The Leica Q2

Jun 7, 2019  By Jonathan Slack
1


The original Leica Q arrived just in time for Christmas in 2014, it was a real surprise and has proved to be a well deserved success for Leica. My article on the camera “Hemingway: The Leica Q” was published when it was launched on June 10th, 2015.

At the time of release we were on an exciting trip to China, our son having arranged a varied (and challenging) routine. After our return I wrote another article, “The Leica Q in China”.

Since the release of the camera there has been lots of internet chatter about more Q cameras with different focal lengths (principally a 35 or 50mm). But Leica’s attitude was that having a 28mm lens with framelines for 35 and 50mm gave maximum flexibility.

I often get asked whether I have purchased the subject of my camera testing. At this point it’s worth mentioning that if I had bought everything I’ve tested, I would long since have been bankrupted! In the case of the original Q (Typ 116), although I really enjoyed everything about the camera, for me and my use it had a couple of real drawbacks for use as a travel camera.

First of all the resolution, 24 mp at 28mm was fine (my ‘sweet spot’ still). The 35mm crop of 15.4 mp was also good for most purposes, but the 50mm crop of 7.5 mp was a bit tight for normal use.

Secondly, lots of my photography is in the dreadful English weather – or the beautiful Cretan weather. In one case, rain is a real problem (and I can’t be taking cameras in and out of bags all the time). In the other case, dust and sweat are just as much of a problem.

So, with regret, on July 13th, 2015, I sent my well-used Q back to Leica. I wonder what’s happened to it now!

Sometime at the end of November 2018, the Q2 arrived on my doorstep. This time it’s going to be a much harder decision to send it back!

At this point it’s worth mentioning that my role with Leica is to test the cameras, not to write reviews of them. And, it’s important to understand that this article is not intended to be a critical review. If I find something wrong with a camera, then I tell Leica. Having said that, this article is my work, nobody has suggested what I should write, and I certainly wouldn’t say anything that I don’t believe to be the case or omit anything that seemed to be an issue.

BASIC FEATURES OF THE Q2

  • New full frame 47mp image sensor.
  • Weather sealed, dust & splash proof. (You can see I’m doomed!)
  • New, faster Maestro family processing engine.
  • Same 28mm Summilux f/1.7 ASPH lens.
  • New OLED EVF. (Same 3.68mp resolution as Q116, but clearer.)
  • Extended ISO range from 50-50,000.
  • Video: 4K (30 or 24 fps) Cine4K (24 fps)

Full HD (24, 30, 60 or 120 fps).

  • Higher speed AF.
  • Higher capacity battery (Same battery as the Leica SL.)
  • Faster top electronic shutter speed. (1/40,000th sec)
  • New 3 button user interface. (Similar to the Leica CL.)
  • Touch screen functionality on the LCD
  • Improved digital zoom with framelines crops for 28mm, 35mm, 50mm & 75mm
  • Improved WiFi & Bluetooth

That’s quite a lot of improvements for what, superficially at least, looks more of a refresh than a replacement. Everything about the camera has been changed or improved, with the ex- ception of the lens, and it’s easy to argue that the lens was already as good as it needed to be. Whether it’s still good enough for a 47mp sensor is a legitimate question, and I’ll be looking at that later on.

PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES

At first sight, the camera looks pretty much identical to the original Q116, but there are quite a number of subtle differ- ences.

On the back of the camera the five-button layout has been replaced by the three-button layout of the Leica CL. It took me a while to get used to this, but I’m now firmly of the belief that Leica has got it right and found an interface which can be used over a number of different cameras. It’s something I’ve been asking and hoping for for a long time.

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1 Comment

Jono, thanks for the review, I’ve been quite happy with the Q(1) but am tempted by the higher res digital zoom, like you I find the 50mm crop on the Q a bit restraining and I’m sure the higher res sensor of the Q2 was introduced by Leica primarily because they (eventually) felt the same.
Actually I would be interested to see what your profiles are 🙂
Rob Cowle



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