Leica T, no L: Five reasons to buy this original aluminium body
Four months ago I decided that Leica’s APS-C system deserved another look. There were rumours about a new TL — which materialised last months as the TL2 rather than an all-new mirrorless camera with built-in viewfinder — and the original T bodies were becoming available at an attractive price. What’s more, I reasoned, if there is going to be a resurgence in the fortunes of the T/TL then the lenses will be in demand.
As a result I bought up the three excellent TL zooms — the 11-23mm, the 18-56mm and the 55-135mm. I also acquired, by chance, a nice example of the 23mm prime which gives me a 35mm-equivalent for general work. I’d really like the 35mm Summilux-TL, despite its rather large size, but so far that has eluded me. To go with this I bought a really clean and tidy T body in black, my favourite of the two colours. I already had the Visoflex to go with the M10.
I see the lens line up as keepers; the body might go if I decide to invest in a TL2 or whatever comes next. Or, maybe, it would service well as a second body.
It seems that I’m not the only one having these thoughts. Leica Rumours directed me to this YouTube video by Mattias Burling. The Leica T isn’t the new Fuji, as he says, but it is definitely an alternative for those who want something different. He thinks it deserves to be bought again, even by those who tried it out first time round.
I agree. The original T body is now to be had for around £600 and at that price it brings a lot to the party. It’s slow, without a doubt, although successive firmware updates have vastly improved responsiveness and autofocus speeds. Yet while the T is way behind the TL2 in speed (and, of course, it makes do with the original 16MP sensor) it is a fun camera to own. What’s more, if you want to use it with M lenses — where it does a great job — then you are hardly worried about autofocus speeds.
Work with M lenses and concentrate on the exposure triangle — aperture, speed, sensitivity — and you will be surprised how much fun there is to be had. The only downside, as with all cropped sensors, is that the lens focal length has to be multiplied by 1.5. Still and all, buy 35 ‘Cron for your M and you have a 52mm “standard” lens for use with your T. Two bodies, one lens, two focal lengths.
I am still waiting to get my hands on a loan TL from Leica but I hope to have it next week or the week after.