Leica has introduced what it calls the first of a new line of digital compact cameras, the Q, with a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor and a classic focal length prime lens, the Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH.
Leica says it is the perfect camera for street, architectural and landscape photography.
The company says the Q delivers richly detailed exposures with extremely low noise in optimum quality at ISO sensitivities up to 50,000 and has the fastest autofocus in its class.
Its newly developed image processor from the Leica Maestro II family, specially adapted for use in the Q, delivers up to 10 frames per second at full resolution.
The Q also features an integrated viewfinder with a resolution of 3.68-megapixels.
Here’s an interesting twist, reminiscent of the original M series: alternative subject framing can be selected at the press of a button. In addition to the focal length of 28 mm at full resolution, this function also offers the equivalent of shooting with 35 and 50 mm lenses. The corresponding frames are displayed in the viewfinder at the press of a button. In the same way as with a rangefinder camera, photographers can still see what is going on outside the bright-line frame and can react much faster to changes in and around the subject. The selected framing is preserved in the JPEG image files, while the RAW files in DNG format record the entire field captured by the 28 mm lens.
The German-made camera has a top plate machined from solid blocks of aluminium, the body is made of magnesium alloy, and all lettering and the markings on its setting dials are laser-engraved. The thumb rest on the back of the camera and the diamond pattern of its leathering ensure ideal grip, says Leica.
The company also suggests all functions of the Q are clearly laid out and logically placed to guarantee perfect ergonomics. Its menu provides rapid access to all essential functions and also offers custom programming options: for instance, convenient definition of the autofocus limits by key control. Alternatively, the touchscreen can be used for focusing by eye, or the focusing point can be selected with a touch of a fingertip. In manual focusing mode, Live View offers two additional electronic focusing aids: Focus Peaking shows points in the subject that are sharply focused by coloured highlighting of edges, and Live View Zoom simultaneously lets the photographer check the sharply focused parts of the scene with up to 6X magnification.
The two essential parameters for photography, the aperture and the shutter speed, can be read from the corresponding control elements and set – even when the camera is switched off.
Leica says video recorded in full HD with the Q is “indistinguishable from professional movie footage.” Depending on the scene, users can choose between 30 and 60 full frames per second for video recording in MP4 format. There’s an integrated wind-noise filter.
The Q features an integrated Wi-Fi module for wireless transmission of still pictures and video to other devices and remote control by WLAN from a smartphone or a tablet PC. The Leica Q app for these features can be downloaded free from the Leica website. In addition to remote release and display of the viewfinder image, the app also allows the setting of parameters like the aperture and shutter speed from the device employed.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for Mac and Windows is also included in the package.