Design and Feel

The Leica Q2 is a beautiful camera. Fixed lens compact camera with Leica build quality. That means there are no squeaking parts, buttons feel good to press, there’s no squishy parts or anything that feels flimsy. Some people think that this aspect of owning a camera isn’t important. But having tools that you like to hold and use, means you use them more often. You’ll reach for them when you could’ve reached for something else. That’s what happened to me when I first bought this camera. It ruined the feel of my Sony A7RII. There was no more plastically buttons, weird feeling rubber, and buttons that didn’t have distinct clicks to them.

Having a camera that feels good is important. It means you’ll take it with you instead of just relying on your phone. Taking more pictures is the only way to improve as a photographer.

Made for the streets

There’s no doubt this camera belongs on the streets. The 28mm invites a ton of background and context for your subjects. The camera is much more discreet than a DSLR or a Mirrorless camera with a massive 28-70 stuck on the front. Cover up the red dot on the front with some electrical tape or a black sticker and you’ve completed the setup.

Image Quality

Images out of this camera look good. The Summilux 28mm f/1.7 mounted on this body produces images so sharp and crispy on that 47MP sensor. If you print your images you’ll love this combo. The rendering looks great. You can good subject separation from the background, colors are punchy (in RAW at least), and the lens offers plenty of contrast. Bokeh is a mixed bag. In some pictures it can be buttery and without distractions, other times it’s busy and jaggedy. Overall I’d rate it a 7.2/10. However, it’s important to remember that this is a 28mm, you are never going to get a bokeh filled photo outside of shooting this in Macro.

Thanks to its wide f1.7 aperture you can get the Leica Look™ or 3D pop you’ll hear all over the internet. To me the Leica look is the clear distinction between your subject and the background. You can definitely get the same look with other brands.


The Leica Q2 has a bunch of features that I never or seldom used. But I’ll try to cover them in this section.

Crop Modes (virtual lenses):

You can select between 28mm (native), 35mm, 50mm, 75mm crop modes. In the viewfinder you’ll see framelines like you’d find in a Leica M series rangefinder, rather than the camera cropping to fill the frame like you’d see in other cameras.

I never used this feature. Not out of any moral issues or a shortcoming of the lens or sensor, but because I:

  • Never used the JPGs out of the Q2
  • Didn’t use Lightroom

Capture One doesn’t read the crop information like you’d see in Lightroom, so even if I did apply a crop, I would always see the full 28mm image anyway.

Image Stabilization

The Q series has Image Stabilization via its lens. By default it would only be applied when shooting at 1/125th of a second, but you can change this behavior in the settings menu. When active, I found I could shoot at around 1/30th of a second consistently and get sharp images. The 47 Megapixel sensor was not very forgiving to any shake, so while you could get reasonably good results down to 1/15th of a second, if you looked closely you would usually get some smearing.

GPS Tagging

If you use the Leica FOTOS app and connect your camera to it, you can get GPS data embedded into your RAW files. This feature is great when it works, and I saw some patch notes that the reliability of this feature has been improved, but when I used it there were some drawbacks.

  • Syncing isn’t automatic.
  • The location doesn’t update automatically.

Syncing has to be started with the user opening the FOTOs app on their phone. You don’t need to have it open to the app directly, but it needs to be active. This is just a one time step, you’ll notice the icon on your camera will update to show that the sync is completed.

Taken from Q2 manual

Taken from Q2 manual

But it’s nice to have. Wish the functionality was better, but it’s better than nothing. Usually I would activate this to get the general GPS data, then go back and edit the GPS data via GeoTag


Unlike M-series lenses, which are only rangefinder coupled to 0.7 meters, you can get really close to your subjects with the Q2, AF included! A small quirk of this feature is that it closes your maximum aperture to f/2.8, which isn’t a big deal since your Depth of Field at small distances typically necessitates using a closed down aperture to make sure your subject stays in focus

I only ever used this feature to take pictures of flowers at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. So enjoy the example pics!


