Leica Q2 Monochrom: A Dose of Black and White Medicine Makes Everything Okay
Updated: Aug 21, 2021
The Leica Q2 Monochrom is a great camera to have for you to see what the world would look like in black and white if you can afford it.
The Q2 Monochrom has pretty much the same specifications as the original Q2, which we did a review of before. The big difference between the two cameras is their sensors. The Q2 Monochrom has a 47.3-megapixel full-frame sensor that the Q2 has, but without any colour layer to it.
The Q2 Monochrom has that rangefinder look to it and also has one fixed lens and autofocus. Additionally, it is easy to use, compact, lightweight looks fantastic and it takes really good images. Even when you compare it to the original Q and Q2, the Q2 Monochrom’s captured images are really, really good.
As previously discussed in our Leica M10 Monochrom review, people thought “who would buy this camera? It’s just black and white.” However, a lot of people did; it was very popular. Even to this day, second-hand Monochrom cameras still hold their value really well. Leica made a brilliant move with the Q2 Monochrom, in our opinion, because it’s such a fun camera to use as a whole. Additionally, having an autofocus monochrome system is even better. The fact that the Q2 Monochrom has this feature is going to attract a lot of buyers to the Leica community.
There are no yellow, orange or red markings in the Q2 Monochrom’s design when compared with the Q2. Its only markings are black, white and grey. It’s sort of the same design element we saw with the M10 Monochrom with the difference only in the lens. Grey and white replaced the orange and yellow of the Q2. The overall design, as a result, feels cool, sleek and stealthy.
The Q2 Monochrom isn’t the fastest camera in the market so trust us when we say: don’t compare it with other cameras. Leica wasn’t meant for speed. It’s about taking the time on the process of getting that perfect shot.
There are other cameras that can take photos just as good as Leica’s at a much lower price. But if you’re looking at Leica, you don’t care about the price. You care about the history, lineage, build quality and what it’s like to hold and use a Leica camera. These are what the Q2 Monochrom embodies.
The Q2 Monochrom is a fun secondary camera to have when travelling around and taking street photos. It’s for people who want to see what the world looks like in black and white.
People who enjoy taking photos in black and white from the get-go will be pleased with the Q2 Monochrom. Taking a photo in colour and then converting that photo to black and white has a vastly different result than when shooting with a black and white camera from the start. The camera brings out the shade, shadows and highlights in the images captured by it. It could make an image pop that when the same image is taken in a coloured lens, it will look dull in comparison.
We can say that when compared with the M10 Monochrom, the Q2 Monochrom has good ISO performance. The Q2 Monochrom’s ISO can go up to 20,000 ISO and even 100,000 without any issues, but no one shoots at that high of an ISO. However, with an f1.7 lens, you don’t really have to shoot with ISOs that high. The lens is pretty fast, but it has the capability to shoot with a high ISO. Monochrome sensors, when compared to colour sensors, have a much better low light performance.
The Q2 Monochrom can shoot at 10fps in burst mode, record videos, and can do some black and white B-roll to give the vibe like you’re travelled to the past and see what black and white films look like.
We think Leica has done a terrific job with their lens as shots with the Q2 Monochrom are very detailed when they come out. The monochrome cameras they came up with over the years have been some of their best cameras. Even if shots are not completely focused, the camera gives you that essence of film and that romanticism that makes every shot really unique.
The Q2 Monochrom’s sensor, as with Leica’s other monochrome sensors, captures sharper images than the colour sensors. They also feel natural and more organic. Maybe it’s because of the removal of the colour layer, but we can’t say for sure.
Images captured with the Q2 Monochrom also have a great dynamic range and can show an object’s texture in detail thanks to the camera’s sharpness.
We noticed that the difference between the M10 Monochrom and the Q2 Monochrom is that the images captured by the M10 Monochrom have a little bit more grey to them than those with the Q2 Monochrom. However, most people won’t see this specific difference between photos captured with both cameras. We also observed that the M10 Monochrom has a slight edge on image quality over the Q2 Monochrom, even if the former has fewer megapixels. The Q2 Monochrom has a built-in electric viewfinder which the M10 Monochrom does not.
The Q2 Monochrom can be purchased at Leica’s online store for S$8,950, S$1200 higher than the Leica Q2. Leica did not give an official answer when we asked the reason for the huge price difference. We do wish that the prices were evened out because the Q2 Monochrom’s price dissuades people from getting into Leica’s monochrome system. However, it’s hard to argue with quality, which Leica’s monochrome cameras have in abundance. If you’re willing to spend more on a monochrome camera, then the Q2 Monochrom will reward you for doing so.
There is some debate going on in regards to the lens. In our opinion, we’d go with a 35mm lens, but Leica seems to favour giving an in-between lens that can cover wide-angle shots and some pseudo-portrait.
Overall, the Q2 Monochrom is a really fun camera to use, especially if you enjoy taking photos in black and white without using a simulation option like with other cameras.
Content by Bobby Tonelli