We speak with Maike Harberts, product manager for the Leica T, about the newest addition to the Leica family, and why it deserves a place in today’s overcrowded micro four thirds landscape.
Does the Leica T bring anything new to the current camera market?
"We created the mirrorless system camera with the Leica M 60 years ago, so it was natural for us to take the heritage and create something new around that.
We differ a bit from the rest of the market who is just technology-driven and form-follows-function. We value design, craftsmanship, and ease of use to compete on a more soulful level. We like to touch customers’ hearts through the experience of interacting with the camera, not just on the technical data sheet."
Why so late to the touchscreen game?
"When we implement something, it has to have purpose. This touchscreen is by far the best there is in the camera market right now. When you saw the first cameras with touch, they still retained buttons on the back, so it was literally a copy of what there was before.
We wanted to go one step further, so we had to take the time to think of new ways of implementing things like operation wholly via gesture. It’s not about half-hearted attempts with us."
What's the Leica T's design philosophy?
"If you take a look at the M, it’s just three parts - the bottom cover, the top cover and the leather in between. The bottom of the M has an iconic oval shape that comes from the invention of the camera itself. The T is the exact oval shape of the M, but in subtraction. We wanted to reduce everything, to make it clean and simple as possible.
The rock solid frame doesn’t have pieces that are screwed together. It’s just one solid block of aluminium that is milled down. The unibody design doesn't just look and feel good, there’s also purpose behind it - its resulting robustness."
It's still pretty pricey...
"Our production is done entirely in Germany. Every camera and lens that hop off the production line and into a box have the same standards and high tolerance. There’s no variation in quality, you buy two cameras and they are exactly the same. If you pick up a camera or lens, you know it’s top-notch, and quality, in the end, costs a bit."
Who's worthy of the Leica T?
"In this fast-moving world, it’s sometimes nice to hold on to a thing that has long-lasting value. We think there are lots of people out there who love design and quality, and really value something other than specs and the latest tech with no real soul, meaning, or purpose."
What does the T's lens future look like?
"We launched it with the legendary Summicron lens and the standard zoom, and what's up next are the wide angle zoom and the telephoto zoom. We have more lenses to come, but they’re currently in development. In the Leica portfolio, there are certain classic lenses that we will definitely do."
All in all, what's the point that Leica is making with the T?
"We're going a step further, taking our core values along with us and making them more appealing to a modern and more innovative crowd. The iconic things that are 60 or 100 years old still remain our heritage, but we're going a step ahead and saying yes, we were innovative a hundred years ago and we still dare to be."
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