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michaelbrenner

Leica T vs Leica M 240 (with 35/1.4) Pics

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Today I had the pleasure of visiting the Leica Store in Los Angeles, California, where I was (finally) able to directly compare the Leica T to the Leica M 240, both in ergonomics and in image quality. For the M 240, I used the 35/1.4 lens. For the T, the 23mm/2 (35mm EFOV).

 

Visoflex on the T - the delay was so long that, when I put my eye to the eyepiece, that I thought it wasn't working and looked back at the display. By that time, the visual had shifted from the display to the Visoflex and the display became blank. I put the Visoflex back to my eye just in time for the Visoflex to go black and for the display to show live view. I slowed myself down, and determined it takes about a second for the display to switch from the back to the Visoflex, way too long for any kind of candid shooting - by then the moment is gone.

 

During the sales demo, the camera locked up and had to have the power cycled.

 

Also, getting to "play" mode was very slow, mostly because the camera failed to recognize the upward/downward swipe.

 

As for the image quality, between the M and the T, on this particular sample set of images, you can see for yourself and judge.

 

 

My own conclusions are as follows:

 

Ergonomics

Even though the T has autofocus, I found the M 240 to be much more fluid and quicker, mainly because, even though I was unskilled in using a rangefinder, I was able to pick up how to use the rangefinder and focus more quickly than the T was able to switch from the back display to the Visoflex. That lag is a killer. From shot to shot, you can just "run and gun" with the M 240 while the T from shot to shot was, again, much, much slower - slower than an X1 I thought.

 

I was surprised at how small the M is and how large the T is - they are about the same size, especially with the small lenses attached.

 

Image Quality

Viewing the raw files in Lightroom with no processing of any kind, I found the M 240 images had better detail, tonality, dynamic range, colors, and bokeh. If I were to use a scale of 10 for the M 240, then the T images would come in at a 7.5 to 8, in my opinion. However, in comparison to the X1, I thought the T images were superior. These nuances may be difficult to see based upon the pictures posted here (out of camera jpegs converted to 300k files with max long dimension of 1024px). The only solution, I can see, is to go to your local Leica Store and bring an SD card and directly compare the two. I was especially taken by the clarity and color and detail of the eyes. For the large silver camera, the M's focus was, due to operator error, a bit forward of the object, but even so, the reflections in the chrome were much clearer, to my eyes at least, than the shot taken by the T. Colors were better also.

 

I did not test the M lense on the T.

 

Hope this helps, those, like me, who have been seriously considering the purchase of the T and wondering how it might compare to the M 240. Having read every review I could get my hands on and having looked all the pics I could get my hands on, I can say, without qualification, there is no substitute for going to your local Leica Store, if you have one reasonably close, and getting some hands on with both cameras.

 

 

A bit of trivia - I learned that the huge silver Leica camera in the photos is valued at over $1 million. It's cast iron, chromed, weighing in at over a ton (2000 lbs). About 6 feet x 48 inches, by 24 inches. That's not what I would call a "portable" camera, a bit difficult to fit in one's coat pocket, no doubt, although you would have to bring a forklift along to lift it.

 

First image - T

Second image - M

Edited by michaelbrenner

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Here's the million dollar Leica M 240 made of cast iron and chromed and weighing in at over 2000 lbs. About 6 feet x 24 inches x 48 inches.

 

It's not a fair comparison as, due to operator error, the focal plane is a bit in front of the subject on the M pic, but, in my eyes at least, it still looks great.

 

First pic - Leica T

Second pic - Leica M

Edited by michaelbrenner

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I was surprised at how small the M is and how large the T is - they are about the same size, especially with the small lenses attached.

 

The T is actually considerably smaller and lighter than the M, with the exception on the lenses where the M lenses are smaller diameter.

 

It might be better to compare them both in LV mode though, and regarding image quality...not really a fair fight since the M is a FF sensor...and you are also comparing a $2k body to a $7k body...not really meant to compete.

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Regardless of their actual physical dimensions, I felt quite at home with the size of the M compared with the T, and the T, to me, felt bigger than the X1, and definitely on par with the size of the M - I could not believe how compact the M is or how much larger the T is than I expected. I would go so far as to say, from testing the two cameras today, that size, for me at least, is a non-issue when comparing the T and M.

