Leica cameras are big on heritage and tradition, but this sometimes results in the omission of modern conveniences. Some new Leica Q3 rumors, though, suggest that the upcoming full-frame camera could finally be embracing one very handy feature – a tilting touchscreen.
As spotted by Leica Rumors, an animation in the Leica Fotos app shows the back of a Leica Q-style camera, but one that doesn't match the style of either the Leica Q2 or original Leica Q.
Instead, the mysterious camera has its rear buttons moved to the right-hand side, to make way for what looks like a tilting touchscreen. That would be a first for a Leica camera, aside from the Leica V-Lux 5 – though that model is effectively a rebranded Panasonic FZ1000 II.
Unlike the recent Leica M11, the Leica Q series offers a more modern shooting experience with features like autofocus and 4K video. This means the Leica Q3, if it is indeed en route, would be a good candidate to receive a tilting touchscreen, which is useful for shooting from high or low angles.
With the Leica Q2 released back in March 2019, a successor is certainly due – and some eagle-eyed fans spotted that Leica hinted at the arrival of a new model during the Leica M11 launch.
Behind Leica's Head of Design Marc Shipard was a roadmap containing a mysterious blank spot in the Leica Q lineup. With that blank space sitting above the 2022 release of the Leica M11, it seems the Leica Q3 could indeed be en route this year, which is exciting news for those who can afford to spend around $5,000 / £4,250 / AU$8,500 (the launch price of the Q2) on a fixed-lens camera.
Analysis: Leica hints at big year for new launches
Leica had a relatively quiet year in 2021, with its most notable announcement being the Leitz Phone 1 – a new smartphone that's based on the Sharp Aquos R6. But these new hints at the Leica Q3, along with the roadmap in its Leica M11 video, suggest that the company is planning to launch several new cameras this year.
Despite its high price tag, a Leica Q3 would be a popular arrival, as the series melds the company's classic rangefinder styling with a more practical, modern shooting experience. The addition of a tilting touchscreen isn't exactly an earth-shattering innovation, but it would be a big deal for Leica cameras.
Fujifilm faced a similar quandary with its X100 series, which retained a fixed screen in order to preserve its classic looks – until the Fujifilm X100V finally embraced the convenience of a tilting screen in 2020.
While a similar addition to a Leica Q3 might prove polarizing, Leica showed with the Leica M11 that it's prepared to embrace modern features – like internal storage, and a new battery design – in order to move its classic lines forward and appeal to a new audience.
That ethos now looks likely to continue with the Leica Q3 – and with a gap in Leica's roadmap for a new addition to its SL series of larger full-frame cameras, we'll likely see a variety of new options from the German manufacturer for well-heeled photographers this year.
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