Is the Leica Q2 an Ultimate Camera?

Currently testing the new Leica Q2– and I think it is an ultimate camera. Let me share my thoughts:


Jpeg photos shot on Leica Q2, vivid mode, straight out of camera (no additional processing):

I’ve been using the Q2 in JPEG, “vivid”preset, with contrast and saturation to the max. This is what I love about the camera so far:

1. I love the crop modes

One thing that the new Q2 has which is awesome is this dedicated button (easily accessible with your right thumb) that changes the crop from 28mm to 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm (while showing the white rangefinder viewfinder lines — similar to what you would experience with a Leica M camera).

Simply put, the crop mode is awesome. It is so fun to shoot with, and to play with the different crops.

To me, it feels like a fun video game — like a first person shooter, in which your aiming is more fun and interesting with the rangefinder frame lines!

Words cannot explain how fun it is. Which makes me think:

Perhaps cameras should be optimized to be more fun to shoot with, instead of having better image quality, etc.

The Leica Q2 is probably one of the most fun cameras I’ve ever shot with!

2. Ergonomics

I’m surprised how great the ergonomics of the Leica Q2 are.

The thumb test (indentation) makes the camera very comfortable and ergonomic to hold. I don’t think it needs an additional“thumbs up” grip.

In terms of build quality and weight — it doesn’t hurt your neck when you are hanging it around your neck. Note— the Q2 isn’t a “pocketable” camera. It feels like a standard size camera (only perhaps a little bit smaller than a Leica M camera). So I’m not sure if it is really an ideal “everyday” camera (get a RICOH GR II or 3 instead). But if you plan on focusing for the entire day to shoot (weekend shooting, or travel street photography), the Leica Q2 seems like an ultimate street camera.

3. Autofocus and functionality

In terms of autofocus and functionality, the Leica Q2 is great. It turns on very fast, the on-off switch has a satisfying click and haptic response, and the autofocus is very fast and accurate.

Furthermore, the menu system is quite well thought out and implemented. It is simple and works!

4. Button system

The new top-right button/clickable jog dial is fantastic. I set it for exposure compensation, and it works extremely well. Super satisfying clicks when changing the dial, with immediate response.

5. A better value than the Leica M10?

Now the million dollar question:

Should I get a Leica q2 or a Leica M10?

First of all, I propose the “ two camera rule”

Never buy a camera unless you can afford to purchase two of them (in cash).

Truth be told — I think the Leica Q2 is a far better value than the Leica M10:

  1. The Leica Q2 has a macro mode — which is awesome. The Leica M has a minimum focusing distance of .7 meters. Which means with macro mode on Leica Q2– you will be able to shoot more. More photo opportunities with macro mode!
  2. In theory with the Leica Q2 ($5k) you got 4 lenses in one camera (28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm). Considering a Leica M10 is around $7k (and lenses cost around $2000+), the Q2 is a better value. But the tricky thing is this — the Leica Q2 will depreciate in value more than a Leica M10 over time. The Leica M10 will be a more robust camera over time, whereas the day the Leica Q3 comes out, the Leica Q2 won’t be worth as much. Thus, perhaps the ultimate value camera right now is to buy a second-hand (used) Leica Q1. Also another thought — perhaps right now is a good time to buy a used Leica M8.2, Leica M9, or used Leica Monochrome (first generation).
  3. I really like the cinema video mode (24fps) on the Leica Q2– good If you want to shoot some video.

In terms of coolness factor, I actually prefer the Q2 over the Leica M10.

So if you have an option, I’d recommend the Leica Q2 over the Leica M10.

6. Image quality and colors

I love the colors that come out of the JPEG of the Leica Q2– shot in “vivid” mode with contrast and saturation and sharpness to the max:

Now to me, the benefit is if the photos and colors look this great “out of camera”— you don’t need to waste more time processing your photos! Just shoot in JPEG, and you can immediately share the photos and publish them!

In terms of the colors — I really love them. The skies have a lovely deep blue color, fantastic detail in the concrete or when shooting plant life, and the detail of the light is super epic:

I love the purple light that shows on the edges of this cloud — I’ve never seen this before…

When shooting during the day, I generally would shoot scenes anywhere from -1 exposure compensation all the way to -3 exposure compensation. To get really nice colors, you always want to shoot with a lower exposure with digital.

7. Will the Leica Q2 inspire me to shoot more?

I think ultimately we as photographers are only truly happy when we’re making new photos. However, buying the Leica Q2 won’t necessarily inspire you to shoot more. It will open up new shooting opportunities (macro mode, and the fun of using the crop modes).

However frankly speaking, I don’t really imagine the Q2 as an “everyday camera” camera. It still feels like a specialized tool that is best utilized if you’re going to go on a photo expedition, a photo travel thing, or if you’re going to dedicate an entire day to make photos.

In terms of an “everyday camera”, the Leica CL is a better option within the Leica ecosystem. I know a bunch of guys who own a Leica Q, but still prefer to shoot with their Ricoh GR II or Leica CL as an everyday camera.

Innovation is what makes life worth living!

Just when I thought there was no more big innovations happening in photography or cameras, the Leica Q2 really struck it out of the park.

Shooting with the Q2 has been so fun, and I realized the biggest innovations which I love are:

  1. The top right dial — clicks inwards, and rotates so well.
  2. Beautiful design of the battery slot and SD card slot — a beautiful aesthetic and functional innovation.
  3. Perfect placement of the crop button — next to the thumb.
  4. The lovely indented thumb grip.
  5. Macro function.

Great job to the Leica team (all individuals involved) for making an ultimate camera. More turbo thoughts to come.