Leica T 701 – Part 2 – Reviews and first thoughts

Leica T 701Well its been announced and several photographers I trust have released reviews.

First a comment to the Leica Haters, get over it.  There are lots of cameras to choose from, for some of us; we shoot Landscape on our Large Format 4 x 5 inch film Ebony’s, for others they use their Smart Phones and both sets of users are happy.

The best hater comments I heard was that it was a rebadged about to be released $99 Samsung running Android or a re-badged Sony Nex-5.

For a German built Leica I throughout the price was very good, yes its expensive but this is built far better then the competition.  While I prefer direct controls like the Leica M and the recent Fuji X range, Leica should be applauded for trying a different control layout.  While we have had touch screens before, nothing quite like this has been seen on a camera.

First the good; image quality is up there with the very best and the build quality head and shoulders above the rest of the pack but then so is the price.

Down side, no bracketing no exposure lock, no built in viewfinder, no optical image stabilisation, Leica feel currently that in sensor or optical stablisaton impacts image quality too much.

I could go on but the best option is to check out the review sites.

luminous-landscape.com

stevehuffphoto.com

mingthein.com

Lens wise things are a little limiting so far but there are two other lens to follow early next year, the Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-T 11-23 /f3.5–4.5 ASPH, and the Leica APO-Vario-Elmar-T 55–135 /f3.5-5.6 ASPH. These are 17–35 mm and 80–200 mm equivalents in 135mm terms.

While we might make the same complaint about the current zoom as was made with the Lecia X Vario, that it is too slow, you cannot fault the quality.  Unfortunately due to the laws of physic that even Leica cannot get round you can have lens that are small/high-quality/fast – pick only two.

So the big question, would I buy one, honestly I do not know.  It would make a good replacement for my Nikon V1 and act as a spare body for my Leica glass.  The current limited lens range would not impact me as much as I have several Leica M lens I could use.  It would not though be my carry everywhere compact camera.  The lack of direct controls and a viewfinder would be too limiting for me.  I think for me the Fuji X100s is a better everyday choice but I have to admit I could find room in my Leica bag for one of these, the EVF, and mount adapter and I am sure many other Leica M users could as well.

With its modern controls it will be a camera that splits photographers, for those that can see beyond the price and remember that Leica are a tiny company without the scale of production to bring down prices like the Panasonic’s/Olympus/Fuji and Canon/Nikon’s of the world its worth considering.

One last interesting thing is the mount diameter, its very large and would cope with a full 35mm sensor, is there a Leica T Pro waiting in the wings!

 

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