Leica q2 monochrom review

Leica q2 monochrom review

What's new Body and handling First impressions Sample gallery Full specifications. The one significant difference between the Q2 and Q2 Monochrom cameras is, as you'd expect, the 'specially designed' 47MP sensor that comes without a color filter array CFA.

On color digital cameras, the CFA filters incoming light so that each photosite captures information on either red, green or blue light, and the camera's processor interpolates that data to produce a full-color image. On the Q2 Monochrom, there's no CFA, so each photosite captures a single 'true' tone, with no loss of resolution through interpolation. From an aesthetics standpoint the Q2 Monochrom has a more discreet design when compared to its color counterpart and a slightly simplified menu interface.

Compared to the M10 Monochrom, the Q2 Monochrom is a much simpler and easier camera to operate, thanks primarily to its electronic viewfinder and reliable autofocus. The downside is that you're stuck with the 28mm lens on the Q2 Monochrom though there are some crop modes we'll discuss a bit later.

The price points of these two black-and-white cameras are But if price is a blocker, the Fujifilm XV is a camera that is conceptually similar, but much more affordable. The XV has a fixed 35mm equivalent F2 lens instead of the 28mm lens F1. It's a great pocket camera, but be aware that it doesn't include a viewfinder an optical finder is available but there's no provision for an EVF and battery life is on the short side. The Leica Q2 Monochrom has a discreet subtle black and neutral gray body to match the monochromatic images that it captures and is wrapped in a classic grained leatherette.

Leica has removed the iconic 'red dot' Leica badge and the engraved script on the top of the camera. The ergonomics and button layout are identical to the Leica Q2. On the top of the camera you'll find the power switch and shutter button, a shutter speed dial for selecting full stop shutter speeds and a command dial for selecting third-stop shutter speeds.

The Function button is customizable, and can be quickly reassigned to another function with a 'long press. By default this button is set to activate digital crops within the camera, but can be customized to be an exposure or focus lock as well. The in-camera crops can be made at 35mm, 50mm and 75mm, but retains the full image when shooting in Raw. A rangefinder-style frame appears within the EVF to show you what will be included in the cropped frame but those crops can't fill the EVF.

Leica Q2 Monochrom hands-on review

The Q2 Monochrom features the same subtle indent on the right hand side as the color Q2, which ends up being a very comfortable place to rest your thumb while shooting.

On the bottom of the camera you will find a single SD card slot and the battery door. In use, you can expect far more shots than that, though lots of playback and Wi-Fi use are big battery drains. In our experience which includes switching the camera off between shotswe found the battery would easily last a couple of days of moderate shooting.

The lens can be clicked into macro mode to shoot closeup photos as close as 17cm 6. The updated 3. However, there's not much in the way of an eyecup on the Q2 Monochrome, so glasses-wearers might struggle a bit with it. It has a quiet shutter and the understated body design makes it great for shooting in public without having to have a conversation about your Leica.

Overall, the Q2 Monochrom has an excellent design, an easy to navigate menu system and dependable autofocus. Of course, a camera like the Fujifilm XV set to the Acros film simulation will give you a similar shooting experience for a fraction of the price so long as you like the 35mm equivalent focal lengthand with that camera you still have the option to process your Raw files in color.

So why wouldn't you stick with that? Why get a monochromatic camera at all?Tags: black and white full-frame Leica monochrome Review. Indeed its third-generation M10 Monochrom that arrived earlier this year is very special indeed. But it offers genuine image-quality advantages, delivering increased detail, greater dynamic range and lower high-ISO noise.

In many respects, the Q2M offers the same specifications as the standard Q2. The Q2 Monochrom is finished in a stealthy, understated matte black with no red dot Leica badge. Thanks to its Maestro II image processor, the camera can shoot at 10fps with the mechanical shutter, or 20fps in electronic mode.

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This is seriously impressive given the high resolution, and should be more than fast enough for a camera with a fixed wideangle lens. Leica has included a set of crop modes for shooting at longer equivalent focal lengths, with a rangefinder-style frameline superimposed on the 28mm view for composition.

The camera records a full-size DNG alongside, with the crop information stored in metadata. While it may look like a very basic, traditional camera, the Q2 Monochrom actually hides away a range of useful options in its menus. These include comprehensive exposure-bracketing options, a fully featured intervalometer for time-lapse shooting, and multi-pattern, spot and average metering.

In place of colour modes it offers a set of six toning options, with sepia, blue and selenium each available in either weak or strong, alongside the standard neutral monochrome output.

