When the most important criticism you may have a couple of digicam issues the picture high quality at ISO 25,000, you recognize you may have a primary world downside. Such is the case when evaluating two full-frame compacts: the Leica Q and the Sony RX1R II.

Sure, there are variations between the cameras (which I’ll get into), however utilizing both digicam is a pleasure and in case your aim is a top quality, light-weight “point-and-shoot,” you gained’t do any higher than one in every of these dangerous boys. I’ve been utilizing the unique Sony RX1 for the previous three years, and it has traveled with me to a dozen nations offering the small and surreptitious physique that I all the time wished in a journey digicam. Sure, there are occasions after I nonetheless pull out my DSLR, however these occasions have gotten more and more uncommon.

As nice because the RX1 has been, I’ve two principal gripes: 1) autofocus is gradual in low mild, and a pair of) the mechanical leaf shutter tops out at 1/2000s with apertures larger than f/5.6 – not an issue for many images, however on vivid days once you wish to shoot broad open for that avenue vogue photograph, it’s a letdown. Others have complained in regards to the lack of built-in EVF (I acquired used to utilizing the LCD show), poor battery life (I carry a minimum of two spare batteries with me), and the barrel distortion (simply addressed with a Lightroom lens profile). I had nice hopes for the RX1R II.


I used to be unexpectedly stunned by the utility of RX1R II’s articulating display. Prosumer cameras have had such a function for years, however it’s a bit uncommon on increased finish cameras (the uber-popular Nikon D750 has one). Photographs that used to require me to crouch down had been extra simply visualized, and the ever in style birdseye view of meals didn’t require me to face over a plate. This new model will certainly proceed to be in style with the meals bloggers.

The RX1R II sports an articulating LCD screen

The RX1R II sports activities an articulating LCD display

The RX1R II options the identical sensor because the a7R II – a 42MP beast that churns out an 84MB RAW file. Once I noticed the spec, I rolled my eyes. However in fact, when utilizing the compressed mode, the information are 43.2MB in measurement, which is fairly darn near the Nikon D800’s 36MP (which clocks in at about 45MB). The element of the information is unimaginable as you may think, and having a lot decision provides you considerably leeway to crop with out sacrificing element or file measurement.


42MP gives you enough resolution to tell the Washington Square Park Arch is covered with netting

42MP provides you sufficient decision to inform the Washington Sq. Park Arch is roofed with netting

The EVF replaces the place of the RX1’s built-in flash. I suppose when your sensor can shoot at ISO 104,000 the necessity for a flash is diminished. The EVF has a ton of element and the refresh price is excessive, however the viewport is a small so Sony consists of an eyecup accent. However when the eyecup is hooked up, you may’t decrease the EVF again into the physique, which clearly elevated the general quantity of the digicam. However as somebody who wears glasses, I discovered it troublesome to see your entire EVF area of view. Nonetheless, I did discover myself utilizing the EVF a number of occasions when vivid ambient mild made it troublesome to see the rear display.

The RX1's (left) built-in flash is replaced by the RX1R II's (right) built-in EVF

The RX1’s (left) built-in flash is changed by the RX1R II’s (proper) built-in EVF


Sony claims a 30% improve in focusing pace along with a 399 focal-plane part detection system. Is it sooner than the RX1 (a distinction detection mechanism)? Sure. However it’s nonetheless gradual in low mild (I’m speaking >=ISO 6400), and the lens seems to rack by way of its focus vary to achieve a spotlight lock, which chews up precious time. Even when utilizing the dreaded AF Help lamp, I discovered the focusing to be gradual. Sluggish autofocus is presumably the one disappointment of the brand new digicam.

Which brings us to the Leica Q.

The Q isn’t low-cost at a retail value of $4250. Alternatively, the RX1R II is $three,898 – so neither digicam is affordable (however neither is a full-frame DSLR with an excellent piece of glass). The Q is greater, however when the RX1R II’s EVF is deployed with the eyecup, the peak is sort of similar. The Q is heavier by about 150g, however curiously the density of the RX1R II makes the items really feel about the identical weight.

