Update: Both are wonderful cameras, but I sold both when the A7II had quite an amazing price drop recently. Along with picking up a copy of the new precious a two FE mount body set up was impossible to pass up. A decision that has already proven its merit on a recent wedding shoot.
I have dabbled in photography heresy by comparing legends to bootleg cameras before. Two that I have committed to writing can be found here and here. Today I will compare the new kid in town around here Canon EOS RP combined w/ the RF 35mm f/1.8 side by side with the preciou… I mean the Leica Q.
Sounds crazy at first…
- I mean… Leica.
- One is an all in one and the other is not.
- I mean… Leica. Just look at it.
- Summilux. Summilux. Summilux. And furthermore Summilux.
…but it can be argued that the RP/35mm has its advantages.
- Retains its f/1.8 aperture in macro mode, where the Q shifts from f/1.7 to f/2.8.
- Focuses closer than the Q.
- Macro available at all times without having to stop to turn a dial.
- More advanced phase detect AF.
- STM is no Summilux, but does not embarrass itself either.
- Tilty/flippy screen instead of a fixed one.
- Better implemented touch screen than the Q.
- Materials of the Q are superior, but (shhh) the RP/35mm feels better in hand.
- Technically has 4K though arguably cropped and hobbled.
- Utilitarian has its advantages. No need to pamper. Does not draw the same attention… unless you run into mirrorless gear heads.
- While not that much larger it does come with an EF adapter allowing for any of 2 camera mount lenses to be attached.
- While a slower shooter at 5fps the buffer seems near bottomless in real-world use.
- Lens and body combined cost a fraction of the Q.
Now the Q has its advantages for sure:
- The sensor in the Q cleans the RP’s clock overall in matters of dynamic range, detail, and shadow recovery.
- Proper silent mode implementation instead of having it as a scene.
- Distance marking for regular and macro use.
- Could be argued that the Summilux is so sharp that it allows from cropping without much loss of detail. Crop modes can be triggered with one button and RAW files retain the full uncropped image.
- Colors. Just amazing colors. The RP does well, but it is not really fair.
- Very nice physical dial controls.
- Waaaaay more fps, 10fps vs 5fps.
- Summilux is akin to dark magic. STM is nice but would take the Summilux any day all other things being equal.
And above those listed at the top, there are other shared advantages. Both:
- Have near to each bright apertures.
- Have macro capabilities.
- Are sharp wide open, although the Summilux is ridiculously so.
- Have great colors, although the Summilux is ridiculously so.
- Have mid 20s MP full frame sensors.
- Are sturdy in their own way. Would rather drop neither. But while the Q feels like it might dent a hardwood floor the RP/35mm feels like it would harmlessly bounce.
- Have image stabilization. (In lens with the Canon.)
- Are a joy to shoot with.
There are also shared demerits:
- One card slot.
- Extra batteries will be needed, but I will say the Q is the only one of the two where I have had to make use of a second battery in the wild.
- No weather sealing… Well the RP does, but the 35mm does not which cancels it out.
- Serviceable video in a pinch, but that is not what you would buy either for.
Will not argue the superiority of a 28mm lens vs. 35mm. For my purposes, it is a wash.
So would I give up the Q completely for the RP/35mm? Hush your mouth! No. How dare…
<ahem> But can I say that the Q advantages are sufficient to objectively warrant the great price difference between the two? Absolutely not.
Put in car terms the Q is a Tesla Model S, an Audi A7/A8, or the like where beauty and engineering collide in a most wonderful wallet-busting symphony.
The RP/35mm combo is more like a Dodge Charger Hemi. Based on old tech and leftover parts, but capable of proper vehicular hoonery, easy on the eyes, all while not busting the bank.
My preference? Depends.
Have the loot to spare for the Q? Get the Q. If you are really rolling in it they just released the Q2.
Unable or unwilling to step up to the Q. May I suggest an RP? Taken for what it is, it is a wonderful bit of kit. Plus I do believe it is currently the least expensive path to a new, full frame, AF, portable camera.
These are good times.
Canon may not get the award for the best or most advanced camera, but in an age where even a ‘meh’ camera is still a really good camera, they do seem to understand that value is important to a good many photographers out there.
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