Premiere and review: The 2015 Leica Q (Typ 116)

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It is refreshing to be surprised, for a change – and refreshing to have something that comes somewhat unexpectedly but scratches an itch that you didn’t really know existed. I have owned and reviewed many Leicas in the past, from Ms, to the S system, to the T, X/1/2/113/Vario, to various ahem…rebodies. All have excited me in some way or other, but also left me with the feeling ‘if only’. If only the M had a built in EVF…if only the S had more pixels…if only the T was a bit smoother operationally…if only the Xs had viewfinders (and were 28mm). I was disappointed I couldn’t get a M246 Monochrom to test, especially against the D810. Instead, I was offered the Q.

Images in this review were all shot with a final production Q Typ 116 running firmware 1.0. I wil be uploading additional images as time goes along with to this set on Flickr. As you can probably tell from the sample images, during the limited time I’ve had to shot with the camera, the weather/light quality has best been described as ‘hmmm, painterly’. And a big thank you must be given to the folks at Leica Malaysia for the loan camera. Images in this review were processed with Photoshop Workflow II.

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I’ll start with the main ‘if only’ and get it out of the way: if only it had interchangeable lenses. But if it did, it’d probably kill the Ms. After all, it shares a 24MP (CMOSIS?) sensor, and has a whole host of other improvements like a much better (touch) LCD and autofocus. But oh joy of joys…the lens is a 28mm!

Regular readers will be familiar with my preference for this focal length, and my devotion to the Ricoh GR because of its blend of pocketability, performance and that focal length. Though 35mm has always been viewed as the quintessential documentary focal length, you’ll also know I’ve never really gotten on with it – I’ve always thought it too long to be dramatic, and too wide to be isolating. I’d much rather have a 28/50 pair, which is what I usually do: GR in one pocket at 28mm, and D810/Otus 55 around my neck. The GR has its share of ‘if onlys’, too: mainly centered around the relatively slow lens and the high shutter speeds required to eliminate camera shake because of the lack of an EVF or IS. And then whilst pixel quality is really top notch, there aren’t that many of them. D810 companion yes, D810 substitute, not really – only because the Nikon wide options are pretty poor. In short: please sir, can I have more?

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While waiting, along comes that ‘more’: a full frame, 24MP, AA-less, EVF equipped (with 3.7 million dots, no less) camera with an optically stabilised 28/1.7. There’s also a touch panel (which appears to be inherited from the T) that can be used for focus, release or navigating playback. It even has a higher claimed maximum ISO limit than the recent 24MP CMOS M246 Monochrom. I really don’t suffer from GAS often, but I did after reading the reply to my initial email. This means that as much as I want to be objective, there is probably going to be some bias involved. Let’s get things straight, though: in 28mm-fixed-focal-large-sensor-land, you only really have four options* right now. The first is the GR we all know and love, with 16MP and f2.8 on an APS-C sensor; the second is the Fuji X100 series with the wide converter, which also gives you 16MP but at f2, with a hybrid viewfinder/EVF and significantly larger physical size; the third is the Coolpix A, and now the Q. The GR can be had for around $600; the X100T plus converter will run you $1299+$315 for the wide converter for a total of $1600 and change; the Q has the usual red dot premium and weighs in at a hefty $4,500. And yes, because some people are bound to ask, it’s made in Germany – or at least that’s what’s stamped on the bottom.

*One reader correctly pointed out there’s also the Sigma DP1M/DP1Q: yes, but they aren’t exactly documentary cameras nor do they have a large shooting envelope. And then there’s SPP and the workflow issue…

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No escape goes unseen

As nice as the X100T is in the hand, and as useful as the optical finder is, I have a hard time justifying the extra for the X100T, mainly because of the extra bulk: the lens still requires f4 or thereabouts to match the GR’s performance at f2.8, and you’re lugging around a lot of extra weight without any gains in image quality. The Q represents an even worse value proposition at 7.5 times the price, though it has a few things going in its favor: a lens that’s 1.5 stops faster than the GR, with similar performance, a full frame sensor, optical image stabilisation, an EVF, and as a result, a much larger shooting envelope. As they say, you pay your money and you get your choices.

