Leica Q2 Review

Camera Reviews / Leica Cameras i Hands-On Preview
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Leica Q2
Resolution: 47.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(36.0mm x 24.0mm)
Lens: Non-Zoom
(28mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 50 - 50,000
Extended ISO: 50 - 50,000
Shutter: 1/40000 - 120 sec
Max Aperture: 1.7
Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.6 in.
(130 x 80 x 92 mm)
Weight: 25.3 oz (718 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 03/2019
Manufacturer: Leica
Full specs: Leica Q2 specifications
47.30
Megapixels
Non-Zoom 35mm
size sensor
image of Leica Q2
Front side of Leica Q2 digital camera Front side of Leica Q2 digital camera Front side of Leica Q2 digital camera Front side of Leica Q2 digital camera Front side of Leica Q2 digital camera

Leica Q2 Review -- Hands-on Preview

Posted: 03/07/2019
by Eamon Hickey

To celebrate the release of their new Q2 camera, Leica held an announcement event in New York City, and I took the opportunity to get a brief hands-on with the new camera. Obviously, what stands out most about the Leica Q2 are its new headline specifications: a 47-megapixel sensor, 4K video, and weather-sealing. The new high-resolution sensor is key to making good on the versatility promise of the Q2, to a significantly greater degree even than the original Q. That's because it makes the built-in crop modes, which simulate the fields of view of 35mm, 50mm, and now also 75mm lenses, much more viable. If you set the Q2 at the 50mm crop setting, for example, you still get a 14.7-megapixel image -- plenty of resolution for a wide range of purposes.

I've always been attracted to the idea of using cropping as a proxy for focal length changes -- it influenced how I chose the focal lengths of the lenses I personally own -- and the availability of 40+ megapixel sensors really boosts the practicality of this approach. I think the Leica Q2 is on to something worthwhile here.

According to Leica, weather sealing was one of the biggest requests from customers of the original Q, so the Q2's solid weather resistance specification will also be a very welcome addition for many photographers. Leica managed to accomplish the weather sealing essentially without enlarging the camera, although the diameter of the lens is now about 2mm wider -- hardly noticeable unless you have the two cameras side-by-side. The Leica Q2 is also about 3 oz/80g heavier, which is again likely a result of the added weather resistance.

What Leica did change was the buttons and controls, in an effort to simplify the Q2's operation. The on/off switch no longer controls the drive mode (that's a menu item), and there's a new customizable button inside the control dial on the top of the camera, near the right rear edge. By default, this controls ISO, but it can be programmed to set any of about 30 different features and parameters. On the camera's back, there are now three buttons instead of five, with the ISO and Delete buttons now gone. I would need to use the Leica Q2 for a few days to really judge this system, but my initial impression is that I will find it a little too menu intensive for my personal tastes.

There's also a new OLED electronic viewfinder. My ability to test it was limited by the venue -- a dimly lit art gallery -- but my initial impression is very positive. It was sharp and showed good color and contrast, given the conditions. I saw no smearing, 'tearing', or noticeable lag when panning around the venue. But those are very brief impressions; I'd really like to take the Q2 out and about in a range of conditions before offering any kind of final opinion about the EVF.

In the hand, the Leica Q2 feels almost exactly the same as its predecessor, which is to say extremely well built, with smooth, positive controls that are very well-placed and pleasing to use. It has a very nice size and heft.  The lens controls -- aperture and focus -- are superb. As was true of the original Q, manual focusing works beautifully on the Q2, better than most, if not all, other modern electronic viewing cameras. Despite loving lots of old cameras, including the Minolta SRT-101 that I learned photography on, I am not a fan of shutter speed dials, so I can't get too excited about the one on the Q2. The best I can say is that it's a perfectly fine and usable example of a sub-optimal breed (in my not-so-humble opinion).

The Q2 had no trouble whatsoever focusing in the aforementioned dim conditions. It was snappy and decisive on every subject I pointed it at, but, again, this is something that bears a lot more testing.

With such a brief experience with the Leica Q2, I can't say much about its 4K video, although I think that its stabilized 28mm lens and its excellent manual focusing ability are potential plusses on the video front. I'd find them useful for certain kinds of clips.

