Everyone is raving about it, but just what makes the Leica Q so good? Richard Sibley puts the premium compact to the test

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Leica Q

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • + Premium build and construction
  • + Superb electronic viewfinder
  • + Fast AF especially with touchscreen
  • + Excellent black and white mode

Cons:

  • - High price
  • - No external microphone socket for video

Product:

Leica Q (Typ 116) Review

Manufacturer:

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Performance

Leica Q sample image 2     1/320 sec @ f/11, -1EV, ISO 100     Shot using in-camera monochrome mode with contrast boosted

Leica Q sample image 2
1/320 sec @ f/11, -1EV, ISO 100
Shot using in-camera monochrome mode with contrast boosted

You can probably already tell that I really enjoyed my time using the Leica Q, and that is all down to the way the camera performed. As I said previously, it isn’t so much that there are one or two standout features of the camera, but rather the way that the camera operates as a sum of all its parts is what makes it a real pleasure to use.

We’ve established that the autofocus and handling of the camera, as well as the EVF and rear screen, are excellent, but what about the features that affect the image quality of the camera? The evaluative metering performs well, although I did find that it had a slight tendency towards retaining highlight detail. This produced some images that many photographers would think slightly underexposed. Obviously, this is easily rectified, as plenty of detail that can be recovered from the shadow areas without introducing much in the way of luminance or colour noise. Spot and centreweighted metering modes are also available and these perform exactly as you would expect them to.

There are a variety of different colour modes available in the camera, although the one that really caught my eye was the monochrome setting. With this setting customised to increase the contrast, I found that the black & white images looked as though they had been taken with a red filter, with blue skies looking particularly dark and moody. Black & white images taken in this mode looked fantastic.

Images can be saved as either JPEG or DNG raw files. Generally, the JPEG images produced in-camera look good, although they do benefit from a slight increase in sharpening. While the DNG raw files can be opened in virtually all raw image-editing software, a full copy of the latest version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is included with the camera. When editing the raw files I found that there was a lots of recoverable detail in both highlight and shadow areas, and the files responded well to some fairly harsh lifting of the shadow areas.

Leica-Q-sample-image-6-raw-edit

1/1250 sec @ f/8, +1.3EV, ISO 100. Original Raw file edited and outputted in JPEG

See more images from the Leica Q in our sample gallery

  1. 1. Leica Q (Typ 116) Review – Features
  2. 2. Build and handling
  3. 3. Autofocus
  4. 4. Performance
  5. 5. Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.7 Asph lens
  6. 6. Image Quality
  7. 7. Dynamic Range
  8. 8. ISO Sensitivity and Noise
  9. 9. Verdict
  10. 10. Full Specification
Page 4 of 10 - Show Full List
  • foto2021

    I think what makes the Leica Q if not a bargain, at least very good value, is that the 28mm f/2 Leica Summicron-M lens for the M rangefinder bodies costs £3150. The Q offers a faster 28mm f/1.7 Summilux and a very sophisticated camera body, all for £250 less than the cost of the Summicron alone.