Leica as I have mentioned before, is probably the brand that divides opinion like no other. At least that is the conclusion I have arrived at after my decades in the world of photography. Pro’s and con’s of course, depending on your point of view.
Not always the easiest company to communicate with, but one thing I do like, is a commitment they have made in the digital age to supporting the ‘art’ of monochrome photography.
Not everyone gets it or enjoy’s it. That is fair enough. But for those of us who took our first steps this way, and continue to enjoy its uniqueness, today’s announcement of the Q2 Monochrom gives another product that has no obvious peer?
Time will tell of course, but I can already hear the questions? Is it better than shooting monochrome on colour capable cameras? Converting afterwards? How does it compare with the character of film stock?
If I ever get a chance to find out, I will come back to those questions, but some of course such as converting from colour I already deal with on my ‘Go Shoot It ‘Black & White Digital Photography’ Workshop.
The ‘Q’ series I do know stands out for me in that every user I have met, seems to be very happy with the quality of the product. Yes, a fixed lens some find limiting, but that on a mirrorless body, promises top class optics, so following Leica’s stated traditional goals. In addition the new 47.3 MP sensor allows for plenty of cropping, and can be used with the integrated digital zoom up to equivalent focal lengths of 75mm.
Personally, I also like cameras like this that are obviously designed for those who have gained a understanding of traditional photography skills and know what they want to use them for. It does not pack in every conceivable feature and just push automation at the expense of user control, thought and satisfaction.
Pricing seems to be in the region of £5000. Pro’s and con’s as I say.
I will stop there, but here are the official announcement details:
Leica Q2 Monochrom: The only full frame compact camera with dedicated monochrome sensor
Leica Camera AG presents the Leica Q2 Monochrom – the next-generation model of the Leica Q line of cameras. With a newly developed full-frame monochrome sensor, a fast Leica Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH. prime lens, fast and precise autofocus and OLED viewfinder technology, the new model not only continues the performance features of the Q2, but also defines new quality standards in black and white photography. The monochrome design of the camera with a new leather covering, matt black paint, gray and white engravings and MONOCHROM lettering on the top is elegant and unobtrusive. The red Leica logo was intentionally omitted on this camera. Like the Leica Q2 the Q2 Monochrom comes with a protective sealing against dust and water spray compiling to the IP52 Standard.
The Leica Q2 Monochrom features a exclusively developed 47.3 megapixel full frame monochrome sensor that captures both highly-detailed still pictures and 4K video at ISO sensitivities up to 100,000 and, together with its Leica Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH. lens, ensures exceptional imaging performance. The fast initial aperture of f/1.7 guarantees optimum picture quality in even the most difficult lighting situations.
This all makes the Leica Q2 Monochrom the perfect companion for fans of black and white photography and those who want to become one. The practical locking element for the choice of manual or automatic focusing and simple switching to macro mode with a close focus distance of 17 cm is located on the lens and highlights the greatest possible creative freedom in composing exceptional black-and-white images.
Thanks to the extension of the integrated digital zoom function up to 75 mm, users now enjoy even more flexibility for composing their pictures. In addition to the uncropped 28 mm focal length of the camera lens, a crop factor can be chosen to simulate exposures made with focal lengths of 35, 50 or 75 millimetres. The selected crop is displayed as a bright-line frame in the viewfinder and on the rear display panel. The cropped image from the framing selected is saved in JPEG format with correspondingly reduced resolutions of 47.3, 30, 14.7, or 6.6 megapixels. The uncropped image is always saved simultaneously as a DNG file with the full resolution of 47.3 megapixels.
The Leica Q2 Monochrom also features an OLED viewfinder with a resolution of 3.68 megapixels. The high resolution provides complete control over the motif at all times and also leads to considerably improved image depth and higher contrast. In contrast to LCD technology, in which only whole sectors of the viewing image can be darkened, the brightness of each individual pixel in the viewfinder of the Q2 is adapted. Despite the high resolution, power consumption remains low. The viewfinder is activated as soon as the camera is brought up to the eye and shows the motif reliably and without any perceptible delay at all times.
The autofocus system of the Leica Q2 Monochrom focuses precisely on the subject in less than 0.15 seconds, and makes it one of the fastest cameras in its class. Ongoing improvements to the processor from the Maestro family have enabled a higher sequential shooting rate with an impressive 10 frames per second at the full resolution of 47.3 MP that ensures that the truly wonderful moments in life will never be missed. The range of creative options has been further expanded by the new video mode with 4K resolution. Brilliant, black-and-white video recordings can be made with 3840 x 2160 pixels and frame rates of 30 or 24 fps or, alternatively, in the familiar full HD format with 120, 60, 30 or 24 frames per second. In combination with the Leica FOTOS App, the camera’s integrated Wi-Fi module makes it possible to quickly and easily share pictures via social media, change numerous camera settings from a smartphone or even or even remotely control the shutter release of the Leica Q2 Monochrom. Thanks to Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), a permanent connection is established between camera and smartphone.
In its design, the Leica Q2 Monochrom sticks more consequently than almost any other camera to Leica’s typical tradition of reduction to the essentials. The ‘Made in Germany’ seal of quality guarantees that only the finest and most resilient materials are employed in its construction. The monochrome design of the new Leica Q2 Monochrom and its classically structured leatherette ensure an optimal interplay of form and functionality. Also new is the camera’s uniquely intuitive handling concept. This is complemented by a unique, intuitive operating concept. The menu structure has been streamlined and adapted to the special features of a monochrome camera. Naturally, all color settings for image and video recording have been omitted and the menu has only been supplemented with settings for tinting black-and-white images (blue, sepia, selenium).
A comprehensive range of optional accessories is also available for the Leica Q2 Monochrom. These include, for example, Protectors and carrying straps in premium-quality leather in different colours, as well as bags and wrist straps in various designs. The range also includes technical equipment for the Leica Q2 Monochrom such as the Leica SF 40, SF 60 flash units, the SF C1 remote flash control unit, an additional thumb rest and a handgrip with matching leatherette. Perfectly matched to the camera, three new, specially calculated E49 color filters in yellow, green and orange are available.
The Leica Q2 Monochrom is on sale from today at authorised Leica dealers.