The Q2M is also capable of recording movies in 4K x at 30fps, or Cinema 4K x at 24fps, with just a small field of view crop to accommodate its electronic video stabilisation. On a more positive note, all of the toning options are available during video recording.

As with many other recent cameras, the Q2M features Bluetooth connectivity. Leica has made a point of paring down the external design, giving a sleek, minimalist look. In its trademark fashion, Leica has done a fantastic job of stripping back the physical controls to offer exactly what you need while shooting, with a traditional shutter speed dial on top, and aperture and manual focus rings on the lens. A column of three buttons beside the rear screen deals with playback and menus.

Set to the A position, it allows shooting in program or shutter priority modes. Beside it is a perfectly damped manual focus ring, complete with distance and depth-of-field scales to allow the use of zone or hyperfocal focusing methods. Rotating the focus ring past the infinity position sets the camera to AF mode; returning to MF requires depressing a small button on the focusing tab.

Twisting a third ring adjacent to the camera body sets the lens to macro mode, which reduces the minimum focus distance from 0. Twisting a ring at the base of the lens barrel sets the Leica Q2 Monochrom to Macro mode. In aperture-priority and program modes, this dial directly controls exposure compensation; pressing a large button embedded in its centre sets the ISO. When shooting in shutter priority mode, or manual with Auto ISO, you can set exposure compensation via the onscreen control panel, or assign it to the Fn button beneath the viewfinder.

For those unfamiliar with the idea, this is like the Bulb mode found on most cameras, but better.It is especially interesting because it is the first non-rangefinder camera with a black-and-white sensor. Back in the early days of digital capture, Kodak ruled the world with cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars. There is a fascinating article about it at Nikonweb see references at the end of this article.

In those days the demosaicing process was not as good as it is now, and that camera produced two or three times the definition of the normal colour version. Combined sales of the colour and monochrome version were apparently cameras.

There is a very good piece on this camera by Pete Myers on Luminous Landscape—see the link at the foot of this article. I had one, it was a fine camera if a little quirky! But they never shipped the monochrome version.

Leica had great success with their M8, and then full-frame M9 digital cameras and the idea of making a monochrome version of the M9 seemed a bold and interesting move. I had a test camera in April and was lucky enough to be at an exciting launch of the M9 Monochrom in November in Berlin. I still have and use my own M9 Monochrom. It was, and still is, a great camera. I had the Q2 Mono for around only three weeks for testing last August.

As usual, I should emphasise that my job with Leica is as a camera tester, and my responsibility is to report problems to Leica which I certainly do! On the other hand, I would never miss out anything which seemed to me to be critical.

leica q2 monochrom review

With a colour digital camera, the sensor itself can detect only the intensity of light, but it has a colour filter array to allow it to create colour images. The process of converting the image to colour is called demosaicing. This calculates the colour for each pixel based on the colour filter, and the results from the surrounding pixels in groups of four. The colour filter array reduces the amount of light reaching the pixels by around one stop, and the demosaicing process affects the resolution because of the combining of information.

This means that each pixel gets the maximum amount of light, thus improving the high-ISO characteristics of the camera and the dynamic range. As there is no demosaicing process, there is no loss of resolution.

Each pixel is represented directly in the final image. Of course, there are also downsides: Many of us have become used to converting colour files to monochrome using the channel mixer in our processing software. This, in effect, allows us to apply filters to our images after the event. With a monochrome camera, if you want a red filter, you need to put it on the lens rather than relying on your computer.

With a colour camera, you can usually extract some detail from one of the other colour channels. This is slightly exacerbated by the higher base ISO of the sensor usually twice that of an equivalent colour sensor.

Added to this, 47MP resolution should be quite enough for most uses. For me, at least, it makes me think much more about the structure and composition of an image.

With the previous M Monochrom cameras, shooting normally with the rangefinder you did still see the subject in colour, the Q2 Mono takes this a step further in that you see the motif in black and white through the viewfinder. You start to think in black and white. The Q2 Monochrom is no exception, and, with its grey and white markings, it is indeed handsome.

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From a functional and operational point of view, except for the obvious lack of white balance controls, the grey lettering and the changed ISO values, the Monochrom is identical to the standard Q2.The Leica Q2 Monochrom is a black and white version of the Q2 35mm full-frame compact camera that was launched in March That's right - as its name suggests, this camera only shoots in monochrome, not in colour. It still uses a Subsequently, the Q2 Monochrom offers better noise performance at higher ISO values, because all of the light that exits the lens reaches the pixels on the sensor.

The amount of light reaching the pixels is effectively increased by around one stop, resulting in an ISO range ofversuson the Q2 colour camera. In addition, because there is no demosaicing process necessary to convert the image to colour, there is no loss of resolution as on the Q2, so the Monochrom version is able to capture finer detail and more subtle tonal gradations.

