Should you buy the Leica Q? The company has a reputation of being a luxury camera brand because it has consistently offered more expensive cameras. A round of increases in 2018 saw the prices of some models rise by $$$ to more than $$$$.
If owning a Leica is your dream, but you found it too expensive, then the Leica Q might change your mind. Finally, you can have a Leica camera that has features that might justify the high price tag.
Say Hello to the Leica Q
The Leica Q makes quite a splash because it is a camera made by the German company that also has a more affordable price tag when compared to earlier Leica models. What are the things that you can expect from the Leica Q?
4.2 of 5 stars
Measuring 5.1 by 3.1 by 3.7 inches and weighing only 1.4 pounds, the Leica Q is both portable and comfortable to handle. All the controls are also intuitively placed. It helps that this camera looks both elegant and beautiful. The German manufacturer gives Leica Q a minimalist yet memorable look, with laser engraved lettering, dials, and numbers.
More than the aesthetics, you will also love the materials used for its body. The Leica Q has a magnesium alloy body combined with an aluminum top plate, helping keep its weight down while also making it sturdy and durable. Meanwhile, there is a thumb rest that allows you to get a firmer grip on the Leica Q.
The Leica Q comes in three colors: khaki, black, and silver.
Specifications and features
The Leica Q sports a 24.2-megapixel complementary metal-oxide semiconductor sensor. The full-frame CMOS allows the Leica Q to give you the best images with excellent resolutions and quality, even in low light situations. What can you expect when you shoot with the Leica Q?
Maestro II image processor
The full-frame CMOS sensor enables the camera to deliver sharp and focused high-resolution photos and videos with 1080 pixels. You also get very low noise even at ISO 50000. However, more than the CMOS sensor, you will love the Maestro II image processor on board. The processors allow you to shoot photos at ten frames per second while videos have a frame rate of 60 frames per second.
The Leica Q uses a Summilux 28 millimeter f/1.7 Aspherical lens. What do all of these mean? The fixed lens you see here have a maximum aperture of f/1.7 that allows you to shoot great photos even in low light conditions. You get sharp images even in dark settings.
What's more, you can separate the subject from the background, allowing you to be more creative with your shots. For instance, creating a photograph with sharp foregrounds and blurred backgrounds. You can also use the Digital Frame Selector for tighter framing.
Electronic viewfinder and LCD screen
The Leica Q comes with a 3.68-megapixel liquid crystal on silicon viewfinder. The LCOS electronic viewfinder allows you to shoot naturally with a resolution of 1280 by 960 pixels. You can also have an easier time composing your images or reviewing your pictures with the three-inch LCD touchscreen. The display with 1.04 million dots also allows you to adjust settings and even set the focus of your photograph just by touching the screen.
While the Leica Q delivers focused and high-resolution photos, it can also capture full high definition videos. You can have movies of up to 1080 pixels that have a frame rate of up to 60 frames per second. If you want videos that will not eat up too much storage space, you can also shoot videos at lower 720p resolutions with a frame rate of 30 fps.
The Leica Q can connect to your WI-FI network, allowing you to pair your camera with your smartphone, mobile tablet or desktop computer. To make it faster to link your camera to a Wi-Fi connection, the manufacturer also included a near-field communication chip. The NFC chip will connect your devices with just one tap.
If you have the Leica Q mobile app on your smartphone, you can control your camera from your phone and even see what your camera is seeing. It is a useful feature if you have the camera in tight space spaces or are shooting at unusual angles.
Other features of the Leica Q
The Leica Q can store your photos in JPEG format. It can also shoot in RAW, which is a good idea if you plan on editing your photos later on. Plus, if you are looking to capture a fast-moving scene, you choose to shoot continuously at 3, 5, or 10 frames per second. The Leica Q also has a hot shoe for an external flash.
Further, the Leica Q has an optical image stabilization system that helps lessen camera shakes. You can also use 49mm threaded filters with this camera.
Ratings and reviews
The Leica Q gets a very high rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Positive reviews talk about how fast its autofocus is, even at higher resolutions. The autofocus also gets praises for being accurate.
People also love how easy it is to handle the camera. The Leica Q has a very intuitive design, where every placement makes sense. For instance, you have the shutter speed dial on top while the aperture setting is on the lens.
Most importantly, the image quality delivered by this camera is top notch, giving you crisp and sharp images that made Leica a well-loved name in photography. There are complaints, however, that the Leica Q does not have an assignable button that will help you have faster access to the features you need. Choosing an autofocus mode will also require you to dig into the settings menu.
Moreover, potential buyers are warned that the camera does not have a real warranty to go with it. If the Leica Q breaks down, you will have trouble finding replacement parts. The company might also charge you heavily for repairs. One Amazon reviewer warns others that the company asked for $$$ to repair the camera even while it is still under warranty.
Pricing for the Leica Q
The Leica Q is one of the more expensive cameras you would find today. Prices for this camera range from $$$$ to $$$$ on online retailer sites such as Amazon, Adorama, B&H Photo and Video, and Crutchfield.
How We Reviewed
How the Leica Q Compares to Competitors
When it comes to cameras, there are always quite a few alternatives to consider. If you are currently considering buying the Leica Q, you can also check out the Canon EOS M50, the Nikon Z7, and the Sony DSC-RX1.
Where To Buy
Its fast and huge optical zoom lens, and its outstanding picture and video (4K) quality make it the best digital camera for travel, sports and outdoor activities
Dual Pixel CMOS AF for fast, accurate autofocus that helps you get the photo you want right as the moment happens
Nikon-designed 45.7MP backside Illuminated image sensor with no optical low pass filter (OLPF)
A full-frame, 24.3-megapixel marvel that captures amazing detail resolution-and fits right in your pocket.
