The new Leica Q-P is unashamedly a bold exercise in cosmetic prestidigitation. It’s a camera that costs some £500 more than the standard version, offers no technical advances (other than a redesigned on/off switch) but comes in a very attractive new outfit. It’s the Barbie doll of cameras, as is every -P version of the M. As reader Don Morley says, it is another case of Leica and the Emperor’s new clothes.
But what clothes! Last evening I was at Red Dot Cameras in the City of London to join Ivor Cooper in a video walk around of the M10-D. More on that later. The store’s display Q-P had just arrived, so I had to have a quick fondle, more out of duty than out of any great enthusiasm. How wrong could I have been? The Q-P is the best -P upgrade I have seen on any Leica, M or otherwise.
The new matte-black wear-resistant Swiss lacquer is magnificent, and, alone makes this camera what it is. It is a joy to behold, especially on the back where the screen and buttons shimmer on the lustrous matte finish. Can we describe matte black as lustrous? I think not, but there is just something special about this paint. It’s a matte shimmer.
The detailing, and especially the traditional Leica engraving on the top plate, turns the ordinary Q into an object of even greater desire. One reader, Brian Nichol, is in no doubt, even from just viewing the pictures:
Hi, I am excited about this and have contacted my dealer to get one ordered. It is the sexiest camera I have seen and I do not need to wait for the Q II. I could be dead before then, as I have waited a year for the Q II, not wanting to purchase just before the rumoured update. But the reality is, most cameras in the last few years exceed what we really need for most purposes and I prefer to be creative than be unhappy searching for more that is an elusive dream.
For me, too, it was a case of love at first sight. If I were in the market for a Q, this is the one I would go for, price premium or no. It looks so right and just shouts “buy me”. Of course, there is indeed some method in shelling out a few extra pounds for the new catwalk model. In the future, it will hold its value better on the used market and will always command a premium. It makes sense to buy it, although if I owned a standard Q I don’t think I would rush to upgrade, But if you are new to the Q you would be sensible to go for the Q-P.
I have thought for a long time that the canny buyer would never buy the Q, the M10 or the next M11. Instead, lust would be put on hold until the respective -P versions were announced. How many of us are sensible enough to command such patience? Strangely, though, it is the new M10-D that bucks this trend. It is a new camera but is in effect a -P -D, turned out at birth in a set of Emperor’s clothes and with the advanced stealthy shutter of the M10-P. I can buy it without a single qualm.