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After work

Leica’s design gestalt is by now so well-established that you would be forgiven for thinking they’ve run out of ideas: everything seems to look like a streamlined M, from the M itself to the Panasonic LX100-based D-Lux 109. Sometimes this works, like in the X, sometimes it doesn’t work so well – like in the previous D-Luxes. But unless the touchscreen/electronic UI is really well sorted, I’ll take it any time over the buttonless T. In the hand, we know what to expect: mostly comfortable, but not always, depending on body thickness and the length of your fingers. I found the film Ms to be a lot more comfortable than the digital ones, with the M9-P being about the maximum thickness comfortable without a front grip (but still requiring a thumb grip of some sort) and the M240 is just too easy to drop without it.

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You are in the right place even if it might not feel like it

The Q is a bit thinner than the M, for which I’m extremely thankful. The difference in comfort is noticeable, though I’d still like a better positioned thumb grip. (The rear thumb divot is appreciated, but too close to the right edge of the camera to avoid cramping.) No doubt this reduction in thickness is because the 27.8mm flange distance didn’t have to be maintained, and the lens’ rear element can get a lot closer to the sensor. The camera is somewhere between the X and the M240 in size – actually, pretty close to say an M6. It’s almost bare from the front, with just an AF assist lamp and a red dot. The top plate carries the same controls as the Ms – shutter speed, power/drive, shutter, video, plus the migrated command dial for exposure compensation or program shift. The lens continues to use the excellent system from the X Vario 107 and X Typ 113 – manual focus with automatic magnification if you turn the ring, with AF at a detent past the infinity position. There’s also of course an aperture ring and a new rear toggle to move some elements for optimal performance at macro distances – a sensible solution, which we’ve seen before in the Sony RX1’s Zeiss 2/35 optic.

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Note two focusing scales and macro switch. The lens restricts you to f2.8 maximum in the macro position, presumably to increase image quality.

The rear again resembles the M – similar row of buttons down the left, D pad, oddly indented thumb notch, diopter correction and a couple of programmable buttons. There is no flash, but a TTL hotshoe compatible with Leica’s own flashes – and third party ones. The camera uses a hybrid leaf and electronic shutter; it’s mechanical up to 1/2000s, which is as fast as I could get my flashes to sync, and electronic up to 1/16,000s (you select the 1/2000+ position on the shutter dial, and use the command wheel). In fact, other than for the missing finder windows, you could easily mistake this for an M – which makes me wonder if this is perhaps Leica’s intention all along. Unlike the M (but reminiscent of the original Digilux 2 and later Panasonics and X cameras), exposure modes are intuitively controlled by overriding automatic: aperture, shutter and focus rings all have ‘A’ positions and manual settings. Use the manual settings and you go to aperture priority, shutter priority or full manual respectively; leave everything in A and land up with program (and thankfully buried deep, deep down in the menu are the seemingly unavoidable scene modes). What I don’t understand though is why none of them move in the same increments: the aperture ring is in 1/3 stops. The shutter speed dial is in full stops. ISO is in full stops. But exposure compensation is in 1/3 stops. This is both slow and confusing.

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Vertical chess

The camera is a bit lighter than it looks; it isn’t quite as dense as the Ms, which is probably due to the hybrid aluminium/ magnesium construction (no brass anywhere). It doesn’t feel hollow, but might if it were any lighter. Everything is sold and has just the right tension and tactile feel; with the exception of the thumb grip/divot and lug placement** the haptics are really quite excellent. There are other nice little touches, like the tab on the (somewhat stiff) manual focusing ring with locking AF tab integrated, and the macro switch that also moves the distance scale, and joy of joys – a proper depth of field scale, which means zone focusing is definitely possible.