 

The other thing I noticed, having tried the finder on the M and also the T for the very first time, I would offer up to those also curious about the differences that, even though it might at first seem odd that the M has it's finder offset to the left edge of the camera while the T, like an SLR, has it's finder centered above the lens, I really did not have any difficulty, and in fact, as a right-eye-dominant shooter, found it refreshing not to have my nose crushed up against the glass of the display.

 

You mentioned using the T without the Visoflex (i.e. shooting using the back display much like an X1/X2) and using Live View on the M. I did not test those methods. Having used the X1, I assumed the experience of "zombie" shooting would be similar on the T or the M and so did not test that facility. Rather my main interest in the T and the M in this test was how they performed using the Visoflex on the T compared with the rangefinder on the M. I can also say now, having used the rangefinder on the M for the first time and seeing how easy it is to use and how intuitive it is and having experienced the clarity and the intimate connection with the subject, my preference, for that camera would be to use the rangefinder rather than live view, at least for the shorter focal lengths, probably reserving the live view for tripod work and the longer focal lengths. On the other hand, with the T, I would likely have to user "zombie" style shooting (i.e. using the back display rather than the Visoflex) because of the delay when one puts one's eye to the Visoflex and also the delay while shooting.

 

For those non-M users with no rangefinder experience - like me- I would also offer up that, at 35mm the picture captured somewhat overlaps the frame lines and, at 2m (the distance the frame lines are set to) it is remarkable that the images is captured intact (i.e. no discernable parallax). For example, with the picture of the large cast iron M, I was roughly 2m away and made the capture with the edges of the large cast iron M just inside the frame lines. As you can see from the picture, there is a bit of border around it, so it's not an exact fit. Of course with the T, what I saw is what I captured. However, unlike the T, with the M your view is not interrupted by making the capture. Whereas with the T, as I mentioned earlier, there is definite separation of photographer from the subject. This is an important point to be aware of, in my view as an avid candid shooter, if one is considering between the T and the M.

 

Finally, I think comparison of the T and M is quite relevant for many members of this forum, especially those, such as myself, who have never used a rangefinder camera, and have considered the T as a lower cost entry point in working towards getting an M at some point. There is strong appeal in such a strategy, because on the surface of things, one might think you can get the M adaptor and M glass and get at least a rudimentary "feel" for what things might be like to get an M.

 

But, as you say, the T is certainly no M, and even in my short time with the two cameras, I certainly agree with you. Probably the two biggest differences I saw, in a nutshell, were connection with the subject and clarity. With the X1, even with its slow AF, I rarely had difficulty, as most of my work was zone-focused. With the T, zone-focusing will not help, as one spends (relatively) long time waiting for the finder to activate and then after the shot there is a significant disconnect from the subject. With the M, with distance markings and depth of field right on the lens, zone focusing is a snap, and during shot set up and capture one remains connected to the subject.

 

One additional thing should be noted on the T, with the backlit subjects, that the T had great difficulty focusing (center point focus) on the backlist subject from a distance of about 3 feet and even when the green focus box showed the T as focused (I was initially focusing on the subject's head), the camera instead focused (incorrectly) at infinity. The salesman appeared to be aware of this problem and asked me to focus on his chest. When I did the focus box again turned green but this time the subject was in focus. See attached pic for the incorrectly focused shot, where the T registered in focus (on the subject's head) but in fact focused at infinity.

 

The salesman advised me that the long delay when putting one's eye to the eye piece as well as the focus issues and also the lock up and the failure to recognize finger swipe up or down to play would all "probably" be addressed in future firmware releases.

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... regarding image quality...not really a fair fight since the M is a FF sensor...and you are also comparing a $2k body to a $7k body...not really meant to compete.

 

I quite expected more detail as the M as a larger sensor, but what I was not prepared for was the difference in contrast, tonality, depth (especially when looking at the subject's eyes), and colors.

 

The T is a strong contender, no doubt, but so are the X1, the X2, and the XV. However, of those four cameras, only the T has an M mount T available, and only the T has interchangeable lenses, and so, even with the smaller sensor, my expectation was that it would be a bit closer in some of these other factors if not in detail.

 

As you mention, there is a considerable cost difference between the T body ($1850) and the M body ($6950), and also between the T 23mm/2 (35mm EFOV) ($1950) and the M 35mm/1.4 ($5150).

