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Leica Q (Typ 116) Review

The Leica Q (Typ 116) is a high-end small camera with a fixed lens with a full-frame sensor and a 28mm F1.7 Summilux stabilized lens. It has a resolution of 24 megapixels. It was the first full-frame Leica camera to have an autofocus mechanism, and it marked the beginning of a new product line for Leica.

One of the most traditional of traditional camera manufacturers, Leica, has been pretty innovative in recent years, bringing us the luxuriously black medium-format S-series, the full-frame mirrorless SL, and the innovative, stylish (though not particularly likable) Leica T. Leica is known for being one of the most traditional of traditional camera manufacturers.

The Q has a design reminiscent of the high-end rangefinders that are part of Leica’s M-series. Still, it also features a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and an LCD screen that is sensitive to touch.

The touchscreen of the Leica Q is optional. It works in conjunction with several conventional (physical) control points, in contrast to the Leica T, where Leica made the touchscreen completely vital to the experience of managing the camera. This blending of traditional and contemporary elements is at the heart of the Q, which deftly integrates manual control with technological aid in its ergonomic design.

The Q’s quick wide-angle lens and full-frame picture sensor are the two elements that stand out as being particularly noteworthy. The results of our testing indicate that when combined, they can produce images of an exceptionally high level of detail. It has also been discovered that shooting with the Q is, put, a great deal of fun.

Focusing is a joy thanks to the camera’s wonderful mechanical manual focus ring, but if you’d like, you can use the camera’s quick and precise autofocus instead. Controlling the aperture and the shutter speed manually have individual dials, although they may also be left on the “A” setting to operate automatically.

An electronic viewfinder (EVF) that is incorporated into the camera provides a clear and detailed view of the scene that is being captured by the lens. Images may be constructed on the back LCD if desired. Although the Q takes after the Fujifilm X100T in terms of its exterior style, the Sony RX1R II model most closely parallels it conceptually.

Leica Q (Typ 116) Features

Leica has a rich history and has earned a reputation for producing cameras and lenses of exceptional quality while adhering to more conventional design principles. As a result of a collaboration agreement with Panasonic, some models of Leica’s tiny cameras are now assembled in the same plant as Panasonic’s cameras, utilizing the same components.

The Panasonic LX100 and the Leica D-Lux (Type 109) are excellent illustrations of this principle. The Q (Typ 116), on the other hand, is manufactured in one of Leica’s factories in Germany. Even though it has traditional controls and appears to be a slightly miniaturized version of the M, it also has a few contemporary features such as autofocus, touch-screen control, and an electronic viewfinder (EVF).

As was noted previously, the camera is built on a full-frame (24 x 36mm) CMOS sensor with 24.2 million effective pixels; in addition, there is no optical low pass filter in this sensor, which helps to increase the detail resolution.

There is also a Leica Maestro II processing engine like the one in Leica’s medium format camera, which has been specially adapted for use in the Q, as well as a Leica Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, which is a good ‘walkabout’ lens and has plenty of scope for restricting depth of field. Both of these features have been specially adapted for use in the Q.

Even though this lens has a fixed focal length, there are digital zoom options that are similar to 35mm and 50mm. These settings bring the image size down to 15.4 and 7.5 MP respectively.

Leica Q (Typ 116) Build Quality

In terms of appearance, the Q is a perfect match for Leica’s other rangefinder interchangeable lens cameras. It resembles the M series in its rounded sides, flat front and back, and straight top and bottom borders, and a flat front and back.

The construction also has a very similar feel to it. The new camera features a top plate made of machined aluminum and a body made of magnesium alloy with laser-etched marks. Both of these components have been engraved with markings. Everyone who is into photography I’ve shown it to has been blown away by its design and construction.

Although thinner and more slender than the Leica M-P Typ 240, the Q is significantly taller. It measures 130 millimeters in length, 80 millimeters in width, and 93 millimeters in height. It does not have the incredibly tiny construction of the Sony RX1 (113.3 x 65.4 x 69.6 mm), and it weighs around 150g more when the battery is fitted at 640g. However, the RX1 does not have a viewfinder built-in to the camera.

