Leica TL2 stays pretty, gains performance muscle
Compact mirrorless cameras are improving rapidly and, even though last year's Leica TL was incredibly pretty, it didn't quite nail the formula. Enter the TL2, a more refined take on the outgoing model – both inside and out.
Although its exterior closely mirrors that of the TL, the TL2 has been treated to plenty of performance improvements under the skin. The 16-megapixel sensor has been swapped for a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS unit, paired with a new Maestro II processor.
There's a new electronically controlled shutter, too, for continuous shooting at 20 frames per second (fps). To call that an improvement over the 5 fps its predecessor offered would be a huge understatement. The new shutter also allows silent shooting up to 1/40,000 second, perfect for birdwatchers who don't want to scare their subjects with an old fashioned click-clack.
Along with the improved sensor and processor, Leica is particularly excited about the new 49-point autofocus system on the TL2. The company says the camera will focus on subjects in around 165 milliseconds using the standard zoom lens at a wide angle, making it three times quicker than the TL it replaces. Video has been given a boost in the TL2, too, offering 4K (3840 x 2160p at 30 fps), 1920 x 1080p HD at 60 fps and 1280 x 720p at 60 or 120 fps.
Like pretty much every other camera in the Leica range, the TL2 is absolutely beautiful to look at. It's actually milled from a single piece of aluminum, and eschews the usual gamut of fiddly little buttons and knobs for one 3.7-in touchscreen on the rear of the body. There are also two multifunction scroll wheels on top of the camera, but they don't take away from what is a stunning piece of minimalist design.
The touchscreen interface has been developed to feel snappy in the age of smartphones, and the camera can be hooked up to a companion app over Wi-Fi for remote viewfinder and remote control operation. Users are also able to tweak nitty gritty settings on the camera remotely, perfect for shooting in awkward situations – or for lonely bloggers with no-one to hold the camera.
As you'd expect of a Leica camera, the TL2 doesn't come cheap. The body costs US$1,950 without a lens, up from $1,695 for the TL. It's available in black or silver, and there are six lenses compatible with the standard L-mount – although adapters are available for the huge back catalog of Leica glass on offer.