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

Lens design

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.

That autofocus clutch deserves a little attention. The image above shows the camera in autofocus mode. Press the little button in the manual focus tab let the focus ring rotate and, all-of-a-sudden, you're in manual focus mode. It's a really simple design that somehow makes the whole thing feel more mechanical, even though it's a focus-by-wire system. Rotate the Macro ring nearer the camera body and a new distance scale is pushed into place to reflect the closer focusing range.

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.

Top plate

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.

Customization

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 (continuing to press it cycles through the five main tabs of the menu).

The 'Fn' button, like the one in the center of the top plate command dial, is highly customizable. Users can save up to 8 different function in each, from the list below.

Pressing either button initially gives access to whichever function you last used. Holding the button for a 'long press' allows you to choose which of your stored options you want the camera to call upon when you next tap it.

  • Drive Mode
  • Interval (timelapse)
  • Exposure Bracketing
  • Self Timer
  • Focusing
  • Focus Mode
  • AF Mode
  • Auto Magnification
  • Focus Peaking
  • Exposure Metering
  • Exposure Compensation
  • ISO
  • Auto ISO settings
  • White Balance
  • Greycard
  • Color Temperature
  • Photo File Format
  • JPG Resolution
  • Film Style
  • Scene Mode
  • Digital Zoom
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Electronic Shutter
  • Flash Settings
  • Exposure Preview
  • User Profile
  • Video Resolution
  • EVF-LCD
  • Wheel assignment
  • Zoom/lock-Button
  • Leica FOTOS
  • Format Card

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 3.68M dot 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. The sensitivity of the sensor can also be adjusted.

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.

Rear screen

There are a number of display modes but the shape of the rear LCD means you can't preview your whole composition and see your exposure settings at the same time.

The rear screen boasts the same specs, but now sits in a larger frame. It's a 1.04M dot panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio. There are four view modes:

  • Full screen preview (with exposure settings shown at half-press)
  • Preview with exposure settings along bottom of image
  • Preview with settings top and bottom (top settings vanish at half press)
  • Video mode

Interestingly, only the full screen preview mode lets you see what's happening at the bottom corners of your image (but with no indication of settings: you can only check how much exposure comp you have applied by half-pressing the shutter or looking through the viewfinder).

The preview modes with settings shown can also include 'capture assistants.' These are set in the menu, with a choice of Thirds Grid, Histogram, Highlight Clipping and Virtual Horizon. The Thirds Grid also appears on the full screen preview.

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 350 shots per charge (though as always, it's not uncommon to get double that figure, depending on how you shoot). We tend to find a rating of 350 shots is enough for a weekend of fairly committed shooting. Which is fortunate, since the lack of USB port hinders attempts to charge over USB.

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

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 specific speed or 1/, 2/, 3/ or 4/focal length.

Unfortunately, the focal length-related shutter speeds doesn't take the camera's crop modes into account (which will demand greater steadiness/sharpness if you view them at the same output size), so the x/focal length modes are essentially just 1/25, 1/50, 1/80th and 1/100th.