We’ve reviewed both cameras, so here’s what we think.
Tech Specs at a Glance
Sony RX1r II
- 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
- BIONZ X Image Processor
- Variable Optical Low-Pass Filter
- Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2 Lens
- Full HD 1080p60 Video & XAVC S Format
- 399 Phase-Detect AF Points & 5 fps Burst
- 0.39″ 2.36M-Dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
- 3.0″ 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
- ISO 102400 & Uncompressed 14-Bit RAW
- Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
– 24MP full frame sensor (possibly from Toshiba, but indeed not from Sony.)
– RAW DNG shooting capabilities
– 3MP Electronic Viewfinder
– 28mm f1.7 lens with macro mode. 11 elements in 9 groups, three aspherical elements
– WiFi capabilities
– Focusing as close as 6 inches
– ISO 100 to 50,000
– 1080p 60p and 30p HD video
– Leaf shutter
– $4,250 price tag
The Leica Q resembles a Leica M in many ways. It’s designed with an aperture ring around the lens, a focusing lever, a shutter speed dial, viewfinder, etc. There is honestly a lot to love here if you’re a photographer that mostly uses the viewfinder to shoot. Chances are that most of you are.
The Sony RX1r II hides the viewfinder and allows you to use it when activated. Otherwise, it’s got the size of a point and shoot camera with a giant lens. In many ways, some photographers will prefer this less serious look due to its more low profile nature. The Sony also has an aperture ring around the lens, but not a dedicated dial to shutter speed unless you assign one to be that.
In my hands, the Leica is more comfortable, though the Sony isn’t too bad either.
Both cameras are solidly built and designed. Sure, the Sony is significantly moe compact, but there is something to be said for the Leica’s ergonomics. If you’re smitten for that retro feel and look, then the Leica clearly has the build quality and feel that you’re going for. With that said though, I want to liken the Sony RX1r II more to the Lomography LCA + while the Leica is a lot more like the Hexar AF. Take your pick accordingly.
In my hands, I prefer the Leica. But I’m also the type that prefers Fujifilm and Olympus’s retro oriented ergonomics and dials.
Both the Sony RX1r II and the Leica Q focus very quickly. For both cameras, the secret to fast autofocus in the dark means that you’re going to need to place the focusing point over a very contrasty area. However, in good lighting you won’t have any issues. Both cameras are fast to focus and therefore great for street photographers in most situations. However, here too is where I sometimes found the Leica took the win–candid moments on the street. Overall though, I still believe that zone focusing is the best method for street photography.
Where the big difference comes in though is with manual focusing. The manual focusing experience on the Leica Q is far superior. Want the feel of a Leica M? You’ve got it. Honestly, I preferred the manual focus experience of the Q over the autofocus though I knew that if I had to switch to it that it would be reliable.
Ease of Use
Leica’s menu systems are typically amongst the easiest to work with. The menu system on the RX1R II is pretty deep and complicated–but at the same times affirms that it is very capable. However, the Leica takes the win here when it comes to menus. If you’re a person shooting and just wants to worry about shooting while not knowing a thing about exposures, then the Sony is your choice. The camera has a full auto mode.
Gawk at that as much as you want, but it means that you can give the camera to a friend that thinks that they’re a photographer and then they can shoot to their heart’s content.
Here’s where its all a mixed bag. The Sony has a 35mm f2 lens from Zeiss and a 42.2MP sensor that is highly capable at higher ISOs. The Leica has a 24MP sensor and a 28mm f1.7 lens. One provides more detail, the other may give you nicer bokeh.
Here are some samples from each. In this section, I’ll gladly say to each their own.
DXOMark will tell you that the sensor in the Sony RX1r II is better; and it honestly is especially at higher ISOs. But that’s easily negated in post production. Then you have to think about the user experience, and you consider then that the Leica is quite great. The company has been creating cameras for many years now and so they’ve got that experience under their belt.