Debating on getting a Leica-T

pmxperience

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Aug 12, 2011
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I'm debating moving on a Leica-T. I'm aware that their availability is very sparse at the moment. Anyone get their hands on one yet? What are your impressions?
 

Edge100

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I'm debating moving on a Leica-T. I'm aware that their availability is very sparse at the moment. Anyone get their hands on one yet? What are your impressions?
Why?

Seriously. What does the T do that other mirrorless digital cameras do not (and for a LOT less money)?

I ask this as a staunch Leica M user.
 

steveash

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Haven't tried one but I can absolutely see why you are tempted. They are beautiful objects and I expect a fine camera. Being a new lens mount you are taking a gamble on its lifespan but anything with a Leica badge will hold its value well.
 

Edge100

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Haven't tried one but I can absolutely see why you are tempted. They are beautiful objects and I expect a fine camera. Being a new lens mount you are taking a gamble on its lifespan but anything with a Leica badge will hold its value well.
Disagree vehemently with respect to Leica digital cameras.

The M9 retailed for nearly $7000; you can now regularly buy them in EX condition, with low shutter counts, in the $3000 range. This is more or less the same as the depreciation on a D3X or similar top-end DLSR.

In contrast, film M cameras hold their value quite well. A 60 year old M3 in EX condition goes for over $1000 (original retail, adjusted for inflation, was about $2300, so that's a 43% retention over 60 years), while a similar condition MP goes for $3200ish.

NEVER buy a digital camera expecting it to hold its value.
 

Razeus

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This is a collector's item for people with more money than they know what to do with. This is not for serious photographing of anything. Why would you? Why would you take it out and risk scuffing it up, dropping it and denting it (it's aluminum).

You're photos aren't going to change just because you got a Leica T, or M, or Q.
 

Edge100

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This is a collector's item for people with more money than they know what to do with. This is not for serious photographing of anything. Why would you? Why would you take it out and risk scuffing it up, dropping it and denting it (it's aluminum).

You're photos aren't going to change just because you got a Leica T, or M, or Q.
I agree 100% with respect to the T (and the Q!).

But the M is a unique camera, with no real competitors. Digital Ms cost no more than a top-end DSLR, and provide a unique photographic experience, which is uniquely suited to specific types of photography. That said, I wouldn't buy one, because at the end of the day, a digital camera is a computer with a lens on it, and is subject to the same digital rot as any other computer.

Which is why I shoot film Ms.
 
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ChrisA

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I'm debating moving on a Leica-T. I'm aware that their availability is very sparse at the moment. Anyone get their hands on one yet? What are your impressions?
Should you buy one?

I think you buy this more as a luxury accessory. Like you don't buy a Rolex watch because you need to know what time it is. And you don't buy a T1 because you want to take some pictures. In both cases you buy it because you like the design and how well it is made.

It looks to me lie the T1 is the Rolex watch of digital cameras. VERY well make and nice to look at but you pay a huge premium for the design. To some people with large disposable income, it's worth it.
 
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kallisti

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I agree 100% with respect to the T (and the Q!).

But the M is a unique camera, with no real competitors. Digital Ms cost no more than a top-end DSLR, and provide a unique photographic experience, which is uniquely suited to specific types of photography. That said, I wouldn't buy one, because at the end of the day, a digital camera is a computer with a lens on it, and is subject to the same digital rot as any other computer.

Which is why I shoot film Ms.
I agree with this. The Ms are indeed unique, with pluses and minuses like any camera system. You are buying into the rangefinder thing. And the M lenses. Don't knock the digital Ms out of hand though, especially the M (240). At some point with digital you have to ask when is enough enough. For me it's currently there.
 

Edge100

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I agree with this. The Ms are indeed unique, with pluses and minuses like any camera system. You are buying into the rangefinder thing. And the M lenses. Don't knock the digital Ms out of hand though, especially the M (240). At some point with digital you have to ask when is enough enough. For me it's currently there.
Will an M240 be working in 60 years, like a DS M3?

