New images of Leica's upcoming Q (Typ 116) leaked via Mirrorless Rumors. The Q's uniform Leica layout is a sight for these sore Fujifilm X-series-using eyes. And like all finely crafted cameras, its main photographic feature set can be sussed at a glance:
- clear distance markings in both metric and imperial
- uniform Leica typography and colours
- clearly marked aperture stops
- uniform half-click aperture settings (evidenced by the above image)
- ON/OFF switch integrated for S and C drive modes, following X and M models
- hyperfocal distance indicator (a first in new-wave fixed lens digital cameras)
- aperture ring mounted at the end of the lens rather than close to the body
- full focus stops, from 0 to infinity
- AF set by twisting the lens pass infinity
- diopter controls to the right of the high-resolution 3,68m DOT EVF
- indented thumb rest
- four-way controller similar to Leica M (typ 240)
- accessory/flash hotshoe buttressed on either side by body elements
- what looks to be 1 - 3 programmable buttons
- non-threaded shutter release
- a single, unlabelled dial
- back button layout has been simplified against M and X cameras
- macro mode ring on lens (yesterday which I mistakenly assumed was an AF/M control wheel)
- movie button
- does it have a leaf shutter? If not, what is its top-end flash sync speed, and why no flash marker?
- does setting AF require the photographer to defocus the lens beyond infinity?
No competing fixed-lens camera is as thoughtful, simple, or directly controllable. Even Leica's own X cameras are complicated in comparison. However, if the Q's AF/MF control scheme requires the user to set the lens beyond infinity in order to autofocus, it precludes simple and quick manual focus override.
Even if the AF system is perfect (and it can't be), this sort of AF/MF switch requires the photographer to first defocus the lens from its AF point, focus at infinity, and then refocus/compose. If so, this is a poor choice.
Apart from that, it isn't clear whether the Q focuses on helicoids, or linear motors. One thing is clear: the lens is coupled to the focus drive mechanism, which, again, is a first in fixed-lens mirrorless digital cameras.
With the large proviso of the AF/MF switch, the Q appears to be the single most intent-driven design among all small-format digital cameras.