It also offers an extra 2 stops of dynamic range from the bit Raw files - 13 stops of DR in total - when measured at ISO As it's a black and white only camera, there are no colour modes for either stills or video on the Leica Q2 Monochrom. Instead there are three different toning options for subtly altering the look of your in-camera images - blue, sepia and selenium.

Apart from the image sensor, the Leica Q2 Monochrom is otherwise virtually identical to the colour Q2 in terms of its features, performance, size and shape, and its build quality. The only visual differences between the two models are the camera's markings.

The Q2 Monochrom has matte black paint, grey and white engravings and no famous red Leica logo on the front on the front, whereas the standard Q2 has more prominent yellow and red markings, especially on the lens barrel. The only missing feature on the Q2 Monochrom is subject-tracking autofocus,which is unavailable becauses it requires colour information to work.

Leica have a long-standing association with black and white photography, so much so that that they are still the only major manufacturer to offer a dedicated monochrome camera in their range. Whereas those M-branded cameras were all digital rangefinders, the Q2 Monochrom is the very first black and white fixed lens compact camera that Leica have produced.

What's common to all four cameras is their shared effect on how you see the world through a black and white viewfinder instead of a colour one. In addition to the technical advantages that a black and white sensor offers - better high ISO performance, greater resolution and increased dynamic range - using a monochrome camera changes how you photograph, placing a much stronger emphasis on the composition and structure of the image. Unlike the M-series monochrome rangefinder cameras where you still see the world in colour, this is even more true on the Q2 Monochrom as the electronic viewfinder is rendered in black and white.

So as soon as you pick the camera up and look through the viewfinder, you're immersed in a colour-less vista, and subsequently you naturally start to think in black and white. Secondly, whilst the camera offers three different toning options in two different strengths weak or strongyou'll really need to use actual 49mm filters on the thread on the front element of the lens, rather than relying on being able to add filter effects during post-processing, as you can with any colour camera.

Hand-crafted in Germany and feeling built like the proverbial tank when held in the palm, without being at all cumbersome to operate or transport, inevitably the price tag reflects such precision engineering. The look of the Q2 Monochrom is very much classic Leica, coupled with some modern minimalism. As mentioned, at the front of the Leica Q2 Monochrom we have a fixed, as opposed to removable, lens.

The 28mm focal length provided is all encompassing and makes this Leica particularly suitable for landscape and travelogue photography, while a straightforward and clearly marked macro setting on the lens barrel allows subjects as close as 17cm to be captured, while otherwise the minimum focusing distance is a regular 30cm. Impressively the lens is optically stabilized, a surprising feature given the wide-angle, full-frame nature of the lens, which coupled with the impressive noise performance at high ISOs makes it very easy to hand-hold in less than perfect lighting conditions and still achieve pin-sharp results.

In addition to the 28mm optical focal length, the Q2 Monochrom provides three different crop modes that simulate longer focal lengths. At the press of the small unmarked button next to the rear thumbgrip on the rear of the camera, you switch to 35mm, 50mm and 75mm crop modes, with a rectangular overlay displayed to help with composition.

The 35mm equivalent crop provides 30 megapixels resolution, the 50mm crop is equivalent at 15 megapixels, and the 75mm crop is equivalent to 7 megapixels. As the camera is cropping into the full-size image, rather than interpolating up a la most digital zooms, there's no degredation of the image quality, just a reduction in the megapixel count. You could of course apply similar crops yourself during post-processing, but providing them in-camera has the main added benefit of making composition much easier and more intuitive.

There is no built-in flash provided on the Leica Q2 Monochrom, although there is a provided hotshoe for the addition of flash, should that be required.

The Leica Q2 Monochrom's point contrast-based auto-focus system has a response speed of 0.Leica just announced the full frame Leica Q2 Monochrom, a black-and-white-only version of the popular Leica Q2. Shutterbug was able to borrow an early sample before the announcement and we put her through the paces.

Featuring the same classic rangefinder styling that Leica owners love, the new Leica Q2 Monochrom has a modified, monochrome-only version of the In this incarnation the sensor uses newly designed microlenses and does not have a low-pass IR-cutoff filter. The base ISO is now instead of 50 and the maximum isAlso, the familiar red, circular Leica logo has vanished to enhance the covert trappings.

Instead of repeating the same information, we refer you to our in-depth review of the Leica Q2 which can be found here. Additionally, you will find several example images that we shot with the Leica Q2 Monochrom below. If monochrome excites you but you prefer interchangeable lenses, you can read our review of another Leica black-and-white-only digital camera, the Leica M10 Monochromhere.

For the legions of us who grew up shooting black-and-white film, telling a story without color has become second nature. Does that help us be better photographers overall? I think so, but then again I admit my bias. As an Amazon Associate, Shutterbug earns from qualifying purchases linked in this story. Search form Search. Compact Camera Reviews.

The Leica Q2 Monochrom has built-in toning filters. This series shows, from left to right, no filter, Sepia, Blue and Selenium each set at maximum density. Quick grab shot of the mug of fountain pens that sits next to my keyboard.

Sharpness is incredible.

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Sepia toning feature was active. Another example of the outstanding image quality. Log in or register to post comments. Latest Trending Photos Videos. Are Your Prints Too Dark? Watch How the 35mm vs 50mm vs 85mm Lenses Compare Colorless Camo. Piercing Look. Triple Reflections. Yellow-rumped Warbler.It might look closest in design and audience to the Leica M range, and the Summilux lens bears the same name as some legendary M lenses, but this is a compact camera with an electronic viewfinder and a fixed lens, and is about as far from the M rangefinder design as you can get.

The Leica Q2 is designed for photographers who are happy to embrace the limitations and the creative constraints of a fixed focal length lens in exchange for a stripped-down way of seeing and composing images, combined with some of the finest engineering in the camera world.

leica q2 monochrom review

The Q2 also has an electronic through-the-lens viewfinder rather than the Leica M series rangefinders system. It looks a bit like a Leica M and costs almost as muchbut the Leica Q2 is in fact a thoroughly modern compact digital camera.

Sensor: The Leica Q2 Monochrom has a full frame It can also capture images at up to 10fps. Focusing is via a area contrast AF system with face detection, and Leica claims the camera can focus in as little as 0.

Though there is also a manual focus mode activated via a release button on the lens, and there is quite a wide and precise focus distance scale, with handy depth of field markers for hyperfocal focusing and zone focusing. It can capture 4K video at 30p or full HD at up to p. The lens has a macro mode for close focusing down to a distance of 17mm, which is activated by turning a ring at the base. When you do this, a new, more precise focus distance scale comes into view, which is a nice touch.

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The Leica Q2 Monochrom has a magnesium alloy body and P52 dust and spray protection. The controls are minimal but effective. Or, of course, you can set he exposure manually. This looks and feels quite small but has a very firm, precise action. You press these once to activate that function, or press and hold for a few moments to choose which function they will be used for.

This is so much simpler and more intuitive than the tedious setup screens other camera makers insist on. One press of the Menu button opens a quick settings screen and then, if you need more menu options, you just scroll down to that option. Why use two buttons when you can use one?

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Many controls are not labelled, but you very quickly learn and remember what everything does. The EVF and rear screen are both excellent, displaying the same rich, dense monochromatic tones captured by the sensor.

The key point about the Q2 Monochrom and the previous M10 Monochrom is that the mono sensor is not just a pointless limitation. The fact is, real-world images from the Leica Q2 Monochrom are quite remarkable.

At low ISOs there is not just an absence of noise, but also none of the tiny edge artefacts you get with regular bayer sensors. Leica seems to have tuned the processing to deliver a more film-like grain pattern, so that even as noise levels increase, the noise itself is far less objectionable. The ISO 25, shots are very sharp, full of crisp detail and have an attractive granularity. We would shoot at this setting without hesitation. The AF performance is mixed. The Q2 Monochrom doesn't have many direct fixed lens, digital camera rivals.

We therefore cast our net a little wider for our lab data comparison to include Leica's other current black-and-white offering, the M10 Monochrom. It's also interesting to see how the Q2 Monochrom compares to Leica's other Out of all the monochrome cameras that Leica have produced, the Q2M is the easiest to use, is the most versatile and in our view produces the best image quality.

You may have the obvious advantage of being able to change the lens on the M10 Monochrom, but there's a lot to be said about the pairing of the optically stabilized, auto-focusing 28mm lens and the 47 megapixel sensor on the Leica Q2M, aided by the extra versatility of the 35mm, 50mm and 75mm crop modes and the incredible low-light performance at high ISOs.

Leica Q2 Monochrom review

Whereas on the M-series monochrome rangefinders you still see the world in colour whilst composing your image, the Q2 Monochrom's black and white EVF forces you to think in this way from the get-go, which is definitely a positive thing in our book. Overall, while a black and white Leica camera with a 28mm lens is always going to be a niche proposition, the fact that it exists simply makes the world a better place, especially if it fits your very particular creative vision.

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leica q2 monochrom review

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