Leica Q3 vs Q2 vs Q Comparison + Flash
With the release of the latest Leica digital camera, here is a detailed Leica Q3 vs Q2 vs Q comparison. Are you sitting on the fence trying to decide which Leica Q series camera could be best for you? Perhaps you already have a Leica Q series camera and you are considering upgrading to the Leica Q3? Hopefully I can give you all the answers you need. In addition, I will also cover Leica Q3 Q2 Q flash photography. A huge unfair advantage of the Q cameras over most other cameras.
Special thanks + More Leica Q3 videos
This comparison test was made possible thanks to one of my awesome Leica workshop students, Jon, based in Las Vegas. If you missed them I made several other Leica Q3 videos while teaching in the US –
Leica Q3 – Time to upgrade?
Head-to-head: Leica Q3 vs Leica M11
Leica Q series camera timeline
Before we get into the details let’s first a look at an overview of the Leica Q series cameras. The Leica Q Typ 116 was the first model released in 2015 and the latest model at time of writing is the new Leica Q3 camera.
Leica Q3 vs Leica Q2 vs Leica Q: Detailed comparison
Common features of Leica Q cameras
Leica Q cameras share some common features found in all models –
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Leica Q3 vs Q2 vs Q – Differences
Here is a breakdown of the major differences between the Leica Q3 vs Q2 vs Q cameras –
For a visual watch the full video linked below*
Yellow highlights some of the new features offered by the Leica Q3 camera*
There are more subtle differences too but these are the basics*
Reasons why you may want the Leica Q Typ 116
Despite being released in 2015 the Leica Q Typ 116 is still an excellent camera. I own the Leica Q and have never looked to upgrade.
Watch the full video below to see how impressive the old Leica Q is in low light compared to the Leica Q2 and Q3*
Benefits of the Leica Q2
If you shoot in bad weather much of the time, the Leica Q2 is a better choice than the original Leica Q. The Q2 brings more practical benefits too –
Leica Q3 – Why to upgrade
Some photographers like to own the latest camera model. Others need a good reason to upgrade. Here are the main benefits of getting a Leica Q3 over earlier models –
Watch on YouTube: Leica Q3 vs Q2 vs Q
See the above slides plus more information in the full video –
Leica Q3 Q2 Q flash photography
Historically Leica cameras have never been the best choice when it comes to flash photography. That all changed with the release of the Leica Q series cameras; Leica Q3, Leica Q2 and the original Leica Q Typ 116. What was less clear is Leica stated that the Leica Q had a maximum flash sync speed of 1/500 when released. The Leica Q3 and Q2 are both detailed to have a maximum flash sync speed of 1/2000. That didn’t sound right so I did some testing.
Leica Q flash portraits
In August I had a trip to Italy booked to help photograph a body painting event. I new it would be hot blue sky days and shooting outside so I decided to pack the Leica Q typ 116. You may think that this is a strange lens choice for portraits but I was confident I could make it work, even with the wider than 28mm framing and no cropping in post.
I’m not completely crazy so I also packed my trusty Leica SL camera for using longer lenses. No one lens fits all situation and all models/ sitters so it would be foolish for me to only take the Q. My goal was to make great photos for the models and artists so I need to be able to deliver regardless of what camera I use.
Leica lied to us
After some quick testing my expectations were proved correct. As the Leica Q Typ 116 shares the same leaf shutter lens as the Leica Q2 and Q3 all cameras sync at the same maximum shutter speed. 1/500 as advertised by Leica is incorrect. All cameras work to 1/2000 with manual flash from my test results.
Use the superpower and my unfair advantage!
In Italy I would be working with 3 other photographers, me, 2 of my awesome Patreons plus one more. Tobi who helped organise the entire event and who kindly invited me had 2 unfair advantages. Well 3 actually! First, he had his Leica M9 which gives better colours than all my Leica cameras (CCD vs CMOS sensor). Second, he was mostly shooting on a Phase One medium format camera and third he had an underwater camera setup! Hmm.
I needed something to compete with this! My solution was to use the Leica Q camera which gives me a 1/2000 maximum flash sync speed. I could shoot at f1.7, ISO 100, 1/2000 and add flash as needed for the look I wanted. I added a -3 stop ND filter to the lens to give me full control of available light. The 1/2000 maximum sync speed is the superpower you get with the Leica Q3, Q2 and Q cameras. Compare that to only 1/180 with the Leica M11 and 1/250 with the Leica SL2-S.
Best flash for Leica Q3 Q2 Q
As with digital cameras, lighting solutions continue to improve year on year. I own a Godox AD200 and many of the earlier Godox flash models. They are great but too big for travel. Tobi drove to Italy so kindly supplied us all with Godox V1 round head speedlights and big Godox AD600 units. I used both for the photos you see below. If I was buying flash today I would buy a pair of the small yet mighty Godox AD100 units. The Godox AD100 is compact so you can then use smaller lighter stands such as the Manfrotto Nano for a travel friendly setup.
Flash can transform your photos
Do you take your Leica Q series camera on holiday yet often struggle with those beautiful sunset background shots? This is what handholding small flash can do to your image. I gelled the flash with a CTO gel to match the colour of the sunset. It’s not a perfect image but the photos illustrate what is possible if you pack a small flash.
Leica Q flash photography
Here are a sample of images from my flash photography work in Italy using the Leica Q camera. All images are just quick edits, Leica DNG files with MrLeica presets applied in Lightroom –
Leica SL flash photography
As a comparison, here are a few photos captured with my Leica SL camera using the same flash setup. (Mostly two Godox lights, Godox v1 and or Godox AD600, both bare bulb, meaning no light modifier.
Watch on YouTube – Leica Q3 Q2 Q flash photography
Leica Q3 presets for Lightroom
In addition to my Leica Q, Leica Q2 and Leica Q2M presets you can now download MrLeica Lightroom presets for the Leica Q3 camera. (Full Leica Q2 pack still to follow*)
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