Leica has introduced a beautiful new camera, prompting photographers around the world — as always — to doubtfully inspect their wallets. And as always, the camera's price tag is more a matter of the design and name than any technical prowess.
Milled from a single large block of aluminum, the Leica T is certainly a looker. The design can definitely be said to be minimalist, with its unmarked dials and sparse touchscreen interface.
It's also the first to use a new "T-System" lens mount — buying one of these cameras also means picking up a new lens. Between the $1,750 body and lenses around that price, you won't be getting a T without spending at least $3,800.
Of course, for $3,800 you can get a professional-quality DSLR and several very serious lenses. But buying a Leica digital isn't really about the pictures — though an early look by camera review site DPReview suggests it's far from a poor performer. Its 16-megapixel sensor is competitive with rivals from Fujifilm and Sony, and the new lenses appear to be of extremely high quality.
But with no built-in viewfinder, a small selection of lenses (an adapter for the older M mount is available), and no discernible advantage over cameras a quarter its price, the T definitely seems to be more photography statement than photography tool.
The Leica T should be available starting May 26 from your usual camera dealers and online stores.