When it comes to photography there are those who get it and those who think their smartphone has rendered other cameras obsolete. German optics company Leica makes products for the former. The brand operates on a philosophy that’s part realism, part idealism, offering digital cameras that go to painstaking lengths to capture the analogue experience so that every picture is one worth taking.
With the Q, Leica has managed to up their game by packing a boatload of incredible features into a device so beautifully compact you would scoff at the price tag if you didn’t know anything about who made it. And while $6,300 might be a little steep for amateurs, the price represents a slightly more affordable alternative to the Leica M, which enthusiasts simply adore.
Leica was generous enough to let us play with a Q for two weeks and to put it mildly we loved this freaking thing. It fuses the best of old and new in a gadget so mobile and sturdy that big hefty cameras seem downright superfluous by comparison. For your viewing pleasure we’re sharing some photos taken on the Leica Q and in spite of the adage that a picture tells a thousand words we’re still going to write about it.
Fans of the popular Leica M will find much to relish in the Q. The two products have plenty in common in terms of design and style, and both offer 24MP full-frame CMOS resolution. Unlike the M, the Q has a fixed 28MM lens and brings an LCD touch-screen and high-resolution EVF to the table. It’s also the first Leica camera to include both full-frame and auto-focus technology. For camera experts out there who don’t swear allegiance solely to Leica, the Q has been likened to the Fujifilm X100T or the Sony RX1R II.
The Q represents Leica at their best through the tried and true pairing of sound tradition and breathless innovation. By mimicking the rangefinder functions of film cameras, incorporating a wide angle lens and combining all that with the lightness and function of a digital camera, the Q captures exceptional images while giving users the choice of kicking it old school or new school. Even the Q’s touch-screen is more or less optional, working in conjunction with other features like a manual focus ring and physical dials for manual aperture and shutter speed control.
However, being it is the 21st century the Q doesn’t underplay its digital potential. If pressing buttons and twisting dials simply isn’t your thing, you can, by all means, use the LCD touch-screen to entirely control the image. The Q also employs digital zooming technology for selective focus where if you hold down the shutter the camera will zoom in on the subject for better focus before zooming out to take the picture. Rounding out its contemporary profile is a digital frame selector that crops the image to imitate a 35 or 50mm lens, 1060/60p HD video capture, wi-fi compatibility, hot-shot and the power to snap at a continuous 10 frames per second.
The Leica Q honestly makes you feel like a photographic gunslinger. It’s exceptionally portable and delivers a swift, top-tier performance. In our opinion, this compact and sturdy baby might be the perfect gadget of choice for travellers and explorers who want tremendous resolution and high-grade durability from a camera that doesn’t weigh as much as a newborn baby. Leica once again proves that moving forward doesn’t always mean embargoing tradition and craftsmanship. That’s why in spite of an impressive price tag the Q is outrageously popular and cherished among those who own one. Oh, that reminds us: can we borrow $6,300?
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Here are some of our shots taken with the Leica Q