In focus: Leica’s APS-C system cameras bring a new vision to the century-old German brand
Leica’s little red dot of approval is an invitation into an elite group of photographers. It’s common knowledge both inside and outside of the camera-wielding community: to hold a Leica camera is to hold a century of technological innovation, German engineering, and classic style.
Leica-lovers of today continue to add to a global photo-album filled with iconic snaps: Che Guevara caught on Leica M2 in 1960; fist to fist with Mohammed Ali, by Thomas Hoepker in 1966; Luis Barragán’s San Cristobál estate under the dusky Mexican sun by René Burri in 1976. With Leica, moments of high, historic creativity are achievable with a simple, swift click.
As its APS-C system attests, Leica has become expert at balancing its now archetypal design with the cutting-edge innovation necessary to survive in this ever-speeding world of smartphone photography. As much as Leica is bolstered by its long history, its demonstrable passion for top-notch technology has pushed it into the future.
Take the Leica TL2, for example – one of the newest cameras to join the APS-C system product portfolio. This flexible piece of kit, formed from a single block of aluminium, was created by Leica in collaboration with the gadget-minded Audi design team.
It is packed with a vast catalogue of abilities, considering its remarkably slim shell. Industry-leading features abound: 32GB of internal memory, a 24-megapixel sensor, and new levels of auto-focus accuracy. All the expected mod cons – integrated Wi-Fi, full-HD filming, HDMI – come as standard.
Intuitive creativity and flawless functionality is key – leaving you to focus on the shot. The camera handles with ease – no small thanks to the larger than average 3.7 inch LCD touchscreen, which responds eight times faster than the previous model, and offers a comfortable font-size for on-the-go shooting in any light conditions.
Leica creates cameras for people who like to keep them close, and on display – proudly positioned on the shelf among photo frames. Lightweight and stylish, the TL2 is available in black or silver body and will look good anywhere. For those after a more retro look, the APS-C System range also includes the Leica CL, inspired by Oskar Barnack’s classic models.
Designer and blogger Paddy Pike is one such TL2 enthusiast, and he has partnered up with Leica to demonstrate this model’s effortlessly simple, easy to use design. With an eye for raw talent, and a passion for photographing undiscovered creations, Pike understands the value of beautiful imagery – especially with the indomitable rise of Instagram. ‘The Leica TL2 has the three most important qualities for me,’ Pike explains. ‘It takes the highest resolution pictures I’ve ever seen, the user interface is high tech and easy to use, and its sleek design and great aesthetic makes it the perfect accessory. As a semi professional photographer, it’s always my first choice.’
Both the TL2 and the CL camera models take advantage of an extensive portfolio of APS-C lenses. The lenses offer superior imaging performance and are responsible for the exceptionally high picture quality delivered by the Leica APS-C System. The portfolio of compact and fast lenses (with focal lengths from 18 to 200mm) offers a wide breadth of opportunities for creative photography. The elegantly simple design of the three zooms, and four prime lenses complements the Leica CL and the Leica TL2, not only in terms of technology, but also in refined, good looks.
Developed by optical engineering specialists in Wetzlar, the Leica APS-C lenses offer the exceptional imaging performance Leica lenses are known for. The combination of optical and precision engineering, and the use of finest materials in their construction ensures their consistent quality and reliability. Further flexibility comes courtesy of the L-Bayonet mount shared by the Leica TL- and SL-Systems, which opens both cameras up the family of Leica SL system lenses, too. In total, over 100 different compatible lenses are available.
Both the Leica TL2 and CL follow a ‘less is more’ design mantra, and any additional functionality is constricted to the easy to use TL and CL apps – a now necessary trope for stand-alone cameras. It’s as intuitive as the cameras, transforming your phone, laptop or tablet into an electronic viewfinder, so you can remotely control the camera to activate timers, alter shutter speeds or upload images to social media.
‘Both models concentrate on the essential, or “Das Wesentliche”, as we say in German,’ explains Maike Harberts (product manager of the APS System). ‘The art is in reducing buttons, menu items and dials etc. without limiting usability. The goal is achieved, when the photographer can fully concentrate on the scenery and not on the camera. The result is: simply better pictures. ’
For 104 years, Leica has been making photography better, and easier. Reaching both outside of the vivid world of professional photography, and into the satchels of ambitious amateurs, helping generations of image-makers – no matter their experience – discover their vision.