Leica Q2 vs Olympus E-M1 III
The Leica Q2 and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2019 and February 2020. The Q2 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-M1 III is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (Q2) and a Four Thirds (E-M1 III) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 46.7 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Q2 and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Leica Q2 and the Olympus E-M1 III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M1 III is notably larger (17 percent) than the Leica Q2. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the Q2 has a lens built in, whereas the E-M1 III is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-M1 III and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The power pack in the E-M1 III can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Leica Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|2.||Olympus E-M1 III||134 mm||91 mm||69 mm||580 g||420||Y||Feb 2020||1,799|
|3.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||161 mm||97 mm||66 mm||775 g||400||Y||Sep 2018||4,499|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D II||148 mm||97 mm||70 mm||766 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|5.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|6.||Leica M10-R||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jul 2020||8,295|
|7.||Leica X-U Typ 113||140 mm||79 mm||88 mm||635 g||450||Y||Jan 2016||2,950|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Nov 2015||5,195|
|9.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|10.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||139 mm||80 mm||42 mm||680 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||6,950|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 III||125 mm||85 mm||50 mm||414 g||310||Y||Oct 2019||1,199|
|13.||Olympus E-M1X||144 mm||147 mm||75 mm||997 g||870||Y||Jan 2019||2,999|
|14.||Olympus E-M1 II||134 mm||91 mm||67 mm||574 g||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999|
|15.||Panasonic G90||130 mm||94 mm||77 mm||536 g||290||Y||Apr 2019||999|
|16.||Panasonic G9||137 mm||97 mm||92 mm||658 g||400||Y||Nov 2017||1,699|
|17.||Zeiss ZX1||142 mm||93 mm||46 mm||800 g||250||n||Sep 2018||5,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica Q2 features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-M1 III a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M1 III is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the Q2 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-M1 III offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 46.7MP, the Q2 offers a higher resolution than the E-M1 III (20.2MP), but the Q2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.30μm versus 3.34μm for the E-M1 III) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-M1 III is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the Q2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica Q2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Q2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.8 x 27.9 inches or 106.3 x 70.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33.5 x 22.3 inches or 85 x 56.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.9 x 18.6 inches or 70.8 x 47.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-M1 III are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The E-M1 III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the Q2, the E-M1 III has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (80MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Leica Q2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III are ISO 200 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 64-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|2.||Olympus E-M1 III||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|6.||Leica M10-R||Full Frame||40.9||7864||5200||none||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Leica X-U Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|10.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||Full Frame||23.7||5952||3976||1080/25p||24.0||13.3||1860||84|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 III||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Olympus E-M1X||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-M1 II||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80|
|15.||Panasonic G90||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Panasonic G9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Q2 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the E-M1 III (3680k vs 2360k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica Q2 and Olympus E-M1 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Olympus E-M1 III||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||3690||n||3.2||2360||tilting||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|7.||Leica X-U Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|9.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 III||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M1 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||18.0||n||Y|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Leica Q2 and the Olympus E-M1 III both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Q2 and the E-M1 III write their files to SDXC cards. The E-M1 III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Q2 only has one slot. Both the Q2 and the E-M1 III support UHS-II cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s (the second slot of the E-M1 III only offers slower UHS-I transfer rates, though).
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Leica Q2 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Olympus E-M1 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica X-U Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M1 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the E-M1 III has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The Q2 does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-M1 III (unlike the Q2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the Q2 and the E-M1 III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The Q2 replaced the earlier Leica Q Typ 116, while the E-M1 III followed on from the Olympus E-M1 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica Q2 and the Olympus E-M1 III? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica Q2:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (46.7 vs 20.2MP) with a 55% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3680k vs 2360k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-M1 III requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x80mm vs 134x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2019).
Advantages of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III:
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.83x vs 0.76x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M1 III is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 10 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Q2 and the Olympus E-M1 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Q2 or the E-M1 III perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Leica Q2||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|2.||Olympus E-M1 III||5/5||..||83/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2020||1,799|
|3.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2018||4,499|
|4.||Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2019||5,750|
|5.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|6.||Leica M10-R||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||Jul 2020||8,295|
|7.||Leica X-U Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||2,950|
|8.||Leica M Typ 262||..||..||..||..||..||Nov 2015||5,195|
|9.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|10.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|11.||Leica M Typ 240||4/5||..||..||4/5||..||Sep 2012||6,950|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 III||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2019||1,199|
|13.||Olympus E-M1X||4.5/5||o||..||4.5/5||..||Jan 2019||2,999|
|14.||Olympus E-M1 II||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999|
|15.||Panasonic G90||4.5/5||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2019||999|
|16.||Panasonic G9||..||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Nov 2017||1,699|
|17.||Zeiss ZX1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||5,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Leica Q2 vs Olympus E-M1 III
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Leica Q2||Olympus E-M1 III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28mm f/1.7||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2019||February 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 4,995||USD 1,799|
|Sensor Specs||Leica Q2||Olympus E-M1 III|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||46.7 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8368 x 5584 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.30 μm||3.34 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.41 MP/cm2||8.96 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||50 - 50,000 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||64 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||96||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.4||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2491||..|
|Screen Specs||Leica Q2||Olympus E-M1 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3680k dots||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica Q2||Olympus E-M1 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||18 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/40000s||up to 1/32000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica Q2||Olympus E-M1 III|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica Q2||Olympus E-M1 III|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
130 x 80 x 92 mm
(5.1 x 3.1 x 3.6 in)
134 x 91 x 69 mm
(5.3 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
|Camera Weight||718 g (25.3 oz)||580 g (20.5 oz)|
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