Where Leica doesn’t succeed, however, is with the battery, which struggles to get more than 200 shots out of a single charge, and which loses life quickly and dramatically when the wireless mode is engaged.
Simply put, if you switch WiFi on and move images from the Leica Q to your smartphone or tablet, the battery will fall over very, very quickly. Without WiFi and capturing RAW and JPEG together, you’ll find a little over 200 shots available to you which still isn’t fantastic.
This not-so-impressive battery life means if you invest in a Leica Q, you’ll want to grab a couple extra batteries and keep them with you for a day out.
It’s a good thing the batteries aren’t very big and can easily slip into a pocket without weighing you down, but next time, we’d like to see Leica spend more time in the battery department and produce something that can handle a little more juice.
Buttons are one of the other issues we have with the Q in that there just aren’t enough function buttons. In fact, there’s only one.
One function button at the back is the only button available to you for quick configures, and it doesn’t do a whole lot in terms of things.
It does offer quick access to a variety of functions, including white balance, exposure, scene mode, file format, and the wireless networking (WLAN) mode for switching it on and off, but you need to hold it down to get those options, with a selection of the mode you want being mapped to the button.
It works like this: hold the function button down to choose what it connects to, and then press it quickly to go into the mode.
You can remap it later on, and remap it on the fly, and we found we would use this to switch file format regularly, jumping from RAW and JPEG back to JPEG when we didn’t feel we needed it, while we could hold the button down for exposure or white balance control when we wanted to remap that button.
Remapping is easy, and once you’re familiar with the button location and how it all comes together, it’s a cinch to do, but we would have liked at least one more function button, especially since this is designed to feel like a professional camera, or something close to one.
Even the enthusiast cameras tend to come with at least two function buttons these days, so Leica is kind of letting this area down a little.
Not a huge issue, mind you, but it is one to be aware.
There’s also no flash, which isn’t as much of an issue as you might think.
That was one we cottoned onto quite early, but it’s something rangefinder cameras aren’t really well known for. Indeed, that’s very much the same sort of situation here in the Q, and you’ll have to rely on the high ISO capabilities of this camera to get you through situations where light is a bit of an issue.
An optional flash can be found through Leica, and that works here, but we found that rather than dwell on the idea that a flash wasn’t included, we spent time with the low-light capabilities and found that the tremendous range of this camera was more than helpful.
Likewise, the automatic modes could do with some work. Specifically, the auto modes outside of the regular “let the camera do its thing on auto” mode that many will use.
For the most part, the Leica Q’s auto mode is pretty good, but we weren’t particularly enthralled with some of the modes you have to get in via the menu, like the panorama mode, which just didn’t feel quite as good of a stitcher as other panorama modes we’ve tested.
We’re not sure how many Leica users will end up playing with these, and it’s quite clear the Q is targeted at people who know how to use (and love using) traditional cameras, but the amateur shooters out there may find their way to these modes, and they could do with a bit of an update.