This is the twelfth post in a series about the Leica Q2 Monochrom. You can see all the other posts in the series by looking in the Category List drop-down menu on the right side of the page.
I’ve had the Q2 Monochrom long enough to have formed some impressions. I have by no means completed my testing, though. Still, I think it’s time to start a list of what I think are the good things and bad things about the camera. I’ll be updating this post to keep it current.
- The reduced aliasing that the lack of a color filter array is noticeable, and useful.
- The extra stop of sensitivity is welcome.
- Good size.
- Solid feel.
- Not too heavy. Not RX1 like, but not bad.
- 28mm is a good lens choice, especially in a camera with so much cropping potential.
- f/1.7 is a good speed choice. I’d prefer f/2 and a somewhat smaller lens, but that’s a niggle.
- Quiet, low vibration shutter.
- Fairly simple menus, achieved mostly be restricting the feature set.
- Lens ring/shutter speed dial with A positions is a good way to handle exposure control
- Engaging autofocus with the focusing ring is a good way to handle that.
- Decent handling with Leica Thumbs-Up-like hot shoe thumb rest.
- It is not a good thing for testing, but I like the fact that the shutter speeds and ISOs are in whole-stop steps.
- Image quality is good, and aliasing is reduced compared to that from normal Bayer-CFA cameras.
- Decent battery life. I think one of the major failings of the RX1 is the battery.
- Raw highlight blinkies are great at other than IOS 100.
- Battery life is OK.
- EVF is sharp
- Composition lines work well, even if they are a bit too wide and bright.
- Focus distance and DOF markings on the lens barrel are useful.
- Nice small lens hood.
- I don’t like battery and flash card access on the bottom of the camera. I know that’s a Leica thing, but it reduces the options for tripod-mounted usage, and complexifies what should be easy operations.
- The focus throw is way too short. It’s just short of 90 degrees, like Leica rangefinder lenses, and you can achieve approximate focus quickly, but precise focusing is needlessly difficult.
- The DOF and focus distance markings preclude a precision focusing mode.
- The button that switches the focus rack from manual focusing to automatic focusing is small and difficult to activate quickly. I understand that Leica wants to make it hard to take the camera out of AF mode by accident, but I think they went too far in that direction.
- Aperture and focusing ring are too narrow, especially the aperture ring. It’s too easy to change the focus distance when you’re trying to change the aperture. It seems like there’s room enough to make those rings wider, but maybe there’s something in the lens construction that prevents that.
- Weather sealing on the bottom plate is practically nonexistent. If you use the RRS plate, you’ll be less likely to get water in the camera if you set it down on a wet surface.
- Raw highlight blinkies are wrong with ISO 100 selected.
- No losslessly compressed raw files.
- No dedicated EC dial.
- Thumbs-up interferes with access to right side programmable wheel
- I find the 2D menu, like the Fuji Q menu, difficult to navigate. I put the most used functions on the Fn menu.
In summary, a delightful little camera.
Greg Johnson says
Jim, I just saw your list this morning and it is really a nice summation that I agree with. I have shot the Q2 in the field a lot – maybe more than most folks who have it, as the Q2 tends to be sort of a second or third-use camera and for some even jewelry. But for some reason, on my last two trips abroad, I decided to leave the GFX gear at home and shoot only the Q2. When you use it all day every day for 7 weeks straight (Rome and Sicily), all of those items you listed sort of jump out at you.
By the way, I had an odd problem with the Q2 this past couple of months. I was using the stock leather strap that comes with it. Half-way through the trip the strap had split in half with a frayed-like cut that had me concerned. That is a nice expensive piece of thick leather. I don’t know how it happened. But I was worried and had to keep my eye on it.
I love the always-attached metal lens hood of perfect size and shape. I hate the lens cap. Leica improved it because on the early releases it came off constantly and clattered to the ground with a bang. It is still too loose. I have bought 5 of them. Batteries at 110 bucks each are absurd (but hey – it’s Leica). I can shoot all day with one and rarely have to go to the second battery in the bag. I wish I could charge the camera through a USB-C Power Delivery port.
And one more thing that plagues me. About 2 or 3 times a day, I find myself on video. I’m like … how the Hell did I get on video? Then it takes me forever and 3 menu digs to turn it back to still. I pull the trigger and instead of a picture I start recording a video. I have wanted to talk about this on the DPR Leica Forum, but you know the deal there. I’m hitting some kind of hot-key combination while walking and it makes the switch. I wish I could permanently disable video and remove all video from the menus. Bu6t I wish that for all my cameras.
I love the Q2.
Google this: “Match Technical Lens Cap for Leica Q and Q2 Cameras”
I’ve got one. Works great. Lose the lanyard, though.
I like the thin, light strap that comes with the camera. It reminds me of the strap I used on my M8, and the one I used on my old Nikon S2. But I, too, am suspicious of it. I think I’ll see if I can find a similar strap in nylon or Kevlar.
Greg, a long swipe of your finger across the screen left to right flips to video mode and back. That’s likely what’s putting you in video mode, it’s also a quick way to go back.
Phillip Ferreira says
The minus/cons comments are about off. Mind you that I have it and don’t find it to a perfect camera.
the author completely misses the point of having card and battery located the way it is – this is not a rugged all weather camera – nowhere Leica even suggest such.
Avoiding making this a long reply, as most cons described show how little this person understands this cameaa,I will jump to the only negative that makes sense – the crop mode. Indeed it’s a bit too much small and they could had it planned better.
In sum, another waste of bandwidth reading this crappy blog blabber
If you think it’s a waste of your time, please stop reading this blog. You’ll feel better.
These days many lenses are designed to have certain lens aberrations corrected optically but some others to be corrected electronically, PER INDIVIDUAL COLOR CHANNEL. You’ll miss this in a non-color filter array sensor.
I tend to think to be better off with a color filter array sensor and create the monochrome image afterwards, also giving the opportunity to ‘play’ with yellow or red filters during post.
You can correct for LaCA that way, but not LoCA. It’s a tradeoff. Is the greater sensitivity and relative freedom from aliasing of the monochromatic sensor worth the lack of LaCA corrections? Only the photographer can answer that.