We shake hands with the new Leica Q3
Leica has just released their long-awaited update to the fan-favorite Q series called the Leica Q3. I’ve been using it for several hours a day for the past three days. So, how do you feel about taking pictures with it, and would you like one?
Many good features of the predecessor version remain the same, while some features have been significantly improved in the new version. Leica Q3. For example, the body is mostly unchanged except for a few shuffle buttons on the back to make room for the tilting LCD screen. This screen has greatly improved the photography experience and allowed me to shoot from previously uncomfortable positions. This is a welcome addition to a camera that serves a single purpose, expanding your options.
The brilliant Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH is back. It is a solid lens with a bright aperture and most importantly sharp image quality with nice contrast. Proven lenses on Q2 and Monochrome Q2, but this time, it has more to do with the image sensor. Full-frame BSI CMOS sensor seen in awesome Leica M11 is the heart of the Leica Q3, with its demanding 60-megapixel resolution. No detail is missed and the lens is effective even when wide open.
I’m not too much of a fan of the 28mm focal length, as it’s a bit wide for my personal taste, but I understand its appeal. It’s nice not to have to worry about the scene not matching the frame, and thanks to the high-resolution sensor, there’s plenty of room for cropping after shooting without losing detail. Just like in Leica M11we can choose to shoot DNG at full 60 megapixels, or for those who value storage space and less demanding workflows, the sensor can also output full frame DNG at 36 or 18 megapixels.
Last time, when I checked Leica M11, I mostly use it in 18-megapixel mode, since it’s more than enough for me, but this time I’ve used it to the fullest and don’t worry about storage space. Each of my 32GB cards can hold about 190 DNG into them, which is enough for one photo shoot. The camera only accepts a single SD card and doesn’t offer built-in storage like we saw on the M11. It’s not a dealbreaker anyway, but it’s one of the reasons I use smaller cards and redeem them after they’re full, because there’s no redundancy.
When conditions are good and light is plentiful, the Leica Q3 focuses quickly using any of the available modes. The animal, body, face and eye detection modes aren’t bad at all. In fact, I often use human detection because it saves me time moving the focus point to my preferred destination.
Crop the sample to show the amount of detail captured by both the sensor and the lens.
After you select AF-C and start tracking the subject, the system becomes active. That’s not a big deal, as it’s usually noticeable and gives me sharp results, but there was a time or two when I pressed the shutter button right at the moment of the pulse, resulting in a loss of image focus. However, when the available light is reduced, the results are slightly worse. Of course, this camera is not intended to compete with cameras like Nikon Z9 or Canon R3.
Leica clearly has a good thing going on here. The minimalist approach to the controls and simple design works well. Beautiful camera, precise craftsmanship and premium materials. It is truly a joy to use and carry around with you every day. I’ll have to return it eventually, but I still have 10 days left to complete its steps. With the way the photos came out, I’m excited for the images I’m about to get.
Don’t take this as a full review, as I’ve only been holding this camera for three days. That will come a little later. However, so far, I feel very positive about Leica Q3. I just need to get used to the focal length.