**It seems that no manufacturer manages to get this right, and Leica and Olympus are the worst offenders for pinching the webbing between index and middle finger.

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Note focusing tab with AF locking button.

Not that you’ll need it. Surprisingly, autofocus is the fastest of any Leica I’ve used, and I’ll be damned if I can tell the difference in speed between this and my E-M5 II, which is the fastest of any mirrorless camera I’ve used to date. It is definitely faster than the GR. Single point AF appears to be the most reliable and speedy option, though the camera does have tracking and continuous options – like every CDAF system, they’re not really that reliable. It had no problem locking on even in relatively dim conditions, so long as there was sufficient contrast. Low contrast, even if very bright, would cause hunting. Note that the camera both views and focuses (including magnified manual focus) with the lens wide open; I did not notice any significant focus shift because of this. There is no way to magnify the frame without activating manual focus (which makes sense). There’s one final thing to be carful of with focusing: if you have a target that has significant overexposure, there’s a good chance the camera will not be able to lock on it, or worse, give a false positive. This is a common limitation of CDAF systems – it’s important to remember that blown highlights also equal zero contrast, though the Q seems a little more susceptible to this. Not a massive issue because I only encountered it when photographing neon signs (!) and could easily just swing the focusing tab to lock on manually.

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Facets

In practice, the Q is flexible enough that you can shoot it like an M – manually focused with or without magnification and/or peaking, zone focused, and with some somewhat silly digital ‘rangefinder crop lines’ that show you the whole frame but only save 35 or 50mm. It even comes with one of those screw in square hoods that has just the right number of threads always land up in the right orientation when tightened. In fact, the reason why I keep comparing it to the M is because it provides the most M-like shooting experience of any non-M Leica. The design, ergonomics and control placement fool my hands into thinking they are holding an M.

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Signs of life in the middle

Again, much like an M, it is really a simple camera – but still feels like a camera first and foremost. You can pretty much set everything in the menus once, and never have to look at them again. It is a scalpel rather than a Swiss Army Knife, and performs best when used as such. There’s almost no perceivable lag from the electronics to get in the way, including at startup, which is as fast as any mirrorless camera I’ve used (though not DSLR). Alternatively, you can shoot it with a bit more deliberation and precision, and take advantage of the 100% finder and fast AF. The Q’s leaf shutter is both extremely silent and low-vibration; better than even the best of the original film Ms and much like the GR. Suffice to say it will not be the source of any vibrations or double images. It also has the benefit of offering flash sync to 1/2000s, at all apertures. The EVF panel itself is of high resolution and good dynamic range; focusing and composition are easy, and the dot pitch is fine enough that your first instinct isn’t that you’re looking at a screen. That said, the optics of the finder itself could be better – though there’s adequate eye relief for spectacle wearers and a diopter adjustment built in, the edges are a bit smeary. Finally, I suppose you could even use it as a (god forbid) lifestyle camera; the Q also has wifi, a companion app (not available at the time of testing), touch to focus (and shoot) and scene modes.

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Gaps in the smile

All in all, the Q has to be one of the most responsive cameras I’ve used – even for menu operations, image magnification etc. – no doubt due to the Maestro II processor, which is shared with the S Typ 007 and surpasses the M240. It will sustain 10fps DNG for about 12-13 shots with a fast card, and shot to shot times are almost instant with virtually no blackout before returning to a live image. I suspect Maestro II has also had a positive effect on battery life, too – I was easily able to obtain ~600+ shots per charge without too much trouble – that’s a day to a day and a half given the way I typically use a 28mm camera. This is impressive given the other full frame cameras in live view won’t even come close – my D810 and D750 could get to perhaps 400 if used quickly; the Sony A7II being the worst offender, struggling to pass 200. Leica have come a long way since the electronics of the M8 and M9 series cameras (which would lock up if you looked at them wrongly and eat cards for breakfast – at least, all three of mine did). In many ways, it actually brings to mind the M8/21/1.4 ‘Lux combination I shot pretty much exclusively for a year back in 2009-10. I’d have given my right arm for this kind of image quality and responsiveness, though.

