Leica Q – Full Format Compact Camera with Leica M Feeling
A new letter in the Leica Alphabet! The Leica Q starts another new segment, a full format compact camera with built-in fixed focal length Summilux 28mm lens.
The Leica Q at a glance:
- Full format 24 MP CMOS Sensor
- 28mm f1.7 Summilux lens
- Digital zoom option for 35 or 50 mm
- 3.68 MP EVF with digital frame selector
- Contrast autofocus
- Manual focussing with magnifier or focus peaking
- 1/16,000 electronic shutter
- max. ISO 50,000
- Continuous shooting with up to 10 fps
- Wifi / NFC
The Leica Q is on sale starting today at authorised Leica dealers.
Leica Q Images
As of now (product launch on June 10th) we can form an opinion about the new Leica Q only by press release and images from Wetzlar – Jono Slack hat the opportunity to test the Leica Q over the last months. Here you can find his review with lots of images.
Here is our first overview of design and technical features of the new camera:
Design & Handling
From the front the Leica Q is very similar to the current Leica X. The top plate is made of aluminium, the body is of magnesium alloy. The Leica Q is a little bit higher than the X, width and height are almost the same as the Leica M240.
Seen from top you can see that the controls are influenced by the Leica M, but the body is not so deep:
The aperture is set at the lens’ front, the distance either manually via a fingergrip or by autofocus, if the distance control is set to the AF position.
The back of the cameras shows the family resemblance of all three cameras:
The FN button left of the display as well as the unsigned button on the upper right can be programmed.
Leica Q Viewfinder & Display
The Leica Q display has a 3″ standard size and 1MP standard resolution, but the EVF has a remarkable resolution of 3.68 MP – more than all compact system cameras top cameras. The EVF shows the motive „without any perceptible lag“.
Judged by the specifications this might become a real alternative to the classic rangefinder…
Leica Q Lens: Summilux 28mm f1.7
The optical design of the Summilux 28mm lens consists of 11 elements (including 3 aspherical elements) in 9 groups. Leica lenses claim to deliver full quality even full open. On top for the Leica Q an optical stabilization had to be integrated.
In order to ensure even in the macro modus the full image quality the Leica Q reduces the maximum aperture by two stops – which is still f2.8.
As 28mm is definitely not a standard focal length the Leica Q offers two options for digital zoom:
- Crop factor 1.25 resulting in 16 MP and the angle of a 35mm lens
- Crop factor 1.8 resulting in 8 MP and a 50mm point of view
Sensor & Imaging Engine
Until now we only know some technical specs about the new sensor – which match the Leica M240 sensor:
- 24 MP CMOS sensor
- Dynamic range of about 13 EV
I don’t have any information about the manufacturer of the sensor – Jono found out that it’s neither Sony nor CMOSIS.
Auto Focus & Manual Focussing
About the Leica Q auto focus we only know that it’s a contrast autofocus. Leica’s claim „fastest autofocus in its class“ translates to „faster than the Sony RX1 / RX1R“ which is the only direct competitor full format compact camera.
Jono’s verdict is that the AF is „extremely fast and accurate – even in low light“.
The switch to manual focussing is done via the lens’ distance ring. As focus assistance the Leica Q offers a 6x magnifier and focus peaking.
More Technical Details
The press release has some more interesting features:
- Image Stabilizer: The Leica Q is (except for the Panaleicas) the first Leica camera with optical image stabilization.
- Continuous Shooting: The Leica Q provides continuous shooting with up to 10 fps.
Leica introduces a full range of accessories along with the Leica Q:
- Ever-ready case, holster, protector and day bag (all manufactured exclusively for the Leica Q in finest black leather)
- System bags in various sizes and styles, hand straps and carrying straps
- Technical equipment like the Leica SF 26 flash, a handgrip, table-top and travel tripods and a selection of ball heads.
Classification Leica Q
At first sight the Leica Q looks like a best-of from all Leica camera systems:
- Basic concept of Leica X (Compact camera with built-in fast fixed focal length) with Leica M sensor format
- Design a well-done mix of Leica X and M
- Operating philosophy close to rangefinder photography of Leica M
- Capable Leica S image processor
- WiFi / NFC functionality of Leica T
Plus some features we didn’t know in Leica’s product range until now:
- The Leica Q is the first „real“ Leica with integrated image stabilizer.
- Continuous shooting at 10 fps is among the top values in the market
- And the high-resolution EVF „without any perceptible lag“ might become an interesting option for the development of the Leica M system
My Prediction – Big Success
I think that the Leica Q will become a tremendous success for Leica – as far this can be predicted based on the technical specs and Jono’s article. The new Leica family member enters an interesting market segment in which the Sony X1R is the only competitor. The Leica Q is more expensive but is in the lead in all technical aspects.
The Leica Q integrates technologies from almost all Leica product systems – supplemented by new features not available from other manufacturers.