 

I think they key questions a potential buyer of the T (or an M) needs to consider is:

1) Will the T function adequately for the photographer's requirements, considering its cost?

2) Is the M body and M glass really worth the extra cost when compared to a T, considering the photographer's requirements?

 

Only the particular photographer can say for sure. But I can certainly attest that only by actually getting his or her hands on a T and M in close proximity to each other will a photographer know for sure. But before one makes the trek to the local Leica Store (well over a hundred miles for me), do your homework so you can make the most of your time, and bring and SD card and make RAW/DNG captures.

 

In my opinion, even in my limited experience with the M and the T and in my limited time at the shop, I can say that the M body and the M glass, to me at least, are worth the extra cost.

 

In making my own personal decision on the T vs the M, certainly, in my case, cost is a major factor, so the question is, do I get the T now or continue saving for the M? A major roadblock for me is the T has real challenges for connecting with the subject as well as a host of performance issues.

 

My original intent on going to the Leica Store was to also test the T with M glass, but upon finding the subject disconnection, ergonomics difficulties (I encountered the knob problem also when trying to adjust for aperture priority and manual exposure) and performance issues in the T compared with the M, I decided to forgo those tests at this time.

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If you're an M(240) shooter, I'm not really sure what the appeal of the T would be, except as a backup, smaller alternative with AF capability. I would be very surprised (and disappointed) if the T had better image quality than the M cameras, in the same way I'd be very surprised if the S didn't give better results than the M.

 

More critically, viewed in isolation, are the T image results adequate? or better than adequate. I have no complaints so far (and the camera has not annoyed me or totally let me don't in the same way that the A7r did).

 

Cheers

John

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There are a couple of things that are evident, even in your shots. The T tends to overexpose the raw files hence the difference in brightness between the sales person in the T and M images. The JPGs are not so over exposed which means that it is likely a result of the EXIF data that LR is using to interpret the images. If you applied my adjustments to the T image it would look substantially better with more depth and tonality.

 

The DR looked to be better on the T than the M in that the walls are better exposed on the T than on the M despite the obvious bright outdoors.

 

On the photo of the big silver camera, the M shows more detail (due to more MPs) but the T I think looks better. This is purely subjective but it looks more like a big piece of shiny chrome to me.

 

Finally as to size and weight, here is the objective data:

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Don't forget that the T that I tested had the Visoflex mounted and also the 23mm lens while the M that I tested had the 35/1.4 lens.

 

Also, I appreciate the measurements and diagrams you have provided. They are quite helpful, and I can see that according to those the M is a bit larger than the T along all axes, though not by very much.

 

Let me be clear, the M is *much* more compact than a DSLR, and the T is nowhere near as compact as the X1/X2. I had hoped to use the T from a belt pouch like I used the X1, but that is not feasible, even with the 23mm/2. Thus, the X2 need not worry about being cannibalized by the T as both cameras have a definite place in the hierarchy.

 

Also, I could use the X1 one-handed without much difficulty, I'm not so sure about the T. The two dials on the T are positioned a bit differently and do not work nearly as intuitively as those on the X1/X2.

 

Another item - it's important to recognize that with the M, there are clearly marked focus distance and depth of field markings. The T lens is "fly-by-wire" and has no such markings on it.

 

As far as the actual, measured size of the T and M from the diagrams posted earlier, they do not change my impressions in regard to the size of the two cameras. For whatever reason, the T felt larger that I thought it would be (probably because of the Visoflex I would surmise) and the M felt smaller than I thought it would be (likely the lens it had and the lack of Visoflex played a role). Very strange, I know. I can't explain why - it just is. I'm curious if others have had a similar experience.

 

The M definitely felt more solid and a bit more "weighty" than the T, and the T, even though milled form a solid block of aluminum did not feel clunky at all. The T, in my hands, felt elegant. But, the M also felt quite at home in my hands, very comfortable to hold. I'm curious what these cameras will feel like in cold weather (e.g. shooting in NYC during winter, for example). The build quality, of either camera, is readily apparent.

 

I will say I'm very bummed that the T that I tested had so many problems, all of which have already been documented on this forum in one area or another and which have been summarized above in an earlier post on this thread. Of course my luck, all the problems came up at once during the relatively brief time I tested the T.

