Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica Q2 Monochrom: Lust again rears its ugly head

Leica Q2 Monochrom: Lust again rears its ugly head

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An intruder invades the editor's desk. Pure lust erupts at the sight of this demure little snapper

I’m no stranger to Leica’s monochrome cameras. I’ve owned the first two rangefinder iterations (one twice), although I haven’t yet set hands on the M10M. But I do know what to expect from an all black-and-white sensor.

Yet the Q2 Monochrom is something else. For starters, it’s based on what I think is my all-time favourite camera, the Leica Q. The first Q was a blast, and I hardly had it out of my hands in 2015 and 2016. Then came the 47MP Q2, a Q-cake with plenty of icing to tempt me back.

An intruder invades the editor's desk. Pure lust erupts at the sight of this demure little snapper
An intruder invades the editorial desk. Pure lust erupts at the sight of this demure little snapper in its many shades of grey. Sharp-eyed readers will realise that this picture wasn’t taken on the Q2 Monochrom. It’s from the Q2 and processed in Silver Efex Pro 2

Now, just yesterday, I read all about the Q2 Monochrom, I wrote up the announcement, and I processed Jonathan Slack’s excellent hands-on review. It was easy to convince myself that I’d sit this one out. After all, I have the Q2, and Silver Efex Pro 2 does a wonderful job of creating high-impact B&W images from the standard colour fare. Why bother.

Cosseted

Twenty-four hours later, though, a courier drew up at Macfilos Towers bearing a dinky little PELI 1300 case. Inside, safely cosseted, was a Q2 Monochrom, a charger, strap and two batteries. It’s mine if only pretend, for the next nine days.

As soon as I placed it on my desk, I felt lust rising. This beast, in its unashamedly monochrome clothes, is simply stunning. By comparison, my colourful Q2 is a bit of a harlot, tempting the unwary with its orange, red and white trappings. The Monochrom, on the other hand, is the epitome of good taste, prim and a little proper. And that makes it all the more alluring.

It would be a cold-hearted photographer who, setting eyes on the Q2 Monochrom, wasn’t at least a little bit in love. Me, I’m head over heels purely on appearances. I am sure I will spend the next week trying to convince myself I don’t want such a camera in my life.

This lust is completely irrational, as I know. I don’t need a dedicated monochrome camera. I don’t want a dedicated monochrome camera. At least, that’s the story at the moment, and I hope to stick to it. But I haven’t yet clicked the shutter and who knows what I might find?

UI, UX and UKnow

As with the colour version with which I am thoroughly familiar, the Monochrom has that intuitive WYSIWYG set of controls—speed, aperture, focus all adjustable in seconds and checkable at a glance. Combined with the new Leica menu system and its superb quick-view screen, controlled by a minimal of knobs and buttons, this is my favourite UI. The Q2 provides a pretty damn good UX, too. U Know you want me, says the Monochrom sitting all innocent like on my desk.

Tomorrow I shall take the loan camera for walkies. Can’t go far because I’m locked down, so don’t expect shots of exotic locations. But I’ll familiarise myself with the Monochrom and see if I think it’s worth buying over the Q2. Or, more to the point, worth having in addition to the Q2.

To help me wrestle with this first-world problem, I’ve attached a Match Technical Thumbs Up, so I get the same handling as I do with the Q2. For some reason, I have two of these. One, with the domed top profile, is resident on the Q2 and the spare has the flat profile which is on the new camera. Both are in black paint which doesn’t go at all well with the gorgeous matte black of the Monochrom body.

The big question is whether or not I will be able to resist the charms of the Q2 Monochrom. I’m made of stout stuff but, come on, there are limits. I’m only human after all.

Watch this space…

Read more about the Leica Q2 Monochrom

25 COMMENTS

  1. I ordered one first thing Tuesday AM (California time). Wasn’t not going to happen! I think this will be an immensely popular camera because it’s based on an already very popular camera and it gives non-M shooters the opportunity to experience Monochrom. I still have the original Q; I bypassed the Q2 in favor of the SL2.

