Leica TL

Leica TL

Leica TL Review

Hand crafted objects of desire – the crème de la crème of the camera world, famously wielded by Magnum photographers navigating war zones – as well as the well-heeled photo enthusiast navigating a Mayfair parking space. That’s pretty much the public image of Leica in a nutshell.  Even the box the camera arrives in plays like a bit of theatre; it unfolds like a cake box; a present that unwraps itself.

It’s not all rich man’s plaything however: the camera is naturally a component of a photographic system, being directly compatible at the time of writing with six ‘TL’ lenses; three prime lenses and three zooms, as well as ‘SL’ optics thanks to shared L bayonet mount. Leica says that via adapter it’s further compatible with its M and R series lenses. So there is no need to worry that investing in a Leica TL is going to leave us short of capable accessory options.

At the Leica TL’s core is an APS-C CMOS sensor, rather than full frame chip, but given the competitors in its price bracket that’s fair – not everyone needs a full frame sensor. Unusually for a dedicated camera these days, and doubtless with a nod to the large internal memories of smartphones and tablets, the camera sports a large-ish 32GB internal memory – with Leica claiming sufficient space for 1000 shots.

Official dimensions are 134x69x33mm and it weighs 384g.

Photography reduced to the essentials is the pitch here. Exclusively designed for the T system, this will set you back £360 alone. However it does also feature a built in GPS option as an added bonus.

In terms of accessories, Leica provided a compact 23mm f/1.2 fixed lens with our review sample, along with a slightly more versatile – but still relatively compact – 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6mm zoom. We were able to fit it into the pocket of a winter jacket with relatively compact 23mm lens attached.

So, let’s examine the Leica TL’s features and functionality. From the front, then, our silver review sample looks slick enough to prompt ‘wows’ from those in the photo trade we showed it to, the familiar Leica red logo the most prominent feature here, save for the lens mount and small window positioned top right which houses its AF assist lamp.

Design wise we guess the Leica TL is a bit of a ‘marmite’ product; it will immediately appeal thanks to its intentional minimalism, or it won’t, and a more traditional control layout and camera design will be sought out instead. We found ourselves admitting it, without outright loving it.  –> User Manual Guide

Leica TL

Body type
Body type Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Max resolution 4928 x 3264
Other resolutions 4272 x 2856, 3264 x 2160, 2144 x 1424, 1632 x 1080
Image ratio w:h 3:2
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 17 megapixels
Sensor size APS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
ISO Auto, 100-12500
White balance presets 5
Custom white balance Yes (2 slots)
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Superfine, fine
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Manual focus Yes
Lens mount Leica L
Focal length multiplier 1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3.7
Screen dots 1,230,000
Touch screen Yes
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic (optional)
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes
External flash Yes
Flash modes Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, on, off, slow sync, slow sync w/redeye reduction
Continuous drive 5.0 fps
Self-timer Yes
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30p), 1280 x 720 (30p)
Format MPEG-4
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types Internal + SD/SDHC/SDXC card
Storage included 32GB
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Microphone port No
Headphone port No
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11b/g/n
Remote control Yes (via smartphone)
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery Life (CIPA) 400
Weight (inc. batteries) 384 g (0.85 lb / 13.55 oz)
Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33 mm (5.28 x 2.72 x 1.3)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
GPS Optional
GPS notes requires EVF

 Buy it Leica TL


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