 

I'm frankly surprised that more people have not commented on the disconnect from the subject when using the Visoflex. Perhaps there aren't that many Visoflexes out there yet. Or perhaps those with them have not commented more because the assumption was that it will be soon addressed in a firmware update of some sort. Nevertheless, before the camera will be usable for capturing candid shots with the Visoflex attached, the Visoflex issues will need to be addressed. That a huge issue (for me at least), and will likely be a deal-breaker for many who desire to use the T with the Visoflex for candid shots.

 

There is no doubt in my mind, especially now that I have had an opportunity to test one firsthand, that the T is a fine camera - it just has a few wrinkles that need to be addressed, and hopefully addressed sooner than later.

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I think nobody has commented on the "disconnection" as you call it because that is the difference between an RF viewfinder and any other system in general.

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I will say I'm very bummed that the T that I tested had so many problems, all of which have already been documented on this forum in one area or another and which have been summarized above in an earlier post on this thread. Of course my luck, all the problems came up at once during the relatively brief time I tested the T.

 

I'm frankly surprised that more people have not commented on the disconnect from the subject when using the Visoflex. Perhaps there aren't that many Visoflexes out there yet. Or perhaps those with them have not commented more because the assumption was that it will be soon addressed in a firmware update of some sort. Nevertheless, before the camera will be usable for capturing candid shots with the Visoflex attached, the Visoflex issues will need to be addressed. That a huge issue (for me at least), and will likely be a deal-breaker for many who desire to use the T with the Visoflex for candid shots.

 

There is no doubt in my mind, especially now that I have had an opportunity to test one firsthand, that the T is a fine camera - it just has a few wrinkles that need to be addressed, and hopefully addressed sooner than later.

 

Interesting stuff Michael

 

There is a problem comparing cameras without getting familiar with them - whilst I acknowledge that the speed with respect to the EVF is not enough - it mostly relates to waking from sleep (where it really is too slow) rather than continuous use, where I'll stop it going to sleep at all. Like most things, you find strategies to make it work for you. Personally I think the best way for Leica to fix this is to have an EVF only mode, so that if the camera is on, then the EVF is on. Either way, I think that the reason people haven't commented on the 'disconnect' is that one quickly learns to reconnect - not perfect, and nothing will be like a rangefinder in this respect, but good enough.

 

My Ms are my main photographic tool, and I'm sure that won't change, however, the little T has a definite place, with good IQ, a different and useable interface and just the right amount of configurability.

 

I don't doubt that the IQ of the M is better . . . . . . but 16mp is fine for most purposes, and I haven't found a better 16mp than that of the T.

 

Horses for Courses -

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Don't forget that the T that I tested had the Visoflex mounted and also the 23mm lens while the M that I tested had the 35/1.4 lens.

 

Also, I appreciate the measurements and diagrams you have provided. They are quite helpful, and I can see that according to those the M is a bit larger than the T along all axes, though not by very much.

 

Let me be clear, the M is *much* more compact than a DSLR, and the T is nowhere near as compact as the X1/X2. I had hoped to use the T from a belt pouch like I used the X1, but that is not feasible, even with the 23mm/2. Thus, the X2 need not worry about being cannibalized by the T as both cameras have a definite place in the hierarchy.

 

.

 

I would say that the size difference between M and T is more than between T and X1/X2

 

Compare camera dimensions side by side

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Funny that, looking at the above comparision of M and T seen from the back, one could conclude that, wasn'it for the RF assembly, the T body (with some more thickness) could probably accomodate all the electronics of the M.

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There are several aspects that might lead to some diconnect. One of these is the inability to turn off the review function; however, setting the review to zoom minimizes this impact and in some ways is helpful in that it give a flashing quick zoomed in review to check for focus. I beleive if one selects multiple rather than single shot, review is disabled during the multiple shots. The other aspect is the slowness to switch from LCD to EVF.

 

The difference is size can be more pronounced when you add a grip to the M (the T has a built in grip) and not the M weighs almost double the weight of the T without lenses. The M lenses generally weigh more too so one handed holding 2lbs + versus 1lb is definitely more tiring and difficult over time.

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When evaluating the level of disconnect of camera from subject, I did not include the difference in experience between using a rangefinder versus and EVF, because those are merely methods for connecting to the subject, not the end result, which is what I was interested in. The fact that the T and M use different methods to connect to the subject was not at question. The key question was how effective was each camera in connecting with the subject when using a view finder (not the back display)?

