On March of 2016, the day I decided that the Leica Q was the camera for me is a moment in time that I can forever say changed my life in the world of photography. My life was in a transition process, having twins who were at the age of one and adjusting to life with new responsibilities. I knew twelve months prior to March that my photography needs were changing and thus I started to sell my Canon 5DM3 DSLR gear. My photography needs were different at the time and coming from an IT background, I had the mindset that a feature rich camera was the best way to go. In came the Leica Q and simplicity forever changed my chain of thought.
After months of deliberating new systems and a constant back and forth, I understood what my priorities were moving forward. Quick, simple, light and ease of use. Scared of the thought that I would not be able to pick my lens, switch focal lengths and buy glass for my camera which was always an exciting process, I decided to stick to my priorities and understood that a fixed lens and focal length camera was the right camera for me at this very moment in time. And was I in for a real surprise on what was to come! Opening the box and feeling the sweet metal body for the first time was lo and behold a euphoric moment, wow build quality just felt rock solid. This without even using it yet.
As you would with any new camera, I decided to start testing a few shots. The very first 10 shots I took, I was blown away. Simple, mechanical buttons to set and compose my shot and snap. Captured the moment I wanted. I took a photo of my son perched against the wall and was amazed by how I can just capture the simplest moments at ease.
To set the table, there were compromises that I had to accept and decide upon when first purchasing the Leica Q. To name a few here are a few items which I decided were things I could live with:
- Fixed Focal Length (28mm) - This was not a big issue for me, more of an adjustment to use my feet to capture the right distance from my shot.
- Weather Sealing - As you probably already know, the Leica Q is not a weather sealed product. This was an area where I had the most worry about with all the weather sealing I had in the Canon 5DM3. I thought it over and realized that the percentage of times I actually needed a camera in rain, snow or freezing temperatures was not all that much.
- Long-Exposure Limit - (30s Prior to the latest firmware upgrade). Another item that is nice to have but not a must have.
The more I traveled and the more I started to use the Leica Q it just made me fall in love with it. It was light, simple and easy to use that made having it at my side a no brainer. Gone are the days of lugging 12 lbs. of gear to travel the world. With my Canon system, I use to worry too much of with the following questions whenever I was getting ready to go off on a trip or looking at a scene to capture:
- "What lens do I want to use, wide, zoom, prime, 16-35, 50, 85?". Just picking a lens was troublesome.
- Once I had the lens, then picking exposure, aperture, focus, drive mode etc had me jumping and hoping thru menus, knobs, wheels and so on.
Before you know it you have wasted a perfect moment to just capture the shot. With the Leica Q, the camera has simplified my whole process and this is the biggest goal of Leica. Simple, intuitive and mechanical engineering at its finest.
Never did I ever realize how great of a benefit the simplicity of a camera was for myself until I actually used it on a day to day basis. It was always the more features I could cram and the more megapixel’s arms race.
Image Quality has always been fantastic! Low light, facing the sun, landscape and so on. Obviously, the biggest reason most photographers buy their gear is to get the best image quality but boy is the Leica Q sharp and accurate. The Leica Pop and overall IQ of the camera have never let me down over the last year.
Other great features of the Leica Q that have impressed me over the last 12 months and I will have a hard time not living without again are the following:
- Build Quality - The moment you hold and use a Leica you start to understand the reason why it is so much pricier. Handmade, solid feel, mechanical buttons and knobs which feel amazing. The Leica Q feels like a German tank in my hands. The more I was privy to working with Leica Q the more other cameras felt like toys when I would pick them up. Plastic, wobbly knobs and just a total different level of craftsmanship.
- EVF - The Leica Q was the first time I used an EVF from the view finder days with my SLR. I can forever say good riddance, I love the view finder of the Q. Never have I had issues with refresh rates or sluggishness to it, its just snappy and so much more helpful to see the exposure of the shot before you snap it. The Q's EVF is so great that I often times use the EVF to review my shots versus looking at the LCD on the back of the camera.
- Aperture ring - This sounds like nothing but manual rings for things like setting apertures is has made prepping a shot an awesome experience. I can basically set all the elements of my shot while the camera is off then when ready turn the camera on, focus and shoot.
In summary, this is not a review of the Leica Q, but an experience I thought was worth sharing. The joys of a simple camera have given me the time and space to focus on creativity. The Leica Q has inspired me to go out and shoot more and just enjoy composing pictures rather than worrying about the camera or system setup. I hope this article inspires other out there to focus on their creativity as this has brought out new joy in my day to day photography.
Additional sample images: