Leica Adds Speed To Style in TL2
Leica’S 3rd-generation ‘APS-C’, L mount mirrorless camera has been given some minor cosmetic treatment on the outside, but a major upgrade on the inside. The new Leica TL2 retains the smart, hewn from-solid-aluminum one-piece chassis and bodyshell introduced with the first model T, but now with chamfered edges for a slightly smoother look. The most significant change on the outside is the deletion of a built-in flash which, Leica says, consumer feedback indicated was rarely being used. However, the internals includes a new sensor, processor and AF system, making the TL2 significantly faster than its predecessors.
The CMOS sensor has an imaging area of 23.6×15.7 mm and a total pixel count of 24.96 million (24.24 MP effective) to give a maximum image size of 6000×4000 pixels for JPEGs and 6016×4014 pixels for RAW files. As before, RAW files are captured in the Adobe DNG format, but there is now the option of a stand-alone RAW mode (either compressed or losslessly compressed) rather than just RAW+JPEG.
JPEGs can be captured in one of three sizes. The sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 100 to 50,000 and a new sensor-based shutter enables a top shutter speed of 1/40,000 second.
Additionally, with the sensor shutter, the TL2 can shoot continuously at up to 20 fps at the maximum image resolution. Using the camera’s conventional focal plane shutter, the top speed is 1/4000 second and the maximum shooting speed is 7.0 fps.
The new ‘Maestro II’ high-speed processor also endows the TL2 with 4K video recording in the Ultra HD resolution of 3840×2160 pixels at 30 fps and Full HD recording at 60 fps. The contrast-detection AF system steps up to 49 measuring points (versus nine previously) and has a claimed speed of 165 milliseconds, which Leica says is three times faster than before.
Camera operations are still primarily controlled via a large 9.4 cm touchscreen monitor, but the menus have been redesigned to more logically group-related functions and there’s the option of creating a customized ‘MyCamera’ menu for quicker access to frequently-used items. There isn’t a built-in EVF, but the optional Visoflex (Typ 020) module can be fitted and also adds a GPS receiver.
Other notable features of the TL2 include built-in WiFi, HDMI (Type D) and USB 3.0 connections, 32 GB of internal memory, UHS-II speed SDHC and XC memory card support, auto exposure bracketing, dual-delay self-timer and stereo microphones.
The L mount bayonet lens fitting is compatible with Leica’s TL and SL series lenses. There are currently 6 TL series lenses spanning 17mm to 200mm (35mm equivalents). M mount lenses can also be fitted via the M-Adapter L which is now also available in silver as well as black.
More SLR From Canon
The Canon EOS 6D has lived in the shadow of its 5D siblings despite presenting a lot of the similar attractions for a lot less money. After five years we were starting to think Canon might have forgotten about it. The good information is that there’s now an EOS 6D Mark II which is again designed to be Canon’s most affordable full-35mm D-SLR, but it boasts a lot of significant improvements, so it’s not quite as pared-back as its predecessor.
The weather-protected GRP and alloy body shield remains much the similar as before in conditions of dimension and styling, but the 7.62 cm LCD display screen is now adjustable for tilt and swing (In fact a first on a full-35mm format Canon D-SLR). It has a resolution of 1.04 mega dots and offers touch controls. The visual viewfinder uses an appropriate pentaprism and offers 98% picture coverage. A single slot for SD format memory cards is retained and, also as before, there is no built-in flash.
On the inside, the 6D II has a new sensor, processor, AF module, and metering system so that’s basically a complete overhaul.
The sensor is an all-new CMOS with a total pixel count of 27.1 million (26.2 MP effective) and it incorporates Canon’s ‘Dual Pixel AF’ system for phase-difference detection AF in Live View or when shooting video.
An optical low-pass filter is retained. The sensitivity range is equal to ISO 100 to 40,000 with increase settings to ISO 50 and 102,400. The processor is Canon’s latest-gen ‘DiG!C 7’ engine which enables Full HD video recording at 50 fps and continuous shooting at full resolution at up to 6.5 fps (4.0 fps in live view). A larger buffer memory expands the burst depths to 110 most excellent quality JPEGs or 21 RAW images.
The visual AF system employs 45 measuring points – all cross-type arrays with a dual cross type array at the center – and has low-light sensitivity down to -3.0 EV (at ISO 100).
Exposure metering is supported on a 7560 pixels color-sensitive ‘RGB+IR’ sensor which gets 63-zone multi-segment size with the selective region, spot or center-weighted standard options. The shutter speed range remains at 30-1/4000 second with flash sync up to 1/180 second.
Most probably to keep some difference from the EOS 5D IV, the latest 6D doesn’t have 4K video, but its facilities have been promoted to include fixed stereo microphones, better bit rates for Full HD video recording (Maximum 60 Mbps) and obviously improved AF performance – particularly subject tracking – via ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’. Time Lapse movie clips can be created in 4K at 25 fps. Other notable features include flicker detection, both WiFi/NFC and Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity, a built-in GPS receiver, multiple exposure facilities (up to nine), interval meter and multi-frame HDR capture.
The Mark II also obtains a hike in cost to around $3000 for the DSLR body, but that’s still significantly low-priced than any 5D model. Incidentally, along with the original 6D, the 5D Mark III is also bowing out… so if you want one, get it now.
Keep Your Eyes on Your Drone
You’ll best know Epson for its excellent range of photo printers, but the company has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies (including making EVF screens). One of the more interesting non-printer Epson products is its Moverio high-definition ‘smart glasses’ which are gradually finding a range of applications in industry, science, and tourism.
The latest generation Moverio BT-300 model has recently been introduced and is more compact, lighter in weight and more sophisticated than previous models. Unlike conventional VR Goggles, the Moverio glasses are transparent so you’re still in touch with the real world while displays are being generated on the inside of the lenses. Epson is calling them “augmented reality” smart glasses.
Our interest in the Moverio smart glasses is their usefulness for flying a camera drone, where there’s a legal requirement in Australia that the aircraft be kept in sight all the time. Obviously, you can’t do this with conventional VR goggles.
With the Moverio glasses, you can watch the drone and also see what its camera is seeing via two silicon-based backlit OLED projection displays.
Wireless connectivity is via WiFi or Bluetooth and there’s a built-in memory card slot for microSD devices which supplements 16GB of onboard storage.
Epson’s Moverio smart glasses are powered by a quad-core Intel Atom X5 processor running Android 5.1 which enables efficient rendering of complex 3D content. An advanced 5MP front-facing camera and onboard sensors (With a GPS receiver) allow the Moverio BT300 to more precisely determine the location of objects in the real world.
The Si-OLED projection system can then seamlessly render and lock 3D content to these objects, with no display background or edges in the field-of-view. The move from LCD backlit projection to Si-OLED in the BT300 permits advanced contrast levels, a wider color range, and improved display transparency. Being much lighter than most drone-flying headsets or goggles, the BT-300 is more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time… in fact, not much different from a normal pair of glasses.
The Si-OLED displays are very crisp and clear, but more importantly, it’s now a lot easier to shift your focus from here to the longer distances and back without getting tired eyes.
The cable-connected controller uses a trackpad for more efficient navigation and a rechargeable battery pack gives up to 6 hours of operation… which, of course, far exceeds the range of any camera drone.