Blog #176 The Leica Q2 (Brief Review)
Blog #176 Leica Q2
📷 📷 Professional
G.A.S. affects all of us. After a year of self-imposed abstinence from buying camera bodies, I felt that I had earned something special. Enter the Leica Q2. This is basically one camera to rule them all. It’s a digital (mirrorless) rangefinder (of course) 35mm camera with a fixed lens. The lens is a prime Summilux 28mm f/1.7 Aspherical (ASPH.), 11 lenses in 9 segments, 3 aspherical lens areas. All that mumbo-jumbo means that even through the lens is curved, images are flat as me singing happy birthday. Corners are basically the same as the centre of the lens. There is no visible barrel distortion. Gosh I love German engineering. Now, without getting to technical here, there is a cool feature about the fixed lens issue. While I LOVE shooting 28mm focal length as my go-to-focal-length (except for portraits) there is a neat little electronic zoom feature in the form of a little black button within easy reach go your right thumb when holding the Q2.
Optionally approx. 1.25x (equivalent to 35 mm), approx. 1.8x (equivalent to 50 mm) or approx. 2.7x (equivalent to 75 mm)
So you press the button and there appears some frame lines (35mm). Press it again and more frame lines (50mm) appear. One more press and the 75mm frame lines appear. All this electronic wizardry comes at a cost with pixels as the currency. So in other words zooming in and cropping the image in camera costs you pixels. “Zoomed in” images at focal lengths other than 28mm are lower “MP” than the 28mm. Frankly, with 46.7 MP gushing out of this full frame sensor, you can afford to throw away pixels.
You can shoot in RAW and crop the hell out of your images later in post-processing which is pretty much what I do 90% of the time when shooting with the Q2. You’ll be amazed at how well the images look when cropped intensely. The 75mm in-camera zoom is putting out 12MP images. This is the same as my iPhone 11 Pro only the Leica sensor is of a higher quality with minimal digital noise.
50mm in camera cropped images are recorded as 24MP while 35mm puts out 36MP.
Weather proofing, touch screen, a simple minimalist design and outstanding build quality are what you would expect from Leica’s latest point and shoot mirrorless. The size and weight is acceptable but enough to know that the Q2 demands attention and respect. It’s like wearing a Rolex. It’s not offensively large or heavy but you know it there, always. The size and heft are just right.
I’ve shot the Q2 for a few months, and have done street photography, landscapes, close up nature shots, indoors, night time, sports, some commercial portrait and group portrait work, and general shooting for personal images with the camera.
There are two things that I don’’t love about the camera. The first is that the buffering take a while to write to the card. I recently updated the firmware that was supposed to fix that problem. Also, the low-light functionality is not quite as good indoors as it is outdoors. Digital noise creeps in whereas I would not have anticipated this from this machine. Maybe it’s just me pushing the limits and thinking that the Q2 can literally do-it-all but I’m actually considering adding a flash for proper night time hand held images. I’m talking about making images north of the 1800 ISO range. UP to that, it’s pretty awesome but don’t let the crazy high-ISO ratings fool you, it doesn’t really work after 3200 ISO. Maybe this is my 27” LG 5K monitor out-performing the Leica?
Under most normal shooting conditions. the camera performs outstandingly well. It’s super quiet. I mean like you almost can’t hear it at all with the sounds all turned off. The lens…well…see for yourself. It’s the crown jewel of the Leica Q2. It’s fast and sharp and moderately contrasty and renders colours in the most delicious manner. Seriously, the images are the best I’ve ever seen. When paired with the 27” LG 5K monitor, details turn up reality like 10X. It’s hard to explain how amazing the images are. You just have to see it for yourself.
Is the Q2 worth its heavy price tag? Yes. Images are that good. Leica really hit it out the park on this one. the Q2 is really the one camera to rule them all!
The light is always right.
*Images: © Limelight Limited
Where: Hong Kong & Philippines & Taiwan
Subject: Portraits, Landscapes, Street Photography
Gear: Leica Q2 Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH.