Leica Q3 preliminary overview: Digital Images Evaluation



Product images by Shaminder Dulai
The Leica Q3 is the newest iteration of Leica’s rangefinder-style, fixed-prime, weather-sealed full-frame digicam. It shares its common define and the identical stabilized 28mm F1.7 lens with macro mode as its forebears, however adopts a brand new 60MP BSI-CMOS sensor and a tilting rear panel, whereas different enhancements embrace the autofocus and the flexibility to shoot 8K/30p video. For Q-series followers, it is an incremental enchancment over the Q2, which itself was already a really strong and enjoyable digicam to make use of.
Key specs:

60MP full-frame sensor
28mm F1.7 Summilux stabilized lens
Crops to 35, 50, 70 and 90mm (39, 19, 8 and 6MP)
5.76M dot OLED EVF with 0.79x magnification
3″ tilt touchscreen LCD with 1.8 million dots
Native ISO vary of 50-100,000
Hybrid autofocus (PDAF + distinction AF with DFD)
8K video seize in UHD or DCI ratios as much as 30p (H.265)
Apple ProRes 422HQ assist for 1080p video seize as much as 60p
AI-assisted perspective management and dynamic vary instruments for JPEG mode
IP52-rated mud and waterproof
USB-C and micro-HDMI ports
Wi-fi charging through elective hand grip add-on
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The Leica Q3 is offered for a really helpful worth of $5995, which is $200 greater than the Leica Q2. Leica plans to supply each fashions side-by-side till Q2 inventory is totally depleted.

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What’s new | The way it compares | Physique & dealing with | Preliminary impressions | Pattern gallery I Specs | Press launch

What’s new

The Leica Q3, proper, makes use of the identical 28mm F1.7 lens and appears practically similar from the highest and entrance.

When you’re acquainted with the Leica Q2, the Leica Q3 will take little adaptation: the lens, entrance design and prime plate are practically similar. It is not till you have a look at the again, sides and backside that you just begin to discover one thing’s completely different.
New sensor
After all the largest change is inside: Leica has upped the Q2’s decision with a 60MP BSI CMOS sensor, seemingly the identical chip used within the M11, which performs very nicely (as does the same chip within the Sony a7R IV and V). Leica’s elevated confidence within the new sensor’s efficiency sees it improve the highest ISO setting by one cease, to 100,000.
The upper pixel-count sensor emboldens Leica to supply an extra crop mode. The Q3 presents 35, 50, 75 and 90mm equal crops (leading to 39, 19, 8 and 6 megapixel pictures, respectively), slightly than the 35/50/75 choices on the earlier mannequin.
Just like the M11, the Q3 also can supply downsized pictures from its full sensor; you possibly can shoot it at both the complete 60MP, 36MP or 18MP. This downscaling could be utilized to the Raws, JPEGs or each.
Section detection AF
The Q3 positive aspects section detection, which it makes use of along with Leica’s present autofocus system that tried to construct a depth map of the scene by nudging the main focus and checking how the defocused components of the scene change. If that sounds so much just like the PDAF + Depth-from-Defocus system utilized by Panasonic’s latest Lumix S5 II, then keep in mind that the 2 firms have lately fashioned the L² technology-sharing partnership.
Tilting display screen

Alongside the again is one other distinction: the Q3 turns into the primary digital Leica digicam to supply a tilting display screen. The touchscreen is identical 3″ dimension because the earlier fastened model however sees a bump in pixels from 1.04M dot to 1.84M dot. It may possibly fold out and rotate as much as face the person from a 90-degree angle when taking pictures from the hip.
Ports and weather-sealing

Whereas the Q and Q2 had no ports in any respect, Leica has modified its method for the Q3. Beneath a flap alongside the left aspect of the digicam, it has a USB-C (3.1 Gen 2 10Gbit/s) port and a micro-HDMI port.
The USB-C port helps digicam charging with the digicam switched on or off. The port will also be used for switch of recordsdata to a pc or an iPhone (extra on that within the subsequent part). Tethered taking pictures with Seize One or Adobe Lightroom is supported, as is connecting to gadgets corresponding to an exterior recorder, gimbal or energy financial institution.
The HDMI port helps an exterior show with or with out recording to the SD card (format dependent), in addition to seize by exterior show recorders in a spread of codecs from 10-bit 8K H.265 recordsdata to Full HD Apple ProRes recordsdata.
The digicam has the identical IP52 score on the Q2 (restricted mud resistance and resistance to water spray lower than 15 levels from vertical), and this extends to the ports as nicely.
iPhone tethering

