Priced at HK$36,800, the Leica Q has split the sea of photography enthusiasts right in the middle. After the release of this new digital offering by Panasonic and Leica Camera AG, hordes of faithful supporters and inquisitive non-believers debated on whether its monetary value is justified. Keen on forming his own opinion, Arman Shah brings the camera out for a field test, leading him to discover seven cool features that may have just motivated him to burn a huge hole in his pocket. (Note: Scroll to the bottom to see pictures taken during the field test!)
1. Sleek and user-friendly design
Available in classic black, the Leica Q is a compact camera that boasts a sleek and functional design. For easy handling, it comes with a slot for the right thumb (sorry left-handers) that’s so conceptually simple it’s genius. The focusing ring also comes with a handy locking mechanism that helps indicate whether you’re shooting in auto or manual focus mode. The one design flaw here comes in the form of the lens cover; it just doesn’t cap the mouth of the lens hood as smoothly as it should.
2. Full-frame sensor
Equipped with a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor, the Leica Q takes sharp and vibrant pictures that are a joy to look at in playback mode. This powerful sensor was also designed for low-light situations. You can set the ISO as high as 50,000 and still get pictures with impressive definition when you photograph at night. Varying degrees of image noise or graininess can be observed, but that’s to be expected and mostly negligible.
3. 28mm prime lens
Using a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 28mm, the Leica Q is excellent for landscape and architectural photography. The fastest in its class, the lens is also perfect for street photographers who strive to have every important moment captured on camera. Naturally, zooming in is not possible with a fixed lens. Street photographers who like taking pictures of strangers at close range will just have to approach them and seek their consent – makes for a good confidence-building exercise, no?
4. Macro mode
With the simple twist of the ring around the lens barrel, the Leica Q lets you switch between normal and macro mode in an instant. The bokeh effect – defined as the blur you see in pictures that’s caused by the lens rendering out-of-focus points of light – is absolutely beautiful. So get close to a subject, experiment with different depths of field, and let your creativity take over.
5. Electronic viewfinder
A mirror-less camera, the Leica Q comes with a built-in electronic viewfinder that boasts a resolution of 3.68 megapixels. This makes everything look bright, sharp and magnified. You can also refer to the rear screen when composing a shot, but do note that the top and bottom parts of the frame get cropped even when you’re taking a full-size picture, so this might affect your judgement.
6. Auto-focus mode
There are many different auto-focus modes to choose from, demonstrating just how fun the Leica Q is. The most interesting option is the auto-focus and release mode. As the name implies, it lets you touch the area within the frame that you want focused. Upon lifting your finger from the touchscreen, the camera will take the picture for you without you even having to press the shutter button – playful and innovative, much?
In a day and age where people like to instantly share pictures on social media, it’s only natural that the Leica Q is Wi-Fi enabled. You can even sync your mobile phone with the camera using the Leica app and take pictures remotely with your phone. However, it is a little tricky and impractical to shoot in such a fashion. The Leica Q is a wonderful piece of machinery to hold and handle, so you’re better off operating it the conventional way.
Check out Arman’s Leica Q field test below: