Leica has unveiled their rumored update to the TL, the TL2. The heavens opened, light shined down through the clouds from those very same heavens upon this wondrous marvel from Germany. Well… Not really. Actually, it’s quite underwhelming. Although the TL2 features upgraded specs such as USB 3.0, 20 frames per sec, 4k video, the new 24 MP APS-C sensor and the Maestro II processor, the TL2 is still lacking the single most desired and requested feature in the TL… A built-in EVF.
All one has to do is take a quick glance through some of the Leica forums to see dozens of potential buyers saying that are once again let down by the lack of an EVF. Within hours of the news hitting Facebook, dozens of photographers in Leica groups and on dedicated pages voiced their annoyance at yet another system with such a glaring oversight. For most of us, a serious compact without a built in EVF isn’t that serious. We asked for one thing in the TL2, an EVF and Leica… just didn’t listen. This is made even more frustrating knowing what Leica can do with an EVF, the SL features the nicest EVF I’ve ever used. It’s big, bright, with fantastic contrast. Many photographers including myself looked at this and thought it would be great to have them bring a version of that over the TL2.
“…I’m not sure what kind of consumer Leica is going after with the TL. “
Sure the TL2 has a big bright shiny back display and it’s upgraded to at least meet current APS-C standards (24mp puts the TL in line with APS-C leaders like Fuji, both the X-Pro 2 and X-T2 have a 24MP sensor), but the biggest thing missing from the first model was a built in EVF. This was far and away the most requested feature in the TL, but it’s once again absent. One reason I’ve heard is to keep the TL as compact as possible, however, when you add on the Visoflex EVF, it’s no longer that tiny little compact. The Visoflex will also set you back another $595 on top of the $1950 (without a lens) you just paid for your TL2, making this quite possibly the most expensive APS-C camera on the market and you still don’t have a lens. Fuji’s X-T2 will set you back around $1900 on eBay with their “kit” 18-55mm lens, which is likely the best kit lens ever made. The least expensive TL lens, it the Leica T 18-56mm F3.5-5.6 Asph, which runs $1650. Basically, you’re looking at least $4200 just to get into the TL system. That’s a Leica Q! A more versatile professional level compact system, with a built-in EVF and a full frame 35mm format sensor!
“WE ASKED FOR ONE THING IN THE TL2, AN EVF AND LEICA… JUST DIDN’T LISTEN.”
With a price tag like that, I’m not sure what kind of consumer Leica is going after with the TL. With no built-in EVF, it’s clearly not aimed at professionals using the APS-C format, perhaps it’s priced solely for hobbyists who have more money than they know what to do with? It’s a real shame for Leica to have made these choices with a system that could be real competition in the APS-C marketplace. The TL showed a lot of promise when it debuted, but it was widely criticized for not having an EVF, I myself went with Fuji’s system over Leica’s for this very reason. Maybe Leica just doesn’t take its APS-C users that seriously, but I don’t believe that to be the case with the lens line up they’ve produced for the TL system. It’s been mentioned that the TL would be a wonderful companion to the Leica SL system since they have the same mount, but the Leica SL is also 24MP, which means in APS-C crop mode with a TL lens, it would be reduced to 12MP. I can’t imagine anyone using the SL wants to give up half their resolution, let alone invest thousands in the TL lenses to do so.
If the TL line was well established and a user was invested in it when they purchased the SL, I could see the argument for the TL having a place in an SL shooters bag. But that’s not the case, both the SL and TL systems are quite young and neither have a significant share of their respective markets. Maybe we’ll see the TL3 receive the much desired built in EVF, if the system survives that long.
The Leica TL can be preordered now through Leica stores, and approved dealers such as World of Photography. For more information straight from Leica, they’ve updated their site with the latest marketing. (Link) FP