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Park evening

The Q 116 uses the same base sensor as the M 240 an updated 24MP 36×24 CMOS (made by CMOSIS?). There is no AA filter (and occasional moire is the result). It has a retuned ISO range of 100-50,000, which probably again has something to do with Maestro II. I would say noise is pretty much nonexistent up to ISO 800, with hints creeping in at 1600, 3200 being noticeable, 6400 usable with some work, and 12800 being strictly for emergency use only. I wouldn’t bother with anything above that. This is pretty much in line with the M240, and about 1/2-1 stop behind the D750. Dynamic range is also similar to the M240 – in practice, about 12.5-13 stops at base ISO, with some care required at clipping boundaries to avoid abrupt highlight transitions. Be careful in the shadows: not only do things block to black quite quickly, but it’s possible to create mild but high frequency banding if too much recovery is attempted. Every increase in ISO results in a corresponding reduction in dynamic range, of course. There also doesn’t appear to be any compressing going on – DNG files are larger than the D810’s 14-bit lossless compressed NEFs (!).

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Test portrait. A surprising amount of separation for a 28mm – shot at f2.

It also appears that Leica have retuned the color profile of the sensor; early M240s suffered from very strange color that made profiling an absolute must. Whilst I found profiling helped with the Q, the required adjustments weren’t enormous – that said, I think it’s too early to comment on color in detail because there is still no native ACR profile for it, nor have I had time to properly fine tune my own profile for this camera between assignments and preparation for the Connection exhibition. Note that I did find some strange behaviour with the auto white balance tags – color temperatures were 1500-2000K warmer than expected (daylight at 7.5-8k) – though this could very well be down to ACR.

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Temporary visitor to the tesseract

I was surprised by the Q’s video performance; mainly because I wasn’t expecting video to be usable at all. The good news is that there’s almost zero rolling shutter, and footage is very smooth with few compression artefacts. Auto exposure adjusts smoothly, peaking continues to work, and with the manual focus ring with hard stops and a tab, pulling focus is very easy indeed. Further praise needs to be given for the ability to set separate picture controls for video (no log profile though) and stills, and a dedicated framing screen for video alone which shows the 16:9 capture area. Stills can be captured with a brief interruption. The bad news is that whilst the screen shows you’ve changed exposure while filming, nothing actually happens. You cannot change aperture or shutter speed or exposure compensation; the only exposure control is via sensitivity and that’s handled automatically. There’s no microphone-in port…which means syncing up a separate recording. Finally, whilst stabilisation can be enabled while filming video, I saw some strange artefacts that must be either a product of the sensor’s line readout + lens moving to compensate for motion, or hybrid electronic-optical stabilisation.

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Encroachment

Let’s talk a bit about the optics. The lens is a Leica-designed, presumably Leica-produced (though with recent T lenses being made in Japan, I’m not sure) optic with an aperture range of f1.7-16, and a coy number of elements and groups which I’ve not been able to ascertain yet. At least one of those is responsible for focusing, at least one of those for image stabilisation (you can actually see the optical stabilisation element moving around if you half press the shutter and look down the front of the lens barrel; it’s disturbingly eyeball-like especially when stopped down a little), and a further one that moves into position for macro work. There are high expectations because this is a Leica lens, and it covers full frame and carries the Summilux ASPH tag.

