Leica T review

A back to basics compact system camera from the premium manufacturer

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It's great to see a traditional camera manufacturer like Leica embracing new technologies and new ways of working. The company is aiming the T at a completely new market, and while it's still not exactly cheap, it's a lot more affordable than the likes of the M, which opens up this premium luxury brand to a lot more people than ever before.

While there's not a huge range of lenses currently available, the promise of more to come, and compatibility with existing lenses (via an adapter), makes it quite an appealing system to buy into.

Unfortunately however, for the price that you'll pay, you don't get something which is any better than many of the current crop of compact system cameras, and many will baulk at paying such a huge premium basically for the famous red dot. For the same price as the T (body only), you could get something like the Sony A6000, with a kit lens and still have change left for a couple of lenses. If you add in the price of the Leica T's kit lens, we're talking about at least another two lenses – so that's something to consider.

On the plus side, those who are attracted to interesting design will likely find lots to like about the Leica T. It's a unique design, and the fact that it's crafted from a single piece of aluminium certainly makes it feel solid and secure.

It's also nice to see a traditional manufacturer like this embracing new technologies including touch screen technology and inbuilt Wi-Fi. The touchscreen is good, if not the best on the market, and using it is a nice experience most of the time, especially with the amount of customisation on offer – it's a big shame that in playback it's not a little more responsive though. Those who like physical buttons will be sorely disappointed by this camera too, so that's worth considering.

Image quality is decent, but it's certainly not any better than the likes of the Sony A6000, Samsung NX30 or Fuji X-T1, which is a little disappointing given Leica's history of producing very high quality cameras with superb image quality. Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to use anything but the 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, so it would be interesting to know how using a prime lens on this camera fares – hopefully we will be able to update the review at some point to take this into consideration.

We liked

It's great to be able to customise the menu systems, and using the innovative swipe to move and delete function is fun, especially once you get used to it. Using only a quick swipe from the top of the screen to enter playback mode is also a fun, almost smartphone like experience, too.

We disliked

Unfortunately, there's plenty to dislike about the camera. For the price, it's just not good enough. The system is also limited at the moment, and while it does look set to grow, it's a serious investment that requires faith in the idea that more and more lenses will be introduced – at no doubt very high prices.

Final verdict

While this camera may open up the traditionally premium Leica brand up to a wider audience than ever before, this isn't the camera I would recommend to the majority of users. Image quality isn't better than its equivalent rivals from Sony, Fuji or Samsung, and for those cameras you get a lot more value for money. If design and aesthetics if your thing though, or you're lured in by that famous red dot, then this might just be your bag.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.