Yes, the Leica Q2 shoots video, 10-bit even. You get image stabilization in video too! But you don’t get any Log. You can’t plug external audio into the camera. I never shot a single video outside of a test clip when I first got the camera. Don’t buy this camera for video, buy an SL2 if you need it to be a Leica, or from every other manufacturer out there.

Leaf Shutter

In place of a focal plane shutter like in most cameras, Leica Engineers have blessed this camera with a leaf shutter. I’m not an engineer, so all I know about leaf shutters is this.

  • Typically cannot fire as fast as a focal plane shutter
  • Flash Sync at any speed
  • Quiet

The only con is that the leaf shutter can’t fire faster than 1/2000th of a second, but the Q2 can shoot with an electronic shutter up to 1/40000th of a second. Rolling shutter can be an issue with electronic shutters, but unless you’re shooting street at 1.7 in the middle of the day, I don’t see many situations where you’re going to have an issue.

A huge pro for flash users is that you can flash sync to the max speed of the leaf shutter, which is 1/2000th of a second, compare that to focal plane shutter cameras, where the max sync speed is around 1/125th of a second. In a studio setting, this won’t usually be an issue, but on the streets you may be shooting at 1/500th of a second, so this can come in handy.


The size

Marketed as a compact camera, the Q2 is quite large in the flesh. It doesn’t fit into your pockets, and you’ll need to bring some sort of bag to lug this beast around. I bought this camera originally because I didn’t like bringing around my Sony A7RII and its 35mm 1.4 GM, but this wasn’t as small as I expected compared to that setup. Still, I don’t think there’s any camera on the market that beats the Q2 in the Full Frame Autofocus Fixed Lens category.

Lens Weirdness

There was always something I never really liked about the lens. It never felt like a true 28mm lens. Read on forums and you’ll hear about how this is a 24mm cropped to a 28mm. I think that, mixed with the fact the lens has a good amount of distortion that’s corrected by photo editing software rather than optically.

The Q2 Image edited only for exposure

The Q2 Image edited only for exposure

The Q2 Image with all default corrections and crop turned off

The Q2 Image with all default corrections and crop turned off

The amount of distortion and vignetting even at f/5.6 is severe. Very noticeable barrel distortion. These lens defects are things that you wouldn’t see in a true Leica 28mm Summilux. But then again, this whole package used at ~4000 USD at the time of writing is cheaper than a 28mm Summilux. You get what you pay for. Seems like Leica took full advantage of the DNG format so that RAW editors would immediately correct these when importing. In Lightroom you don’t even get to crop outside of the area Leica deems as okay for you to witness!

I think all this correction is the weirdness I see when I look at the images from this lens. I don’t see it in every photo, but I can feel it. If this doesn’t bother you or you don’t notice it, that’s great!

This was all brought to my attention by Samuel Lintaro’s video on why he sold his Q2.

Closing Thoughts

The Leica Q2 is a beautiful camera that can render beautiful images. It’s unrivaled in its category, and it’s a camera that feels great to use and was my daily driver for nearly 2 years. It was the only camera I took with me during all my traveling across Europe during the time that I had it. Great battery life, great build quality, and stunning image quality with plenty of resolution for cropping.

The Leica Q3

What things does the newer Q3 have that stand out?

  • Tilting Screen
  • Phase Detect Autofocus
  • 60MP (up from 47MP)
  • Wireless Charging??
  • USB-C Support
  • Leica Styles

Aside from the tilting screen, the other features don’t really interest me. Yes the autofocus on the Q2 sucked at night, but this isn’t a sports camera. The contrast based autofocus on the Q2 was good enough 95% of the time. 60MP isn’t a huge upgrade from 47MP, and you probably weren’t going to use that extra resolution anyway. Leica Styles are a horrible attempt at mimicing the success of Fujifilm film styles. USB-C support, however, is a nice upgrade. Would have saved me from buying another battery.

Why I sold it

I sold it despite all the good things I said about the camera. The Q2 taught me that 28mm is a versatile focal length when paired with a high resolution sensor. I want to find another 28mm that I like to use, but also have the freedom to switch to a 50mm or 75mm when I want to. I learned to not be afraid of cropping. But it was time to move on. I hope whoever ends up with my Q2 can love it as much as I did.

Some more sample pics