There are already M8s and M9s with failed sensors, and the oldest of these is < 10 years old.
 

someoldguy

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You can do better . No doubt it's beautifully made but this just seems to be arm candy for the affluent . You want a digital Leica ? Look around for a good used M8.
 

Razeus

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I think digital Leica's are way too expensive. Their sensor tech is sub par. Their lens are beautiful however, but I feel the camera's should have much, much more. The only Leica I'd buy is an M3 or an M6 film camera.
 

Edge100

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I think digital Leica's are way too expensive. Their sensor tech is sub par. Their lens are beautiful however, but I feel the camera's should have much, much more. The only Leica I'd buy is an M3 or an M6 film camera.
Show me another camera that does digital B&W as well as the Leica Monochrom, which uses an ancient circa-2009 sensor.

Again, Leica digitals cost about the same as top-end DSLRs from Canon or Nikon. No, they don't offer 10 frames a second or equivalent noise performance at ISO 2,000,000, or a host of other things.

Then again, I'm not going to shoot street photography with a 1DX or D4s, neither of which has a rangefinder or uses small, unobtrusive, top-of-class lenses which are easy to manually focus.

It's not all about objective image quality; sometimes, it's about the right tool for the job.

I agree: I have no interest in a digital Leica M, and my MP will be with me forever. But that's only because I have no interest in digital cameras, full stop.
 

steveash

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Aug 7, 2008
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Disagree vehemently with respect to Leica digital cameras.
Consider myself corrected!

This is a collector's item for people with more money than they know what to do with.
Poppycock…expensive poppycock.
You can do better . No doubt it's beautifully made but this just seems to be arm candy for the affluent .
I think digital Leica's are way too expensive.
Many people have said the same about Macs and iPhones. :D

I know many people would disagree with me but I would never object to someone buying something they desire however flawed or unsuitable it may be. If they expect it to turn them into a great photographer then that is something rather different.
 

pmxperience

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Thank you all for your responses. I was looking for something that would express quality both in and out and would serve as somewhat of a workhorse for my street/urban photography, both commercial and personal. I originally had my eye on a digital M (model 240), but the price on the T is what really caught my eye for the initial perceived quality and bang-for-the-buck impressions.
 

Razeus

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Thank you all for your responses. I was looking for something that would express quality both in and out and would serve as somewhat of a workhorse for my street/urban photography, both commercial and personal. I originally had my eye on a digital M (model 240), but the price on the T is what really caught my eye for the initial perceived quality and bang-for-the-buck impressions.
The T is not a workhorse camera.
 

Razeus

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Will you be able to buy film in 60 years?
What he is saying is, someone who bought the M 60 years ago, can still use his camera today, albeit, much less film stock choices. That's a good investment. Investing $7k into a Leica M 240 today is not. There's no way it would last 60 years.
 

kallisti

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Thank you all for your responses. I was looking for something that would express quality both in and out and would serve as somewhat of a workhorse for my street/urban photography, both commercial and personal. I originally had my eye on a digital M (model 240), but the price on the T is what really caught my eye for the initial perceived quality and bang-for-the-buck impressions.
I have no experience with the new T system. I found this review by Steve Huff who is a Leica apologist. Reading between the lines I came away underwhelmed. But not having actually used one, my opinion has little merit.

*No* digital camera is a good investment. Advances happen fairly quickly and electronic systems fail in a relatively short span of years. Digital offers some advantages over film (but also drawbacks). That is a separate debate.

I would only buy a digital Leica over other digital cameras if the Leica offers something unique compared to other brands. The digital M line does--rangefinder vs SLR. Pros and cons to both approaches, but they are different tools. As stated above in the thread, use the tool that works best for what you need. I love my M (240) for most things I shoot. But I also use my Nikon for some subjects.

The T series is kind of a funny camera for Leica. It shares some of the advantages of other mirrorless cameras over a DSLR, but not sure it adds much compared to other options in this space. Not being a rangefinder, it loses the distinct advantages of an M over both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

While it can use M lenses with an adapter, they remain manual focus. Not sure how easy focus will be using them on a T compared to the rangefinder dynamic on the Ms. It's also a crop sensor which changes the FOV (and DOF) when using them. FOV gets magnified by the crop factor while DOF remains the same as the actual focal length in 35mm terms. This can either be a plus or a minus, depending on the DOF field you want for a given FOV. Somewhat harder to blur the background with a crop sensor, but easier to get more in focus at a given aperture and subject distance.

