Leica Q2 first impressions review
What's new and how it compares
The Q2 might look like the original Q, but lots of little improvements inside and out add up to a tougher, more versatile camera.
- The new 47.3MP sensor offers ISO 50
- There's a new 75mm equiv. crop mode
- The camera body has been rebuilt to be dust/moisture resistant
- Rear and top controls have been simplified and are now reminiscent of the Leica CL's button layout
- The new 3.68MP OLED EVF is a big improvement over its predecessor's EVF
- Battery life is 30% improved over the original Q at a CIPA-rated 370 shots per charge
New sensor, low ISO, crop modes
|Edited to taste in Adobe Lightroom.
ISO 100 | 1/1600 sec | F5.6
Photo by Scott Everett
The Leica Q2's 47.3MP sensor offers a native low ISO of 50, compared to ISO 100 on the original Q. This should result in improved dynamic range over its predecessor when shooting Raw. Leica says it is capable of 13 stops total, a claim we look forward to verifying in future dynamic range testing.
The new sensor also brings about an additional 'digital frame selector' (crop) mode of 75mm. The Q2 offers 35mm, 50mm and 75mm equiv. crop options which result in 30MP, 15MP and 6.6MP sized files, respectively. When shooting these modes in Raw+JPEG, the JPEG will be cropped and the Raw file will offer a cropped preview, while saving a full 47MP resolution file.
New button layout, weather/dust-sealing
|The Q2 on the left has fewer buttons than the Q.|
The Q2 offers two fewer rear buttons than the original Q. The video button is also gone from the top plate, as is a drive mode option on the power switch. However, an additional custom button sits at the center of the top plate control wheel. All told, three buttons on the camera can be customized. Controls are essentially identical to those of the Leica CL.
Proper weather-sealing was apparently the most asked-for Q improvement, according to Leica. And executing such an improvement, while keeping the form factor and size unchanged, is no small feat. But Leica did it anyway - the Q2 is IP52 rated weather/dust sealed. You can read more about IP ratings here.
New EVF, improved battery life, new card door
Though the Q and Q2 both sport 3.68MP electronic viewfinders, the Q's was a field sequential-type display that only offered 1.04 million dots at any given moment. This is because it cycles through red, green and blue, which also makes it prone to displaying rainbow patterns when panning the camera. The Q2's updated OLED display doesn't have this issue, so it actually appears much higher resolution than its predecessor's. Sharpness and contrast are also improved, and the Q2's EVF is slightly larger with 0.76x magnification. Switching between the LCD and EVF via the eye sensor has also been sped up.
In addition to an upgraded EVF, the battery has also been boosted to the larger-capacity BP-SCL4 unit, same as the Leica SL. This gives the Q2 a 30% battery life advantage over the Q. Speaking of batteries, the card and battery door are now separate.
|Q2 has separate doors for memory card and battery.|
4K video and Bluetooth via Leica Fotos
A fixed-lens camera may not be your first choice for video work, but a fast stabilized lens and 4K capture (24/30p) make the Q2 more than usable for grabbing the occasional clip. It also offers 1080/120p capture for slow-motion. But don't expect to plug in a microphone or headphones - this camera has no ports of any kind.
The Q2 swaps out NFC for low power Bluetooth connectivity, in addition to offering WiFi. Bluetooth should allow the camera to stay connected to most devices without the need to constantly re-pair. Like all recent Leicas, it plays nice with the slick new Leica Fotos app.
New shutter speeds and Auto OIS
The camera's leaf shutter has been redesigned and now offers a top flash sync speed of 1/2000 sec (1/500 sec on the Q), and the top electronic shutter is now a jaw-dropping 1/40,000 sec (1/16,000 sec on the Q).
A new Auto OIS mode only kicks in stabilization when shooting at 1/60 sec or slower. We imagine this mode will help save battery life, but with 47.3MP on tap, you may find you want OIS enabled at somewhat faster shutter speeds as well to ensure critical sharpness.
How it compares
The Leica Q2 is a unique offering and doesn't have a lot of direct fixed-lens full-frame competitors aside from its predecessor and the Sony RX1R II, which is a bit long in the tooth. For context, we've also included another popular fixed-lens compact in the Fujifilm X100F or as we sometimes call it, the 'poor man's Leica Q.'
It's worth noting the difference in field of view between 28mm on the Q and Q2 vs 35mm on the RX1R II and X100F should not to be overlooked. The former is considered more wide angle while the latter is considered more 'normal,' and you may find your prefer the look and shooting style of one to the other - though the Q2's included crop mode may mitigate this somewhat.
|Leica Q2||Leica Q||Sony RX1R II||Fujifilm X100F|
|Sensor||47MP Full frame||24MP Full Frame||42MP Full Frame||24MP APS-C|
|Lens||28mm F1.7||28mm F1.7||35mm F2||35mm (equiv.) F2|
|ISO range (expanded)||50-50,000||100-50,000||50-102,400||200-51,200|
|Burst||20 fps||10 fps||5 fps||8 fps|
|Weight||718 grams||640 grams||507 grams||469 grams|
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