The Leica Q2 still stands out as one of the most beautiful, capable, and expensive full-frame cameras you can buy, but new rumors suggest its imminent successor could meld its classic looks with some much-needed feature boosts.
The Japanese rumors site Asobinet (opens in new tab) has published what looks like the first leaked images of the Leica Q3, which it claims will launch sometime between May and June. And in a typical move for Leica, the Q3’s design appears to be virtually identical to the Q2 – from the front, at least.
The small tweaks appear to include a slightly different position for the autofocus auxiliary light, and what appears to be a thinner base plate. Otherwise, the compact full-frame camera looks near-identical from the front – and considering the Q2 is a minimalist masterpiece, that’s no bad thing at all.
But this doesn’t mean the Q3’s design will be completely unchanged. Some previous speculation has suggested the Q3 could get a tilting screen or even, as suggested by Leica Rumors (opens in new tab), a “swivel display”. If that is indeed an articulating screen that can flip around to face the front of the camera, it would be a major change for the Q series (even if we have already seen Leica cameras, like the Leica V-lux, with flip screens).
Still, beyond that potential screen change, there are five more solid rumors about the Leica Q3’s possible specs. Here are the main rumored features that could make it one of the best full-frame cameras around, even if it does (as expected) exceed the Q2’s launch price of $4,995 / £4,250 / AU$7,999.
Leice Q3: 5 new rumored features
1. A new 60MP full-frame sensor
The Leica Q2 isn’t exactly a slouch in the image quality department – there are still very few compact cameras that can match the level of detail it produces, which continues to rival the and best mirrorless cameras and best DSLRs.
But the Leica Q3 has been tipped to get the same 60MP backside-illuminated sensor as the Leica M11. That’s potentially both good and bad news. In our Leica M11 review, we were impressed with that sensor’s wide dynamic range and ISO performance.
On the other hand, we also noted that the sensor was “brutally unforgiving of focusing errors and is perhaps too high-resolution for a camera of this type”. However, the Leica Q3 is expected to have the same in-body image stabilization (IBIS) as the Q2, which the M11 lacks – so that could be the crucial ingredient that makes the Q3 sing as a handheld travel camera.
2. Wireless charging and USB-C
One of the more intriguing new features on the Leica Q3’s rumored specs list, published by both Leica Rumors (opens in new tab) and Asobinet (opens in new tab), is a “new handgrip with wireless charging”.
Despite its reputation for making classic rangefinders, Leica isn’t adverse to packing modern innovations into its cameras – like the stunning smartphone-style touchscreen on the Leica TL2 – and if the Q3 does pack in wireless charging powers, it would be one of the first cameras to do so.
Fortunately for current Leica owners, it appears the Q3 will also have the same BP-SCL4 battery as the Q2, only with a higher capacity. And the camera will also apparently get a USB-C port, which should open up the possibility of in-camera charging (which the port-less Q2 doesn’t offer).
3. Internal storage
One of the strangest omissions of modern mirrorless cameras is that very few offer internal storage, instead relying exclusively on memory cards. The Leica M11 reversed this trend with 64GB of internal storage – and the rumors suggest the Leica Q3 will match this feature.
So far, the rumors have only revealed that the Q3 will likely have “internal storage”, with no reference to the capacity. But if the Q3 does match the Q2’s 64GB storage, that’ll be enough to store around 700 raw files. This could be a bit of a lifesaver if you’ve forgotten your memory card, or filled up the one in its SD card slot.
4. Improved phase-detection autofocus
One of the Leica Q2’s main weaknesses was its fairly average autofocus performance, but it sounds like Leica is going to address this on the Q3.
In the leaked specs there’s a mention of “Phase detect AF”, which would make it a better performer for capturing moving subjects than the Q2’s contrast-only autofocus system.
While contrast-detect AF is fine when using single-point autofocus, you ideally need phase-detect AF for situations where you want to switch to continuous autofocus (or when shooting video).
Of course, you can also use manual focus on the Q2, but the inclusion of autofocus is what sets it apart from old-school rangefinders like the Leica M11. Elsewhere in the rumored specs list, an “improved focus illumination mechanism” hints at some better low-light focusing powers, too.
5. Improved video powers
The Leica M11 may completely lack the ability to shoot video, but the Leica Q2 actually has some pretty decent video specs. According to the latest rumors, the Q3 could improve on these further – although this is far from certain.
According to Leica Rumors (opens in new tab), on the Q3 the “video capability may be pushed beyond 4K” resolution, but 8K video is looking unlikely. That said, the site says that the “lack of 8k is still not confirmed”, which leaves it open as a slim possibility.
While the 60MP sensor would technically support 8K resolution, it’s unlikely to be a feature that many prospective Q3 buyers are interested in. More useful is the promises of improved video autofocus, so it seems likely that the Q3 will simply offer a more usable version of the Q2’s ability to shoot DCI ‘Cinema’ 4K at 24p and UHD 4K at 30p or 24p.
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