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CNET First Look
Leica Q is quintessentially LeicaThis full-frame compact camera delivers everything you'd expect from a Leica, from sharp pics to a steep price.
For a variety of reasons, I've never been a big Leica fan. I only put that out there so that you have context when I say that the Leica Q is the first Leica I have ever wanted. At $4300, I'll never own one, but this full-framed, fixed-lense compact incorporates all of Leica's traditional quality in aesthetics. It doesn't leave out the modern feature that many of us want, like contrast auto focus, optical image stabilization, a touch screen and Wi-fi. I'm Lori Grunin for CNet and this is the Leica Q. The Q combines a Leica 24 megapixel four frame semo sensor and a 28 millimeter F17 lens in a midsized body It weighs almost a pound and a half, thank to it's aluminum top and magnesium alloy housing. The lens is aperture and focus range as well as macro focus ring which changes the distance scale. There is a switch to rotate the focus ring to the auto focus position. You can put the camera on auto, shutter or aperture priority modes by rotating the relevant dials to A. The lense rings feel great. Not too loose, not too tight. The electronic viewfinder and LCD auto-switch, and the EVX is big and bright. Leica created an indentation, rather than a protrusion for the thumb rest. Which is just right for one handed shooting. The touch screen has limited uses. On the que you can only use it for touch focus, touch shutter, and scrolling through photos. Besides from the lack of a grip, my only big complaint about the design, is the location of the SD card slot in the battery compartment, and that it is not dust and weather sealed. I'm not crazy about the back navigation switch. Given the amount of space, seems awfully small. The [UNKNOWN] comes with a lens hood and a lens cap that can fit over it. Note that it doesn't have a flash. The camera doesn't have a huge shooting feature set, but it has what it needs. There's manual focus peaking, auto focus during video and thirty five millimeter and fifty millimeter crop modes with the full frame information preserved in the dmg file. There are even scene program exposure modes if you want them. It can shoot 1080 60p and 30p video, but not 24p. The photo quality is lovely with accurate, but saturated color and an excellent tonal range. Images are insanely sharp with beautiful out of focus areas and edge to edge sharpness. The video looks really nice as well. Like it's chosen to perform only color noise reduction in the JPEG processing, and there's absolutely no luminance processing. There are a couple of potential issues, though. First, the photos above ISO 12,500 have noticeable horizontal striations in the images that I couldn't retouch out. Second, it's quite prone to moiré. The performance is quite good for both single shot and continuous shooting. It can burst unlimited JPEGs at 4.7 frames per second, with autofocus. Though the tracking autofocus doesn't work terribly well. And the continuous autofocus is far too easily distracted when shooting video. And it pulses when it's not distracted. The Leica Q is a pleasure to shoot with and provides equal delight when you get home and look at your photos and videos.