I waited a while before writing and posting this review. It's always possible that I am still in the honeymoon phase but I doubt it. I usually pass through that within a week, two at the most. My training as a trouble shooter and problem solver usually has me critically assessing every camera I buy and rapidly finding a long list of faults. However the big test is do I take it with me because it motivates me to want to get those shots or does it stay home. This one I take. My review follows:
MY REVIEW OF THE LEICA Q
This is going to come as a shock to many of you but: I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! I thought I would get this out first so you can stop reading if you chose.
This is the first digital Leica that has actually met and in some ways exceeded my expectations. First, it is quick, second AF is really-really fast, the fastest I have measured beating out the Olympus EM5-II and several Panasonics. That is saying something considering the size and resolution of the sensor. The AF is very accurate with one of the lowest miss rates I have encountered and I have gone through a slew of cameras from Fuji, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic. It is up with the best of them or better.
This camera has exhibited the best software out of the box of any Leica I have tried. Fewer bugs is a good thing. The flaws it has can mostly be remedied in firmware and that is the one area Leica is slow to remedy so it is a good thing that most of these are minor irritations and not deal breakers. Leica needs to learn to listen better to their customers. We have been clamoring for years for a smaller fast AF camera similar to the CL. While it would be nice to have interchangeable lenses and more profitable to Leica in the long run, a good single focal length can suffice for many of us not using the camera in a professional setting.
The ergonomics are the best of any camera I have handled with everything intuitive and following good photographic principals that are tried and true (aperture setting on the lens, shutter speed dial on the top plate, etc.). The simplicity of operation is excellent though not perfect. There are a few operations requiring diving into a menu that should be more readily available to be useful. For example AF mode is buried in a menu and not assigned or assignable to a dedicated button. Further, one cannot toggle a feature like touch focus to be on or off while still being able to use one point. Logically touch AF is one point with the point selected by the user rather than the camera. Therefore, it would make sense to enable or disable the touch screen as desired but not disable the shutter button from activating AF. The same can be said for face detection. In many systems you can activate or deactivate face detection separately from the other AF selections and the camera will use face detection if it can and if not revert to the other selection if the feature is activated. The result of making these deeper menu items is that they get used less frequently.
The EVF is superb and works well in bright sunlight like we have here in Southern California. The LCD is also very good and viewable even in fairly bright sunlight but I find the EVF so good that I use it much more.
The image quality is simply outstanding with a crispness that is a Leica signature that I really love. As good as the XV and T were, when I compare shots taken of the same subject under similar light conditions there really is no comparison. While I donít own an M240, from what I have seen the images are just as good in good light and better in low light. I havenít seen a camera that produces any better image. Additionally, the dynamic range is very good and the files are very malleable in LR with both highlight recover and shadow recovery matching or beating any other camera I have tried including the Sony A7II.
NIGGLES & QUIBBLES
The following are minor things that could and should be addressed by Leica in a firmware update. In my opinion, none of these are deal breakers but they would improve and enhance the operation of the camera.
1. Provide a higher resolution JPG for image review so that at maximum magnification one does not obtain a poorer image than at the step one below maximum.
2. Provide a means to scroll through multiple images at magnification without having to first reduce to standard view size.
3. Allow for DNG only and an optional lossless compression.
4. Allow assignment of the focus mode to a button
5. Allow use of the video record button as an assignable function button.
6. Adjustable EVF for brightness, contrast and color and add contrast and color adjustment to LCD.
7. Ability to use LCD only for menu and playback functions.
8. Use of touch panel for a quick menu like the Tís
All of these are minor and not deal breakers for me though they might be for others. There are some issues with the histogram which is basically unusable but you can turn on blinkies and that is probably just as useful.
This is a great camera worthy of the Leica name and one I actually plan to keep for a while. I am really enjoying using it and I like the results I am obtaining. I highly recommend this camera to anyone that can live with a single lens at 28mm focal length.