 

For me, on the T the majority of the disconnect came from the long delay from when one puts one's eye up to the eye piece to when the Visoflex displays the view. It's a very long delay. In terms of trying to get a candid shot, the moment will be long gone before the camera is ready to make a capture, due to the Visoflex delay. I never allowed the camera to enter sleep mode, so the delay must be very long indeed when waking from sleep mode.

 

As for the weight, quite honestly, to me at least, it wasn't a big deal. Yes the M is heavier, but that just made it feel more solid. It certainly wasn't a deal-breaker, though I might feel differently after carrying the two of them around for an extended period of time. Still, neither camera will be a belt camera, like an X1/X2, and neither camera will be pocketable, so I'm not sure it will really matter that much. The T has the "holster" option. Not sure what options are available for the M. So, either way, probably a shoulder strap, and in that case, I'm not sure how much the weight difference will matter.

 

Also, no need for a grip on the M, at least not for me. Interestingly enough, even though the T has a built-in grip, and the M that I tested did not have the accessory grip, I was more worried about dropping the T than the M, even though the M costs much more.

 

As for the M lenses being larger than the T lenses, the 35/1.4 M lens I tested was remarkably small and compact, so again, not sure whether that will really matter at the end of the day. And, at any rate, many photographers will likely use M glass, via the M mount T adapter, on the T, so it's probably not a huge issue when comparing the two.

 

I can say, with regard to the T, the greatest challenge Leica faces is, ironically, what they are best known for, connecting to the subject. Obviously the other bugs, especially the autofocus bug, need to be addressed as well, but much can be overlooked, or worked around, once that subject connection is able to be made, and maintained, in a (relatively) effortless manner.

 

The second critical challenge, as I see it, for the T is the autofocus. Under certain conditions - very common conditions such as a backlit subject - the T indicates with the green box that it has locked focus on the subject, when in fact focus has locked at infinity.

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Also, I would have to agree with barjohn, that it would greatly improve the shooting experience if there were a way to turn off autoreview so that when making a capture with the Visoflex attached, one's view of the subject is not interrupted. But, that, to me is not as critical as the Visoflex delay and incorrect autofocus lock issues. Being able to capture the moment in the first shot, correctly focused overrides all other considerations. Don't get me wrong - have the opportunity to make follow up shots is also very important as well, especially as a scene develops.

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It seems to me that the X2, XV, T and M are made to cater to the wants/needs of different kinds of photographers. From where I stand, there is just no substitute for the M. Granted, the price of admission is pretty stiff but the benefits are well worth the investment in my view.

 

The X2, XV and T cameras may be smaller and lighter than the M but the trade-offs involved are at the point of diminishing returns for me. If I want smaller and lighter, I will put my 28/2 on the M and leave the 50 and the 21 at home.

 

There is just no substitute for the M - it is not perfect, but it is magnificent.

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There are a couple of things that are evident, even in your shots. The T tends to overexpose the raw files hence the difference in brightness between the sales person in the T and M images. The JPGs are not so over exposed which means that it is likely a result of the EXIF data that LR is using to interpret the images. If you applied my adjustments to the T image it would look substantially better with more depth and tonality.

 

 

 

You're quite right about the overexposure of raw files and I have to take a look at your adjustments. I took a number of shots at a construction site today and the images below all had to have exposure reduced by a stop or more. And I was careful to use spot metering to expose for areas I wanted to expose right.

 

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/24/ahesugyt.jpg&key=3af434bb5a81229babcbd3946bb85c1211871546a3a140aea434a7957ac83232">

 

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/24/uhu6ysu3.jpg&key=41aac950d4a6edf99c87e43c937173649ec6f330bfcd365d6363cc4d1c393b65">

 

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/24/e7aqusyv.jpg&key=b65081441cacf1d7418b26f9ef47a2d776fb25b9958e9c7c9c604bd4863458f4">

 

- Vikas

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I quite expected more detail as the M as a larger sensor, but what I was not prepared for was the difference in contrast, tonality, depth (especially when looking at the subject's eyes), and colors.

 

With respect, Michael, a better comparison would be the same subject in the same light, same distance.

.

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I know, I know, I tried my best, but we were in a camera shop with people coming and going... Now, if someone would kindly loan me an M240 with 35/1.4 lens and the T with 23/2 lens, I would be happy to provide more controlled tests...

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