When the largest grievance you have got a few digicam issues the picture high quality at ISO 25,000, you understand you have got 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 objective is a top quality, light-weight “point-and-shoot,” you received’t do any higher than one in every of these unhealthy boys. I’ve been utilizing the unique Sony RX1 for the previous three years, and it has traveled with me to a dozen international locations offering the small and surreptitious physique that I at all times wished in a journey digicam. Sure, there are occasions after I nonetheless pull out my DSLR, however these instances have gotten more and more uncommon.

As nice because the RX1 has been, I’ve two most important gripes: 1) autofocus is gradual in low mild, and a couple of) the mechanical leaf shutter tops out at 1/2000s with apertures greater than f/5.6 – not an issue for many pictures, however on shiny days while you need to shoot vast open for that avenue trend picture, it’s a letdown. Others have complained concerning the lack of built-in EVF (I obtained 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 shocked 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 common birdseye view of meals didn’t require me to face over a plate. This new model will certainly proceed to be common 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. After 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 unbelievable as you may think, and having a lot decision offers 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 offers 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’ll be able to’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 the whole EVF area of view. Nonetheless, I did discover myself utilizing the EVF just a few instances when shiny 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% enhance in focusing velocity along with a 399 focal-plane section detection system. Is it quicker than the RX1 (a distinction detection mechanism)? Sure. But it surely’s nonetheless gradual in low mild (I’m speaking >=ISO 6400), and the lens seems to rack via its focus vary to achieve a spotlight lock, which chews up worthwhile time. Even when utilizing the dreaded AF Help lamp, I discovered the focusing to be gradual. Gradual autofocus is presumably the one disappointment of the brand new digicam.

Which brings us to the Leica Q.

The Q just isn’t low-cost at a retail value of $4250. However, the RX1R II is $three,898 – so neither digicam is affordable (however neither is a full-frame DSLR with a very good piece of glass). The Q is larger, however when the RX1R II’s EVF is deployed with the eyecup, the peak is sort of equivalent. The Q is heavier by about 150g, however curiously the density of the RX1R II makes the models 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 massive 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 images, 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 know the way 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 probably 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 vast. When taking images of individuals from just a few ft 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 not possible to inform what kind of barrel distortion may exist. I don’t care what kind of voodoo occurs in Lightroom as a result of the images 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 velocity with the Sony is apples and oranges. The Q is that a lot quicker.


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

Finally, choosing a digicam is a private alternative as a result of everybody has totally different objectives with their pictures and standards for essential options. I journey loads so measurement is a matter. I shoot in low mild ceaselessly, so focusing velocity and accuracy issues. I don’t care about taking pictures video so I didn’t trouble making an attempt the video options of both digicam. Moiré patterns don’t have an effect on my pictures, so the Sony’s variable low-pass filter doesn’t actually excite me a lot. Lastly, I put up my pictures 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 centered quicker. 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 pictures 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 first due to the focusing velocity. It was an actual pet peeve challenge for me, and I simply couldn’t look away for one more three years. The opposite challenge is the EVF. I by no means used the EVF on the unique RX1, and I’ve at all times mentioned that I didn’t want it. However now I do, however not for the explanations you may suppose. You see, I’ve gotten a bit of 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 big 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 high quality instruments. In case you can’t make good images with these cameras, it’s on you. Talking of which, I believe I’ll go make some footage now.

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