Ultra crisp image
Not for video
24 MP, full frame CMOS
Summilux 28mm f/1.7
Q has been around since '15 yet nothing is quite like it today and has been succeeded by itself in the guise of titanium grey, anodised silver and several special edition colours here and there. We usually wait for a second generation of one of these things but after all these years, this Leica's throne doesn't seems to have been shaken one bit. While price can be prohibitive, I had to find out.
FEATURE: Sony A7 II
REVIEW: Billingham Hadley
ON THE WRIST: Omega Speedmaster
First off, the Q paints 24-megapixel photographs and is paired to a 28mm Summilux optic. Hurray, a focal length very familiar to iPhone users. Everyone likes speed so does the Typ 116 when it comes to start/wake times and hunting for focus. Shutters are near silent making it perfect for the streets, actually for all situation. Then there is a huge f/1.7 aperture lens with image stabilisation, a collusion making the Q quite an overkill.
Fujifilm X100 series’ electronic viewfinder has been highly praised but the one on the Q lives on a higher food chain by having 3.6 something million pixels. Equipped with a vivid screen with touch-to-focus functionality and dedicated app, has Leica gone mad? It even has macro capability that can go as close as 17 centimetres and to activate macro mode is a thing of lust.
The Q’s battery hatch opening and closing mechanism is a two-step process, a reminiscence to the days of film change does make it feel yesteryear. So is its menu, simple, a touch dated but intuitive. That aside, the eye detection sensor is hyper allergic towards its own strap which does get on the nerves. Additionally, I'm all for aesthetics but the d-pad is disturbingly loud when operated.
" Such attention to detail..
that people behind the Q project I suspect,
dusts anything with cotton swabs "
Despite not having weather sealing this Leica is built like a bunker made of aluminium and magnesium. In the hands, it possesses a heft which spells quality. Like every M, the Q is a tactile machine where dials click in a manner of bolt-rifle action. Photographing with a Q is unlike an M10 rangefinder which can be steep in terms of learning curve, overwhelming even. As for Sony's 35mm cameras, one can only love it as much as love can be given to the company's television.
" Call it an expensive camera
or a Leica for all "
At first, the images churned by the Q look bland but don’t for a second discount it as a bad Leica. Details churned by the Maestro II processor straight off a JPEG is remarkably sharp. Skin tones are accurate at the same time, colour rendition stays true to the eye even under low light conditions. If they are not up to liking, DNG option can always be checked alongside providing yet another magnitude of detail.
Dismissing the Q as a chav's accessory without weighing in what it actually can offers is a thing of tunnel vision. Criticising it as a Leica for those who cannot rely on their fingers to focus is more appropriate. Should you wish to override, the Q's manual focus delivers a wonderful experience making this a tool not for fools.
A Leica is the very heart and soul in German fashion, a bit too flawless to adore. This being a skipping stone into the world of Leica, I suspect some may just be swayed into the game of rangefinders.
Scroll pass credits for sample photo that are unedited, straight out of the Leica Q rendered in JPG format.