As with the M11, Leica has packaged a Lighting-to-USB-C cable with the Q3. Utilizing the cable, the digicam could be tethered to an iPhone as yet another technique of connection to the LeicaFotos app. Android customers can solely use the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.
The direct cable connection ends in sooner and extra reliable switch. Leica says with the wired connection, Q3 customers can count on as much as 10x sooner transfers speeds than the 3MB/s the Q2’s wi-fi connection tops out at.
The cable will also be used to obtain new ‘Leica Seems to be’ to the digicam, which is what Leica calls their inventive filters. Leica says it would periodically increase the library of those with new filters for customers to obtain and apply.
8K video
The Q3 guarantees to shoot 8K video at as much as 30p. A digicam with a set 28mm lens is not the apparent selection for taking pictures video, however Leica has squeezed all it may possibly out of the 60MP sensor. That is barely greater than Sony managed with the a7R V (which may solely handle 8K/24p), however the rolling shutter of round 33ms (UHD) is as dangerous as you will get, whereas nonetheless delivering 30p footage.
The Q3 presents each the DCI (1.89:1) or UHD (16:9) types of 8K, and might seize 10-bit footage with the choice of L-Log or HLG profiles.
Dwell perspective correction
The Q3 comes with a perform that was added to the M11 in latest firmware. The Perspective Management system analyses the scene and appears for converging or diverging verticals; it then attracts a rectangle on the display screen and adjusts the body to symbolize a flat, perspective-corrected airplane.
While you hit the shutter the digicam outputs a JPEG that has this angle correction baked into it. The correction parameters are additionally written into the digicam’s DNG recordsdata, so they’re mechanically utilized in Adobe Digicam Uncooked or Lightroom (although you may as well flip the impact off or alter it there).
Elective wi-fi charging grip

New to the Q sequence is wi-fi charging through an elective hand grip. With the hand grip connected, the digicam could be positioned on any inductive charging mat. Or, customers can go for Leica’s personal charging mat to pair with the grip. Leica says utilizing their mat with the grip will totally cost the Q3’s battery in 190 minutes. We weren’t given particulars of the accent’s price.
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The way it compares
Given the continued absence of a Sony RX1R III, it is exhausting to match the Leica Q3 in opposition to something within the market however the Q2. And given its MSRP, it would not really feel like evaluating apples to apples when no different fixed-lens digicam comes remotely shut.
We have opted to usher in a few considerably inexpensive APS-C: fashions: the Ricoh GR III, which can be less expensive but in addition has a 28mm equiv. lens, and the present darling of TikTok, the Fujifilm X100V, which can also be a lot more cost effective however stays a well-liked selection within the class and is constructed round a 35mm equiv. lens, slightly than a 28mm.

Leica Q3
Leica Q2
Fujifilm X100V
Ricoh GR III

MSRP (physique)

60 MP full body
47MP full body

26MP APS-C (X-Trans)

24MP APS-C (Bayer)

ISO vary (native)

Viewfinder sort
5.76M dot OLED digital
3.68M dot OLED digital
3.69M-dot OLED digital / optical
Optical (elective)

3″ tilting
3″ fastened
3″ tilting
3″ fastened


Included flash


Max. burst
15 fps
10 fps
20 fps (elec. shutter)
4 fps

Max. shutter, mech | digital
1⁄2000 | 1⁄16000
1⁄2000 | 1⁄40000
1/4000 | 1/32000

8K/30p, 4K/60p, 1080/120p
4K/30p, 1080/120p

Battery life (CIPA)
350 photographs
350 photographs
420 photographs
200 photographs

743 g
718 g
478 g
257 g

*The X100V claims weather-sealing when the AR-X100 adapter ring and a 49mm filter are connected to the lens.
The Leica Q3 stands as much as the check in opposition to most likely its most essential competitor in potential patrons’ eyes: the Q2. When contemplating cameras north of $5000, it is exhausting to advocate saving $200 with a Q2 when the Q3 provides entry to a tilting display screen, section detect autofocus and a 60MP sensor that squeezes much more out of the already sharp 28mm lens.
Ultimately, although, it is not likely about specs when customers contemplate specialty cameras like these. There’s a pleasure that comes from utilizing the Q3, with its minimalist design, easy lens and tactile guide controls. It comes right down to customers deciding if that pleasure is definitely worth the worth of admission.
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Physique and dealing with

Photograph by Brendan Nystedt

In most methods the digicam’s physique is essentially the identical as its predecessor. Alongside the Q3’s prime plate a shutter velocity dial, thumb dial, energy toggle swap, shutter launch and single customized perform button all occupy the identical house they did on the Q2. A small beauty change of the shutter button being silver as a substitute of black and the Q3 stamp on the hotshoe are the one clues right here to the brand new mannequin. From the entrance as nicely, because the Q2 and Q3 share the identical lens and related barely raised leather-based protecting, they’re doppelgängers.
The again of the digicam is the place we see the largest modifications to the physique.
Rear controls and tilting display screen

Q2, left, with Q3.

