Compact camera: Leica Q3 with 60 megapixels and pivoting display
The Leica Q3 is now available online and in specialist shops. It is the successor to the Q2, which was introduced almost four years ago and whose equipment is no longer up to date. Leica has therefore not only further developed the image performance, but also significantly expanded the features of the camera.
60 megapixel resolution
Instead of 47 megapixels, 60 megapixels are now offered, the full-frame sensor should come from the M11. In addition to the resolution, this is supported by the fact that the autofocus now also works with phase detection in addition to contrast measurement, which depends on the image converter. According to the data, the already very sharp Summilux lens with a focal length of 28 millimeters and f/1.7 remained unchanged compared to the Q2 and should also be sufficient for the increased resolution.
This also means that Leica now offers extended crop modes with 39, 19, 8 and 6 megapixels, which correspond to effective focal lengths of 35, 50, 70 and 90 millimeters. Raw recordings are saved as DNG, also at the same time as JPEG recordings. A single SD slot is still available for this, which now also supports UHS-II, which Leica expressly recommends for the extended video functions. 8K formats with 300 MBit/s are also available.
Cine 8K, but ProRes only with Full HD
A special feature is the cinematographic C8K with 8,192 × 4,320 pixels in an aspect ratio of 17:9 and up to 60 frames per second. As with other compact cameras, the recording can only be 29 minutes long to protect against overheating. In addition, all 4K and 8K formats are only possible as MOV or MP4, Apple’s ProRes is only supported for Full HD with up to 60 FPS.
The housing of the Q3 is very similar to the Q2, which means that it is operated like the classic Leicas with a rangefinder. In particular, the back has changed, there are no longer any buttons to the left of the display, instead there are two to the right for “Play” and “Menu”. At the top right edge, easily accessible with your thumb, are two new function keys whose actions can be freely assigned.
No folding display, but HDMI and USB
The biggest innovation in handling is the swiveling display, which, contrary to previous rumours, cannot be folded to the side. Selfies, whether photo or film, are still not particularly comfortable with the Q3. However, the new display is quite helpful for one of the most popular applications of the Q series, inconspicuous photography on the street: the camera does not have to be held in front of the eye, and a shot from the hip is also easily possible with the display pointing upwards. Nikon recently opted for a very similar mechanism for its Z8. The touchscreen of the Q3 is still 3 inches, but now shows 1.8 instead of 1 megapixel.
While the Q2 did not have any wired connections at all, Leica has made major improvements to the Q3: There is a micro-HDMI port that can also be active when filming at the same time as recording on the SD card. There is also a USB-C socket with 10 GBit/s, which, in addition to data transfer, is also used to charge the battery, even when the camera is in use. Tethering via USB is only possible with iPhones, not with Android devices; Leica supplies a Lightning cable. The Leica Photos app is available for both platforms, with which data can be transferred at up to 3 MB/s via WLAN. Despite the new ports, which are located under a flap, Leica continues to claim IP52 dust and splash water protection. Full specifications can be found on the manufacturer’s website.
Of course, the price is also typical of Leica: the Q3 costs 5,950 euros, which is only slightly higher than the current 5,600 euros for the Q2. The previous model will continue to be offered, but will no longer be manufactured new – but given the small price difference, there are only a few reasons to go for the Q2.
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