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Thread: Leica T System Mini Review

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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Leica T System Mini Review

    Yesterday, I was fortunate to be able spend a few hours with the Leica T and the 23mm summicron lens.

    A big shout out to Sunil Kaul and the crackerjack team at Leica Singapore for arranging for the use of the T system with very short notice.

    As I pursue a lot of street photography, street portraits and documentary photography, I was curious to see how the camera and lens combination would perform as a street photography camera while walking in the streets of Manila.
    In crowded streets with lots of distractions, signage and people moving in and out of the frame, I often like to use a faster lens like a summicron to create separation between a subject and the background to emphasize an expression or a connection with the subject. This sort of subject and background separation isn't easy to produce on a cropped sensor camera.

    I've used, tried or owned many of the cropped sensor cameras on the market in an attempt to find a small, but potent street shooting tool. I may have found it in the Leica T.

    Every system has its strengths and weaknesses, but in my mind, a combination of usability and excellent image quality is paramount.

    Bottom line ... I was very impressed with the images and how quickly I was able to adapt the camera to how I like to shoot. The camera delivered pleasing results in a wide variety of quickly changing, mixed light scenarios.

    With any system, it should always be about the images you are able to bring home as jpegs or raw files. This is where the Leica T excels ... excellent auto-ISO, dynamic range and detail from the lenses mean that you can manipulate the images how you see fit to create your own, distinctive creative vision.

    Much of Leica's marketing emphasis for the launch of the system went into describing the physical design and overall aesthetic of the T system. In my opinion, they could have spent an equal amount of time highlighting the excellent images that the system is capable of producing.

    Kudos to Leica for developing an autofocus-based system that in many respects is a very capable mini-M in image quality ... minus the rangefinder of course for those who are looking for excellent images on the fly.

    I have more images posted on my website at: Leica T System Mini-Review











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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Hi Kurt,
    Thank you for your findings about the experience with the T.
    Did you use the viewfinder or just the display? As someone used to optical viewfinders of S and M - how did you get along without an optical viewfinder?
    Kind Regards, Tom

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Thanks for that....just a waiting game now.

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    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    I tried my hand on a T last weekend. The viewfinder takes a second or two to turn on when you lift the camera - kind of annoying. The viewfinder color balance was also way off - perhaps I didn't have the white balance set properly.

    It certainly is a solid chunk of gear, but I was not wowed enough to want one more than my Fuji X-T1 or my M240. It's not any smaller than these once you mount the lens, and the kit lens is certainly the most expensive kit lens to hit the planet. The more I use the Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4.0 kit lens the more impressed I am, and for just $400 it is a legendary bargain. Yes, I know they're different concepts but at the end of the day they're both just interchangeable lens camera systems.
    Brad Husick

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Brad,
    I went to B&H to try out the XT1 yesterday. It was too crazy to play with the settings for a long time but on single shot I found the EVF/LCD blackout after a shot to be annoyingly long. Are there different settings that impact that. I get the delay you are talking about is completely different. I'm just trying to make a final decision between XT1 and T

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    I haven't noticed the black-out after a shot. I will look at it.

    The Fuji AF lens lineup is fantastic and the results with M lenses are great. The T will eventually have 4 AF lens choices, maybe more, but today it's two.

    But the biggest difference is the way you interact with each camera. I love the old school way of knowing what the settings are even before you turn on the power.

    The T is new-school touchscreen and even though I love my iPhone that interface just isn't my cup of tea on a camera.
    Brad Husick

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    The Fuji AF lens lineup is fantastic and the results with M lenses are great. The T will eventually have 4 AF lens choices, maybe more, but today it's two.

    But the biggest difference is the way you interact with each camera. I love the old school way of knowing what the settings are even before you turn on the power.

    The T is new-school touchscreen and even though I love my iPhone that interface just isn't my cup of tea on a camera.
    Yes, I've had an x-pro1 since the beginning. I like the Fuji interface but I also like working with the T.

    Every system will take a bit of time to get the lens lineup together. The 18-55 was only released after the x-pro1 was one the market for a while.

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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Hi Kurt,
    Thank you for your findings about the experience with the T.
    Did you use the viewfinder or just the display? As someone used to optical viewfinders of S and M - how did you get along without an optical viewfinder?
    Kind Regards, Tom
    Hi Tom, I only had the camera for a few hours so I ditched the EVF. I like being able to change things up with different approaches to see where it takes me as a photographer. It's a different interface and experience not using a viewfinder instead of using an optical viewfinder. Old school versus new school. If it's any help, later on I was able to use the EVF for a few minutes with an old Canon 100/f2 lens with an M mount that I had laying in the cabinet. I really didn't have any issues getting focus on stationary or slower moving objects. (And this is with a lens that can be difficult to focus on a rangefinder.)

