Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yes The Leica T Also Takes Great Pictures!

Leica T with Vario-Elmar T 18-56mm @ 23mm. 1/400th f/8 @ ISO 400. Main Street, Chinatown, Vancouver.


Is it wrong to care about how a camera looks? If that's all you care about, then yes. But we are creatures of aesthetics and symmetry. That's why we are attracted to beautiful things in both nature and things made by hands. How a camera looks and feels can affect how we feel, which in turn affects how we shoot. Shooting with a rangefinder feels very different to me versus shooting with an SLR. Shooting film or instant really feels different versus shooting digital. My mood affects my shooting pattern.

Leica successfully plays on this concept of beauty and style (along with function) with the new Leica T. They spent a lot of time and energy marketing this camera as such, including a 45 minute video of an employee hand polishing a T body. It's Audi design. Does all this effort in making this camera sexy successful? Yes it is. Wherever I walk around with this camera, people want to look at it, touch it, play with it. Even at Eric Kim's recent street-photo workshop in Vancouver, everyone wanted to hold and play with the T over any of my other review cameras. Moreover, if you want attention, buy the Leica T, it's worth every penny. However, do you also want to take great pictures?


Leica T with Vario-Elmar T 18-56mm @ 56mm. 1/500th sec f/8.9 @ ISO 800. Chinatown, Vancouver

The Leica T has the same sensor as the Leica X-Vario (and I assume the same processor), and you all know how much I love that camera (I spent almost 2 months with it in Tokyo with my Tokyo-X-Vario project). Both cameras are very capable image making machines, although they both have their quirks. The Leica T is a huge improvement over the X-Vario in terms of technology, innovation and extra functionality; but some things still need a bit of tweaking. For me, I don't mind the quirks, and I'm comfortable shooting with this camera. 

A full review is on its way, as well as a YouTube video. Notice I didn't post any pics of the T this time? It's not necessary. We all know it's uber sexy. We get it...

My Preview of the Leica T posted HERE

My Short YouTube Video Review of the Leica T posted HERE

Thanks for viewing and happy shooting!

Munetake

BHT 

2 comments:

  1. This e-mail comment came to me and I thought I would post here:

    Take......Once our beautiful warm weather retracts and the wet damp and cold winter weather approaches this all metal Leica T will be very frigid to hold ( like fishing in a aluminum boat..burrr ) and I hate add on grips, it would actually kill the symmetry of the T. Sometimes style and cool give sacrifice the practical. That's my stab at wisdom today. Enjoy the street. Gerry

    Thanks for making a good point Gerry. You're right, any metal camera, the Leica T included, won't feel so great in the winter or even wet, humid climate. I know there are leather wrap add-ons for the Leica T, but that covers up that beautiful aluminum. At the same time, I know people who love adding cases. I have an awesome leather case for my beautiful iPhone 5S, and many camera lovers always buy half-cases to protect their investment, although it does alter the aesthetics.

    Thanks again for your comment Gerry. What do the rest think? Cover up the aluminum, or not? Half-case, or no case? Grip?

    Munetake

    BHT

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  2. Another e-mail question I thought was worthy of sharing:

    Hey Take,

    Great blog and the videos have been great as well, really liked the Leica T one.

    I just have a quick lens recommendation. I want to buy a Leica T, I love primes and I do street-walk around photography. What lens would you recommend for this, The Leica 23mm f2 ( full auto af and aperture) or a voigtlander m mount lens like a 21mm f1.8 (fully manual).
    I just want to know in terms of image quality because I don't mind a manual lens, plus the Voigtlander is a lot less expensive.

    Thanks!

    My reply:

    Hi Pedro,

    Thanks for your email and thanks for visiting my blog and YouTube videos. For a street photographer, I think you need to find the best angle of view that you can tell your story. For me, it's between 28-35mm equivalent (or 18-23mm on APS-C format). This is more important to me than lens sharpness. As you may have noticed from my blog reviews, I rarely go into too much detail on comparing lens sharpness, although I do test it out.

    For instance, even if someone told me that lens A is sharper than lens B, I won't automatically choose the sharper lens. I want to know if I like the focal length, if I like how it renders colours and shadows, etc. If all things being equal, then lens sharpness is considered.

    The Voigtlander lenses are amazing, and if I was going to get into manual film cameras and lenses right now, I would certainly choose a Bessa body and a hand full of Voigtlander lenses (21, 28, 40). That being said, on a Leica T, I don't know how the Voigtlander lens will perform on the Leica body. The interaction between lens and sensor (and processor) decides on how the image will look overall. You would have to play with it. If you are the type to jump around between bodies and lenses every few years, think more about trade-in value and overall cost of a system.

    For me, I recommend sticking with a brand, a format, or focal length and learn to work with it. When you shoot street, you're probably going to be shooting at f/5.6-8 most of the time anyway, so both lenses will be sharp. My guess is the Leica will be sharper, but the Voigtlander will feel better manually focusing (mechanical focus versus focus by wire). Also, my assumption is that if you buy the Voigtlander, you will be scale or zone focusing, which is a great way to shoot street, especially with a prime. You won't get on-screen distance and DOF scale like you will with the Leica lens, but the lens will have that information. This is another thing to consider.

    I hope this helps. Thanks for your comment. Don't hesitate to ask more questions.

    Best regards,

    Take

    BHT

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