Leica T review: Hands-on

The Leica T System camera is aimed at smartphone users

What is a hands on review?
Image 1 of 6 Leica T review
Leica T review
Image 2 of 6 Leica T review
Leica T review
Image 3 of 6 Leica T review
Leica T review
Image 4 of 6 Leica T review
Leica T review
Image 5 of 6 Leica T review
Leica T review
Image 6 of 6 Leica T review
Leica T review

The Leica T-System is a new camera system aimed at those who are used to touchscreens and comtemporary design and aren't quite ready for one of Leica's classic models like the M or Leica X2.

The compact system camera will have two lenses at launch - a standard zoom and a fixed lens with a large aperture - with two more lens options to follow and there's also an adaptor (£300) so that you can use the new model with Leica M-System lenses.

Built-in Wi-Fi means that you can upload directly from the camera and a new iOS app means that you can also use your mobile device as a remote trigger.

Leica T: Size and build

The metal camera body is chiseled down from a single block of aluminium giving it a robust feel and very clean aesthetics. Despite the telltale Leica red dot logo, the design looks pleasingly futuristic, unlike the brand's usual retro designs.

The silver model will also be joined by a black model a few months down the line. What's more, you can add a T-Snap 'skin' which adds a bit of extra protection and grip and is available in bright orange or yellow) as well as black or white). Yellow might be a bold choice for a camera, but we liked it. Yours for £60.

Tipping the scales at 384g, this certainly isn't the lightest CSC around, but it feels reassuringly worthy of the price tag.

In keeping with the minimalist design, the optional camera straps, which are rubber and designed to match the T-Snap cases, are fitted using a tiny key, the same as you'd use to get your SIM into a smartphone like the iPhone 5s or HTC One M8.

Leica T: Controls

Controls are kept to the bare minimum as you'll be doing most of the work on the touchscreen. Aside from the display, you'll find just two dials, as well as the shutter release button, power switch and dedicated video button.

A simple on-screen menu lets you assign functions to the two dials.

There's also a hotshoe so that you can attach various optional accessories including an electronic viewfinder.

Leica T: Screen

The large 3.7-inch LCD touchscreen, with a resolution of 854x480, covers almost the entire backplate, much like the Samsung Galaxy Camera. Designed to appeal to smartphone users, the screen can also be switched off easily when needed, so that you don't accidentally knock it when using the hard controls.

Not dissimilar to an Android phone, the shortcut screen can be customised with the functions you use most.

Leica T: Picture quality

The new model packs an impressive 16.5-megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor which should make for high-quality snaps, particularly in low light. The camera also features an ISO range of 100-12500 plus a burst rate of 5fps.

So far we've only reeled off a few quick test shots, but considering Leica's heritage we're expecting big things when we get the camera in for review.

Leica T: Verdict

The Leica T is a bold move in a market that's flooded with compact system cameras. The brand's heritage will no doubt reel in its usual fanbase but the new T cam also looks like a great option for camera newbies (albeit ones with plenty of spare cash lying around). We loved the design of the new model and were impressed by the strong accessory lineup, which can sometimes feel like a bit of an afterthought on some rival brand's models. Stay tuned for a full review...

Leica T release date: 26 May

Leica T price: £1,350

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.