Along with the brand new tilting contact panel, the buttons for ‘Menu’ and ‘Play’ and a customized perform button have been moved, now showing on the fitting to affix the four-way controller. Having used each cameras, inside a number of hours of taking pictures the brand new one I discovered the structure to be a marked enchancment that allow me attain all of the buttons with simply my proper thumb whereas the left hand stayed on the lens prepared for the following shot. It is a a lot sooner and fewer cumbersome association that allow me get out and in of menus faster.
One potential stumble: there’s a very slight delay when urgent the Menu button or the Play button earlier than the display screen shows something. It is lengthy sufficient to note and at instances I did discover myself questioning if I actually wished to see the final shot I simply took or if it was higher to only stick with it and look later after I obtain my recordsdata.
Customized buttons

The Q3 additionally converts the rear button to the left of the thumb relaxation into a totally customizable perform button, and provides a second one subsequent to it. This will increase the Q’s customized button rely from 2 to 4.
The Q2’s prime rear button was restricted to crop modes, publicity lock or focus lock. With the Q3 this button behaves just like the others: you possibly can configure it to entry nearly any setting, or long-press it to convey up a scrolling menu and reassign it to one thing else.
Going into the Q3 I diligently poked round in them to check how they work, then thought I might set them and neglect them. As an alternative, I ended up returning to them over the course of my time with the Q3, both to check out extra options or simply for enjoyable. Leica has made the customized buttons simple to set and use on the fly, and there is a pleasure to experimenting with them. Choices embrace focus peaking, focus modes, video modes, inventive filters and extra. It is just like how the Q2 functioned however with a number of extra choices within the menu to select from.
Lens design

The Q3 makes use of the identical optically-stabilized 28mm F1.7 lens as the sooner fashions. Leica says the lens’ optics outperform the 60MP sensor’s capabilities and there was no cause to revamp or replace it.
The lens feels sturdy and nicely machined, and pictures felt very sharp. Switching the lens between guide and automated modes is fast because of many of the setting modifications dwelling on the lens barrel slightly than in a swap, physique button or menu.
The aperture could be set with the lens ring, which additionally has a setting for automated. With machined grooves and stamped f-stops there is a tactile clue as to the place your fingers are resting and the ring offers a nice and easy click on as it’s rotated.
A small (nearly tiny) button on the guide focus tab is the way you disengage AF mode to permit the ring to rotate for guide focusing. It is a fast course of, however it takes slightly follow to get a really feel for the place the button is so it may be pressed with out turning the physique round to visually find it.
Macro mode could be activated by rotating a clutch close to the bottom; it restricts the lens to a spotlight distance of between 30cm to 17cm. The gap scale additionally swaps out to a brand new shorter scale to help in focusing. When the macro clutch is just not totally within the 28mm or Macro place, the digicam warns you that the lens is just not engaged and will not allow you to take any footage.

The Q3’s 5.76M dot (1600 x 1200px) OLED EVF is a noteworthy improve from the Q2’s 3.68M dot OLED panel. Just like the Q2 there isn’t a vital delay within the display screen activating when the EVF eye sensor is activated, even when rapidly switching forwards and backwards between the rear display screen and the EVF. The attention sensor will also be adjusted.
The Q3 retains the diopter from the Q2. A push button design pops a dial out to regulate the EVF focus, and one other push pops it again in. Having it lie flush and ‘disappear’ is a pleasant contact that helps keep away from unintentional nudges whereas additionally wanting darn good. In a digicam nearing $6000 that additionally touts that it’s hand-made, particulars matter.