    I had a similar type of question on LUF about focusing, I think that information is also relevant here because it relates to the style of shooting one chooses to use. For my time with the T, I picked the autofocus setting that I most wanted to use if I were to purchase the camera for the type of photography I like to pursue.

    I'm very happy using an M for street photography, street portraits and documentary. Often, I use a wide like a 21SEM and zone focusing. However, there are instances where I enjoy having an option for autofocus and shallower depth of field for spontaneous or quick reaction photographs. That's so I can hide the amount of clutter, signage, etc. that appear on many crowded streets. Many SE Asia streets are a lot more crowded and cluttered than anything in the West ... so I think it's interesting to try different approaches.

    This is where the T gets interesting. It delivers excellent image quality that has a look that is similar to the M for those looking for a consistency in look between systems ... with the addition of autofocus.

    For a few of the shots, I simply used the touch autofocus on the rear display to highlight the part of the scene I wanted in focus and snapped away. I don't know if it is possible, but it would be great to trigger the shutter from the touch of the LCD screen like you can do with the Olympus OMD ... it then becomes a very convenient one-step process.

    For all of the shots I posted, I used auto focus with facial detection. I mostly pursue photographing people. The auto focus in this mode was quick and responsive. I did miss a few times, but I'd blame that on user unfamiliarity as I only had the camera for a short while.

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    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    I tried my hand on a T last weekend. The viewfinder takes a second or two to turn on when you lift the camera - kind of annoying. The viewfinder color balance was also way off - perhaps I didn't have the white balance set properly.

    It certainly is a solid chunk of gear, but I was not wowed enough to want one more than my Fuji X-T1 or my M240. It's not any smaller than these once you mount the lens, and the kit lens is certainly the most expensive kit lens to hit the planet. The more I use the Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4.0 kit lens the more impressed I am, and for just $400 it is a legendary bargain. Yes, I know they're different concepts but at the end of the day they're both just interchangeable lens camera systems.
    Brad, it won't replace my M or MM anytime soon as I love shooting with a rangefinder. It just fits me. That being said, I really like the image quality of the files that I brought home. I've used the OMD, Fuji x100s, Ricoh GR and XT-1. The XT-1 has nice colors, but I am most impressed with the IQ I got from the T. The AWB was excellent (better than my M240) and the files have great dynamic range. Just like the M and MM files, you can practically abuse them in post and still get away with a very nice shot.

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post

    For a few of the shots, I simply used the touch autofocus on the rear display to highlight the part of the scene I wanted in focus and snapped away. I don't know if it is possible, but it would be great to trigger the shutter from the touch of the LCD screen like you can do with the Olympus OMD ... it then becomes a very convenient one-step process.
    That probably would have caused some traditionalists to have heart failure
    terry
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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    That probably would have caused some traditionalists to have heart failure
    Terry, I have to say that I was much more enamored with the camera than I thought that I was going to be before I used it. In many respects it is like using an ergonomic iPhone with Leica lenses attached to it to maximize the shooting experience. Is everything perfect, no. But nothing is the perfect solution for all people. I think that the T is an awesome product for Leica simply because it is such a fresh break from all of the stodgy, traditional nonsense that comes between refining a tool to increase one's photographic options and holding on to tradition for tradition's sake.

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Thanks Kurt!
    I am surprised how many reviewers say the T is not perfect but really do like the overall experience with the camera. From the specs I would say it is not for me but I am still curious to check one out.
    Tom

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    Hi There Kurt - and Tom
    I think that's an excellent assessment - I also think that touch shutter would be great . . . I imagine it might be possible later.

    I suspect it isn't for you either Tom - but whatever else it is, it really is an interesting and different experience shooting with it.

    All the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    When I tried out the T the only thing that annoyed me about touch focus was that you either used it for all shots or turned it off. On the T if it is set the camera won't AF with half shutter pressed when touch focus is turned on. On my other cameras both will operate at the same time.

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    Senior Member Elderly's Avatar
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    Re: Leica T System Mini Review

    I notice that there's a firmware update (1.1)

    Downloads // Support // Service & Support - Leica Camera AG

    I wonder if there's something in it to prolong the polished finish .
    Ian.

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