Aside from being a rangefinder, one of the nice advantages of the Ms is that they are very simple to use. No fluff, just basic controls that are easy to adjust with dials on the camera body. No clue how easy the T is to use in actual practice. How visible is the back screen in bright light? Still able to see the UI so you can make changes? Or even compose/focus? Leica makes an EVF for the T, but it won't help with making adjustments if the display on the back is washed out.

Personally I'd be a bit careful about buying a T at this point. Cameras are tools, nothing more. Just because it's a Leica, doesn't mean it's the best tool for the job. The Ms are really good tools for some applications. Not sure at this point if the same can be said for the Ts. Spend your money however you wish, but weigh in your own mind utility vs brand cache. The image is what matters, not the coolness of the gear used to shoot it :)
 
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kallisti

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This about sums it up.

How is the T better than the X-T1 or A7R, to give two examples?
I think digital Leica's are way too expensive. Their sensor tech is sub par. Their lens are beautiful however, but I feel the camera's should have much, much more. The only Leica I'd buy is an M3 or an M6 film camera.
Offering this as a counter-point. As I stated in my above post, I personally wouldn't recommend a T to anyone.

But....

As post after post suggests in this forum, it's all about the glass. The T can use Leica M lenses with a relatively cheap (by Leica standards) adapter. If it's really all about the glass, this should translate into significantly better images than any other mirrorless system can offer.

Just saying...;)
 
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Edge100

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Will you be able to buy film in 60 years?
I'm nearly 100% positive that you will, yes.

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Offering this as a counter-point. As I stated in my above post, I personally wouldn't recommend a T to anyone.

But....

As post after post suggests in this forum, it's all about the glass. The T can use Leica M lenses with a relatively cheap (by Leica standards) adapter. If it's really all about the glass, this should translate into significantly better images than any other mirrorless system can offer.

Just saying...;)
All of the other mirrorless systems can use Leica M glass using relatively inexpensive adapters. Oh, and in the case of the Sony A7/A7R, those lenses can be used with a full frame sensor, as originally intended.

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What he is saying is, someone who bought the M 60 years ago, can still use his camera today, albeit, much less film stock choices. That's a good investment. Investing $7k into a Leica M 240 today is not. There's no way it would last 60 years.
Precisely.

And to be fair, there is still huge choice available in film. Just from the major manufacturers, and just considering pro films, you have:

Kodak
Ektar 100
Portra 160
Portra 400
Portra 800
Tri-X 400
Tri-X 320
TMax 100
TMax 400
BW400CN
CineStill 800 (ok, this is not a Kodak product per se, but its based on Kodak Vision3 500T motion picture stock)

Fuji
Provia 100F (also available from Agfa as Precisa CT 100, for much less $$$)
400H

Ilford
PanF+
Delta 100
Delta 400
Delta 3200
HP5
FP4
SFX200
XP2

Most of these films are available in at least 35mm and 120, and some are available in 220 (Portra 160 and 400), 4x5 (lots), 8x10 (the Portras and Provia 100F for sure, plus lots of Ilford stock), and even in ultra large format.

And this also excludes consumer grade film, of which there is still plenty, and expired film, which, if stored properly, is very usable today.

What we've lost is slide film. Fuji only makes a single emulsion, and Kodak makes none. That's a real shame, since nothing produces the colour of a slide.

Negative film is still widely used in motion picture production (and remains the gold standard for motion picture preservation), and black and white film remains a very popular choice for fine art photography.

Film isn't going anywhere.
 

paolo-

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Aug 24, 2008
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I really don't see the point of getting a Leica-T over the Fuji X line.

The Fujis have nice built-in EVF and even OVF in the case of the X-100/s and Pro-1. They already have a decent collection of very nice lenses. And lastly the price is kind of self explanatory. The T is 2k for the body and the lenses are 2k a pop?