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Detour

Results in the centre of the frame are pretty incredible at any aperture. There is a level of crispness, microcontrast and resolving power that is impressive for any lens, period. Progressing out of this centre zone to about halfway to the edges (1/4 across the frame), resolving power drops off but is recovered at f2.8. At the edges, f5.6 is needed to get close to (but not quite match) the centre levels of resolution – f8 improves slightly, and this is necessary for strong corner performance. I would say the lens peaks somewhere f5.6 and f8, with no visible focus shift and the centre performance remaining identically strong throughout. I suspect there is some complex field curvature going on, though. In places it appears as though foreground areas are sharper, but in others, background. Bear this in mind when you are thinking about depth of field coverage; I would still recommend focusing using the AF point nearest to your subject placement in final composition rather than centre-focus-recompose.

There is no visible distortion or CA with this lens; I say visible because I was told it employs software correction before even writing the raw file; as a result it is very difficult to tell what the raw performance of the lens might be. I see some evidence suggesting minor CA removal (ghosting along contrast edges at the edges) and some stretching for distortion correction; there’s definitely some distortion going on at the lens’ macro setting which is impossible to correct fully even in software. That said, the resolving power of the lens in macro mode is very impressive even down to the minimum distance, and oddly seems possible even a little better than wide apertures at distance.

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Paradise

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Torture

Overall contrast is very high, though microcontrast is good in the centre but drops off towards the edges; I suppose this would make it a good environmental portrait lens but less good for architecture and other uniform subjects. Some other testers have reported that turning the IS off improves things; I haven’t seen it make much of a difference on mine – but there’s always the possibility not all of us are running the same firmware. Bokeh is pleasant and surprisingly smooth for a wide; I can’t help but wonder if the strange field curvature is contributing here. I only encountered very minor issues with flare from peripheral light sources, which suggests the hood is effective – or more likely, the concave front element is helping (which has been my experience with all concave-front lenses). Color is neutral to cool but can always be influenced by your camera profiling. All in all, the character of the lens is remarkably similar to that of the X Typ 113.

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The boss

Fast 28mm choices aren’t exactly bountiful, so I’m going to be comparing it to the only two I’m very familiar with – the Zeiss ZF.2 2/28 Distagon, and the 18.3/2.8 in the GR. I also have some familiarity with the Zeiss ZM 2.8/28 Biogon and the Leica 28/2 Summicron M ASPH. Overall, I’d say the pecking order looks this way in terms of pure optical properties: GR sits at the top by a bit; followed by a tie between the Leica 28/2 and 28/1.7; the 2/28 Distagon is next and the 2.8/28 Biogon brings up the rear. The GR has a cross-frame consistency which none of the other lenses can match; the corners at f2.8 are only slightly worse than the perfect centre, and I’ve never seen any flare out of it. Both Leicas deliver a really great centre at the expense of the corners; but they aren’t so bad as the 2/28 Distagon’s legendary field curvature. The 2.8/28 Biogon was just disappointing and flat all around, and really isn’t deserving of being in the same company. Oddly enough, the only one of these lenses that comes close to being a good all-rounder (but with a very clinical personality that doesn’t suit every application) is the GR; the 2/28 Distagon and Leica 28/1.7 are both very good cinematic lenses – probably due to field curvature – the 28/2 Summicron is a bit flat, and let’s not talk about the Biogon. There is a surprising difference in character and rendering style amongst this group which probably suggests 28mm lenses still have some room to develop – there’s no cinematic plus clinically perfect lens like the Otuses, for instance.

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Untitled commuter

If you’ve read up to this point and felt that the review has been nothing but gushing fanboy praise, then the next paragraph should cheer you. There are definitely things that need fixing; the good news is most can be achieved with a firmware update. For starters, the EVF/LCD switching behaviour is frustrating: there’s no way to turn off the LCD for framing and use it solely for playback; it’s either all or nothing (i.e. menus and playback also in the EVF). Secondly, when you move the dial for exposure compensation, the highlight warning disappears – surely that’s when you’d expect to need it the most? The ‘frame line’ selector button should really have a few more options – ideally the same list as the function button, in case you would like to use it for something other than the virtual rangefinder-style crop or AE/AF lock. (And AF-Lock should really be renamed AF-ON-Lock). Control over the mechanical/electronic shutter switchover would be nice, too.

