To start from the beginning, the Leica Q was announced 3 years ago on the 10 of June 2015, (my birthday!), however with the M Typ 240 and M10 it was almost 3 years before I acquired a Leica Q and my in-depth review of the Leica Q and Q-P is here.
*Note: The most updated and full version of this review is always at keithwee.com , for the sake of brevity here, I will not be uploading the same amount of sample photos from the Leica Q2 on this site.
Fast forward to 6 March 2019 when Leica Camera AG announced the Q2, but this time, kudos to the great team at Leica Camera AG’s (Singapore) generosity in granting a loan set, I didn’t have to wait 3 years to bring you this review of the Leica Q2.
And if you are in a rush and prefer to read summaries, here you go:
The Leica Q2 presents real improvements over the Q & Q-P in every aspect that matters.
And for the reasons why, let us continue with getting to know the Q2 more,
The way I write is not like those specification based reviews with no real life sample photos or in some cases, writers who have not even handled the camera and in this aspect, I am going forward with 5 reasons for why the Q2 is a substantial leap from the Q and Q-P and 2 reasons why the Q2 is a whisker away from perfection.
*even so, if you love reading technical specs, the Q2’s technical information can be found here.
5 reasons why Q2 is ‘the’ camera.
1. The newly developed full-frame sensor coupled with the powerful Maestro II processor have not just pushed resolution to 47.3 mp but also enabled a higher sequential shooting rate at 10 frames per second. (20 fps in electronic shutter). ISO performance goes up to ISO 50,000 with shutter speeds going up to 1/40000s (electronic shutter), 1/2000s (mechanical shutter).
And where it really matters to some users, the updated autofocus system of the Leica Q2 now makes it one of the fastest cameras in its class. Instead of the 49 selectable points on the Q, the Q2 now presents 225 points in Single Zone focusing for more precise control and with UHS-II support now, expect way smoother writing times even in DNG mode at 10 fps.
Look forward to significantly improved reliability in low light shooting.
f1.7, ISO1000, 1/50s
While I do agree with those who may say 20 megapixels is sufficient ( I have done prints up to A0 size with only 16 megapixels) , it is difficult to disagree that it is still a fact that the additional resolution does make a difference when the need arises.
Trust me, when the serious engineers at Leica AG says ‘Super’ it must indeed mean something.
2. The Q2 sports the same excellent Leica Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH. prime lens with 11 elements in 9 groups and 3 aspherical elements. Beyond the impressive optics, the Q2 comes with optical image stabilisation that complements the need for minimising image blur from shake. Worthy of mention is the minimum focusing distance of 17 cm in macro mode. The minimum focusing distance in standard mode is 30 cm, significantly closer than the 60 to 90 cm minimum focusing distance of Leica M lenses.
The 28mm Summilux lens paired with the new imaging sensor of 47.3 mp now enables a new crop focal length of 75 mm in addition to the original crop focal length options of 35 or 50 mm focal lengths.
In succession, 28mm at the top followed by 35, 50 and 75mm Crops.
Crops are saved in JPEG format with correspondingly reduced resolutions of 47.3, 30, 14.7, or 6.6 megapixels. The uncropped image is always saved simultaneously as a DNG file (at 47.3 megapixel). I am never a fan of digital crops but with 47.3 megapixels now, the image quality even at the 75mm crop is very decent for social media sharing.
Intuitive frame-lines guide photographing at the 35, 50 and 75mm crop modes
3. Non Q users may not have noticed it, but Leica has improved significantly the chassis design of the Q2 beyond the much advertised weather resistance at IP52 (dust and splash resistance).
Read more: IP rating chart.
Leica has reworked even the tiniest of details, for example – the EVF Diopter is now a push-out dial to adjust, making it impossible to knock diopter adjustments off again, the battery compartment is now improved and works like the M and SL series, making it near impossible to accidentally drop the battery as you hold the Q2, you indistinctly feel the reassuring heft to its robustness.
Lastly, the alignment of the Q2’s buttons to the M10 is timely, anyone who is invested in a system will prefer a similar set of controls and its great the buttons layout is now aligned between the M10 and Q2.
4. The Q’s EVF was already awesome and the Leica Q2 features an improved OLED viewfinder with a resolution of 3.68 megapixels. I saw improved contrast and image depth and most importantly and seldom mentioned in other reviews, the lag for the viewfinder to activate now when bringing it to the eye is now almost instantaneous as compared to the Leica Q.
5. 4K Video.
Yes, an imaging purist might never bother with video but the Q2 does video with 3840 x 2160 pixels and frame rates of 30 or 24 fps or, alternatively, in the full HD format with 120, 60, 30 or 24 frames per second. It is not the 4K at 60 fps that other video-oriented cameras can do but its nonetheless a feat for Leica to actually incorporate this into the Q for more creative possibilities.
The Leica FOTOS App works brilliantly with the Q2, making it possible to quickly and easily share in social media and remotely control the shutter release of the Leica Q2 with either Bluetooth or WiFi.
On Leica cameras, my preference is to work with DNG files with an iPad in such cases and a 81 megapixels DNG files transfer is around 20 seconds, pretty snappy.
One gets good options of JPEG, JPEG+DNG or DNG for the image transfer.