The Q2 Factor
Updated: Nov 10
Leica is a German company - they are well organized and committed to their crafts and quality products, and also somewhat predictable. It is also a rather small company as far as the photographic industry is concerned. So the logic goes that in the adaptation of a new sensor - goes with the model that is more affordable to carry volume and more electronic-integration for optimization for such high-resolution sensor - as Q2 is presented.
Q2 will help build the fundamental volume of the new sensor which will be adopted by the SL system next and ultimately the "Messucher" M System.
Q and Q2 closely resemble the look and size of the M camera, so the camera carries the brand look of the classic - the flagship system of Leica and also makes it easy as a second camera to shoot side by side with M camera, as I do.
Q2 weights 734g is roughly equal to the combined weight of a Leica Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH (440g) and a Leica Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH (320g) - an excellent combination to complement the M camera with added 4K video as a bonus and costs much less. The 35mm crop would reduce the JPEG resolution but not effect DNG and will still produce equivalence of 30MP (6704X4472 pixels) file - still 25% more than the full resolution of the existing M10 cameras.
Q also serves as an entry model to full-frame Leica and probably, at the moment, the best high-end travel and photojournalism camera.
The Q2 is of course not the replacement of the classic M. The M system architecture allows the use of modern EVF to accept lenses with technical movements, for example, the Schneider - Kreuznach PC-Super-Angulon 2.8/28 on M10 through R-Adapter M and the Macro-Elmar-M 90/4 with Macro-Adapter-M on Leica M10-D, among many possibilities. The classic all mechanical M mount is an engineering beauty but cannot defy its age. The ability of backward compatible to a sea of legacy lenses and accepts the state-of-the-art lenses of modern time is the strength of contemporary full-electronic-mount with a short flange distance which is probably something the engineers at Leica have to work out to liberate the M system to the higher potential of coming future.
The Leica SL is a proven example that Leica understands what meant to professional photographers and the direction of digital photography moves toward to. The L-Mount Alliance will likely better prepare Leica for the unavoidable revolution the M system desperately needed.
The benefit of an electronic system is the ability to miniaturize, accuracy, speed, efficiency and wireless communication - while depends on a power supply, so is the civilization. The Q2 resembles the look and size of an M camera is a result of a design decision than of engineering limitation. The human factor is one and to host a comfortable size of rear screen another. The Q2 is roughly the size of a Leica M10 mounted with Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH. The Summilux 28/1.7 ASPH on Q2 is slightly bulkier and a tab shorter physically than the faster and pure mechanical Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH on M10 which hints that Leica is technically capable of producing a series of F/1.7 autofocus lenses to fit the size of a modern M in the same chassis with M mount with electronic contacts while still accepts legacy mechanical M lenses. The in-camera image stabilizer is also becoming indispensable with sensor resolution north of 30MP, subjective of course, for cameras primarily shoot hand-held.
Change is inevitable and resists to evolve is not a good policy. Image sensor development is on the run itself to cover all needs and applications, and it will only go higher and faster because that is what brilliant designers and engineers in the laboratories do and manufacturers are likely to profit from what's next than what's past. Eventually, limitations hit, and that is time for future technology.
Extra Note :
The Q2 is, of course, a fantastic camera and a worthy upgrade if one is already using Leica Q, I would, and I did. The new battery BP-SCL4 with a capacity of 1,860mAh has a CIPA rating of 370 exposures, but my own test suggests that it is probably good for 1,500 exposures - base on I shot 1,255 captures (107.74GB) on my SONY G SDHC 128G UHS-II card on Q2 in 28-30 degree C ambient temperature with 1/4 capacity remaining on single charge battery. A spare battery is always a better option although I assumed most users would find one cell plentily enough.
The new interface is simple and easy to navigate especially for users with digital backs experiences and of course, the existing Q user. The initial set up requires just a couple of minutes and switching modes or adjustments during shooting are easy and fast.
My Q2 Image diary:
28mm focal length has become more popular as the contemporary choice for portraiture has much to do with the smartphone, which accounts the bulk of portraits took and appeared on social media every day. Leica Q2 as a 24X36mm format solid-state camera with a rather fast initial aperture of Summilux 28/1.7 ASPH lens give extra flexibility than those found on smartphones. The aspherical lens design allows the image with better correction, especially in close-range portraits and flexibility in depth of field control for the better balance of surroundings and subject isolation with nature rendering.
Leica Q2 is the result of a well-balanced design and engineering executions and a very competitive photography tool. The simplicity and elegance of Leica Q2 are what I preferred a camera to be as an industrial designer, and intuitive layout of essential controls allows me to shoot as naturally as I am a photographer want a camera to be, understand that there is no perfect camera.
Leica Q2 is not a bespoke camera, so it is no surprise that some may prefer one feature over another. My image blog is not so much about camera review but more of a personal image journal, although I cannot help to get into gear discussion as an industrial designer, I care about what the camera can deliver than what I dislike about it.
The half camera jacket featured in the image is the one I sometimes use when I find an integrated handgrip and Arca-Swiss type dovetail bottom plate for the situation requires agility or quick engagement and release with accessories using Arca-Swiss type clamp. I must admit the design of the half jacket is not appealing and poorly finish, but it is useful and affordable.
I don't usually endorse accessory but this is a recommended combination - the original Really Right Stuff TFA-01 solid Aluminum pocket tripod with BPC-16 Panning Micron Ball https://www.reallyrightstuff.com/BPC-16 , now I don't go on a trip without it. The LIM's case for Q2 is only useful when I need the Q2 on tripod. As I designer I think the LIM's case looks clumsy, like a design that is half-finished, and poorly finished using poor quality material - but it servies its purpose for Q2 to stay on a tripod, and it is not expesnive. The Q2 inside the LIM's half-case looks like a Korean camera. Not that I don't like Korean camera, but I prefer the look and feel of a German camera.
