Leica is known for quality craftsmanship that comes with outrageous prices. They tend to produce old school photographic tools that don’t exactly innovate but the Leica Q is changing that perception across the board. And the Leica Q firmware 2.0 update just added a feature that every mirrorless camera should immediately copy. Hit the jump for the details!
Leica Q Firmware 2.0 Perfects Mirrorless Usability
No matter how you feel about the big red dot, the Leica Q hit a sweet spot with street photographers. Its winning combination of full frame sensor, great autofocus performance and ecellent EVF proved the old school company could compete in the modern digital camera market.
But the Leica Q firmware update 2.0 added one feature that makes this camera the envy of all other mirrorless cameras: EVF extended mode. In short, EVF extended mode lets you compose your shot through the viewfinder and use the LCD for menus and image playback. Just like the flagship Leica M. And just like it should be on every digital camera (that has an LCD).
Camera manufacturers typically default to an auto mode that switches the LCD on or off depending if the camera is held to your eye. This not only drains your battery by keeping the LCD on when you don’t need it, but also introduces a short lag when you bring the camera to your eye. It’s possible this delay could result in missing a shot but either way it’s a pain in the butt. The Leica M (or any DSLR for that matter) got this right. View the image through the viewfinder and display images and menus via the LCD. It’s intuitive and just makes sense.
I’m going to say this as clearly as possible:
EVERY MIRRORLESS CAMERA SHOULD BEHAVE THIS WAY.
You can download the latest Leica Q firmware update at the following link:
And if you’re in the market for a Leica Q you can grab one online at:
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My experience with mirrorless cameras is limited to Fuji and Sony (plus an early Panasonic GF1 that I quite liked) so it’s possible other manufacturers have already implemented something similar to Leica’s EVF extended mode. It puzzles me that this isn’t “just” the way mirrorless cameras work across the board.
Fuji’s EVF implementation comes close with an always on EVF and a play button that could be toggled to use either the LCD or the EVF. For most shooting situaions this works great but changing anything in the menu (or quick menu) means you have to hold the camera to your eye or change the view mode temporarily. Would be vastly improved by implementing the same DSLR type behavior as the Leica Q.
Sony is probably the worst offender here. The original A7S series of cameras had EVF only modes that not only made you look through the viewfinder to change settings, you had to dig through menus to switch the view mode back to using the LCD. The A7R II and the A7S II added the ability to program button to turn the LCD on or off but it’s still less than ideal.
The latest Leica Q firmware update is a sign that Leica is dedicated to producing tools designed for photographers first. I’m firmly in the Fuji camp these days so here’s hoping they release similar functionality in a future firmware upgrade!