The front of the Q is completely flat, as is normal with Leica cameras, and there are no ridges to offer a grip; nonetheless, the coating is gently textured, which provides a little bit of traction. Although there is a little dip on the rear that provides a natural resting area for your thumb, you won’t want to carry this camera for a long distance without a strap because it is rather heavy.

Without the inconvenience of a bulky neck or shoulder strap, the Peak Design Cuff allowed me to carry my camera securely on my wrist while eliminating the need for one. A grip is not included with the Leica but may be purchased separately at an extra cost.

Leica Q (Typ 116) Performance

The amount of fine detail seen in photographs taken with the Q is the first thing that stands out to anybody who sees them. It out-resolves the RX1R at every sensitivity setting and keeps an astonishingly high degree of detail even when the sensitivity is set to its highest possible value. The processing engine can handle the files well, and the sensor has excellent performance.

When the sensitivity is turned up to its maximum, there is no evidence of banding, clumping, or smoothing, and the noise is very finely grainy. Even the most minute features may withstand thorough inspection when seen at 100% or higher.

The scale at which pictures may be presented is constrained by the degree to which the noise can be distinguished from the background. This characteristic changes according to both the topic at hand and the individual’s preferences. Images captured by the Q with an ISO setting of 3,200 or 6,400 won’t be considered disagreeable by most users.

They contain a great deal of detail, however, there is some noise discernible in the areas with deeper even tones. When you boost the ISO to 12,500, you will notice an increased chroma noise and colored speckling. However, photographs can still appear excellent when they are A4 (11.7 x 8.3 inches) or A3 (16.5 x 11.7 inches) size even without any noise reduction being done.

Leica Q (Typ 116) Specs

Body typeLarge sensor compact
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Other resolutions28mm: 4272 x 2848, 2976 x 1600 x 1200; 35mm: 4800 x 3200, 3424 x 2288, 2384 x 1592, 1280 x 856; 50mm: 3360 x 2240, 2400 x 1600, 1680 x 1120, 896 x 600
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors26 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorMaestro II
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB, ECI RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-50000
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes (2 slots)
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatRAW
File formatJPEGDNG
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28 mm
Optical zoom
Maximum apertureF1.7
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (1.2x (35mm equiv), 1.5x (50mm equiv))
Manual focusYes
Normal focus range30 cm (11.81″)
Macro focus range17 cm (6.69″)
Number of focus points49
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder resolution3,680,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/16000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Scene modesSportPortraitLandscapeNight portraitSnow/beachCandlelightSunsetDigiscopingMiniature effectPanoramaTimelapse
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash X sync speed1/500 sec
Continuous drive10.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p), 1280 x 720 (30p)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBP-DC12
Weight (inc. batteries)640 g (1.41 lb / 22.58 oz)
Dimensions130 x 80 x 93 mm (5.12 x 3.15 x 3.66″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Leica Q (Typ 116) Verdict

The Leica Q is in a very specific niche since it is a tiny camera with a full-frame 24-megapixel sensor and a fixed 28 mm, 1.7-millimeter lens. The Sony RX1 and RX1R are its most direct competitors today. These two cameras have the exact pixel count, but the lens on each of them is 35mm f/2.0, which means that it is neither as wide nor as brilliant as the lens on the Q. Both of these cameras, unlike the Q, do not come equipped with a viewfinder that is integrated right in.

Even though Leica does not produce inexpensive cameras, the Q has a price tag that, compared to that of the Sony RX1 and RX1R, is not too prohibitive, especially when the variations between the three models are taken into consideration.

The conventional design and construction of the Q belie its modern functionality, which includes automated scene modes that take precedence over the settings selected via the aperture ring and the shutter speed dial.

This is a camera that inexperienced photographers could use. Still, it is most appealing for experienced shooters who appreciate traditional controls, the benefits of a full-frame sensor, and Leica’s optical know-how. Although inexperienced photographers could use this camera, it holds the most appeal for experienced shooters.

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