Dealers report that demand for the new Leica Q2 is running high and order lists are lengthening. So far supplies have trickled through in three and fours and one dealer told me that it is likely to be some time before Leica is able to meet demand, as was the case with the
The Q, when it was launched in 2015, turned out to be a big surprise, even for Leica. So high was the demand that even a year after the launch it was impossible to just walk in and buy one. It now looks like the Q2 will repeat this success story.
One dealer told me that orders are split roughly 50:50 between upgrades and new buyers. This indicates a healthy expansion in interest in this fixed-lens camera. The number of upgrades, too, means that prices for used first-generation Qs are likely to soften. It could soon be a good time to pick up the Q1 at an attractive price.
What is attracting buyers? Among those coming to the Q for the first time, the ability to capture 30MP images at 35mm is a powerful draw. Previously the Q has been slightly hampered by the 28mm wide-angle lens which many felt uneasy with. Those who bought the camera soon came to terms with the wider view, but for others 35mm remained the ideal focal length — particularly for street photography. Now, a 30MP 35mm crop is no hardship.
For upgraders, weather protection is a big draw, as is the larger sensor which bolsters the Qs ability to provide high-quality cropped images.
With only one direct competitor, the Sony RX1R with its 24MP sensor, the Q2 is now the clear leader in the field. [As several readers have pointed out, the RX1rII has a 42MP sensor and there are rumours of a 60MP RX1rIII. No doubt Sony will soon overtakeh the Q2 in sensor size, but overall the Leica will remain the most ensible choice.
The Q2 offers better build quality, greater versatility and, crucially, lower whole-life cost because of the much higher residuals enjoyed by the red dot.
The original Q was never meant to be a mainstream contender. I imagine someone at Wetzlar reprised the words of Ernst Leitz II: “We’ll risk it”. But, as things turned out, the Q is almost certainly the company’s most successful digital camera. The Q2 can only add to this success. It does almost everything, but it is also a perfect complement to an SL or M camera.