Lens Performance

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 100 | F5.6 | 1/250 sec
Photo by Carey Rose

Key Takeaway:

  • The Leica Q2's lens performs extremely well, despite how distorted the partially-processed image might look.

In-depth

The Leica Q2's lens design includes a significant digital component. The JPEGs are always corrected and the images will also be corrected in any software that fully supports its DNG files (albeit with slightly different correction). DPReview's position on digital correction has always been to focus on the end results: if they're good, then we don't worry too much about how they are achieved (we defer to the lens designers and engineers to make those decisions).

If you choose to omit that aspect of the lens's design then the Leica's images show extreme vignetting in the corners and distinct geometric distortion, which may be off-putting to some people, so we took a look at the quality of the end result. If you are curious as to how the files look without any corrections of any sort, be aware you'll need to use software like RawDigger to do so, as Adobe Camera Raw, for example, doesn't allow you to fully disable them.

Even wide-open, the lens in very sharp from the center out to around 2/3rds of the image width. The edges continue to sharpen-up as you stop the lens down. We compared the edges to the un-corrected image data and didn't find a major difference (the softness it down to the optical component of the lens, not the effect of correction).

Crops of the left edge and lower left corners. With full corrections from Adobe (left) and uncorrected (right).

As you can see, the details levels are comparable: almost all the difference in sharpness comes from the lens being wide-open, not from the corrections.

For anyone with concerns about whether the end result really is '28mm,' we can offer some reassurance on that front, too. We tried shooting the Leica side-by-side with the Sigma Art 28mm F1.4 and the Nikkor 28mm F1.4. However, the Q2's lens gives a slightly wider angle of view than either of these other 28s, which made it difficult to examine corners of the Leica's output.

The Leica also appears to be a flatter field of view than either lens: giving a more consistent result across the image than we could achieve with the other two lenses. Overall, we were impressed by the results, despite how seemingly alarming the partially-processed images look.