People who love cameras and the art of photography are likely more than familiar with the “Leica” brand and the inherent cost of owning one, but a new advanced compact could find that middle ground and still keep the quality in just as high regard.
Over the course of your life, it’s likely that you’ll own quite a few devices. For instance, these days you’ll probably upgrade a phone every year or two, sometimes sooner. You might change headphones every few months, or every few years.
With cameras, it’s a little different. You upgrade, but usually far less, keeping elements of the original purchase, like the lens.
In fact, once you buy into a system, you’re there until you decide to make the jump to something else, and that’s because you’re not just buying a camera for one lens, but for many lenses — plural — with the more to come later on as you stick with the lens system. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Samsung; you buy the body and a lens, and later on you buy more lenses to make the camera better and more capable for various situations.
The same is true of Leica, a camera company that celebrated 100 years in 2014 and certainly picks up attention when you mention the company’s name. This is a camera company steeped in heritage and history, producing cameras for people who like photography, and who demand quality.
Checking out the price of Leica cameras throughout the year, it’s easy to see that you need to love cameras and have no problem spending money to invest in a Leica camera, with the Leica M (Typ 240) fetching around $8300 for the body alone — no lens — and another $5300 for a 28mm lens. Yes, that’s $13600 on photographic equipment.
Not all of us have that sort of change to spend on cameras. This journalist doesn’t, and so Leica has been working on something else.
Last year we saw that in the Leica T, an unusual full-metal bodied aluminium camera that looked like Micro Four-Thirds but wasn’t, and required its own specialised lenses. That was interesting, but it didn’t elicit the feel of an old Leica, not like the M series pushes out.
Leica M cameras tend to look like the film cameras from yesteryear, and these days come packing 18 and 24 megapixel sensors, enabling you to take digital images on a body that not only looks the part, but is built to survive, rocking a similarly strong full metal body.
But they’re expensive, as we’ve just noted, so what do you do?
You make something a little smaller, and slightly more cost effective for everyone else.
Just recently, Leica introduced the “Q”, a new camera that takes the style and design synonymous with Leica’s M series of cameras and applies a full-frame 35mm sensor and a lens that you cannot take off, making what we would regard as an advanced compact with a 28mm F/1.7 lens.
That style of lens is fairly wide and should offer a lot of light coming in, meaning some versatility in low light, but just in case F/1.7 isn’t enough, the ISO sensitivity support goes up to ISO 50,000, which should provide a reasonable hit in noise, but will also mean working in some very dark situations.