Leica Makes Waves with Q3 Camera Announcement05/25/2023
Leica caused a stir this week by announcing its first new Q-series camera in four years: the Leica Q3. The Q3 embodies the same fixed lens, weather-sealed construction, and burst speed as its predecessor, but with some significant upgrades.
Most importantly, Leica replaced the 47.3MP sensor in the Q2 with an enormous, 60MP BSI-CMOST sensor (like the one found in the Leica M11). With its new and improved sensor, the Q3 enjoys an expanded digital zoom range, allowing users to digitally crop to focal lengths 35, 50, 75, and 90mm. The 60MP sensor also ensures sharper, more reliable image quality while using the digital zoom and increases the camera’s ISO range from 50 to 100,000. (A 50,000 ISO increase over the Q2.)
For the first time, Leica embedded triple resolution technology in a Q-series sensor. Triple resolution technology was originally developed for the Leica M11 and allows shooters to capture images at 60, 36, or 18MP. Shooting at these lower resolutions makes the camera faster, enabling quicker burst rates and smaller file sizes. The new sensor also works in conjunction with the Q3’s next generation Maestro IV image processor to ensure lightning-fast speed while producing images with 14 stops of dynamic range.
Another exciting development in the Q3 is the shift from a contrast to a hybrid autofocusing system with phase detection. This breakthrough allows the camera to combine Leica’s contrast autofocus and depth from defocus technology (DFDT) with new phase detection and intelligent subject recognition to identify and track subjects quickly.
The most visible change to the camera, however, comes in the form of a new three-inch 1.84m-dot tilting LCD touchscreen, also a first for the Q-series. This is a welcome addition for many EDC (every-day-carry) and street-style photographers trying to capture low and high angles discreetly. Despite the new tilting screen, the camera’s type IP52 splash protection remains uncompromised, allowing Q3 shooters more flexibility when shooting in inclement weather. For those old-fashioned shooters who don’t want to fiddle with a touchscreen, however, the Q3 still offers an improved 5.76MP OLEF viewfinder.
With the Q3, Leica has finally heeded the cries of video creators begging for increased video capabilities. Building on the Q2’s ability to capture video at FHD, 4K, C4K, MP4 + MOV, Leica has beefed up the Q3 to now include 8K, h265, and Apple ProRes at 1080p. The Q3 still doesn’t have in-body stabilization, although the Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens is equipped with optical image stabilization. Leica has included a fun new macro feature on the lens, however, that allows users to capture intimate close-ups at a minimum focusing distance of just 6.69 inches.
New USB-C and HDMI ports also make connecting to gimbals, power banks, or external display recorders easier. Tethered shooting with Capture One or the Adobe Lightroom plug-in is also supported via the USB-C cable. Creating and sharing photos is also easier and faster than ever before. New Multiple Input Multiple Output technology has made it possible to transfer images and videos to your Leica FOTOS app ten times faster than the previous model, making a more fluid mobile workflow.
Technological advancements aside, the Q3 offers an exciting bevy of new accessories. Leica has revolutionized charging options for the Q3 with a wireless charging handgrip and charging pad. With the sleek, nondescript pad, you’ll never have to deal with sticky battery doors or tracking down lost cables again. Simply set the Q3 on the pad for fast, convenient charging.
Leica also offers other customized accessories such as a leather half case (available in black, cognac, or olive green), hot shoe covers (available in black, silver, or brass-blasted), round lens hoods (available in black, silver, or brass-blasted), and lens caps (also available in black, silver, or brass-blasted).
Leica aficionados will surely appreciate the refinements that the company has made to the Q3. But only you can decide whether the powerful 60MP sensor, hybrid autofocus, and a tilting screen are worth the increased cost. If you do decide to take the plunge however, you can rest easy knowing that luxury Q3 is backed by Leica’s tradition of unparalleled craftsmanship.
Will you be adding the Leica Q3 to your kit? Let us know in the Comments section, below. For more information about the new camera and its various accessories, including additional features, specs, and highlights, be sure to check out their detailed product pages.