The Fuji faithful get all gooey eyed when their beloved company release a firmware update. It's 'kaizen' they cry. 'We have a brand new camera' they proclaim at every opportunity and 'aren't they wonderful giving us this for free.' But of course firmware updates aren't about that at all. They are to fix bugs that got missed and sort out things that users have complained about on the forums, blogs and review sites and also to make the cameras compatible with new gear, particularly lenses. And the majority of companies release these from time to time, with varying degrees of content and most don't make much of a fuss about it. Because after all, in most cases as customers we might think think that what appears as an 'update' isn't a 'gift' but something that should have been sorted out when the camera was released.
Regular readers will know only too well that I like the Leica T (Typ 701) In fact I like it a lot. One of my favourite ever cameras. But like anything else, it isn't perfect. Some of it's operation was a bit slow, including the AF and a firmware update a few months ago saw improvements in that. And in the last few days another has been released which 'fixes' a serious flaw in the T, the wi-fi connectivity.
For reasons best known to themselves, Leica's wi-fi implementation in the Leica T was awful. It required, for no obvious reason, that the camera would only connect to the app. (available for smartphones and tablets) via an external wi-fi network. The camera wouldn't connect to the device directly. This was of course completely useless, since when working outside a home situation the chances of finding a network and being able to connect to it is remote, to say the least. The Leica T app. was also very unreliable. Lost connections all the time and full of bugs. It was in fact completely useless and I never used it.
However, in v1.5 Leica have changed this flawed system and while it isn't anywhere near as good as the Panasonic designed app. for the Leica Q (which is excellent) it is now possible to connect the Leica T to a tablet and / or smartphone directly. So, T owners can now download their images to their device anywhere and also control the camera and shoot images and video using that device. This, somewhat late in the day, brings the T in line with most other mirrorless cameras. It also seems to be pretty stable and works well (in a somewhat limited way) as I discovered spending an afternoon shooting with it.
As you can clearly see, having the camera around my neck, or placed on a table or any other convenient place, not looking through the viewfinder and staring at my smartphone instead (in this case my iPod Touch) has resulted in me being 'invisible' to the people around me. Now I have no intention of being 'sneaky' I was just looking to get some stock images and footage of people shopping and eating. And that worked well.
The great thing about these apps. is that camera and control can be separated for various situations, this being one of them. Now the Leica app. is nothing special. Nowhere near as good as either the Panasonic or Olympus apps. for example, but better than the last time I used either Fuji or Sony. (Though hopefully they might have improved by now) However this does remove the ridiculous need to connect the Leica T with a smartphone or tablet going through an external wi-fi network. It does also seem pretty robust and kept going for the whole afternoon.
So all in all, a good thing and in combination with the improved AF speed and touchscreen sensitivity of the last update this makes for an improved camera. Obviously it would have nice to have these things at the cameras launch, but at least it shows that Leica haven't given up on the T, which is good news.