Im am shooting with the Leica Q since it was released in 2015. In the beginning it was more like a love and hate relationship. Coming from the Leica M I had some problems with the AF of the Q. With time and patience I mastered my issues and learned to shoot in nearly any situation with the Q. The amazing 28 mm Summilux lens with the fantastic sensor made it the perfect match for me and since then it is my main camera.
The Q is perfect for street/reportage, architecture and landscape photography. There are a few quirks on the Q and so I was very curious about the upcoming Q2.
Leica Munich, was so kind to loan me the Q2. I just had 30 minutes for testing the Q, but it was enough time for me to figure out if it is worth for an upgrade.
These topics I wanted to test:
- Contrast in Focus Peaking
- File Size
- Extended digital zoom
- Image Quality
When I read the specs of the new Leica Q2 I was a bit disappointed. Like many - I have wished for a Leica Q with 50 mm. The 28mm and 50mm would have been the perfect set up for many photographers.
Reading about the 47MP sensor didn't make me too curious. 47MP on a full frame sensor?? Would the image quality be the same? What about the speed of the camera and would I need a new computer to edit the huge files?
Here are my first impressions of the Leica Q2.
The newly developed, high-resolution OLED viewfinder with improved image depth and higher contrast makes it a lot easier to see through the viewfinder, especially in sunny/bright light. For me this is a huge plus. It is now such a joy to compose images through the EVF.
Don't get me wrong - the EVF on the Q is already amazing. It might be just a matter of age, that my eye sight gets worse. Especially for photographers who have general eye sight issues the new EVF is a big plus. I also love the new redesigned push-button diopter setting dial on the back of the camera.
Even so that the Q has AF I do a lot of manual focusing. Leica has improved the contrast of the focus peaking which makes manual focusing much easier and especially quicker.
The AF of the Q2 is much quicker and very precise. Over all I have the impression that the Q2 is a much more snappier camera. Overall the speed of the Q2 with 47MP surprised me. I thought the camera could have some issues dealing with such an amount of data. But there is nothing to worry about. No lag, quick and snappy and a joy to photograph...
47MP is a lot. The DNG files are double the size of the Q - around 88 MP. I shot around 240 pictures with the Q2 - and it made shrink my HD 16 GB! Uploading the files from my SD card to the computer didn't make any issues - it just took double the time to upload the files.
One issue, that some might have is, that photographers might need to upgrade their computer system. I compared the upload time to my MacBook with an SSD HD and the latest iMac with Fusion Drive. Even so, that my iMac has a better processor and is the better computer, it took nearly 6 minutes to upload the files from the SD Card to the iMac. With the MacBook with less power it took around 3 minutes! My suggestion would be to have at least a computer with a SSD HD and minimum of 16GB RAM. I didn't have any issues with the speed editing the files on both computers.
Extended digital zoom
The new high sensor resolution of 47MP expands the flexibility for subject composition. The newly digital zoom enables you to choose subject framing corresponding to focal lengths of 28, 35, 50, and 75 mm. This makes it interesting, cause with such an amount of size you easily could crop the image without loosing image quality. The file size would be still enough to get excellent detailed prints in 28, 35 and 50mm. For me the 75 mm is nice to have, and 7MP is still enough to get good small prints, but most important for me was, that I now could shoot excellent 50mm portraits and have enough resolution for proper prints. Don't get me wrong, there will always a difference to shoot with a 50mm lens and a cropped sensor.
This was one of the main questions I wanted to get answered. The image quality of the Leica Q was already amazing. Could the Q2 top the Q?
Both cameras have a full frame sensor and putting 47 MP on the same size of sensor could squeeze the amount pixels. I wasn't so sure if this would improve the quality. But Leica did a great job. I compared the images of the Q and Q2 - both cameras have incredible image quality and I couldn't find any main improvements - images from both cameras are crisp and detailed. I just noticed, that the Q2 renders the images a bit less saturated and gets a bit of a colder look - which I prefer. I also had the impressions that the Q2 renders a bit better the shadows and highlights - but I also could be wrong. Overall, both cameras have a superbe image quality and complaining would be just on the pixel peeping site ;).
The big question Q or Q2!
Should I upgrade or not - that will be a huge questions for most of Leica Q photographers.
The Q2 has many improvements which makes it a bit more fun to shoot with. The big BUT is - is it worth the money to upgrade? I would suggest yes, if you like to print large images and if you would like to shoot 50mm besides 28mm and still have a proper file size for your prints. One issue you should have in mind is, that you will need lots of HD space and you might need to upgrade your computer system - which would mean an investment on top of buying the Q2.
Is the Q still a great camera?
Hell, YES! The Q is still and will be a wonderful camera with an amazing image quality. The 24MP is still enough to get wonderful large prints in A3. Consider that also the printing technology develops and that u already get wonderful prints from an iPhone which has less MP!!!
Overall, I guess that NOW it is the time to buy a used Q in good condition for a great price! You can get a Q in good condition for around 3000 € - which still is a loooooot of money. But around 1800 € less than the Q2. For example with that money you can pay a vacation with your new Leica Q!
Will I upgrade?
My inner voice and I are in constant dialogue :). My current feeling is yes. The reason why is, that I like a lot the improvements of the EVF and manual focusing. It improves my workflow a lot - also the larger sensor size mean that I could crop into 50mm with a decent file size for large prints. But I also consider the investment I have to make to upgrade my computer system.
Also, the Q2 could give me a complete new workflow from the artistic site. The files are now big enough and a bit more forgiving when you didn't compose very well. With this files like that you always have the freedom to correct the composition on the computer.
I didn't get into details with more improvements of the Q2, like 4K video and that the Leica Q2 features protective sealing against dust and water spray. There are many more small improvements of the Q2, but for me this was a bit of a site job.
Both, the Q and Q2, are amazing cameras and I would suggest anyone, who is interested in buying one - if you can afford it. If you never experienced shooting with the Q - go and test it. For those who consider buying a Q and have enough money - go and get the Q2. For those, who always wanted to buy a Q, but don’t want to pay so much money for a fixed lens camera - now it is time to get a great price for a used one!
But finally I would like to say, that with any camera u could take amazing pictures. The brand doesn't matter! You don't need a Leica to become a great photographer. Don't forget the camera doesn't make the picture, it's the one behind the lens :).
I hope I could help u with my personal impressions of the new Q2. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to answer. I would be happy to help! Cheers, Nicole