erman manufacturer Leica’s has cameras that are an absolute work of art. With high-end gear admired by professional photographers around the world, in a way, they act as the Buggati and Limousine of the Photo world. And in full transparency, Leica deserves the reputation; the products are a paragon of quality craftsmanship, flawless optics, and steep prices. While these cameras may cost more than your wedding ring, they are an acquired taste and definitely meant to last a lifetime. Leica Cameras come with unique quirks that set them apart from the competition – mostly for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
In this Leica Q2 review, we look at what makes this modern camera trump the competition. So, without further ado, let's dive in!
Leica Q2 Review
The Q2 is a fixed lens compact camera which features a full-frame 27MP sensor. It has a durable weatherproof body, a rangefinder type electronic viewfinder, and we can't forget to mention a price tag that will empty your wallet. It’s approximately $5,000. While that is certainly a lot for a camera, the value it brings to your pictures justifies the price tag.
Body design and controls
The Q2 design is largely the same as the previous model, Leica Q. The body is made of magnesium alloy and it’s built sturdy like a tank. Despite the electronic viewfinder and a fixed lens, it handles and feels like an M rangefinder. The features and buttons help it operate smooth and straightforward, as compared to the original Q. The lens has been slightly redesigned for weather sealing - it's 2mm wider than the original. Oh, and on the barrel, there’s a micro-mode, an electronic controlled aperture ring, and a manual focus tab. It also has an autofocus clutch.
The Leica Q2 lens is composed of 11 elements arranged into nine different groups with three aspherical elements. There’s only one moving lens element in autofocus, due to which it's almost inaudible and plenty fast. When manually focusing, the Q2 provides two focus assist tools. This includes Auto Magnification and Focus Peaking in white, green, blue, and red.The drive mode option from the top plate has been removed, which we can celebrate. This is because the original Q’s design created a continuous drive.
Lens performance? Extremely well, despite slight distortion due to partially processed images
The quality of the Q2 pictures owes much of their character to the lenses. Unlike interchangeable lens cameras like the DSLR, fix-lens cameras give you less versatility.
The 28mm lens is quite flexible. It’s a worthy consideration for everyday, street, and travel photography, but it’s not quite wide enough to take that breathtaking landscape photo. Nor is it close enough for the portrait shots. That’s our only disappointment in this Leica Q2 review. With that out of the way, Leica Q2 gives more consistent results across the board than any other competitor. When wide open, the lens produces very sharp images. The edges of the snapshot continue to sharpen up as you stop down the lens. To better understand the Q2's image correction, we compared edges to uncorrected images and couldn’t find any significant difference. Image softness comes down to the optical component of the 28mm lens, rather than the impact of image correction.
As far as lens design, it has a huge digital component. JPEG output is always corrected, and the snaps can also be fixed with the help of any other software that supports DNG. While some experts view digital correction negatively, our view is straightforward. Focus on you rend results. If the end results are good, don’t bother with how the results are achieved.
Pictures: Plenty Sharp
Let’s start first with the pictures. We took the first few snaps with the aperture held wide open. Results were phenomenal as all the photos came back sharp. The background melts smoothly into the picture. The scenes seem frozen in glass, thanks to brilliant color fidelity and crystal clear sharpness. There’s a unique character to Q2 photos made apparent in every shot you take on this camera. Because of that, it becomes almost impossible to take a bad photograph. Even the everyday images of pets, your painting collection, or backyard plants come out rich in colors and vivid in details.
Yes, Q2 does have autofocus. Hooray! We know autofocus is a very basic feature these days in a high-end camera, but why is it such a huge deal here? Leica has quite a complex relationship with autofocus. Their flagship mirrorless camera, the M series, has manual focus, even though it’s a full-frame digital rangefinder with an interchangeable lens. This certainly seems like a strange decision for the world’s best camera manufacturer to rely only on the manual focus. Sure, you can immerse yourself in the moment, focus, and just feel the moment... but it also means you lose something from every moment. That is precisely why Q2’s autofocus is huge. It’s a Leica rangefinder with autofocus!
Video Shots: Decent
For this Leica Q2 review, we checked some of the video shots. In our experience, videos come out very decent. That massive 47-megapixel sensor you see right there makes some gorgeous 4k videos @24 or30fps resolution. Engaging video mode is easy peasy. Simply click the centre button on the back of the camera, and then you can cycle through the available display modes.
While the camera keeps a separate video profile for video shoots, all other parameters like balance and crop mode carry over from the stills. You can even go for autofocus when video shooting. On the other hand, the manual focus is easier than most competitors (Chinese or otherwise). This is because it has a much smoother manual focus ring, focus peaking, and offers linear focus response.
Modern Conveniences: A Cherry on Top
Besides autofocus, Leica Q2 hosts a range of modern conveniences such as Wi-Fi support, video functionality, and a rear end touchscreen. The Leica Q2 app is quite intuitive, which makes transferring pictures via Wi-Fi an absolute breeze. Most photo transfer apps by competitors are pretty dull, slow, and a chore to operate. Leica app, on the other hand, has a very user-friendly interface, and connecting to the camera is a very straight forward process.
A little focus on the Negatives
It’s worth noting here that most Leica cameras and lenses cost north of five grand. If you look at the Q2 from this angle, the cost is not less than a bargain. Price isn’t the only cold splash of reality that might make it out of the bucket list for some photographers. It’s not packed with features as some of the other mirrorless cameras are in the market, including some Leica models. But it's a Leica lens, after all. So the results you get are exceptional.
Leica Q2: Who is it for?
For generations, Leica cameras have been associated with photo journalism and street photography. So it's no surprise that the Q2 is exceptional for candids. The lens is not only sharp, but it’s also stabilized enough for any handheld photography in low lighting conditions. The electronic shutter is completely silent, and the leaf shutter, in comparison gives off a slight click sound. There’s no flash built in the system, but you can attach a strobe to its hot shoe.
For travel photography, you need a camera that isn’t going to let you down on long outdoor expeditions. A longer battery life, weatherproofing, versatile focal length, and low light functionality are all characteristics worth considering for travel cameras. In this regard, the Leica Q2 definitely packs a punch. It has a solid battery life, which is rated 370 CIPA. Depending on how you handle the shots, you may even get to double these numbers. One detractor that keeps it from being the ultimate travel companion: the lack of zooming capability.
As for family and moments photography, the Q2 fits the bill. It's aesthetically pleasing, not too heavy or too big. Plus, the magnesium alloy construction should be able to withstand everyday wear and tear. We also believe the combination of manual and quick autofocus provides enough versatility to slow things down or speed up as you please.
Ultimately, this German camera brings superiority to the table. It’s an excellent choice for a wide variety of photographic applications such as travel, street, and family moments. If you are an old Leica enthusiast and want the world’s finest compact point and shoot camera, the Q2 is worth investing in. It’s an excellent compact camera offering impeccable photo quality. However, if you’re a novice and want more than one lens, you’re better off spending your hard-earned money on a competitor or even Leica’s older M series. Keep in mind though, competitors won’t have that impeccable Leica sensor. That’s all for now. We hope you liked our Leica Q2 review. Let us know your thoughts in the usual place!