The Leica Q2 is a new full-frame compact camera with a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens.

We were shown a full production version of the Q2 by Leica ahead of yesterday’s launch. We’ve shot sample JPEG and RAW images with the camera and got some hands-on time with the Leica Q2.

So read on for our first impressions of the new Leica Q2, which is being billed as the ultimate compact camera…

Apart from appealing to those able to justify parting with the £4,250 currently asked on launch, its manufacturer sees the audience for the Leica Q2 being composed of those wanting a great travel camera option, professional photographers looking for a second camera or back up, plus online ‘influencers’ looking to create imagery that looks a little different to that otherwise achievable via their smartphones.

We got to take the camera on a quick pre-embargo tour of the street outside Leica’s newest Duke Street store in London and quickly realised that it makes for an excellent street photography camera too; not big enough to be threatening to passers by, and small enough to be able snap said passers by unawares.

As with the original Q, Leica’s focus this time around has, it says, been on the essentials of simplicity of design combined with knock out image quality. It will be hoping it has got the Q2 right, as Leica told us at its London unveiling that the original ‘Q’ has been one of its most successful cameras ever. As usual with Leica, it’s been hand crafted in Germany and the pitch this time is that with the Q2 its maker has got that little bit closer to perfection.

28mm F1.7 Lens

The Leica Q2 camera is nigh instantly powered up by flicking the lever that encircles the raised shutter release button on the camera’s top plate. Exactly like the earlier Q, the Q2 ‘sequel’ offers its users a fixed 28mm focal length and a bright/fast f/1.7 maximum aperture for delivering those subtly defocused background effects. Said fixed focal length is designed to make the camera easy to use – as well as, obviously, providing users with a wide enough angle for them to be able to squeeze most subjects into their frame without having to physically take a step back.

Fast Auto-focusing

Should you want to step forward to take a close up, however, a macro setting is provided on the lens barrel (it’s clearly marked ‘Macro’) which provides focusing up to 17cm from your subject (otherwise minimum focusing distance is a standard 30cm). Providing peace of mind if you don’t quite trust your own eyes is a cross hair visible through the camera’s electronic viewfinder – or larger touch screen monitor below – which is illuminated in green when focus has been achieved, if in AF mode. Leica has described its Q2’s auto focus response as ‘super fast’ – and quotes a speed of 0.15 seconds.

The fact that many of its key settings of the Leica Q2 are controlled by a twist of one of several lens rings makes you feel like you are truly getting hands on with this camera – even when you’re just shooting on auto. Leica may pitch this camera as an easy to use full frame option, but, partly because of the above, complete newcomers will still need a period of familiarity before its use becomes second nature.

Improved Ergonomics

Although outwardly the full frame Leica Q2 certainly looks very similar to the earlier Q, there are subtle differences as regards the newer iteration when it comes to ergonomics; for example there is a subtle indentation for the thumb on the backplate to make for a more comfortable hold. There’s also a roughened diamond-patterned surface to the front of the camera to make for a firmer grip. The camera certainly possesses the ‘heft’ in the hand we’d expect of a Leica, with a reassuringly robust and solid feel… yet being prohibitively weighty that is. Official specification suggests it weighs 718g with battery loaded, which is certainly manageable for most