|Leica Q (Type 116)|
While the classic M camera is an enduring given for Leica, the German company has been quite adventurous with expansion into new niches outside of its traditional mainstay. They have gone higher to the S medium format series, but more often than not Leica has ventured lower to more accessible luxury. If the M is for the 1%, cameras like the X and T series are for the aspirational 19% that follow. However, nothing seems to endure like the M; the forays into accessible luxury always seem temporary at best. With the D-Lux and V-Lux cameras, it is very plainly about reaching as large a mass market as tolerable for a premium luxury brand. The X series was innovative at the time of its introduction, but as larger sensor cameras have becomes the normal, Leica has had to look higher to differentiate themselves from the mass market. The Leica T fits that bill, but is so innovative it's quite a bit off the beaten path.
To be perfectly honest, all of the downmarket forays have had to deal with the stigma of not being "real Leica's"; the fact that they aren't always made with the latest technology hasn't helped matters. However, that's not the point; for the users of these cameras, it's about the enjoyment of the camera rather than about outright perfection.
The Q is different. It is as contemporary and up to date as anything that has come out of Japan, but still maintains the core virtues of simplicity and superb optics. If it were a person, it would be the capable and self-assured new comer to the office, the one whose ambition and confidence come across in a palpable but understated way. It's a camera that is comfortable at what it can do, but at the same time has the haughty air of timelessness that Leica cameras tend to portray.