    The pandemic has stifled much of my photography this year, but the Q2M comes along at a good time. As we enter the stillness of winter I have a project in mind, out in the woods, shooting the theme of decay in B&W. Perhaps the Q2M will inspire a bit of a rebirth in getting me back out there to take pictures.

    • I also think this camera will be a success for Leica. At Monday’s press conference in London, the Leica UK managing director was asked what proportion of M sales the M Monochrom represented. He wasn’t sure of the exact figures because the life cycles of colour and monochrome cameras differ so much. But he hazarded 1 camera in 20 was a Monochrom. I suspect the ratio for the Q2M will be higher and that will be good business for Leica. It will sell on looks alone. I’d certainly like one but, owning the Q2, I can’t really justify the cost.

  2. Picking up on your theme of lust I suggest you put the Q2 M in a sock, take it to bed with you and see what it looks like in the morning.

  3. Much as it’s a lovely camera I’m going to stick with my M9 Monochrom which does everything I need and the results continue to far exceed my expectations. I have, and enjoy using the original Q, but sometimes feel restricted with the 28mm focal length. If I was going to spend that sort of money I think I would upgrade my M9M to an M10 Monochrom so that I could use my collection of M lenses.

    If I didn’t own a comprehensive set of M lenses then I would certainly go for the Q Monochrom.

    I’m sure everyone who buys this new camera will be delighted with it.

    Best regards to all, Tom

  4. I think I would have to buy a GR iii first to see how I got on with 28mm as a focal length. I know there is ample in-camera cropping to take me into my comfort zone, but that would seem to me unfair to the potential of this camera.

  5. Q2M arrived at lunchtime.

    So far I have had one one hour or so with it on my daily exercise along Stanage Edge here in the Peak District and taken some silly macro shots sat back at my desk. Comparing it to the M246 I part-exchanged the DNG files seem to be subtly different in the midtones. Shadow recovery appears to be even better and, frankly, astounding. It is a blessed relief and joy for me to be able to use this sensor aided and abetted by a bright EVF, a full horizontal green level, a framing grid, IBIS, a sophisticated metering system, ability to easily move focusing field, and the cropping option if not different aspect ratios to pre-figure the output. DNG’s have dropped easily into C1. They can still be pushed with spectacular results in Silver Efex Pro. Despite the different metering system to the 246 I have still set off shooting about 1-2 stops below with an orange filter when on the edge and so far I have avoided any blown highlights. Performance at my desk at ISO 5-6400 (where I have capped it for the time being) has shocked me the most. I am still doing a triple take on the level of retained detail in mid and dark tones in a series of macro shots at these high ISO’s. My experience so far is that the OOC JPEGS with comparable settings for contrast and sharpness ( ie +1) to the 246 retain more clarity and contrast than the 246 JPEGS ever did. Conversely, I do not care for the Q2 edition of the toning options. Sellenium on the 246 is gorgeous. This nearly pocketable compact, as befits its price, is going to bring an immense amount of fun and pleasure to this desk.

    • Darrel, I’m delighted to read this. I have also had the Q2M for a day (on loan from Leica) and I am equally impressed. When you have some sample pictures. Why nit let us have a short article for publication. I am sure prospective buyers and owners of rangefinder Monochroms would find it fascinated. Mike

  6. I would be happy to do something Mike.

    I am not, however, very IT literate and might need help on how to upload or supply you with suitably sized files.

    • Don’t let it worry you – Mike can deal with any old rubbish you send him – he even manages to untangle my technical tangles!. Glad you’re enjoying the camera – the high ISO really is staggering – soon you’ll have upped that limit to 12,500!

      • Hmm… “Any old rubbish” is perhaps a bit over the top. I do have standards. Anyway, judging by Darrel’s erudite earlier comment I am sure that he will produce pearls of sheer wisdom. I have written to him privately to offer a few hints. Anyone else reading and wishing to contribute “any old rubbish” please get in touch. My fingers are poised over the keyboard.

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