And it’s going to become very interesting to watch if the Leica Q sets a trend for the Leica M system. Perhaps the Leica Q is also a trial if Leica M photographers will swap their beloved optical rangefinder for a high-class electronic viewfinder.
Technical Data LEICA Q
|Camera type||Leica Q (Typ 116), digital small picture compact camera|
|Picture format/aspect ratio||24 x 36mm/2:3|
|Lens||Leica Summilux 28 mm f 1.7 ASPH., 11 lenses in 9 groups, 3 aspherical lenses|
|Digital frame selector
|optionally approx. 1.25x (corresponding to 35mm) or approx. 1.8x (corresponding to 50mm)|
|Image stabilization||optical compensation system for photo and video recordings|
|Aperture range||1.7 to 16 in 1⁄3EV increments|
|Picture sensor/resolution||CMOS sensor, 26.3/24.2 million pixels (total/effective)|
|Dynamic range||13 aperture stops|
|Photo capture format||optional: DNG + JPEG, JPEG|
|DNG/JPEG resolution||24MP (6000×4000 px), 12MP (4272x2848px), 6MP (2976x1984px), 1.7MP (1600x1080px)|
|Video recording format||MP4|
|Video resolution/frame rate||optional: FHD 1920 x 1080p with 60 or 30 B/ or HD 1280 x 720p with 30 B/s|
|Sound recording format||AAC|
|ISO range||automatic, ISO 100 to ISO 50000|
|White balance||automatic, default settings for: daylight, cloudy, halogen lighting, shadow, electronic flash, two manual settings with measuring, manual color temperature setting|
|Color range||optional for photos: sRGB, Adobe® RGB, ECI RGB|
|Focus/saturation/contrast||each selectable in 5 steps, for saturation also in B/W|
|Working range||30cm to ∞, with macro setting from 17cm|
|Setting||automatic (autofocus) or manual focusing, option of magnifying function and edge marking (focus peaking) available for manual setting|
|Autofocus system||contrast-based autofocus system|
|Autofocus modes||AFS (shutter release only after successful focusing), AFC (shutter release possible at any time), AF setting can be saved|
|Autofocus metering methods||1-field (adjustable), multi-field, face recognition, subject tracking, optional setting/shutter release by touching the monitor|
|Exposure modes||automatic program, aperture priority, shutter speed priority, and manual setting|
|Scene modes||fully automatic, sport, portrait, landscape, night portrait, snow/beach, candlelight, sunset, digiscoping, miniature effect, panorama, time lapse|
|Exposure metering methods||multi-field,center weighted, spot|
|Exposure compensation||±3EV in 1⁄3EV increments.|
|Automatic bracketing||three pictures in graduations of up to 3 EV, can be set in 1⁄3EV increments|
|Shutter type||mechanic and electronic|
|Shutter speeds||30s to 1⁄2000s with mech. Shutter 1⁄2500s to 1⁄16000s with electr. shutter, in 1⁄3 increments, flash synchronization up to 1⁄500s|
|Picture series||optional 10/5/3B/s (H/M/L)|
|Self-timer||delay time either 2 or 12s|
|Viewfinder||electronic LCOS display, resolution: 1280×960 pixels x 3 colors (=3,68MP), aspect ratio: 4:3 adjustable ±3 diopter, with eye sensor for automatic switching between viewfinder and monitor|
|Monitor||3″ TFT LCD monitor with approx. 1,040,000 pixels, touch control possible|
|WLAN||satisfies IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard (standard WLAN protocol), channel 1-11, encryption method: WLAN-compatible WPA™ / WPA2™, access method: infrastructure mode|
|NFC||according to JIS X 6319-4 standard / 13.56MHz|
|Connections||Micro USB socket (2.0), HDMI socket|
|Power supply||Leica BP-DC12, lithium ion battery, rated voltage 7.2V (7.2V D.C.), capacity 1200mAh|
|Charger||Leica BC-DC12, input: 100–240 V AC, 50/60Hz, automatic switching, output: 8.4V DC; 0.65A|
|Body||In Leica design made of massive, extremely light magnesium and aluminum, two loops for the carrying strap, ISO accessory shoe with center and control contacts to connect flash units|
|Lens filter thread||E49|
|Tripod thread||A 1⁄4 DIN 4503 (1⁄4“)|
|Dimensions||(WxHxD) approx. 130 x 80 x 93mm|
|Weight||approx. 590/640g (without/with battery)|
|Scope of delivery||camera, carrying strap, lens hood, lens cap, accessory shoe cover, battery (Leica BP-DC12), charger (Leica BC-DC12), power cable (EU, US, local power cable), USB cable|
|Software||Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® (free download after registration of the camera), Leica App for iOS® (free download remote control and picture transfer in Apple® App-Store®/Google® Play Store®)|
Sensitive, fast and intuitive:
LEICA Q – A pioneer by tradition
Leica Camera AG, Wetzlar, presents the first of a new line of digital compact cameras. With a full-frame sensor and a particularly high-speed, classic focal length prime lens, the Leica Q stands out due to its fast and intuitive handling. Its Leica Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens makes it ideal for available light situations and has an angle of view that reproduces scenes with natural perspectives and proportions. This makes it the perfect camera for street, architectural and landscape photography. In combination with a 24 MP, full-frame CMOS sensor precisely matched to its lens, the camera delivers richly detailed exposures with extremely low noise in optimum quality at ISO sensitivities up to 50,000. The Leica Q offers the greatest possible creative freedom for realising even the most demanding photographic ambitions, not least thanks to the practical option of switching between macro, automatic and manual focusing.
