Japan-exclusive Leica Leitz Phone 3 features big sensor and new modes

Leica just unveiled the Leitz Phone 3, its latest smartphone packed with advanced photography capabilities, unique functions, a variety of photo modes, and more. Sadly, this innovative smartphone will only hit the markets in Japan.

Although there have been significant updates in this new model, the core camera hardware remains unchanged from the previous Leitz Phone 2 released in 2022. Just like its predecessor, the Leitz Phone 3 boasts a rear camera setup equipped with a primary 47.2-megapixel Type 1 sensor, also known as a 1-inch sensor, featuring “Octa Phase Detection Autofocus” for swift and precise focusing even in challenging lighting conditions. This sensor is paired with a 19mm f/1.9 lens.

On the front side, the phone sports a 12.6-megapixel camera with a 78-degree wide field of view and an f/2.3 aperture, ideal for capturing high-quality selfies and engaging in video calls.

While the camera sensor remains consistent, the overall device has undergone several enhancements. The phone sports a fresh design, showcasing Leica’s commitment to functional aesthetics. The back of the phone features a “premium polyacrylic texture” designed to mimic the feel of holding a Leica camera. Weighing 209 grams, the smartphone is crafted to be slim and portable.

Powering the smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, ensuring efficient performance and sustained battery life with the 5,000 mAh battery supporting wireless charging. The device features a 6.6-inch Pro IGZO OLED display with a high 240Hz refresh rate, 2,730 by 1,260 pixels resolution, and a peak brightness of 2,000 nits.

The Leitz Phone 3 offers 512GB of built-in storage expandable up to an additional 1TB using a microSDXF UHS-1 memory card slot. Furthermore, the smartphone retains the traditional headphone/microphone jack alongside a USB-C port for connectivity.

In terms of user experience, Leica has revamped the user interface, reorganizing widgets to create a cleaner and more intuitive layout. This restructuring not only enhances user-friendliness but also makes Leica features such as the Golden Hour and LFI widgets more accessible and convenient to use.

The exclusive Golden Hour widget alerts users to the optimal moments for photography, specifically the hour before sunset and after sunrise when warm lighting conditions are ideal for stunning photos. On the other hand, the LFI widget showcases images from the Leica Fotografie International Gallery, providing a continuous source of inspiration for Leica photographers worldwide.

One remarkable addition to the Leitz Phone 3 is the inclusion of “Leica Perspective Control,” marking the first appearance of this software feature in a smartphone. Previously seen in Leica cameras, this feature corrects perspective distortion, particularly visible in architectural photography where vertical lines may appear skewed.

Utilizing a gyroscope to ascertain the camera angle during image capture, an algorithm corrects the perspective by displaying the corrected image within a white rectangle denoting the new frame. Notably, this feature applies solely to JPEG files, preserving the original DNG files unchanged.

Leica has invested considerable effort in enhancing the software capabilities of the Leitz Phone 3, introducing new Leitz Looks and Leica Tones to elevate the photography experience. The novel “variable aperture” Leitz Look replicates the varying aperture settings of renowned Leica lenses like Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2, Summilux-M 28 mm f/1.4, and Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4. This feature permits users to adjust the bokeh effects by selecting apertures ranging from f/1.2, f/1.4, to f/8.

Featuring six or seven aperture stops depending on the lens, this functionality empowers users with unprecedented creative control, enabling unique photographic opportunities. This capability allows the device to mimic the distinctive characteristics of each Leica lens, yielding spectacular imagery.

Moreover, Leica highlights significant improvements in image quality within the Leitz Looks camera mode, emphasizing enhanced depiction of spotlights in terms of form and color, refined object segmentation, and improved color representation akin to Leica’s signature style.

The Leitz Phone 3 introduces the new Vivid and Enhanced Leica Tones to its repertoire, with the former aiming to deliver vibrant and dynamic colors, while the latter enhances contrast and brightens shadows for impactful images.

Joining the existing tones, Monochrom, Cinema Classic, and Cinema Contemporary, specifically developed for Leica smartphones, these new additions further expand creative possibilities for users. Additionally, the device offers a new watermark option displaying essential photographic details and the Leitz logo on captured images, emphasizing branding and professionalism.

Set to launch exclusively in Japan on April 19, the Leitz Phone 3 promises to revolutionize mobile photography with its advanced features and imaging capabilities.

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