Leica T (Typ 701) preview: The Leica for the modern age is here—but where are the lenses?


posted Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM EST


For most people, the Leica brand summons to mind two things: photographic excellence, and top-shelf style. The 16.3-megapixel, APS-C sensor-shod Leica T (Typ 701) is true to type, positively oozing both qualities -- on paper, at least. It's also quite a bit smaller than the company's rangefinder cameras, especially in terms of height, not to mention a whole lot lighter. And its attractive, Audi Design-styled body is milled from a solid block of aluminum -- a first for a camera, claims its maker.

But while Leica's designs are often called retro, the Typ 701 unashamedly bucks that trend. There's no rangefinder here: Instead, the Leica T accepts an optional electronic viewfinder. And while you still get twin control dials, there's also a touch-screen display -- and an unusually large one, at that. The Typ 701 even sports in-camera Wi-Fi wireless communication, although sadly there's only an iOS app. Android fans are, so far, left out in the cold.

The Leica T (Typ 701)'s body is machined from a solid block of aluminum.

The big news here, though, is the new camera's Leica T lens mount. It's a brand-new creation that -- while it brings Leica up to date, with electronic communication between camera and body -- may initially prove something of an Achilles' heel. That's because until early next year, there will be only two native lenses to choose from: one 23mm f/2.0 prime, and one 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. There will also be an M-mount adapter, but this will of course mean focusing manually, even though you have an autofocus-capable camera body.

Got a while? Put your feet up and watch the Leica T get lovingly polished, start to finish.

In the US market pricing is set at around US$1,850 for the Leica T camera body. The first two lenses are priced at US$1,950 for the 23mm f/2.0 prime, and US$1,750 for the 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The electronic viewfinder accessory is priced at around US$600, and the Leica M-mount adapter is the most affordable item at US$400 or thereabouts. Although availability hasn't yet been disclosed, ordering will be possible from May 26th though Leica Stores, Leica Boutiques and select dealers.

For a whole lot more on the most modern Leica camera yet, read our in-depth Leica T preview!