Leica’s Q series cameras are the most everyman camera it produces, aiming to please the largest swathes of the photography community, with its fixed lens, easy-to-use control scheme, and (reasonably) compact and travelable form.
The latest in the series – the Leica Q3, was released last week, and I was a big fan of the camera when I tested it, impressed by its beautiful build and its stunning image capabilities. But with the Leica Q2 only released a few short years ago, how does the new Q3 stack up against it, and is it worth the upgrade for existing Q2 owners?
Here are the five biggest improvements in the Leica Q3 vs the Leica Q2.
Leica Q2: 47.3MP vs Leica Q3: 60MP
The Leica Q3 has had a big jump in megapixels, from a maxim of 47.3 megapixels in the Q2 to a now colossal 60 megapixels in the Leica Q3. And while you might be thinking you don’t need 60-megapixel images, (and you’d probably be right), where this huge megapixel number comes into play is in the Q3’s party trick of digital zoom.
The Q3 can now extend its digital zoom to the equivalent of 90mm and still capture 8-megapixel images. This obviously pales in comparison to even the lowliest of phone cameras, but it is more than enough for social media, or printing a 6x4 photo. Plus you get the natural depth of field of a full frame camera, and Leica processing. Not many phones can claim that.
Leica Q2: 3in fixed LCD vs Leica Q3: 3in tilting LCD
The screen now tilts. Sure most other cameras have done this for decades, but this is a big deal for a Leica Q camera. You can capture from waist height much more easily, without having to learn the complex math of zone focusing, this makes inconspicuously capturing street scenes much easier. And if you’re in a crowd, just tilt the screen, lift the camera up, and still see what you’re shooting.
Leica Q2: 4K vs Leica Q3: 8K
The Leica Q3 now has 8K video. Do you need 8K video in a Q camera? Potentially no, but if the camera can do it, then why not include it? The Q3 can also record in several professional codecs including Apple ProRes. It is lacking a dedicated headphone jack, which is a bit of a bummer, but there is a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle on the way, so that's something.
The Q3 video can be cropped in up to 2x while still maintaining 4K quality, which helps when you only have a 28mm fixed lens to work with. By comparison, the Leica Q2 topped out at 4K video, so the Q3 pretty much creams it on this front, but then again, historically the Q series is a photography-first camera, so video is a bit of a new frontier for Leica.
Leica Q2: 10fps vs Leica Q3: 15fps
The Q3 also can record bursts of 15fps versus the Q2’s 10fps, making the Q3 a better choice for capturing bursts of fast-moving action while out on the streets, and picking out your favorite shot, it also will come in handy shooting wildlife and sports (although with a 28mm fixed lens, this might not be the best camera for that).
Leica Q2: 3.68M dot OLED EVF vs Leica Q3: 5.76M dot OLED EVF
The electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Leica Q3 has taken a big step up from the Q2, with the Q3's 5.76M dot OLED EVF offering a much sharper and clearer image for composition than the Q2's 3.68M dot OLED EVF. This makes a big difference with how enjoyable it is to use the camera, and overall just feels like a more premium experience, which when you factor in the cost of the Leica Q3, is exactly what you should be expecting.
Bonus: a few reasons to keep your Q2
The battery life on the Q3 is actually rated as the same as the Q2, despite the newer camera actually using a brand new higher capacity battery, pushing all those megapixels must take some serious wattage. Although through some engineering wizardry, both the new Q3 battery and older Q2 batteries are compatible, although you need the newer battery to record in power-hungry 8K.
The renowned 28mm lens is also the same as the previous Q2 model, which is no bad thing, as the lens is exceptional, and still capable of rendering beautiful detail, even in the higher megapixels of the Q3.
Unsurprisingly, as they both share pretty much identical bodies, both the Q2 and Q3 are weather sealed for adventures in the great outdoors, with both cameras having an IP52 rating for dust and moisture resistance.
Leica Q3 vs Leica Q2 Specs
|Header Cell - Column 0||Leica Q3||Leica Q2|
|Sensor||60MP full frame||47.3MP full frame|
|Shutter||1/2000 (mechanical) 1/40000 (electronic)||1/2000 (mechanical) 1/16000 (electronic)|
|ISO||100 - 100,000||100 - 50,000|
|EVF||5.76M dot OLED||3.68M dot OLED|
|Screen||3" tilting||3" fixed|
|Video||8K/30p, 4K/60p, 1080/120p||4K/30p, 1080/120p|
Read more: interested in finding out more about Leica, then check out our guide to the best Leica cameras or you can also see our guide to find out the best cameras for street photography. Like the idea of a Leica, but can't stretch to one, find the best Leica alternatives.