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Leica’s Leitz Phone 3 Pairs Big Sensor with New Modes, but is Japan-Only

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Leica announced the Leitz Phone 3, it’s third smartphone that brings enhanced imaging, unique features, tons of photo modes, and more. Unfortunately for most of the world, the smartphone will only be available in Japan.

A lot has changed with this new phone, but the actual imager remains the same as 2022’s Leitz Phone 2. Just as was the case back then, the Leitz Phone 3 features a rear camera system with a main 47.2-megapixel Type 1 (often referred to as 1-inch) sensor with “Octa Phase Detection Autofocus” that Leica says delivers quick and precise focusing along with impressive photo quality even in difficult lighting conditions. This sensor sits behind an equivalent 19mm f/1.9 lens.

The front of the phone features a 12.6-megapixel 78-degree wide field of view with an f/2.3 aperture to allow for high quality selfies and video calls.

Letiz Phone 3

While the sensor is the same, the surrounding device sees several upgrades. For starters, the chassis has a new design that Leica says exemplifies its passion for functional aesthetics. It features a “premium polyacrylic texture” on the back which the company says feels like holding a Leica camera. The smartphone weighs 209 grams and is designed to be both sleek and compact.

Letiz Phone 3

The brains of the smartphone are brought through a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and it promises to operate for a long time between charges thanks to the 5,000 mAh battery that supports wireless charging. The 6.6-inch display is a Pro IGZO OLED with a 240Hz refresh rate with a resolution of 2,730 by 1,260 pixels and a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits.

Letiz Phone 3

It ships with 512GB of onboard memory which can be expanded up to 1TB more via a microSDXF UHS-1 memory card slot. The smartphone also featuers both a headphone/microphone jack and a USB-C port.

Letiz Phone 3

Additionally, that design carries over into the user interface. Leica says it rearranged the widgets to make the entire layout cleaner and more user friendly, which has the added benefit of making Leica features like the Golden Hour and LFI widgets easier to find and use.

“The Golden Hour widget, which was developed exclusively for Leitz Phones, alerts the user to the hour before sunset and after sunrise. Light is particularly warm and perfectly suited for spectacular photos at this time,” Leica says. “The LFI widget, which was also developed exclusively for Leitz Phones, continuously presents images from the Leica Fotografie International Gallery — the curated platform for Leica photographers worldwide.”

The Leitz Phone 3 also brings “Leica Perspective Control” to a smartphone for the first time. The software feature, which has thus far only appeared in Leica cameras, corrects the perspective of vertical falling lines such as those seen in architectural photos.

Letiz Phone 3

A gyroscope measures the angle at which the camera is held while taking the picture and then an algorithm calculates the correction. The corrected image is then shown by means of a white rectangle with the new image frame. This feature only affects JPEG files and the original DNG will remain unchanged.

New Leitz Looks and Leica Tones

Leica put significant effort into updating the software in the Leitz Phone 3 in the form of new Leitz Looks and Leica Tones. A new “variable aperture” Leitz Look simulates the various aperture stops of the most popular Leica lenses: Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2, Summilux-M 28 mm f/1.4, and Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4. Leica says the bokeh effects can be controlled through the software by setting the aperture to f/1.2, f/1.4, and f/8.

Leitz Looks
SUMMILUX 35mm
Leitz Looks
SUMMILUX 35mm f/1.8
Leitz Looks
SUMMILUX 28mm
Leitz Looks
NOCTILUX 50mm

“With a total of six or seven aperture stops, depending on the lens, this feature offers a unique level of creative control in photography,” Leica says.

“A key distinction of this device is its ability to simulate physical effects from each of the three Leica lenses from the M-System, resulting in breathtaking pictures.”

Leitz Looks
Noctilux 50mm f/1.2
Leitz Looks
SUMMILUX 28mm f/1.4

Additionally, Leica says that the image quality in Leitz Looks camera mode has been “significantly enhanced” in three ways. It now has improved depiction of spotlights (form and color), refined object segmentation, and improved Leica color simulation.

The Leitz Phone 3 also comes with the new Vivid and Enhanced Leica Tones. The former creates what Leica describes as lively, dynamic colors while the latter increases contrast and lightens shadows.

Leitz Looks
Original
Leitz Looks
Leitz Looks: Enhanced
Leitz Looks
Leitz Looks: Vivid

These have been added to the three existing tones — Monochrom, Cinema Classic, and Cinema Contemporary — which were all previously developed exclusively for Leica’s smartphones.

Leica is also adding a new watermark option that will show aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focal length, and the Leitz logo on a finished image, which the company says “improves branding” and also adds an “air of professionalism.”

The Leitz Phone 3 will be available exclusively in Japan starting April 19.


Image credits: Leica



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