To ensure that the decisive moment is never missed, the Leica Q full-frame compact camera has the fastest autofocus in its class and offers almost real-time precision focusing. At the same time, its newly developed image processor from the Leica Maestro II family, specially adapted for use in the Leica Q, processes the data from the sensor at an enormous speed and delivers up to ten frames per second at full resolution. To permit reliable control of subject composition at this speed, the Leica Q also features an integrated viewfinder with a resolution of 3.68 MP. Even the finest details of every exposure are displayed without any perceptible lag as soon as the camera is brought up to the user’s eye.
The digital frame selector of the Leica Q offers even more creative opportunities – alternative subject framing can be selected at the press of a button. In addition to the focal length of 28 mm at full resolution, this function also offers the equivalent of shooting with 35 and 50 mm lenses. The corresponding frames are displayed in the viewfinder at the press of a button. In the same way as with a rangefinder camera, photographers can still see what is going on outside the bright-line frame and can react much faster to changes in and around the subject. The selected framing is preserved in the JPEG image files, while the RAW files in DNG format record the entire field captured by the 28 mm lens.
The Leica Q also carries forward the Leica tradition of a reduction to the essentials in terms of its design. The seal of quality, ‘made in Germany’, guarantees that only the finest materials are employed in its construction to guarantee exceptional endurance. The top plate is machined from solid blocks of aluminium, the body is made of magnesium alloy, and all lettering and the markings on its setting dials are laser-engraved. The thumb rest on the back of the camera and the diamond pattern of its leathering ensure ideal grip and clearly illustrate that form and function still go hand in hand at Leica.
All functions of the Leica Q are clearly laid out and logically placed to guarantee perfect ergonomics. Its clear menu concept provides rapid access to all essential functions and also offers custom programming options: for instance, convenient definition of the autofocus limits by key control. Alternatively, the touchscreen can be used for focusing by eye, or the focusing point can be selected with a simple touch of a fingertip. In manual focusing mode, Live View offers two additional electronic focusing aids: Focus Peaking shows points in the subject that are sharply focused by coloured highlighting of edges, and Live View Zoom simultaneously lets the photographer check the sharply focused parts of the scene with up to sixfold magnification. With the Leica Q, photographers always have everything under perfect control, even without electronic aids. The two essential parameters for photography, the aperture and the shutter speed, can be read from the corresponding control elements and set – even when the camera is switched off.
The unusually high speed and unmistakable bokeh of the lens of the Leica Q also reveal their unique qualities when shooting in video mode. Video recorded in full HD with the Leica Q is indistinguishable from professional movie footage. Depending on the scene, users can choose between 30 and 60 full frames per second for video recording in MP4 format. An integrated wind-noise filter guarantees crystal-clear sound.
The Leica Q features an integrated Wi-Fi module for wireless transmission of still pictures and video to other devices and remote control by WLAN from a smartphone or a tablet PC. The Leica Q app for these features can be downloaded free from the Leica website. In addition to remote release and display of the viewfinder image, the app also allows the setting of parameters like the aperture and shutter speed from the device employed.
Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®, a professional digital workflow solution for Apple Mac® OS X and Microsoft Windows®, is also included in the Leica Q package. This digital image processing software offers a comprehensive range of functions for the management, processing and presentation of digital image data. Leica Q customers can download the software free from the Leica website after registering their camera.
An extensive range of technical equipment and premium bags and cases is also available for the Leica Q. These include an ever-ready case, a holster, a protector and a day bag (all manufactured exclusively for the Leica Q in finest black leather). The range also includes system bags in various sizes and styles, hand straps and carrying straps. The portfolio also includes technical equipment like the Leica SF 26 flash, a handgrip, table-top and travel tripods and a selection of ball heads (please visit www.leica-camera.com for details). Just like the camera, every item in the range of accessories and technical equipment for the Leica Q is functionally designed for easy handling and manufactured from only the finest materials to ensure versatility, reliability and a lifetime of use.
The Leica Q is now on sale at authorised Leica dealers.