Leica has officially unveiled the Q3 camera as the latest iteration of its compact full-frame mirrorless line-up. The fixed-lens body offers the same Summilux 28 mm F/1.7 wide-angle lens, but updates the sensor to a 60-MP BSI CMOS sensor from the 50-MP unit in the Leica Q2. The third-generation Q camera also features significant improvements to the autofocus and video feature sets.
Leica has taken the wraps off of the Q3 full-frame, fixed-focal-length camera that promises to be a robust, compact, all-rounder for both photography and videography. The Q3 features an updated 60-MP, full-frame, backside-illuminated CMOS sensor with full coverage from the built-in 28 mm prime lens.
The lens on the Leica Q3 is the familiar 28 mm F/1.7 Summilux lens with 11 elements in 9 groups. Similarly to the Q2, Leica has included digital zoom options, although this time we’re seeing zoom levels of 28 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, 75 mm, and 90 mm. Presumably, Leica has added the 90 mm option because of the updated 60 MP sensor that should produce sharper images. As for new tricks, the Q3 debuts a hybrid autofocus system that combines its previous depth from defocus (DFD) with phase detection autofocus to make subject tracking and focus locking quicker and more accurate.
Leica has given the Q3 an IP52 certification against water and dust ingress (limited dust ingress, but only protected from direct sprays of water at up to 15° from vertical), and the camera features a three-inch tilting touch screen for added ergonomics. Under a weather-sealing cover, there’s a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer and an HDMI port for video streaming. The Q3 also features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to connect to smartphones.
In terms of video, the Leica Q3 can record at up to 8K 30 fps in 4:2:0 at 10-bit, while 4K is possible at up to 60 fps in 4:2:2 and 10-bit, with 1080p topping out at 120 fps in 4:2:0 10-bit or 60 fps in Apple ProRes 422HQ. 8K video, along with the improved autofocus and upgraded Maestro IV processor are the biggest technical changes to the Leica Q3, while the flip-out display is a welcome hardware change that greatly improves ergonomics — even if that ergonomics improvement is at the cost of aesthetics.
The Leica Q3 is on sale from May 25, 2023 at an MSRP of US$5,995, but you might be better off with something like the Nikon Z 8 if you’re after practicality rather than nostalgia, clean industrial design, and a tuned lens and sensor pairing.
If you’re looking for something more affordable that also has that compact retro appeal, buy an OM System OM-5 Micro Four Thirds System Camera on Amazon.
Julian van der Merwe – Magazine Writer – 173 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2022
My interest in tech started in high school, rooting and flashing my Motorola Defy, but I really fell down the rabbit hole when I realised I could overclock the i7 930 in my Gigabyte pre-built PC. This tinkering addiction eventually lead me to study product design in university. I think tech should improve the lives of the people using it, no matter the field. I like to read and write about laptops, smartphones, software and trends in technology.
Julian van der Merwe, 2023-05-26 (Update: 2023-05-26)