Home Uncategorized A 3.5-12 months Evaluation of the $4K Leica Q

A 3.5-12 months Evaluation of the $4K Leica Q

If there’s a basic flaw with product evaluations, it’s the usually quick period that reviewers have with the merchandise earlier than hitting a publishing deadline or needing to return the product to the producer. With fast product refreshes, the lifetime of any explicit product might be quick, which may typically render longer evaluations as impractical.

However as applied sciences mature, customers are reducing the speed at which they improve their merchandise. In digital pictures, each lenses and digicam our bodies produced up to now few years are nonetheless going robust. Is it good to have 48MP? 100MP? Certain, however for a lot of purposes, 24MP does the job simply advantageous.

The Leica Q2 (left) alongside the unique Leica Q (proper). Photograph by Allen Murabayashi

I say this with partial irony as I’ve simply upgraded to a Leica Q2 after having owned a Leica Q for 3.5 years. However my Leica Q continues to be a tremendous digicam, and provided that there are various good offers on this digicam to be discovered, I assumed it will be a superb time to re-review the digicam after utilizing it for 40 months and taking up 60,000 photographs because it traveled with me to 19 international locations.

I ordered my Leica Q on June 20, 2015, and took supply of it in September of that yr. As a substitute for an ageing and well-worn Sony RX1, the rise in measurement and weight was noticeable, but it surely nonetheless match my standards for a full-frame, compact journey digicam.

The Leica Q’s 28mm lens has the identical field-of-view as most smartphones. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi



The Q incorporates a 28mm f/1.7 lens – a curious option to many individuals. Why not the extra typical 35mm FOV of road pictures? And in fact, the lens did really feel very vast initially. However the FOV is identical as many smartphones together with the iPhone and Google Pixel, so over time, 28mm has turn into a really comfy method of seeing for many individuals.

Leica Q’s Summilux 28mm f/1.7 lens. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi

Fashionable lens design has moved away from having a bodily aperture ring – selecting as an alternative to make use of dials on the digicam physique, for higher or worse. However the Q retains an aperture ring with 1/Three cease management that I exploit continuously.

The macro mode is a neat little trick that offers you somewhat extra flexibility for these meals images. Nobody will mistake the focal size for a portrait lens, but it surely’s nonetheless able to taking some good environmental portraits.

Picture High quality

The picture high quality has all the time been spectacular to me. The digicam’s DNGs have a built-in profile, so you possibly can’t see what software program changes are being made to lens defects whereas utilizing a program like Adobe Lightroom until you employ a program like RAW Digger.

At 28mm, the mounted focal size digicam isn’t explicitly design for portraits, but it surely’s greater than succesful underneath the suitable circumstances. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi
The inconspicuous measurement of the Leica Q makes it an ideal road pictures digicam. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi
The Leica Q’s measurement and weight lends itself completely for journey pictures. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi


The Achilles heel of the Sony RX1 was the low gentle focusing – even within the up to date variations. In contrast, the Q’s autofocus is crisp and works surprisingly properly in low gentle regardless of having a distinction detection system. Utilizing guide focusing robotically throws the EVF right into a magnified mode with focus peaking turned on. The focusing mechanism is silky easy and guide focusing is unusually simple.

Quiet Operation

Taking photographs is SILENT, in contrast to mirrorless cameras just like the Nikon Z7, which nonetheless has an audible shutter sound. It’s onerous to elucidate how in another way individuals react after they don’t hear a shutter sound. Utilizing the digicam turns into a liberating course of.

The Leica Q’s 24MP sensor is greater than sufficient for many conditions. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi


It’s not as small as another choices, however for me, the digicam hits the right intersection of measurement and picture high quality. At 640g, it’s noticeably heavier than the Sony RX1R II (507g) or the Fuji X100F (469g), but it surely’s nonetheless considerably lighter than any full-frame DSLR or ILP system with a comparable lens.

