This is the 18th 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 received a comment to an earlier Leica Q2 Monochrom (Q2M) post from Greg Johnson. It contained a set of interesting questions. Rather than start a long, hard-to-read, and hard-to-navigate string there, I thought I’d deal with them in this post.
I am about to get the mono Q2 and am very interested if the claims (by Leica and others) of significantly greater sharpness and res/IQ (maybe not the words Leica used) are true.
I wouldn’t say the Q2M images are sharper per se. The pixel aperture of the Q2M and the regular Q2 appear to be the same. That’s controlled by the microlenses, and I haven’t heard anything about the microlenses being different. And modern demosaicing software doesn’t reduce sharpness by much. The big difference I see is the relative lack of aliasing in the Q2M images compared to a 50 MP Bayer-CFA camera like the GFX 50S. You can see that in the Siemens star comparison of the two cameras. The Q2M even has less aliasing for the same field of view than the GFX 100S. That’s because there is no color filter array.
It is my long-held opinion that photographers don’t pay enough attention to aliasing. It seems to me that far too many photographers love sharpness to the point of damaging their images. They often oversharpen, to the point where the images are painful for me to look at. This is bad in and of itself, but it has the pernicious side effect of sharpening the aliased information, making it even more apparent.
Which brings me round to a quasi-equivocation on sharpness and the Q2M. The images may not be sharpener, but they can take more sharpening without looking ugly than can the images from, say, a GFX 50S, or presumably a regular Q2.
I was not aware that the MF was not that accurate in terms of finding exact focus, but I rarely MF the Q2 (but so sometimes for fun or when I switch it to macro mode).
The limitations are two-fold. First, the short throw of the ring means that tiny changes in its position result in significant changes in the focal plane. Second, the lack of any way to decrease the sensitivity of the focus peaking means that it is less effective with normal-contrast subjects than it could be. Comparing it to the GFX 50S or 100S is night and day. It is easy to get the focus right with the Fuji’s, and difficult and time consuming to do the same job with the Q2M.
I do have to say that the focusing difficulties of the Q2M haven’t impacted the keeper rate all that much when compared to the GFX. It’s not unusable, just fiddly. Leica may have some reason beside tradition for the short throw, but in my mind the way the focus peaking works is an own goal.
That said, I expect that most users, like you, and probably like me, will not use manual focus that often.
I’m also amazed that you find that the IQ (maybe not your word) is better with the Q2 than the GFX 50.
I find it better than the GFX 50S if the images are converted to B&W. The Q2M produces color images that lack saturation. 😉
The Q2 has an issue that I found on my first shooting trip and on every shooting session since. 3-4% of all shots have a vibration blur caused by an OIS problem of some sort.
Thank you for that. I will do some testing.