The Leica Q was the one camera that started Leica’s foray into full-frame autofocus back in 2015. Come and go, I’ve had the Leica Q Black (my first) followed by the Leica Q Silver and Titanium (terrible of me I know) through the years.
*along the way, I will mention other fixed lens cameras I’ve reviewed over the years. Click on their names to bring you to their respective reviews.
Fate has its own way of working things out, and this year the person whom I sold my original Q (black) too asked if I was willing to buy it back as he had dinged it on the D-pad area and wasn’t really able to sell it at a price reasonable to him.
I took him up on the offer and with a visit to Leica Singapore and with their immaculate help – I was able to have the broken parts replaced with a full servicing done for a very reasonable fee.
Why the Leica Q again, especially in the face of competitors some sporting better specifications than it? Here’s taking a look with 4 reasons on a trip to the beach.
*Disclaimers: All photo samples shared were photographed with the Leica Q with the black pro-mist 1/4 filter on.
One: The excellent 28mm Summilux optics.
The Leica Q may be a 2015 release, but its 28mm f1.7 Summilux optics is still excellent and maintains a high bar. In fact the Q2 and Q2 Monochrome still uses the same set of optics with competitor cameras like the Ricoh GR III or Fujifilm X100V not proving to be a match in this area (though they have other areas of strength).
Sharpness, bokeh, contrast, beautiful falloff or even Leica magic dust, you name it and you will find it in the Q’s optics.
Two: The 24 megapixels sweet spot
One of Leica Q2’s selling point was it’s 47.3 megapixels sensor, allowing it to match where Sony has gone with their RX1R II’s 43 megapixels. It does still continue to amaze me how obsessed some users can be with resolution size, where the reality is that some I have asked having no idea why they need the extra megapixels.
This is not to say that megapixels monsters like the Fujifilm GFX100 or Phase One XF IQ4 are irrelevant. They are excellent cameras but frankly, perform at a level beyond what most enthusiasts who print up to say wall poster size or may even only upload to social media may ever need. More than just megapixel count goes into an image.
Our needs are unique to each, and for me a 24 to 28 megapixels resolution is perfect.
Though a 2015 model, there is no denying that the Leica Q is pretty complete with functionality. A reliable wifi transfer and camera remote function (I am looking at you here, Fujifilm) a macro mode that allows you to focus closer at 17 cm (most Leica M lenses have minimum focusing distances of 70 cm and beyond). An electronic shutter up to 1/16000s to allow you to shoot wide open at f1.7 in good light. It’s autofocus capabilities may not be as good as its more modern competitors, but again, how fast auto-focus does one need?
Even the face detection is more reliable that some other more modern cameras I have used once one has learnt how to work with it.
The only complaints one can have is probably on the video side, and if that is one’s palate, I will suggest one looks elsewhere too.
“sometimes we forget that more functionalities may not necessarily mean better”
Four: The Leica Q is very bang for buck now.
Hate it or love it, the Leica Q is a Leica through and through. At launch, it was retailing at USD4250, and now even 5 years down the road one can find a decent conditioned pre-owned piece at USD2600+/- , camera depreciation wise that’s pretty good performance.
The Leica Q is a ‘stayer’ in my camera collection, and if anything else that may pique my interest, it may only be the Sony RX1R III with its Zeiss optics (which is still currently unannounced). I did not mention the Zeiss ZX1 as in my opinion that camera is already a D.O.A design.
Thank you for reading.