For 100 years, Leica has stood for both photographic precision and overpriced extravagance. The company has been revered by working photographers for its rock-solid cameras that take tremendous photos in virtually any environment, yet it’s also been panned by critics for building cameras that cost far more than the sum of their parts. A prime example is the Leica M, the company’s flagship digital camera. It costs nearly $7,000, and that’s before you add a lens to the equation. Yet there are many photographers that wouldn’t shoot with anything else. The M offers an intangible emotional appeal, which is one of the reasons it’s able to sell for many thousands of dollars.

As a result, Leica has become a “lifestyle” brand, a status symbol for those wealthy enough to afford to pay five figures or more for a camera system. The company has fully embraced its image, expanding through partnerships with companies far removed from photography and opening up boutique stores across the world.

Now Leica is expanding its line of cameras with the T, a brand-new, completely modern mirrorless camera system that costs far less than the flagship M line. It’s still expensive — the camera and a basic zoom lens will set you back a steep $3,600 — but it doesn’t carry the astronomical price commanded by the M.

The T has all the trappings of a modern mirrorless camera: a 16-megapixel, APS-C size sensor, autofocus, built-in Wi-Fi, and the ability to record 1080p video. Where the M line is firmly fixed in the past and Leica’s tradition, the T is a notable step towards the future.

But can you really get a true Leica experience without spending over $10,000 for a camera and lens? Leica claims that you can, so I spent a few weeks with the Leica T to see if this new, (slightly) more affordable philosophy can carry the company for another 100 years.