Leica Releases New Leitz Phone 2 With a Wickedly Powerful Sensor
It might come as a surprise to some that iconic camera maker Leica would build its own smartphone. However, it should surprise few people that if the company does so, it would really invest in the quality of that phone’s camera and sensor.
Well this is exactly what Leica has now done with its new Leitz Phone 2. The German company has unveiled the new device to the world as the successor to its 2021 release of the Leitz Phone 1.
The biggest difference between this new model and the previous one is that the Leitz Phone 2 comes with twice the sensor resolution of it predecessor. According to Leica, this makes it the phone with the largest sensor ever on such a device.
Now, at first glance, such a claim might seem hard to believe. After all, phones from Xiaomi, Motorola and other brands exist that all claim sensors with 100 or more megapixels of resolution.
What readers should keep in mind though is that megapixel resolution and sensor size are only correlated to some extent; they’re not precisely the same thing.
In the case of Leica’s new phone, the key specswould be total sensor size and individual pixel size, which are both crucial to real photographic performance. We’ve covered this subject previously in our last deconstructions of phone camera resolution and sensor size, here and here and also here.
So far, we don’t know how big the individual pixels in the Leitz Phone 2 are, and this is a crucial spec to keep in mind for gauging real sensor performance.
In the case of the Leica Leitz Phone 2, what users of the phone can look forward to is a Type 1 47.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor that delivers supposedly superb photo quality while working “hand-in-hand” with the phone’s also powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor.
According to Leica, this combo of powerful processor and sensor tech creates better images by letting the phone activate different sensor modes based on how it analyzes scenes, lighting, environmental and other conditions.
As Leica explains, “The result is brilliant quality that is unsurpassed in the smartphone industry — even in low lighting or with high-res images taken in high-resolution mode,”
The company also clarifies, “The camera uses special pixels to set the autofocus and enable extremely fast photography that delivers sharp images in nearly any situation. Images can be saved in RAW or JPEG format.”
This new sensor in the Leitz Phone 2 also includes an Octa PD-AF (phase detection autofocus) system that features AI-powered subject recognition, possibly somewhat similar to what Sony has included in its latest Alpha camera, the A7RV.
In any case, with these specs, Leica is promising extremely fast and highly precise AF in the phone’s camera.
The lens on this new Leica phone is also definitely worth describing because of its large size and apparent versatility.
The Leitz Phone 2 sports a 19mm f/1.9 lens that lets it capture crisply clear images with HDR and minimal noise given its size and specs, according to Leica. There’s also a 6x digital zoom on this main camera.
As for the rear (selfie) camera, it comes with a curiously more powerful 8x digital zoom, but only offers a 12.6MP sensor under a 27mm f/2.3 lens.
Leica writes glowingly about the new phone and especially its camera, which is its chief selling point. However, in terms of actual performance, we’ll have to see how it works in real terms, especially when compared to other high-powered phone cameras on the market.
Because this is a Leica phone and quite a pricey one at that, Leica has also given it access to a software feature called “Leitz Looks”. This lets users simulate the look and feel of photos taken with the brand’s Leica M lenses and cameras.
Along with that, the Leitz Phone 2 will also have a distinct shutter sound that it emits to recreate that classic camera feel. Another setting in the Leitz Phone 2 for a Leica camera-like experience will be a camera UI and quick settings menu that are similar to the ones in standalone Leica cameras.
According to Leica, this new phone also imitates the focal length and bokeh produced by the brand’s own Summilux 28mm, Summilux 35mm, and Noctilux 50mm lenses.
What’s more, the phone’s color and tone filters boost these photographic similarities further by recreating the “deep color tone” found in classic Leica cameras.
These sample images by photographer Anju showcase what the Leitz Phone 2 can deliver:
Sample photo credits: Anju
For the time being, for reasons unknown to us, Leica is only releasing the Leitz Phone 2 on the Japanese market as of November 18th for the yen equivalent of roughly $1,590. The same was the case with the Leitz Phone 1 until it filtered out onto the international market.