Leica Q-P: First hands on

Posted on by Mike Evans

The new Leica Q-P is unashamedly a bold exercise in cosmetic prestidigitation. It’s a camera that costs some £500 more than the standard version, offers no technical advances (other than a redesigned on/off switch) but comes in a very attractive new outfit. It’s the Barbie doll of cameras, as is every -P version of the M. As reader Don Morley says, it is another case of Leica and the Emperor’s new clothes.

But what clothes! Last evening I was at Red Dot Cameras in the City of London to join Ivor Cooper in a video walk around of the M10-D. More on that later. The store’s display Q-P had just arrived, so I had to have a quick fondle, more out of duty than out of any great enthusiasm. How wrong could I have been? The Q-P is the best -P upgrade I have seen on any Leica, M or otherwise.

An new set of clothes for Barbie, but they they transform this camera into an object of pure desire

An new set of clothes for Barbie, but they they transform this camera into an object of pure desire

The new matte-black wear-resistant Swiss lacquer is magnificent, and, alone makes this camera what it is. It is a joy to behold, especially on the back where the screen and buttons shimmer on the lustrous matte finish. Can we describe matte black as lustrous? I think not, but there is just something special about this paint. It’s a matte shimmer.

The detailing, and especially the traditional Leica engraving on the top plate, turns the ordinary Q into an object of even greater desire. One reader, Brian Nichol, is in no doubt, even from just viewing the pictures:

Hi, I am excited about this and have contacted my dealer to get one ordered. It is the sexiest camera I have seen and I do not need to wait for the Q II. I could be dead before then, as I have waited a year for the Q II, not wanting to purchase just before the rumoured update. But the reality is, most cameras in the last few years exceed what we really need for most purposes and I prefer to be creative than be unhappy searching for more that is an elusive dream.

For me, too, it was a case of love at first sight. If I were in the market for a Q, this is the one I would go for, price premium or no. It looks so right and just shouts “buy me”. Of course, there is indeed some method in shelling out a few extra pounds for the new catwalk model. In the future, it will hold its value better on the used market and will always command a premium. It makes sense to buy it, although if I owned a standard Q I don’t think I would rush to upgrade, But if you are new to the Q you would be sensible to go for the Q-P.

I have thought for a long time that the canny buyer would never buy the Q, the M10 or the next M11. Instead, lust would be put on hold until the respective -P versions were announced. How many of us are sensible enough to command such patience? Strangely, though, it is the new M10-D that bucks this trend. It is a new camera but is in effect a -P -D, turned out at birth in a set of Emperor’s clothes and with the advanced stealthy shutter of the M10-P. I can buy it without a single qualm.