Leica Camera has just unveiled it’s latest camera in their prosumer TL-System line - the new Leica TL2. For those of you who have read my Leica T review, you’ll remember that it was launched at a time where mirrorless cameras were showing signs of becoming the mainstream ‘go-to’ camera for many amateurs due to the performance to size ratio. Following the T came the world’s first professional mirrorless camera in the SL, which set new standards for the mirrorless system by offering all the benefits of a mirrorless camera with the performance of a full-frame professional SLR. Leica then made some major firmware improvements to the T, and also released the upgrade in the Leica TL. Fast forward to the present, and we now have the Leica TL2.
Yesterday I was fortunate to meet with the two Stefans of Leica Pro Design: Stefan Schulz - Head of Product Management Professional Photo System, and Stefan Skopp – Product Manager SL-System.
Last night was more than just a product launch, as Dr Andreas Kaufmann said "I's a celebration of Photography" - and a celebration of photography it was, with some heavyweight professional photographers, industry professionals and the usual Leica faces in attendance. Above: (L-R) Leica Chief Dr Andreas Kaufmann, Photographer Fred Mortagne, Photographer Stefano Guindani, Leica CEO Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Oliver Kaltner and Photographer and host Craig Semetko.
There were approximately 1000 guests all eager to see what the new announcement was all about and they weren't disappointed. I made my way around the venue armed with the SL, capturing people and moments and the reaction was positive. Some were taken back by the size of the 24-90mm lens but understood that the size was necessary to ensure ultimate quality.
The LEICA SL (TYP 601)
By now you’ve probably heard of this new autofocus camera and system from Leica Camera – the Leica SL. There have been rumours milling around social networks and forums for weeks and speculation was at an all-time high. Most of the rumours initially pointed to a new M camera, possibly with autofocus. This rumour then changed to an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera based on the Leica Q, which isn’t too far off. Indeed, the Q really surprised many of us when it was launched because it was Leica’s first real success at nailing autofocus, by meeting and exceeding the performance of competing products. It’s clear that Leica’s technological partnering with Panasonic has been a very good match as it’s allowed Leica to catch up to the competition, and in the case of the freshly announced SL, possibly leapfrog it!
Quite possibly the most anticipated Leica camera since the M9, the Leica T (Typ 701) is finally here, well almost (in stores around 4 weeks from now). Launching with two lenses – a SUMMICRON-T 1:2/23 ASPH and a VARIO-ELMAR-T 1:3.5-5.6/18-56 ASPH, the camera starts off with a very sound lens combination that works very well together, with more lenses to come later this year. With the sensor being an APS-C Size with a magnification ratio of 1.5, those lenses become 35mm f/2 and a 27-84mm f/3.5-5.6 in full-frame 35mm terms. The camera will be launched in silver with a black option to come from July.
If you saw my last blog post on using the Zeiss Otus on the Nikon Df, you’ll know just how excited I am about this beast of a lens. Since writing my first impressions, there have been many questions as to whether this lens is as good as I say it is.......
You know the saying “Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it”…..well Zeiss listened and delivered…in size!
Enter the Zeiss Otus. A 55mm lens with a f/1.4 maximum aperture designed with next to no compromises. Many would mention price, which sounds high, but trust me, this is lens is actually a bargain at it’s US$4,000 price – but more on that later.......
While Greek mythology brought us the Titans, it was the Germans who applied the Titan qualities to their cars and cameras. Like any good battle, the Japanese also made their presence known with their own version of Samurai. Fast lenses are like fast cars, and when considering both, they share the same kinds of adjectives like ‘exotic, alluring, superlative, amazing, glamorous, extraordinary, unique and unusual’. Both fast cars and fast lenses have an appeal for their ability to give its operator more speed, control and power. To photographers wanting to express their vision through shallow depth of field, the ultra fast lens is a valuable tool, as it enables you to narrow the vision to the exact precise focus position within a frame. But there is much more than subject isolation to think about when analyzing a fast lens. Different lenses exhibit different and unique characters in the way they draw both the focused and defocused areas, and there is no better way to explore this area than by comparing the world’s top Titans.
I'm going backwards in time because my blog wasn't running at the time I made this video, but in case you haven't seen it, here's my unboxing of the Leica M (typ 240).