It could be argued that black and white photography is the art form’s purest manifestation. With all colour stripped away, the creator and the viewer can focus on the interplay of light and shadows and the structural elements of the composition. The new Leica Q2 Monochrom is the first full-frame digital compact camera to feature a dedicated monochrome sensor, and it offers image-makers the opportunity to return to photography’s simplest, most authentic practice.
If you want a refresher on the features of the original Leica Q2, watch our video review of it from 2019, and if you’re not even sure what makes Leicas so special in the first place, we’ve got a blog post explaining that too!
The Q2 Monochrom’s sensor has a 47.3-megapixel resolution. When paired with its sharp and fast Summilux 28 f/1.7 ASPH. lens, precise autofocus and OLED viewfinder, the Q2 Monochrom will doubtlessly be an intuitive tool for the modern photographer who wants to create timeless monochrome images. As one would expect with a Leica, the Q2 Monochrom’s body is matte black and features the traditional subtle grey and white engravings. Leica even chose to leave their classic red logo off the body as a statement of commitment to the black and white aesthetic.
The aforementioned sensor is to thank for the Q2 Monochrom’s sharp images, broader dynamic range and low noise presence, even at higher ISO numbers. This full-frame B&W CMOS sensor is new and was developed exclusively for the Q2 Monochrom. It features no colour filter array (no interpolation required), causing the pure light levels to be captured and rendered more crisply. The sensor’s reasonably high megapixel count also allows for digital zoom to simulate the focal lengths of 35, 50 and 75mm on any captured JPEGs, while the RAW DNG files are always preserved at the full resolution of the sensor.
The fixed Summilux 28 f/1.7 ASPH. prime lens is not only sharp but also renders remarkably soft bokeh. Its maximum aperture of f/1.7 makes it the fastest lens in its category and this extremely wide aperture also means it can deliver noteworthy results even in difficult lighting conditions.
The Q2 Monochrom has a 3.68 megapixel OLED viewfinder which allows the photographer to see clearly into the deepest black areas of the frame. As has become the standard for modern cameras, the Q2 Monochrom’s viewfinder has an eye sensor which causes it to automatically activates when the photographer peers through it.
Touching on its full magnesium all-metal construction, the Q2 Monochrom is equipped with dust and splash protection. It sports the same considered layout and straightforward operation present in other beloved Leica models. The physical dials and touchscreen on the back exist simply to give the image-maker direct access to the main shooting parameters.
While it is certainly aimed primarily at photography, the Leica Q2 Monochrom can also capture beautiful black and white videos at a maximum of 4K 30 fps or FHD 120 fps. A final creative feature harkens back to the heydays of analogue shooting, with three new E49 colour filters to modify the colours and contrast for a more crushed or muted aesthetic. These screw-on filters are available in yellow, green and orange.