Leica Q2 first impressions review
Body and controls
The design of the Leica Q2 is largely the same as the original Leica Q. The body is still constructed of magnesium alloy and built like a tank. It's safe to say it looks and handles like an M rangefinder, despite its electronic viewfinder and fixed lens. But the shuffling of some buttons gives it a more straightforward overall operation than the original Q.
- Same form-factor as original Leica Q, now with weather-sealing
- Two customizable buttons can save up to 8 functions
- 'Favorites' menu can save up to 15 functions
- Touchscreen can be used for AF placement and image review
- Drive mode has been removed from on/off switch
The Q2's 28mm F1.7 lens had to be slightly redesigned to include weather-sealing and is approximately 2mm wider in diameter than the Q's. Aside from that, it constructed and functions the same. On the lens barrel you'll find a macro mode option, electronic-controlled aperture ring with auto setting (1/3rd-stops) and a manual focus tab with autofocus clutch.
The lens is made up 11 elements arranged into 9 groups, with 3 aspherical elements and is optical stabilized. Autofocus is nearly inaudible and pleasingly fast, due in part to only one moving lens element.
When manually focusing, the camera offers two focus assist tools including Auto Magnification as well as Focus Peaking in red, green, blue or white.
Leica removed the drive mode option from the top plate of the Q2, which we appreciate, as the original Q's design made it too easy to end up in Continuous drive (the furthest throw from 'off'). Full stop shutter speeds can be set on the shutter dial, while the top plate command dial can be used to select thirds stops above or below one's chosen shutter speed. The button center that dial can be customized with up to 8 functions. More on that below under 'customization.'
Rear controls and touchscreen
You have two ways to set AF points on the Q2, either via tapping the touchscreen or using the four-way controller. Aside from AF point placement, the touchscreen's only other function is navigating and zooming in playback. It does not function as an AF touchpad with one's eye to the finder.
The center button within the four-way controller switches the camera between various info display modes: the first shows no info until the shutter is half pressed, the second gives an info line on the bottom, the third displays info on top and bottom and the fourth enters the camera into video mode.
The back of the camera has been simplified over its predecessor. Left of the LCD you'll find only 3 buttons: Play, Menu and Function. Pressing the Menu button once calls up the customizable 'Favorites' menu where you can save up to 15 functions. Pressing it twice calls up the main menu.
The Function button, like the one center the top plate command dial, is highly customizable. Users can save up to 8 different function in each, from the list below. Holding either function button for a 'long press' allows you to choose which of your stored options you want the camera to call upon when it is tapped once.
The rear button directly below the shutter speed dial can also be customized, but with much more restriction. By default it activates the cameras 'digital frame selector' crop modes but it can also be set to function as an exposure lock, focus lock or both.
EVF and diopter
The electronic viewfinder has been updated and now uses a 3.68MP OLED panel with new optics and 0.76x magnification. The EVF eye sensor has also been updated and should no have 'no perceptible delays' when switching from the screen to the EVF and back again.
In addition to receiving a new EVF, the Q2 also features a newly-designed diopter. To set it, you must first press inward, before turning. This should help keep it from accidentally getting nudged out of whack.
Bottom of camera
The Q2 sees the memory card and battery door separated. Its single card slot can support UHS-II cards, which should help with write times on those 47MP files and high-speed bursts. The camera uses a SCL4 battery, borrowed from the Leica SL and is CIPA rated to 370 shots per charge - though you can easily get double that in real world shooting depending on your usage. The bottom of the camera also reveals a tripod thread, which is placed center to the lens barrel. Unfortunately its location makes it impossible to swap a card when tripod-mounted.
Auto ISO on the Q2 is implemented in a useful manner: users specify their max ISO (200-50,000) and their minimum shutter speed, which can be either a physical speed or 1x, 2x or 3x 1/focal length.
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