Everyone is raving about it, but just what makes the Leica Q so good? Richard Sibley puts the premium compact to the test
While it’s fair to say that Leica cameras aren’t especially known for their fast autofocus speeds, the Leica Q comes as something of a surprise. The camera uses contrast-detection autofocus. Just a few years ago this was vastly inferior to the much faster phase-detection type of autofocus, but things have changed and now contrast detection can rival phase detection in most circumstances.
This is exactly the case with the Leica Q. It focuses extremely quickly, snapping into focus in any of its multi-area, centre or selective single-point modes. Given the fixed 28mm focal-length lens, which means the Leica Q will largely be used for landscape and reportage-style images, the AF speed is more than fast enough.
However, the AF speed tells just part of the story. Once again, it is a feature that you wouldn’t associate with Leica that makes the AF stand out –the touchscreen. Most photographers aren’t especially enamoured by touchscreen technology as a means of operating their cameras, but the one area where touchscreens really come to the fore is when selecting the autofocus area.
With the touchscreen turned on and the AF mode activated, a simple touch of the Leica Q’s screen selects the points of focus and the lens quickly snaps to that area. It makes changing the AF points almost effortless. Once again, this reflects on the way that the camera handles and operates. Every feature and function seems to work harmoniously with each other, making simple tasks just that – simple.