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- 24.2 MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor Leica Maestro II Image Processor
- Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens 3.68 MP LCOS Electronic Viewfinder
- 3.0" 1,040k-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor Contrast-Detect AF System
- Full HD 1080p Video at up to 60 fps ISO 50,000 & 10 fps Continuous Shooting
- Aluminum & Magnesium Alloy Body Design Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
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|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Battery Weight||0.36 grams|
|Display Size||3 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||24.2 MP|
|Exposure Control Type||Automatic|
|External Memory Included||No|
|Focus Description||Normal: 11.81" (30 cm) - Infinity Macro: 6.69" (17 cm) - Infinity|
|ISO Range||Auto, 100-50000|
|Item Dimensions||3.66 x 3.15 x 5.12 inches|
|Item Weight||1.3 pounds|
|Lens Thread Size||49 mm|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||8.7 Watt Hours|
|Macro Focus Range||6.69" (17 cm) centimeters|
|Maximum Aperture||1.7 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||30 seconds|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||1,920 Pixels|
|Mfg Warranty Description Labor||Limited 2-Year Warranty|
|Mfg Warranty Description Parts||Limited 2-Year Warranty|
|Mfg Warranty Type (i.e. Parts, Labor)||Labor+Parts|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||30 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||3.7 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Shipping Weight||5.3 pounds|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080p|
|Viewfinder Type||electronic viewfinder|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
24.2 MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor Leica Maestro II Image Processor Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens 3.68 MP LCOS Electronic Viewfinder 3.0 1,040k-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor Contrast-Detect AF System
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My Review of the Leica Q
I have now owned the Leica Q for about three weeks and I have been using it almost daily. In the past, I have owned numerous digital cameras including one DSLR (I also owned several film cameras but they are only tangentially relative to this discussion). Several were very nice cameras but for a variety of reasons I did not keep them. Within the Leica brand I have owned the M8, the X-Vario and the T. None of those met my needs or expectations. In all fairness to the M8, in addition to the numerous known issues discussed on DPR and LUF, I have to add my age related declining vision is just not good enough to rapidly focus a range finder, especially in low light or high contrast situations. This isn’t the camera’s fault but is a fault of the optical range finder design that has plagued many others besides me.
This is going to come as a shock to many of you but: I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! I thought I would get this out first so you can stop reading if you chose.
This is the first digital Leica that has actually met and in some ways exceeded my expectations. First, it is quick, second AF is really-really fast, the fastest I have measured beating out the Olympus EM5-II and several Panasonics. That is saying something considering the size and resolution of the sensor. The AF is very accurate with one of the lowest miss rates I have encountered and I have gone through a slew of cameras from Fuji, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic. It is up with the best of them or better.
This camera has exhibited the best software out of the box of any Leica I have tried. Fewer bugs is a good thing. The flaws it has can mostly be remedied in firmware and that is the one area Leica is slow to remedy so it is a good thing that most of these are minor irritations and not deal breakers. Leica needs to learn to listen better to their customers. We have been clamoring for years for a smaller fast AF camera similar to the CL. While it would be nice to have interchangeable lenses and more profitable to Leica in the long run, a good single focal length can suffice for many of us not using the camera in a professional setting.
The ergonomics are the best of any camera I have handled with everything intuitive and following good photographic principals that are tried and true (aperture setting on the lens, shutter speed dial on the top plate, etc.). The simplicity of operation is excellent though not perfect. There are a few operations requiring diving into a menu that should be more readily available to be useful. For example AF mode is buried in a menu and not assigned or assignable to a dedicated button. Further, one cannot toggle a feature like touch focus to be on or off while still being able to use one point. Logically touch AF is one point with the point selected by the user rather than the camera. Therefore, it would make sense to enable or disable the touch screen as desired but not disable the shutter button from activating AF. The same can be said for face detection. In many systems you can activate or deactivate face detection separately from the other AF selections and the camera will use face detection if it can and if not revert to the other selection if the feature is activated. The result of making these deeper menu items is that they get used less frequently.
The EVF is superb and works well in bright sunlight like we have here in Southern California. The LCD is also very good and viewable even in fairly bright sunlight but I find the EVF so good that I use it much more.
