In my last post, I shared a lot of the initial things I really liked about the new-to-me Leica TL2, and promised to share things that are not so likable. After three months, we’ve gotten to know each other a little better and the list of things that I don’t care for has morphed into this:

Battery life. This is one of the first complaints I had read about, so the first thing I did was purchase a second battery. Only one extra, as like all things “Leica,” batteries are expensive. Thus far, I’ve been able to shoot for a full day using two batteries, even while on vacation in Glacier National Park, and using the wi-fi capability sparingly.

The “kit” lens (Vario-Elmar TL 1:3.5-5.6 / 18-56 ASPH) is definitely slow in a lot of situations — including situations where there is plenty of light available for other lens to focus quickly. I read a lot about this issue so I expected it, but it’s still annoying.

Steve, Regal Vintage. The Vario-Elmar TL 1:3.5-5.6 / 18-56 ASPH hunted for focus, even in this pretty well-lit situation, and you can see the focus is not on Steve’s face.

Which leads to…

The cost of lenses. D’uh. This has led me to experiment with four inexpensive TTArtisan L-mount lenses, with varying degrees of success (more on those in some upcoming posts).

This is the Way (TTArtisan 50mm/f1.2) One of the more successful initial shots with a TTArtisan lens.

Which leads to…

Lack of an included external viewfinder. The external viewfinder does not come with the camera, and can set you back anywhere between $450–$650 depending on if you go used or new. I know the point of the TL2 is the intentional lack of a viewfinder, however, when using manual focus, a viewfinder would be incredibly helpful.

Sidebar. I bit the bullet and purchased a pre-owned viewfinder, but had to send it back as it didn’t work properly on my TL2. Having the money back, I’m really trying to make manual focus with just the rear screen work. My luck with this is still about 50/50.

The sensor is a dust/gunk magnet (either that or there’s something magical about my Olympus M43 cameras that never need to be blown off). I frequently notice splotches on my images when I stop down and have to constantly use the bulb blower to get things off the sensor. When I don’t and dust appears, I’m able to remove most of this in post-processing, but seriously. What a pain in the ass.

The sensitivity of the touchscreen. My camera strap style is over the shoulder (sling-style), not over the neck (tourist-style). When walking, if I don’t lock the touchscreen, I find that I’ve often, inadvertently bumped the screen and changed lots of settings. I try to remember that I can lock the screen with a swipe, but obviously forget. Also, locking the screen does not lock the two dials, which can also get bumped when I’m hip-swaying my way down the street. This all means I have to remember to constantly check my camera settings if I’ve been walking for a bit, which means I’ve missed some shots.

My final, initial complaint with the TL2 comes down to more of an issue with my expectations versus what this camera can and is supposed to do. And that comes down to operator issues, not really camera issues. I’m getting more and more keepers as I take the TL2 out, and I forced myself to leave the Olympus home during the last two trips I was on, so I wouldn’t have a crutch to fall back on.

All of this being said, while there’s a lot that’s not so likable about the TL2, there’s just something special about the pictures when I nail it. It’s that je ne sais quoi that I’m seeing in my images that keeps me from really disliking this camera.

Web-Betty 😉

Enjoy a few more images from the past three months. Hopefully you see what I mean about the “je ne sais quoi.” You can see everything I’m creating in my TL2 album on Flickr.

Denver, CO at dusk (Vario-Elmar TL 1:3.5-5.6 / 18-56 ASPH, ISO 320, f3.5, 1/50)
Colorado understands a woman’s right to control her own body (Vario-Elmar TL 1:3.5-5.6 / 18-56 ASPH, ISO 100, f8.0, 1/160.
Crushing it (TTArtisan 35mm/f1.4, ISO 1600, f1.4, 1/100)
Crabapple blossoms (TTArtisan 17mm/f1.4, ISO 100, f??, 1/500)

08.28.22 UPDATE

I’d better make up my mind sooner, rather than later. Apparently the TL2 has already been discontinued. 🤬

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *