More rumours. This time the gossip points to a new Leica camera, the T, likely to be announced in April. Much attention has been given to the type designation, 701, which has synergy with that of the X Vario, Typ 710. More than likely this indicates a familial relationship. The new Leica T has already been up for electronic certification in Taiwan according to this shot published in 43rumors.com:
Leica Rumors says that the camera is almost certainly at the heart of a new interchangeable-mount system, presumably the T System, which will feature a range of Leica-designed autofocus lenses. It is believed the camera and lenses will be produced by Panasonic on behalf of Leica and will be based on the APS-C sensor as found in the X Vario. However, since Panasonic is already committed to the M4T standard, it is unlikely that the new Leica will be sold also under the Panasonic brand.
It is worth bearing in mind that prior to the announcement of the X Vario last year the rumours were centred on exactly this version of a new interchangeable-lens system. This was reinforced when Leica trailered the “Mini M” and some commentators even suggested it would feature a full-frame sensor. If the guesses are right this year, it looks like Leica will be fulfilling last year’s rumour but with the smaller sensor.
Despite Sony’s introduction of the first full-frame mirrorless camera, the A7, there is still life left in the APS-C market. While it can be argued that it is a crowded field, with the Fuji X perhaps being the nearest contender to Leica, there could be a market for a high-end system with the red dot.
If these rumours are correct, what could the T stand for? Presumably it will be the designation of a new lens mount in addition to the name of the camera. Leica has already used C (the 1970s “Compact Leica” CL), M, R, and S for lens systems so T is next in line. It probably stands for something logical, just as the venerable M stands for Messsücher (loosely translated as range-measuring viewfinder). The only likely photographic term I can think of that begins with T is Tiefenschärfe, which is one way of saying depth of field, but it feels wrong. All suggestions welcome.