All in all, I think the Leica Q2 will prove to really up the ante on this model's basic concept of a fixed-lens do-it-all camera (or do-most-of-it). The 47-megapixel resolution, along with the new weather resistance, should add substantially to the Q2's usefulness as a reasonably compact all-around shooter that might let you leave the complexity of interchangeable lenses behind (at least some of the time).

 

Leica Q2 Review -- Overview

Posted: 03/07/2019
by Jeremy Gray

Leica has announced the successor to its Leica Q full-frame fixed lens camera, aptly named the Leica Q2. While the Q2 shares many external similarities to its predecessor, much has changed on the inside.

The Q2 features a newly developed 47.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor (up from 24 megapixels in the Q) which is paired with the same stabilized Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens as is found in the original Q. Leica states that the sensor delivers 14 stops of dynamic range. The lens has 11 elements in 9 groups, including three aspherical elements and offers an aperture range of f/1.7 to f/16.

Regarding new shooting features, the Q2 has a slightly lower base ISO of 50 (compared to 100 for the Q) while maintaining the same maximum ISO of 50,000 despite the higher-megapixel chip. With its 47-megapixel image sensor, the Q2 also offers a new 75mm-equivalent crop mode, in addition to the existing 35mm and 50mm crop modes. Even when cropped to the 35mm mode, the Q2 produces a 30-megapixel image file, which is more than the original Q offered at its native focal length. The Q2 also has a faster maximum electronic shutter speed of 1/40,000s, though the mechanical leaf shutter still tops out at 1/2000s. Maximum flash sync remains at 1/500s.

With its new Maestro II processor, the Q2 can shoot at up to 10 frames per second with autofocus using the mechanical shutter, and up to a whopping 20 frames per second using the electronic shutter. Manufacturer claimed buffer depths are 25 JPEGs or 14 .DNG raw files. The contrast-detect autofocus system features 225 focus areas, 49 focus zones and offers face recognition, subject tracking and touch autofocus via the 3-inch touchscreen.

The Q2 also now features UHS-II SD card support, which allows for a reported 50 percent faster buffer clearing than the Q despite the larger file sizes. And a new battery borrowed from the SL promises 30 percent longer battery life (up to 370 shots with the LCD, 350 shots with the EVF). For photographers who want to quickly share images as they shoot, the Q2 offers Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi.

Beyond the new stills photography features, the Q2 has improved reported video chops as well. Whereas the Q topped out at Full HD at 60 frames per second, the Q2 can record 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) and Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) video at up to 30 and 24 frames per second respectively. And Full HD capture is now supported at up to 120 frames per second.

Leica has loyal fans in large part to the rugged and stylish design of their cameras. While the Q2 has the same basic shape and style as the Q, the new camera has undergone some physical changes, including refinements to the buttons and control layout. There is a new 3.68M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder as well, versus a field-sequential LCoS display in its predecessor. Further, the magnesium-alloy camera body integrates IP52 weather sealing throughout the camera, which should offer ample protection against the elements. To help achieve its enhanced weather resistance, the Q2 does not include a USB or HDMI port.

Summarizing the Q2

  • New 47-megapixel full-frame image sensor (up from the Q's 24 megapixels)

  • ISO 50-50,000 range (compared to ISO 100-50,000 on the Q)

  • Refined camera body design with weather sealing

  • New OLED electronic viewfinder with 3.68M-dot resolution

  • Fixed Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens

  • 35mm, 50mm and 75mm digital crop modes (the 75mm is new to the Q2)

  • New Maestro II image processor powering 10 fps shooting with autofocus using m-shutter

  • Up to 20 fps capture with e-shutter in Super Speed mode

  • 4K UHD and Cinema 4K video recording (the Q's video topped out at Full HD resolution)

  • New UHS-II support (up from UHS-I)

  • New battery offering 30% increased battery life over the Q (the same battery pack as SL)

  • Built-in Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi (the inclusion of Bluetooth is new)

  • No USB or HDMI port

Leica Q2 pricing and availability

The Leica Q2 is on sale now with a suggested retail price of US$4,995. Alongside the camera, Leica is releasing a new range of accessories, including matching protector cases, straps, canvas pouches and more.

 

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