Will The Leica Q-E Be Your Ticket To Their Fascinating World

Leica has a history of producing desirable and exemplary film cameras. Those traits are carried over to their digital range as well. But along with those enticing qualities comes the hefty price tags that Leica cameras are well known for. This is an unfortunate reality for many of us, like myself, who covet these beautiful cameras. And of course, we all know the eye-catching results they produce. However, recent reports about an entry-level Leica Q-E camera might make it much easier for many of us to join the prestigious Leica owners club.

What Does The Report Say

News from Leica Rumors observes the gradual phasing out of the Leica Q2 stock worldwide. No surprises there as the newest model in the series, the Leica Q3, was launched back in May this year. Although we loved the images coming out of this camera, there were some definite shortcomings we observed:

“While both the images and the camera itself are lovely, there are better performing cameras out there — for half the cost. The continuous autofocus won’t go beyond 4 fps and backlighting can be a challenge for the autofocus as well. I’ve also tested cameras that had sturdier stabilization systems. Photographers that want to create a back-up in camera will be disappointed to see only one SD card slot.”

The Leica Q3 is still currently one of their more affordable models. Even then, it will shave off close to $6000 from your bank account. It has quite a few differences from the Q2, most notably the increase in resolution from 47 to 60 megapixels, 8K video resolution, and a higher resolution viewfinder. It’s in a price bracket, which could easily fetch you a flagship camera and a lens from other brands. Not everyone will want to spend this much on a walkabout camera, as good as the results might be. LeicaRumors believes that a new affordable Leica Q model is coming soon. It expects this to be modeled after the Leica Q2. Could this be the Leica Q-E?

A History Of Affordable(?) Digital Leica Cameras

Let’s not even get into the Leica cameras that are basically rebranded cameras from other brands, like their V-Lux, D-Lux, and the like. I personally don’t consider them to be true Leica cameras. They were hardly any different from Hasselblad’s Stellar and Lunar series of cameras, which were nothing more than Sony cameras with expensive yet unaesthetic wooden grips screwed onto them.

Around a decade ago, Leica seemed to realize most of its cameras were priced out of the purchasing capacity of most of the planet. They then introduced the Leica M-E (Typ 220), which was basically a toned-down version of their popular M9 model. This could be considered their first entry-level digital camera. In 2019, they launched the M-E (Typ 240) for a reasonable $3995. This camera offered users the same performance as the Leica M (Typ 240) but with an upgraded 2 GB buffer. This also featured a 3-inch LCD, an ISO range up to ISO 6400, and a durable splash-proof body. It had the Maestro image processor, genuine leather, a new anthracite grey paint finish, and the gorgeous rangefinder design we have come to love from Leica.

It might be a while before we see another M-E interchangeable camera, but Leica Rumors feels that a Q-E type model might be on the cards shortly.

What Specs Could The Leica Q-E Have?

The Leica Q-2 specs were impressive for its time. It’s probably one of the cameras I’ve desired the most in recent years. You could argue that it is a perfect second/backup camera for any working professional. There is ample room to crop with that 47-megapixel full-frame sensor. Sharpness that could only come from Leica glass. And looks that would stop anyone interested in photography from striking up a conversation. Imagine getting almost all of this at a much cheaper price point in a very similar form factor. It’s enough to entice fans of other camera brands to dip their toes into Lake Leica. We don’t have any word on the expected specs, but here’s what I’d like to see in the upcoming, cheaper Leica Q-E. Bear in mind that a lot of these are based on the more affordable price point we’re expecting to see:

The Leica Q-E Could Have:

  • An OLED viewfinder without as high a refresh rate as the one in the Q2
  • Either an Elmarit f2.8 or Summicron f2 lens, probably keeping the same 28mm focal length. This will help keep the price down.
  • The 24-megapixel CMOS-BSI sensor of the SL2-S would be an excellent full-frame option. I certainly hope Leica doesn’t’ toy with us and put a 1″ V-Lux 20-megapixel sensor in there.
  • Would Leica drop its excellent weather sealing tech for the Leica Q-E? Let’s pray they don’t, but it might not be as good as that on the Q2.
  • You might see a reduction in the number of buttons on the back of the Leica Q-E. It could even be entirely touchscreen-based.
  • It’s unlikely the LCD on this one will have tilt capabilities
  • A much slower stills frame rate than the 10fps on the Leica Q2
  • You just might not see a hotshoe on this camera
  • I think you’d probably get 4K video, but maxed out at 30fps. HD will probably top out at 60 fps.
  • I dare say the Leica Q-E might not be made in Germany

Would You Buy A Leica With These Specs?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Leica Q-E would be to Leica what the Moonswatch series of watches is to Omega. The latter is more Swatch-like (now the parent company of Omega) than an Omega watch. It’s meant to hook people into buying an Omega branded watch and eventually have them invest in one of their higher-rated, more expensive models. This is maybe what Leica tried to do in the first place with the V-Lux and D-Lux cameras.

I think that with a Leica Q-E camera, they might be more successful in getting other camera brand owners to add a Leica to their lineup. Because while the Leica Q-E will be cheaper, it’s unlikely to feel cheap in your hands. It might take a bit more time for you to get the best results out of it in terms of making you slow down to take a better photo. However, I don’t think it will be a camera that frustrates you. Think of it as being somewhat like what the EM series of Nikon SLRs was to its FM range. Does a decent job without all the bells and whistles, but still very much a reliable camera and an asset to the brand value.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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