4.2 of 5 stars
The Canon EOS M50 is a mirrorless camera that uses a 24.1-megapixel Advanced Photo System Type-C CMOS sensor. It also has Canon's proprietary DIGIC 8 image processor. The sensor and the processor work with the dual pixel CMOS autofocus and the eye-detection AF to give you sharp images with incredible colors.
The camera delivers 4K ultra high definition videos at 24 frames per second with progressive scanning. If you need a higher framerate, you can shoot in high definition at 120 frames per second. Users will also love the wireless connectivity and the automatic image transfer features of this camera.
The Canon EOS M50 receives a rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 on Amazon. People love how camera employs the dual pixel autofocus system, which gives you sharp images without you having to worry about it. It also delivers excellent skin tones and bright colors, as well as more focused and more vivid images.
People also praise the smaller battery that is used by the Canon EOS M50. It may be smaller, but it does last longer. Others like the camera because of how light it is, especially when compared to DSLRs -- especially as it delivers comparable image and video quality.
However, people do wish that the camera had more memory card slots, a bigger grip, and a headphone input. Some reviewers warned that the 4K videos recorded with this camera are not very good because the camera crops them. The 4K videos also do not benefit from the dual pixel autofocus feature.
Pricing for this camera range from $$$ to $$$, and you can buy it from online retailers such as Abe's of Maine or Amazon.
4.5 of 5 stars
The Nikon Z7 is a mirrorless camera that has a backside illuminated sensor that delivers resolutions of up to 45.7 megapixels. You get videos with 4K UHD quality, 8K time-lapse videos, and full HD videos at 120 frames per minute.
If you ever need slow motion videos, the Nikon Z7 will deliver!
This camera has a quad VGA viewfinder with 3.6 million dots. At this resolution, you can see things more clearly and compose your shots more easily. You also get VR image stabilization, subject tracking, auto-focus with 493 points, and sensitivity up to ISO 25600. The Nikon Expeed 6 image processor powers all of these, ensuring that everything works fast.
The Nikon Z7 has a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon. People love it because you can use your current Nikon lenses with it. The in-body image stabilization system is also mentioned as a plus for this camera. The IBIS feature is excellent at keeping your videos steady.
Reviewers also compare the Z7's performance with that of the D850, another Nikon camera that is very popular with users. They note that the Z7 can do everything the D850 can do, and so much more.
However, some people note that the autofocus is not the Nikon Z7's strongest suit. Pricing for the Nikon Z7 ranges from $$$$ to $$$$. You can buy this camera from Nikon's online store, or from other retailers on the Web such as Amazon, Crutchfield, or Adorama.
4.0 of 5 stars
There are a lot of features that would make you want a Sony DSC-RX1. First, it has a 24.3-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor. The full-frame sensor is paired with a fixed 35-millimeter Carl Zeiss Sonnar T F/2 lens. You can get videos with resolutions of 1080 pixels at 24 frames per second. Meanwhile, you can shoot images with resolutions of 24 megapixels continuously at five frames per second.
The Sony DSC-RX1 has outstanding low-light performance, with up to ISO 25600 sensitivity. There is also less noise for your images. Meanwhile, the BIONZ processor powers everything, ensuring that you get the best image signals from your sensor. The processor also guarantees that autofocus is fast and that everything works as it should.
The Sony DSC-RX1 currently has a rating of 4.0 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Verified users love the Sony DSC-RX1 for its dynamic range, image quality, and high resolutions. They also like the Carl Zeiss F2 lens, the shallow depth of field, and the video quality.
However, there are complaints that the camera is not that durable. It can break down after just a few years of use. People also warn others that there have been no firmware updates for the RX1, making owners feel abandoned by the company. Others also complain about the lack of a viewfinder on this camera.
Pros and Cons of the Leica Q
The Leica Q has a focal length of 28 millimeters. This camera might not be the best for portraits and food photography, but it can be a good choice for landscapes and street photography. Depending on what kind of photography you do, the 28mm lens on the Leica Q might mean that you would need to adjust your techniques to get the best shots out of the camera.
The Leica Q might be lightweight and small, but it does not feel or look cheap. It is portable and feels right when you hold it. The camera has an excellent build quality that makes you want to show it off.
You will also love the Summilux Leica glass that it uses, giving you sharp images. CNET reports that the Leica Q gives you highly focused shots in less than one second, even in low light.
What can be better
The Leica Q allows you to shoot continuously up to 10 frames per second. However, you might find that the camera would freeze in burst mode. You might miss out on some shots are the camera tries to catch up with your rapid-fire shooting. At higher ISOs, you will find that the Leica Q produces somewhat grainy photos because it does not reduce noise or moire in your photos. However, you can correct this in post-processing.
Should You Get the Leica Q?
The Leica Q faces some fierce competition from other cameras. The Canon EOS M50 is more affordable with a higher megapixel count and the ability to record 4K videos. The Nikon Z7 is around $$$$ cheaper but has double the megapixel count and HD videos with 120 fps. Lastly, the Sony DSC-RX1 delivers the same resolutions as the Leica Q, and you can buy it for less than $$$$.
It might seem that the Leica Q loses out to all three alternatives. Nevertheless, the Leica Q still merits consideration. This camera looks good with an intuitive placement of the buttons, switches, and knobs. It is also portable enough to carry everywhere.
What's more, it has a fast and accurate autofocus system that might come in handy when you are in a shoot, and you do not want blurry action shots. It's also great in low light conditions. Plus, if you are into landscape or street photography, the Leica Q might be the perfect camera for you.