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Leica TL2 boasts new 24-MP sensor, 4K video, electronic shutter

Create: 07/14/2017 - 21:38
Leica TL2

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New 24-MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Can accept all Leica L-mount lenses for TL and SL
  • Has both mechanical and electronic shutters

The new Leica TL2 camera is more than a simple upgrade over the TL and the T.

Leica has improved its mirrorless camera in several key areas that should broaden its appeal and allow it to compete with similar offerings from rival companies.

The TL2 uses an all-new 24-MP APS-C CMOS sensor, which is tied to the new Maestro II image processor. The sensor’s ISO range is 100-50,000.

The camera uses the L mount, and there currently are six dedicated lenses. More about those in a bit.

The TL2 has mechanical and electronic shutters. The mechanical shutter has a range of 30 seconds to 1/4,000, while the electronic shutter’s fastest speed is 1/40,000.

Images can be captured as fast as seven frames per second with the mechanical shutter and 20 frames per second with the electronic shutter – both for up to 29 frames with high-speed memory cards.

Speaking of storage, the TL2 has 32GB of internal memory and a single memory card slot for a full-size SD card. UHS II cards are supported. Leica says the internal memory is enough to hold 1,000 full-resolution photos, which might be enough for most users. 

Still photos are saved as either JPG or DNG (RAW) format.

The TL2 ups its video game, recording 4K, Full HD and HD for up to 29 minutes. There also is a 120 frames per second option for capturing slow motion video. Leica says the maximum length of any video can be affected by “ambient and housing” temperture, which indicates that overheating could become an issue in certain situations. A Class 10 UHS II memory card will be the best option for recording 4K video.

CUSTOMIZED MENU SCREEN

For composing and reviewing photos, there is a 3.7-inch touchscreen LCD monitor. The monitor is fixed. In addition to grouping similar functions on the menu screen, Leica also allows the user to create a “My Camera” personalized menu that fits his or her style to allow quick access to the most-used functions.

Leica said it improved the responsiveness of the touchscreen to make it easier to navigate menus and review photos.

For those who prefer an eye-level viewfinder, the TL2 can accept the Leica Visoflex electronic viewfinder, which slides into the camera’s multi-function hot shoe.

Leica’ss TL app allows a smartphone or mobile device to remotely control the camera and in effect become a huge viewfinder. The camera has HDMI and USB3.0 ports. The USB port allows for in-camera battery recharging via a laptop or a regular Micro-USB charger.

The TL2 doesn’t have a built-in flash although one can be attached to the aforementioned hot shoe.

The design of the body is noteworthy in that it continues the minimalist approach of the TL, which reflects the European approach to product design. There are just two buttons, two dials and one switch, and the switch is to turn the camera on and off. The two dials on the top deck are reminiscent of a similar layout on the Sony NEX-7.

The rear of the camera still has no buttons, which is unheard of in the digital age.

By the way, the Leical TL2 is available in both black and silver, and it can use the TL’s cases, straps and body coverings.

THREE PRIMES, THREE ZOOMS AND MORE

The current lineup of TL lenses includes three prime lenses and three zooms, covering a full-frame equivalent range of 17-200mm. Each lens is available in either black or silver to match the body.

  • Leica Summicron-TL 23 mm f/2 ASPH.
  • Summilux-TL 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH.
  • APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 mm f/2.8 ASPH.
  • Leica SuperVario-Elmar-TL 11–23 mm f/3.5–4.5 ASPH.
  • Vario-Elmar-TL 18–56 mm f/3.5–5.6 ASPH.
  • APO-Vario-Elmar-TL 55–135 mm f/3.5–4.5 ASPH.

Because the TL2 uses the L mount, this means that it can accept any of the (larger and more expensive) lenses for the full-frame Leica SL without the need of an adapter. Keep in mind the 1.5X crop factor of the APS-C srensor.

Like other Leica digital cameras, the TL2 can also use Leica M- and R-mount lenses when using the proper adapter.

The dimensions of the TL2 remain unchanged at 5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 inches (134 x 69 x 33mm), while the weight increases slightly by 2.2 ounces (15 grams) to 14.1 ounces (399 grams).

Leica hasn't announced when it will begin shipping the TL2, but it should cost about US$2,000 for the body only.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.