Leica Camera AG has launched the 3rd generation of its Q family of cameras, the Leica Q3. The new camera combines a fast maximum aperture fixed lens with the ability to record 8K video.
The first point to note about the Leica Q3 is that, as a compact camera, it has a fixed lens. There’s no option to swap lenses when you need a different focal length. Having said that, the Leica Q3 comes with a great lens. The Summilux 28mm prime lens has a very fast maximum aperture of f1.7. This will be great for low-light situations and will also give a very shallow depth of field, even with a wide focal length. The lens has eleven elements in nine groups and three aspherical lens elements. In addition, it has optical image stabilization though Leica hasn’t specified how many stops this is equivalent to.
Triple resolution sensor
The Leica Q3 features the new BSI-CMOS sensor with Triple-Resolution-Technology. This sensor has a resolution of 60, 36 or 18 MP for still images, all of which use the entire sensor area. It also has an ISO range from 50 to 100,000. In addition, the Q3 uses the latest generation of the Maestro Series processor with L2 Technology, ensuring fast operating speeds.
Leica says that the camera features a state-of-the-art hybrid autofocus system. This combines highly accurate contrast autofocus and depth from defocus system with a fast phase detection autofocus. The system gives you high speed and precision when focusing and tracking objects. In addition, the Q3 has intelligent subject recognition to help you get great shots.
The Leica Q3 can record video up to 8K resolution at 29.97p. You can also shoot in 4K up to 59.94 fps and full HD up to 119.88 fps. Interestingly, the Q3 supports both cinema 17:9 and television 16:9 aspect ratio video at 8K and 4K. In addition, the Q3 supports 10-bit 4:2:2 recording in either h.265 or h.264 at most resolutions. In full HD, you also have the option for ProRes 422 HQ. Unfortunately, video recording is limited to 29 minutes. And the Q3 doesn’t have the option to use an external microphone or headphones.
The Leica Q3 has a tiltable three-inch high-resolution touchscreen monitor on the rear. You can also compose your shots with the high-quality OLED electronic viewfinder, which has a 5.76 megapixels resolution. The camera has IP52 certification, which means it is protected against dust and water spray. In addition, you can wirelessly charge the Q3 using the optional Leica Charging Pad and separate camera handgrip.
What we think
The Leica Q3 has some great features for video, such as internal 8K 10-bit recording. It also has a very high-quality 28mm Summilux lens with a super wide maximum aperture. However, that’s your only option which will be a challenge for video makers who are used to working with a range of focal lengths. In addition, for good audio, you need to use an external microphone, which means you will need to use a separate audio recorder. These factors will put off many content creators, and that’s before we consider the price. The Leica Q3 is a great camera, but it’s probably not for everyone.
Pricing and availability
The Leica Q3 compact full-frame camera is available now and costs $5,995.