body and about the same for each of the two lenses available at launch, a Leica Summicron-T 2,0/23mm and a Leica Vario-Elmar-T 3,5-5,6/18-56mm.

Of course, many reviews have been published over the internet already, most of them praising the new camera as pricy but sexy. So I won’t go into any detail what so ever about the camera. Some reviews I worked through and can recommend are Leica T – Beta Test Report by Michael Reichmann, The Leica T (Type 701) Unibody Digital Camera Review by Steve Huff, World premiere: The 2014 Leica T (Type 701) review by Ming Thein and Leica T (Typ 701) First Impressions Review by Andy Westlake at dpreview.com.

Apart from the camera itself, I was particularly interested in the lenses. They are supposedly made in Japan to Leica specs, but not by Panasonic. The Vario-Elmar-T 3,5-5,6/18-56mm is to slow for my taste, although it seems to be a pretty decent lens for the money according to the reviews. Most interesting is the Summicron-T 2,0/23mm since it is equivalent to 35mm in the 35mm format. It basically is the focal length of the legendary Leica lenses for reportage photography. With an F2.0 it might even be suitable for available light situations. Unfortunately I came across some issues with this lens in the review Leica T-Type – First Look an Overview by Brian Hirschfeld:

There is one curious thing to note about this 23mm lens. While the lens is rated at f/2.0, when it is at its minimum focusing distance (~0.3m) the lens is an f/2.8 lens, backing up a little bit, the lens will become an f/2.5 and then an f/2.2 lens and then finally an f/2.0 lens. This is a little bit deceptive and something that users should take note of. This is not anything particularly unique to this lens, other lenses like the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 G macro lens suffers from a similar difficulty which is something that you must be aware of when shooting. Now, with this particular lens, this is not an issue since its already an ultra-fast f/2.0 lens but it is something that you should be aware of.

Source:  Leica T-Type – First Look an Overview by Brian Hirschfeld, April 26 2014

Although it is not uncommon, I would not appreciate this lens from Leica that much. If this is true and can be verified, the lens becomes far more unattractive and pretty much kills my interest in this system. F2.0 might be pretty fast, but still the minimum requirement for me personally. A defact 2.8 lens would not be the right choice for me. There is an M-Adapter T, allowing M-Lenses to be mounted. That’s a good thing for any M owners, I guess. But for anyone looking for an attractive entry point into the Leica ecosystem, I am not so sure.

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