Leica Q2 review: A superlative compact camera with a nostalgic design

Leica Q2 review: A superlative compact camera with a nostalgic design
From colour rendition to design, we checked out the Leica Q2 compact camera to see if it’s worth the investment

Leica is one of the oldest mass-produced camera manufacturers in the world. Founded by Ernst Leitz in 1869, the German company become synonymous with premium compact image-making equipment, binoculars and lenses throughout the 20e century.

Its cameras are frequently associated with street photography, where portability, weight and ease of use were paramount. And now, Leica have carried this expertise across to a premium range of desirable compact cameras.

In this review, we’ll take a look at the Q2, a throwback design that claims to deliver timeless image quality and exquisite craftsmanship.

It is indeed the quality of the device in the hand that first strikes you when you unbox the Q2. It is fully weather-sealed, as you’d expect from a camera that can cost upwards of £5,000 to purchase, and it feels built to last a lifetime, which is exactly how long you’ll probably want to keep it. But how does it fare when put to the test? We put it through its paces in our in-depth review.

Comment nous avons testé

Being a fixed-lens camera (more on that later) it’s dedicated to a street style of photography, which is exactly how we tested it alongside internal shots and around the house in a range of lighting situations. D'abord, we’ll look at the specs of the Leica Q2 and then discuss its image quality and features.

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Leica Q2

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  • 47.3mpx sensor
  • 3in fixed touchscreen
  • ISO 50 – 50,000 native
  • Leaf shutter
  • Damped manual focus ring
  • IP52 dust and water-resistant
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • 4K video at 24fps or 30fps

Leica is justifiably proud of their lens-making abilities. And when it comes to the Q2, there’s no question that you have a lens that feels worth the exorbitant price tag – especially when you consider how much the rest of their equipment costs. It’s a 28mm fixed lens, so there’s limited room for manoeuvre if you’re a jack of all trades when it comes to image style. Mais, if you’re dedicated to Leica’s craft – namely candid street photography and stunning, crystal-clear landscapes – then this is perhaps some of the best bits of glass we’ve tried out.

A Leica image is almost instantly recognisable – colour rendition is natural and rich; photos have a sharpness hard to find elsewhere and the bokeh is deliciously vibrant and provides a timeless, classic quality that makes every image feel like a moment in time. It’s hard to describe but it goes without saying that this is one of the reasons Leica themselves are so revered by the photography world.

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The sensor is the next thing that impresses – at 47mpx most images have room for expansion and manipulation in the edit, even on the most basic of JPG modes. The LCD touchscreen is also a step above other compact cameras and provides nice feedback and a sense of control that is often missing from competitor cameras, even premium ones. The quality of the screen itself is bright and sharp and menu items and feature controls are accessible in a couple of touches.

Transferring images through wifi is easy if you download the Leica app on your phone and you also have the standard Bluetooth connectivity options we’ve come to expect from modern compact cameras, trop.

It’s worth mentioning at this point, as many others have, Leica’s relationship to autofocus. Their famous mirrorless M-range is manual focus only, which allows you to have a different relationship to the images you are creating – more thoughtful, focussed (if you pardon the expression) and dedicated to a certain type of photographer. It does make it hard however to capture those candid street moments Leica are so famous for. Donc, with the Q2, they’ve included a very welcome autofocus system that works brilliantly.

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If you’re a filmmaker, you’re also well-catered for, with 4K video at 24 or 30fps, which works simply and efficiently and makes the most of the camera’s huge sensor and generous 47-megapixel capability. Bien sûr, pourtant, if you’re dedicated to making videos, you may find the single-lens a limitation in this regard.

Le verdict: Leica Q2

There’s no question that the Leica Q2 is a superlative camera from an outstanding brand. It simply succeeds in terms of image quality, ease of day-to-day use and beautiful build quality and craftsmanship. We love the look and feel of the photos – they’re exactly what you want to see from the Leica brand and have a gorgeous, classic elegance that as we’ve said is very hard to find elsewhere. The way the camera is designed and the way it feels in your hand is also incredibly appealing – we got the impression every step of the way that we were handling a well thought out, truly premium product.

Il y a, pourtant, only two things that we found concerning. Premièrement, and probably most obviously, is the price. For the money, there are so many avenues a photographer can go down, and we would have to suggest other products ahead of the Q2 due to the sheer amount of money you have to spend on what is, finalement, a fairly limited device.

Deuxièmement, the fact that you’re stuck with one focal length will be limiting for many people – there are many options from the likes of Sony, Canon et Fujifilm that offer similar (if not quite the same) image quality with the ability to change lenses to suit photographic style. En effet, Leica’s own M-series bodies offer just that and probably won’t hurt the bank balance quite so much either. Donc, if you’re committed to Leica, this is perhaps our suggested route.

Cela étant dit, those two annoyances we feel slightly miss the point of the Q2, which is to create probably the best digital compact camera ever made. We think that Leica has done this with elegance and effectiveness, and that simply must be applauded.

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Les avis sur les produits IndyBest sont impartiaux, des conseils indépendants auxquels vous pouvez faire confiance. À certaines occasions, nous gagnons des revenus si vous cliquez sur les liens et achetez les produits, mais nous ne permettons jamais à cela de biaiser notre couverture. Les critiques sont compilées à partir d'un mélange d'opinions d'experts et de tests dans le monde réel.

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