The Leica Q's lens is big and tilts the camera body forward. No such problem for the RX1R II.

The Leica Q’s lens is huge and tilts the digicam physique ahead. No such downside for the RX1R II.

I didn’t discover the Leica’s contact display to be terribly revolutionary. Sure, it’s good to swipe between photographs, and contact the display for various menu choices, however the software program doesn’t allow contact for each perform. The Q’s publicity compensation dial is unmarked – you don’t understand how a lot compensation you’ve dialed in with out activating the display or EVF. The Sony’s compensation dial is unbelievable. It’s labeled and it has essentially the most satisfying of clicks.

The RX1R II has a fantastic and useful exposure compensation dial

The RX1R II has a unbelievable and helpful publicity compensation dial

The Q’s EVF is unbelievable, albeit a bit contrasty. The viewport is large – not an issue for eyeglass wearers – and boasts three.68 million pixels to Sony’s 2.36 million, however actually, we’re splitting hairs. I don’t have the visible acuity to actually inform the distinction whereas out within the area.

The Q has a 28mm f/1.7 lens, which I discovered to be a bit broad. When taking photographs of individuals from a number of toes away, there’s a little bit of facial function exaggeration that I discovered unappealing. However the high quality is ridiculous. The DNG has a built-in lens profile, so it’s unimaginable to inform what kind of barrel distortion would possibly exist. I don’t care what kind of voodoo occurs in Lightroom as a result of the photographs look nice.

ISO 16,000 f/2.0 at 1/60s

ISO 16,000 f/2.zero at 1/60s

And the Q’s focusing is ridiculously quick. Even in low mild, and particularly with the AF Help lamp. Evaluating focusing pace with the Sony is apples and oranges. The Q is that a lot sooner.


ISO 400 f/four.zero at 1/60s

In the end, choosing a digicam is a private alternative as a result of everybody has completely different targets with their images and standards for necessary options. I journey lots so measurement is a matter. I shoot in low mild often, so focusing pace and accuracy issues. I don’t care about capturing video so I didn’t hassle making an attempt the video options of both digicam. Moiré patterns don’t have an effect on my images, so the Sony’s variable low-pass filter doesn’t actually excite me a lot. Lastly, I put up my photos on Fb and on PhotoShelter. No exhibition prints for me. Each cameras are greater than certified for these duties (which can also be why I’m not offering 100% crops. DPReview has a studio scene comparability for technical varieties).

ISO 400 f/2.5 at 1/60s

ISO 400 f/2.5 at 1/60s

I want the Q had a 35mm lens. I want the RX1R II targeted sooner. I want the Q was smaller. I want the RX1R II had a extra intuitive menu system. I want the Q had a DNG-only mode. I want each had simpler methods to switch photos to my iPhone.

So which digicam did I select and why?

ISO 10,000 f/5.6 at 1/60s

ISO 10,000 f/5.6 at 1/60s

I picked the Leica Q at the beginning due to the focusing pace. It was an actual pet peeve subject for me, and I simply couldn’t look away for one more three years. The opposite subject is the EVF. I by no means used the EVF on the unique RX1, and I’ve all the time stated that I didn’t want it. However now I do, however not for the explanations you would possibly assume. You see, I’ve gotten a little bit older and I’m having extra hassle focusing my eyes shut up (presbyopia for the opthamology inclined). That has meant peering over my glasses to see the LCD display on the RX1. However with the massive EVF of the Leica Q, it’s not an issue. I do know I’ll miss the smaller physique of the RX1R II.

The digicam is solely a software, and each the Sony RX1R II and the Leica Q are tremendous instruments. For those who can’t make good photographs with these cameras, it’s on you. Talking of which, I believe I’ll go make some photos now.

This put up was up to date to precisely mirror the worth of the Sony RX1R II.