The Q3 makes use of a 15.8Wh Leica BP-SCL6 lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Recharging could be performed both externally, through the Q3’s USB-C port or with an elective wi-fi charging accent.
The brand new battery comes with a CIPA score of 350 photographs, which is identical CIPA score acquired by the Q2’s Leica BC-SCL4 battery. Nonetheless, it is not unusual to exceed CIPA rankings two-fold, relying on how you employ the digicam. 350 is an inexpensive determine and will comfortably give a day’s price of concerned taking pictures or a weekend of much less frequent pictures.
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Preliminary impressions
Shaminder Dulai
Once I first bought my fingers on the Q3, a few of my colleagues joked that I used to be going to start out peacocking about city, turning heads, shining the Leica’s pink brand like a beacon to attract further consideration (pshaw, if it got here to that, that is what gaffer tape is for).
Fortunately that was not the case. Not one individual acknowledged the Leica badge on the digicam whereas I trekked throughout Seattle over the course of some days. So, in the event you’re an individual who seems to be at Leicas like a tech bro having a mid-life disaster at a Corvette dealership, maybe rethink why you need a practically $6000 digicam?
To me, getting consideration is not actually the purpose of a Leica. These are the cameras utilized by the icons of photojournalism, Robert Capa, Diane Arbus, W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson and others. All individuals who tried to vanish into the wallpaper and observe the world in pursuit of a fact. To have a digicam that screams ‘have a look at me’ is not actually in step with this spirt.

Leica Q3 | 28mm | ISO 100 | 1/2000 sec | F2.5
Straight from digicam JPEG
Photograph by Shaminder Dulai

Full disclosure: I have to admit, I have never used a digital Leica because the M9 and I did not find it irresistible on the time. That digicam was sluggish, pictures simply felt ‘meh,’ and it wasn’t one thing I felt I wished to make use of. After that for the longest time I feared that possibly Leica had misplaced its means and develop into extra of a standing image than a digicam firm.
After a number of days with the Q3, I’ve to say I used to be pleasantly incorrect. I began off resisting the Q3’s charms however in the long run it received me over, just because this digicam is enjoyable to make use of. It may be as difficult or so simple as you need, however most of all, it may be enjoyable.
The film-body-inspired design option to restrict dials and buttons on the physique to just a few agreed with me. Some customers could discover the dearth of buttons limiting, however I slightly loved the simplicity, a lot in order that if I wasn’t attempting to run the digicam by means of its paces and discover its menus for this preliminary overview, I believe I may have used the Q3 with out coming into the menu for days at a time. Maybe the attraction of utilizing a Leica Q3 is that it nearly hides the tech to place the tactile components of picture making entrance and middle. You may go deep into menus and customized features, or step again and use the core changes of aperture, shutter velocity and focus, all in guide mode (with ISO assigned to a customized perform button) in the event you select.

Leica Q3 | 28mm | ISO 100 | 1/1000 sec | F4
Straight from digicam JPEG
Photograph by Shaminder Dulai

The brand new tilting touchscreen is fast and responsive in stay view and was one thing I used much more than I anticipated I might. I do not all the time have the very best luck with touchscreens, usually discovering them to be too sluggish for my tastes or the contact factors too small. On the Q3, with bigger menu icons and the flexibility to take away visible litter for a minimal interface, I discovered it to be fairly helpful, and I began to make use of it for contact focus whereas taking pictures from the hip. Just like the expertise of tech melting away on the lens, the lean display screen and responsive touchscreen allowed me to revisit what it felt wish to shoot with a TLR movie digicam.
There are a number of small gripes I do have, nevertheless. A boot-up time of about 3 seconds can really feel like an eternity while you come throughout the proper photographic second. It is a truthful factor to level out on a digicam constructed on the legacy of avenue pictures, documentary journalism and the ethic of all the time being prepared.
I additionally seen that in vibrant sunshine the AF appeared to hunt, or the digicam would back-focus, and in these moments the AF wasn’t particularly fast. Issues did fare slightly higher when Clever-AF (iAF) was activated; on this mode the digicam locks onto a stationary topic after which begins to trace it because it or the digicam strikes.
I additionally should level out that I discovered the thumb relaxation too shallow and it did not encourage confidence that I might have the ability to shoot with only one hand. It is true that Leica has been providing up an answer to this for years with an elective thumb relaxation accent that runs about $225, however c’mon Leica, for an almost $6000 digicam that thumb relaxation needs to be included within the field.
Ultimately, I hold coming again to the ‘pleasure’ I discovered within the Q3 vs. the worth tag. There’s an fulfilling, and now extra succesful, digicam right here, however how a lot that pleasure is price is the powerful query we now have earlier than us.
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Pattern gallery
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