Leica Unveils the Leitz Phone 3 in Japan

Leica has launched the Leitz Phone 3, their third smartphone, which includes improved imaging, unique features, a variety of photo modes, and more. Unfortunately for the majority of the world, the smartphone will only be accessible in Japan.

While the sensor remains the same, the surrounding equipment receives significant changes. The chassis boasts a redesigned design that Leica claims illustrates its commitment to practical aesthetics. It has a premium polyacrylic texture on the rear, which the company claims feels like holding a Leica camera. The smartphone weighs 209 grams and is intended to be sleek and tiny.
Furthermore, the user interface is consistent with the design. Leica claims it reconfigured the widgets to make the overall layout clearer and more user-pleasant, which also makes Leica features like the Golden Hour and LFI widgets easier to locate and use.

“The Golden Hour widget, designed specifically for Leitz Phones, alerts users to the hour before sunset and after sunrise. “Light is particularly warm and ideal for spectacular photographs right now,” Leica claims. “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.”

This new phone has undergone significant changes. However, the imager remains the same as the Leitz Phone 2 from 2022. The Leitz Phone 3 has 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, according to Leica, delivers quick and precise focusing as well as impressive photo quality even in difficult lighting conditions. This sensor is located behind an equivalent 19mm f/1.9 lens.

The front of the phone has a 12.6-megapixel camera with a 78-degree wide field of vision and an f/2.3 aperture, allowing for high-quality selfies and video chats.

The smartphone’s brain is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, and it claims to last a long time between charges thanks to its 5,000 mAh battery, which supports wireless charging. The 6.6-inch Pro IGZO OLED display has a refresh rate of 240Hz, a 2,730 by 1,260-pixel resolution, and a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits. It comes with 512GB of inbuilt capacity, which can be upgraded up to 1TB via a microSDXF UHS-1 memory card slot. The smartphone also includes a headphone/microphone jack and a USB-C port.

The Leitz Phone 3 also introduces Leica Perspective Control to smartphones for the first time. The software technology, which has only been available in Leica cameras so far, corrects the perspective of vertical falling lines found in building photographs. A gyroscope detects the angle at which the camera is held while taking a picture, and an algorithm calculates the adjustment. Subsequently, the corrected image is displayed as a white rectangle within the new image frame. This feature only applies to JPEG files; the underlying DNG will stay untouched.

Leica made great efforts to update the software on the Leitz Phone 3, resulting in new Leitz Looks and Leica Tones. A new variable aperture Leitz Look simulates the various aperture stops of the most popular Leica lenses, including the Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2, Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4, and Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4. According to Leica, the software allows you to modify the bokeh effects by setting the aperture to f/1.2, f/1.4, or f/8.

Leica claims in a press release that “with a total of six or seven aperture stops, depending on the lens, this feature offers a unique level of creative control in photography.”

“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.”

Additionally, Leica claims that the image quality in the Leitz Looks camera mode has been significantly enhanced in three ways. It now features a better representation of spotlights (shape and color), refined object segmentation, and improved Leica color simulation. The Leitz Phone 3 also features the new Vivid and Enhanced Leica Tones. The former produces vibrant, dramatic colors, whilst the latter boosts contrast and lightens shadows. These have been added to the three current tones — Monochrom, Cinema Classic, and Cinema Contemporary — which were originally produced solely for Leica smartphones.

Leica is also introducing a new watermark option that displays aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focal length, and the Leitz logo on final images. The company claims this option improves branding and provides an air of professionalism.

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

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