The fast sequential shooting capability of Q2, up to 10 fps, also makes it an ideal tool for quality HDR landscape (5 exposures on graduations of +/- 3EV), a very appealing tool for fine art landscape photography in a travel-friendly package.
The exceptionally bright Summilux lens on Q2 accepts 49mm accessories which makes it a rather compact and versatile travel landscape camera coupled with Lee Seven5 filter system which I use, as on the picture below. The compact and powerful travel clamp system from Really Right Stuff is one of my travel necessity for photography.
On board Train #32 from Hatyai on my way back to Bangkok with Q2 and my M10-D mounted with Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM and three wide Summilux-M lenses : Summilux-M 21/1.4 ASPH, Summilux-M 24/1.4 ASPH FLE and Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH.
Twin girl babies of 2 months old visiting the local 7-Eleven store at Soi Ruamrudee, Bangkok
June 30, Bang Sue Station, Bangkok
The fast and high precision autofocus the Q2 is capable of, and its image stabilizer makes Q2 the ideal choice for the portrait of the family sleep in the moving overnight train from Yala on approaching their destination - Bangkok Railway Station. The Summilux 28/1.7 stopped down to f/8 to allow enough depth of field for this shot.
Wat Tri Thotsathep - restoration in progress - I have the Q2 with me when I run the test of my new GFX100 to see how the new 102MP sensor on GFX100 to handle the detail and delicate color transitions in dark and light conditions inside the royal temple. There is little doubt that GFX100 would produce a better result, as it should be, but the Q2 file is nothing less than sensational. The image stabilizer in Q2 enabled hand-held shot to about 1/4s with reasonable success rate, making it a powerful documentary tool. However, to get the maximum sharpness I chose to set higher ISO to get the lens stopped down to f/5.6 to cover enough depth of field and shutter speed to 1/60s to eliminate any motion blur of the human subject in this picture.
July 5, 2019 - Liza Kaylee at Bangkok Railway Station
July 7, 2019 - Wat Borom Niwat - my small project to documenting some unusual mural painting in Thai temples continues. The mastermind behind the mural painting in Wat Borom Niwat, Khrua In Khong https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khrua_In_Khong?fbclid=IwAR2avxyeWpLXp5RkyAy1enspv3iP-EiErq98J8tPUFtFo06JyKjdG3iLtM8 carried out a masterpiece in this temple, under King Rama IV's (Mongkut) desire, to modernize Thailand to survive the Western colonialist aspiration. The result presented is not entirely Buddhism but also a historical record of political events and social conditions during the reign of King Tama III.
July 14 - On filing set at Lhong 1919 - Bangkok, Thailand
July 17, 2019 - Daria Kirillova at the Bangkok Railway Station
Wat Tri Thotsathep - restoration in progress
Kanjana C. at the Italian Renaissance immersive multimedia exhibition at RCB Galleria - this multimedia exhibition featuring four of the world’s greatest masters da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Botticelli whose influence, which started in the Italian Renaissance era, has continued to inspire to this very day. In this exhibition, the visitor is transported back to one of the most important periods of transformation and scientific awakening.
Q2 exhibited its superiority in managing the autofocus in rapid changing lighting situation from the multimedia projector, and the highly responsive EVF allows me to view in realtime to press the shutter to get the shot. Technically it is possible to shoot with my Leica M10, but I will risk to get a blurred image at 1/4s shutter speed and more difficult to see all the details - Kanjana and her shadow, my shadow and the projected images from the optical/mechanical viewfinder.
September 28, 2019 The Bangkok Railway Station
October 2, 2019 The Bangkok Railway Station
October 5, 2019
My wife, Kanjana Chaiwatanachai, at the [Pristine Poetics] Ko Si Chi's 90th Year of Photographic Art at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan.
The original artwork "Presence of Venus 等待維納斯 " from 1979 is one of Ko's most known pieces, hand-printed using the Dye-transfer process is a highly sought-after collector's piece.
Ko's poetic art piece was rightly titled by the famous Taiwanese poet D.Litt Chou Yu Zheng 鄭愁予, a close art, and, drinking buddy of Ko, after hearing the story behind the making of the image by the Aegean Sea, Greece in the summer of 1979.
Ko is alive by his unforgettable works continued to be appreciated and admired.
November 10, 2019
Return to the Bangkok Railway Station with the lovely Ukranian model Julia Shylo
November 22 - The Bangkok Railway Station
November 24, 2019 Ayutthaya, Thailand
November 29 - December 10 Russia
December 25, 2019 Bangkok
January 3-5 Bangkok - Nakhon Si Thammarat - Songkhla - Phatthalung
January 8, 2020 around Bangkok
January 28, 2020 The Bangkok Railway Station
January 30, 2020
At the end of February of a leap year, on February 29, 20202 with Victoria Pacheco at The Bangkok Railway Station
Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Not much shooting with Leica Q2 during the CCP pandemic time. I should!
Anyway, as rumor accurately indicated, Leica has released the Monochrom version of Leica Q2 on November 10, 2020.
I wish a different Q2 for the Monochrom version, maybe a 35mm or a 40mm fixed lens, or even a zoom, but it is still a wonderful camera with the original Summilux 28/1.17 ASPH.
Leica delivers another good strike.