The image quality is simply outstanding with a crispness that is a Leica signature that I really love. As good as the XV and T were, when I compare shots taken of the same subject under similar light conditions there really is no comparison. While I don’t own an M240, from what I have seen the images are just as good in good light and better in low light. I haven’t seen a camera that produces any better image. Additionally, the dynamic range is very good and the files are very malleable in LR with both highlight recover and shadow recovery matching or beating any other camera I have tried including the Sony A7II.
NIGGLES & QUIBBLES
The following are minor things that could and should be addressed by Leica in a firmware update. In my opinion, none of these are deal breakers but they would improve and enhance the operation of the camera.
1. Provide a higher resolution JPG for image review so that at maximum magnification one does not obtain a poorer image than at the step one below maximum.
2. Provide a means to scroll through multiple images at magnification without having to first reduce to standard view size.
3. Allow for DNG only and an optional lossless compression.
4. Allow assignment of the focus mode to a button
5. Allow use of the video record button as an assignable function button.
6. Adjustable EVF for brightness, contrast and color and add contrast and color adjustment to LCD.
7. Ability to use LCD only for menu and playback functions.
8. Use of touch panel for a quick menu like the T’s
All of these are minor and not deal breakers for me though they might be for others. There are some issues with the histogram which is basically unusable but you can turn on blinkies and that is probably just as useful.
This is a great camera worthy of the Leica name and one I actually plan to keep for a while. I am really enjoying using it and I like the results I am obtaining. I highly recommend this camera to anyone that can live with a single lens at 28mm focal length.
August 25, 2015 Update:
I have now owned the camera for about 2 months, time for the honeymoon to wane a bit right? Wrong! I love this camera more each day. Every picture I take manages to amaze me with how versatile this camera is, how quick it focuses and how accurate. Its ability to focus quickly, even in very low light is nothing short of amazing. I can honestly say that this is the first camera I have owned in a long time that I wasn't ready to sell by now in disgust with one feature or another that just failed to live up to the hype. Those that have followed my posts on the Leica user forum or several other popular forums probably can't believe I am saying nice things about a Leica product but I feel vindicated that Leica finally listened to those of us that weren't automatic fan boys using over products with less than state of the art performance and top of the line components (like crappy low resolution LCDs, slow processors with small buffers and on auto focus models, slow and frequently inaccurate AF) all the while charging premium prices.
A lot of what kept me coming back and being willing to try again was my love of the old film CL and the images created by Leica glass. The latter hasn't changed, except for the better. There are things that still could be improved and I hope Leica is reading the posts from owners on LUF that have listed these things. None are deal breakers for me but I can understand why they might be for others. The thing is that Leica still needs to show it listens by getting better and faster with firmware updates, better management of its production capabilities such that they don't introduce a new camera that many want and then shut down and go on vacation leaving potential customers unable to obtain the camera. Not only is that not very smart, it has to impact their balance sheet. With the stock market in turmoil, this is not good news for holding onto those customers that can likely afford to buy their products so they could come back from vacation to find pre-orders diminishing or vanishing completely. I hope this doesn't happen but people can react negatively when stock markets are going south.
If you can find one at the normal list price, you should grab it, I don't think you will be disappointed. As an aside, I tried the hand grip and finger loop along with the holster. The handgrip just adds too much bulk to the camera. It is just so perfect in size and feel without it. Yes, it makes holding on to the camera easier but not as comfortable. I wish they had put the finger loop thread in the body. I also wish they used a different material for the finger loop. It is stiff and not comfortable feeling. I wear a ring on my right hand ring finger and one just can't comfortably use the finger loop under those circumstances. It digs into the finger and hurts. If they had used a nice soft leather instead of a hard rubber it would have been much better. I also wish it had the quick connect type of lugs used on the T so I could easily switch from long neck strap to short wrist strap when using the holster. I am currently using Gordy's reasonably price wrist strap and it is excellent. I tried Gordy's quick connect but their is no way to get metal to metal contact between his quick connect and the camera body so I went to a triangular split ring, though the round one works too. I will soon be trying Luigi's neck strap with quick connectors (a bit pricey) and hopefully that will solve my current carry issue. Also, the Tamarac 3394 works well to carry the camera, the SF26 flash, a spare battery and card. This is an inexpensive means to carry the camera with the lens hood attached and all protected. I hope this helps anyone contemplating this camera.
The Q feels like it’s created from delight itself. The camera is minimal, intuitive, and imposes little compromise to deliver great images. Images that stand toe-to-toe with heavier, clunkier, far less mobile, “professional” kits. Those behind this tool deserve recognition. Especially Vincent Laine, the lead designer of the Q. This is apparently the first camera he’s worked on for Leica. If Leica can find and retain talent like Mr. Laine, then they have a fine future, indeed.
On a macro, industry-wide level, Mr. Laine and his team have struck an impressive balance between not over-technosizing the Q and also not leaning too hard on the anachronistic legacy of the M. Next to the Q, Leica’s other offerings now seem a bit lost — For whom is the touchscreen-only T? The waterproof x-u?11 The Q, on the other hand, with its lightning autofocus, gorgeous Summilux lens, and fast electronic brains and viewfinder, all built atop the granite-set soul of an M, feels like the arrival of a Leica — indeed, a refinement on an entire class of full-frame cameras — many of us have been waiting for.
If you’re looking for a stripped-down kit — one body, one lens — that will bring home remarkable pictures every time, then this is it. The Q is an unbeatable companion.
## The Lens
When you buy the Q you’re buying mainly a lens. Heck, most of the interface for the camera is on the lens — aperture control, auto/manual focus toggle, switching between macro and normal modes.
It's worth taking a second to emphasize this point: 99% of the interface is on the lens. Once you configure your auto iso settings, you almost never have to touch the back of the camera. Twist for aperture. Toggle manual focus. Press the shutter release. Everything else takes care of itself. This interface minimalism is a big part of what makes the Q such a pleasure to use.
I’ve spent most of my adult life shooting with 35mm or 40mm (the gf1 20mm pancake) or 50mm lenses. In contrast, the 28mm f1.7 lens on the Q feels wide at the outset. But once you settle into the Q's field of view, it becomes a comfortable and, dare I say, satisfying place to live. (And because, technically, if you’ve been shooting with an iPhone you’ve been shooting at 28mm; it’s doesn’t take long to feel out its edges.)
On the rear of the lens is a ring that rotates to shift the camera into macro mode. I rarely, if ever, feel inclined to shoot macro so I haven’t used it much. But for spontaneous lichen observation or other nature-walk related close-up photography, it’s a boon to have right there. And the ring is positioned in such a way as to be easily ignored if you never need it.
The lens is cinematic. Were it topped out at f2 or f2.4, I don’t think the effect would be as pronounced. But because the Q’s 28mm opens to f1.7, you’re able to achieve what I can only describe as voyeuristic cinema. The satisfying color rendition of the Summilux and shallow depth of field — even at distance, perhaps especially at distance — combined with the almost always accurate autofocus, collude to produce otherworldly (or, hyperworldly) scenes as if lifted from a film. I’ve grown to love the subtle qualities of these images. I suppose this is the so-called Leica feel everyone talks about. Over time, you learn to use both a combination of light and sharpness to guide the eye in a way that isn’t possible (without more work) on the iPhone.
The shutter on the Q operates in either in super-quiet leaf mode, or total-silence electronic mode. The leaf mode tops out at 1/2000 of a second, switching automatically into electronic which tops out at 1/16000 of a second. Why have both? Well, for example — a leaf shutter won’t suffer from the “rolling shutter” of electronic shutters. Rolling shutter causes photos taken out of moving vehicles to look skewed. With a leaf, everything lines up just right. And, anyway, it’s pleasing to hear a little mechanical thunk when you take a picture.
The Q’s fast lens benefits greatly from the camera’s electronic shutter. It allows you to keep the lens wide open no matter how much light may be in the scene. The practical application of this is broad-daylight captures that would be otherwise uncapturable, where the focus is on the subject and the bright world beyond is thrown into buttery bokeh. This kind of shooting is effectively impossible on the M series of Leicas and most other cameras without electronic shutters, due to insufficient shutter speeds and too much light reaching the sensor.