The Leica Q subsequent to the Sony RX1R. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi



Inside the first few months of possession, mud began to look on my sensor. Early manufacturing fashions had poor sealing with mud allegedly entered by means of the microphone and speaker ports on the digicam. I shipped the digicam again to Leica and after 2 months, they shipped again a model new digicam!

The Leica Q sensor collected an unusable quantity of mud which required sending the digicam again to Leica for cleansing. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi

Though the substitute unit appeared to mitigate the mud drawback, it didn’t get rid of it. A yr and a half later, I despatched the unit again for a sensor cleansing, then promptly taped up with speaker and mic ports with gaffer’s tape. I haven’t had a difficulty since.

The brand new Q2 options an IP52 ranking which suggests it’s “Protected against restricted mud ingress” – maybe not the IP67 or IP68 ranking we’ve seen from the newest crop of smartphones, however I’ll take no matter enchancment in safety I can get.


The Q’s built-in diopter has no locking mechanism, in contrast to many DSLRs, which require the consumer to tug out a knob to regulate. Although the mechanism lies pretty flat towards the physique, I nonetheless discovered an annoying tendency for it to spin whereas the digicam was hung throughout my physique.

The Leica Q’s diopter adjustment lacks a locking characteristic and is susceptible to inadvertent motion. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi

Battery Life

Compact cameras all the time get dinged for poor battery life, and the Q isn’t any exception. On the one hand, it appears cheap to anticipate a $4,000 digicam (on the time I bought it) to have respectable battery life. However, a smartphone can barely final a day.

Carrying a number of batteries in my pocket was vital to beat the restricted battery life. Photograph by Allen Murabayshi

Energy Button

In my humble opinion, an influence button/swap ought to fulfill a single perform. As with some previous digicam designs, the Leica Q intermixes the one and steady capturing mode capabilities into the ability swap. Due to the poor battery life, I’ve all the time shut the digicam off between taking photographs, which suggests much more alternatives to inadvertently throw the digicam into steady mode. The issue is minor in comparison with the extra consequential diopter challenge, but it surely’s annoying nonetheless.

The blending of perform (energy + capturing mode) led to many undesirable frames. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi

Software program

Till September 2018, the Leica Q had its personal devoted app – a WiFi-based, power-hungry app that allowed you to each remotely management and obtain JPGs from the digicam. It labored reliably, if not slowly, and has now been changed with Leica Fotos, a single app that companies all Leica cameras.

On one hand, the variety of steps that it takes to transmit a photograph from digicam to telephone appears unacceptable in right this moment’s cellular financial system (and almost each digicam producer has this drawback). However, I take pleasure in untethering myself from the fixed have to publish to social media – as an alternative, specializing in watching and taking extra photographs.


If one measure of a superb digicam, is the one you’re inclined to hold with you, the Leica Q suits the invoice. For individuals who need extra fine-tuned management, higher low gentle efficiency and better picture high quality than a smartphone, a devoted digicam is the one approach to go. But measurement and weight could be a robust disincentive. Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case with the Leica Q, and if Leica waited one other few years earlier than releasing the Q2, I’ve little doubt that I’d have continued to strap the Q round my neck.

What number of photographs would you miss as a result of your digicam isn’t handy. Photograph by Allen Murabayashi

In some ways, the Leica Q has been among the finest cameras (if not one of the best) digicam I’ve owned. Its incapacity to vary lenses has typically been a profit moderately than a crutch (granted, it isn’t the suitable alternative for each kind of pictures). And whereas it will not be as sturdy or “professional” as a few of my DSLRs, I’m assured that I wouldn’t have captured as many moments of my life with out it as a result of the choice was too heavy and hulking.

Is the Leica Q well worth the premium value? I’ve owned a whole lot of cameras and lenses at varied value factors that not often make it out of the digicam bag. In a way, one of the best gear for me is the one which conjures up and encourages me to take photographs. The Q has been a trusty companion with or with out the pink badge.

Concerning the writer: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which usually publishes assets for photographers. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the writer. Allen is a graduate of Yale College, and flosses every day. This text was additionally revealed right here.


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