Leica T goes back to base. A few tears shed
After a month of carrying around the new Leica T and 18-56mm Vario-Elmar-T zoom lens, I was sad to have to take the kit home to Leica's Mayfair, London, head office. I now have to write up my reactions to this extraordinary camera.
Whatever your ultimate view on the Leica T, it is a tour de force in camera design. The Apple influence has been much commented on: Hewn from a block of aluminium, minimalist, unimpeachable quality, polished by diligent Portuguese to within an inch of boredom. All this is true. Audi Design has produced a deliciously crafted object of desire.
The T also is a testament to Leica CEO Andreas Kaufmann's known affinity for Apple Design and, in particular, the iconic work of Jony Ive. Had I been told the camera was the work of Ive I would not have been surprised. Swap the Leica red dot for a white-on-black McIintosh Apple and the T could sit happily in any Apple Store in the world.
The touch control concept is also a winner for Leica. While I am not yet ready to say I prefer it to the traditional physical buttons and dials, I see the future in this user interface. A new generation, brought up on smartphones, will not find anything strange or unapproachable when they first set hands on this new camera. I liken it to the reaction of shock and horror when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone with its solitary home button. Blackberry and presumed public opinion were then prejudiced in favour of a physical keyboard. They could not have been more wrong.
The T is not without its faults, as I shall make clear, but overall it contrives to be one of the most innovative and desirable cameras of the year.