Leica has introduced its Leitz Phone 1 to the Japanese market. Leica writes it’s ‘the first smartphone to combine uncompromising quality, peerless optical engineering, and imaging software mastery with iconic Leica design.’ The Leitz Phone 1 is the first smartphone designed by Leica.
Leica’s new phone is named in tribute to its founder, Ernst Leitz (II). The Leitz Phone 1 promises to deliver the ‘world-famous’ Leica experience to smartphone users. Part of the Leica experience is camera design and usability. The Leitz Phone 1 was designed by Leica’s design studio in Germany, and the phone commits to a minimal design. The phone is constructed using an anodized aluminum case and matte-black glass. It includes knurled edges to keep it secure, even when used in wet conditions. The phone’s back is dominated by a large Leica lens, flanked by Leica’s iconic red dot logo. The lens includes a magnetic Leica lens cap.
Speaking of the lens, it’s an F1.9 lens with up to six times digital zoom. It has an equivalent focal length of 19mm. The Leitz Phone 1 incorporates a single camera and no optical zoom. Behind the lens is a 1″-type image sensor with 20.2MP resolution. The sensor records RAW and JPEG images and is paired with Leica’s proprietary software engine, the Leitz Engine.
The Leitz Engine performs extensive work during photography, including computational bokeh, color correction, edge refinement and noise reduction. Alongside the built-in computational corrections, the Leitz Phone 1 also incorporates a Leitz Looks mode, which Leica engineers have developed. Leitz Looks promises ‘extraordinarily sharp black-and-white images with a typical Leica camera look-and-feel, based on the visual language of the flagship Leica M Monochrom.’ Additional Leitz Looks will be added via firmware update.
‘Leica has a long-established tradition that has always been characterized by the constant pursuit of technical innovation. We welcome smartphones, because they make a very valuable contribution to the world of photography,’ said Dr. Andrea Kaufmann, Majority Shareholder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board. ‘For Leica, the launch of our own smartphone is the next and logical step on the path to the technologies of the future. Personally, it fills me with pride when I see that Leica Camera AG has once again set a significant milestone in both the history of the company and smartphone photography with the Leitz Phone 1.’
The Leitz Phone 1 runs on Android 11 and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chip. The 5G phone has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The device’s front is dominated by a 6.6″ WUXGA+ OLED display with 1260 x 2730 resolution. There’s a selfie camera, too, which has 12.6MP resolution and an F2.3 lens.
For readers very tuned into the smartphone market, some of the Leitz Phone 1’s specs may seem familiar. That’s for a good reason, as it’s a rebranded and redesigned Sharp Aquos R6 smartphone.
It’s no coincidence, then, that the Leitz Phone 1 is produced in collaboration with Sharp Corporation. As part of the collaboration, it appears that the Leitz Phone 1 will be available exclusively in Japan through SoftBank, a leading distributor in Japan.