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Stuffed

We still don’t have live view magnification other than in the centre of the frame – though the AF system has selectable points out to the edges and there’s focus peaking, there’s still no way to determine and acquire very precise focus off-axis. There’s also the matter of the touch screen implementation – an option to go to 100% in playback would be great rather than having to click the wheel; the double tap should be configurable. I’d still like a way to set a new default filename – if you’ve got more than one Leica, everything starting L0-something is going to get messy very quickly. Whilst we have optical stabilisation, it isn’t quite as effective as you’e expect – I’d say two stops is safe, anything beyond that is lucky. Lastly, there’s the whole brouhaha about software correction for optics: I’m not going to go there, but I’d really like to see how this lens performs without it.

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On a street corner

Unsurprisingly, there’s now one more datapoint that suggests matched fixed-lens/sensor combinations are the way to go to obtain the best mix of image quality and shooting envelop/size. It is clear that the large-sensor fixed lens compacts have been outperforming pretty much all comers even including DSLRs/interchangeable lenses especially at the wide end since there are no pesky optical design issues stemming from mirror clearance; the only wonder at all is why it took the manufacturers so long to get to this point – after all, the pinnacle of the film compact era gifted us with many options of this kind – the original GR1, the Contax T series, Olympus Trips, etc. All in all, the Q has a surprising amount of design maturity given it’s a first-generation product – something we haven’t seen for a while in the camera industry, and refreshing given pretty much everything has required serious firmware updates or recalls or second versions to ‘get right’. Undoubtedly the purported 18 month development time helped, too.

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Support

The Q 116 really has quite a lot going for it – a unique combination of features that doesn’t exist in any other camera I can currently think of other than the A7II and new 28/2 FE; not having tried the latter I cannot comment on the optics other than from samples, which appear to lose out a bit to the Leica. Unsurprising, as we are talking a combination that costs about half of the Leica. We do know however the file quality of the A7II frequently leaves something to be desired due to compression, and the camera retains its AA filter. Battery life is frighteningly dire. But it does make a much better video choice due to codec support, live exposure control and audio input/ monitoring. (Stills aside, Sony really has the video thing sorted.) Is the Leica twice as good? In terms of pure image quality, definitely not. The question that remains becomes a subjective one – are haptics, shooting experience and brand worth the premium? I feel that Leica may be doing an experiment here by forcing potential buyers to perceive it not as an expensive camera, but a cheap Leica – especially relative to other product offerings in the lineup.

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Faceted arcs by night

Like the very best tools, the Q is a camera that both encourages you to use it, is enjoyable and transparent in operation and rewards you with its results. It fulfils the mission previously held by my GR for the better part of 12,000 frames – documentary, immediacy, stealth, image quality – and extends those capabilities even further. Its deficiencies could be easily fixed by firmware updates and in the meantime aren’t more than minor annoyances. This is both rare and refreshing. If you’ve gotten the impression that I really, really enjoyed shooting with the Q – more so than just about everything else I’ve shot recently – then you’d be spot on. It made me want to go out and shoot more – I think you can see this in the unusually large number and diversity of images in this review – more so given I only had the camera for a week before publication, and for six of those days I was either travelling or on assignment. Of course, bear in mind this comes from the perspective of somebody who both sees natively in 28mm and shot in the past with almost exclusively an M of some form and 28 or equivalent for the better part of two years.

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The backup getaway plan

I shot the Q on a corporate documentary job, being perhaps one of the first times I’ve violated my ‘never try new equipment when it counts’ rule. (Though in all fairness I also carried the usual full compliment of Nikons and lenses). I landed up using it far more than I expected to fulfil the wide role instead of the GR or the AFS 20/1.8 G. Overall image quality (given the better sensor in the D810) would be about the same as if I’d used the AFS 28/1.8 G, but the Leica more than holds its own because the lens is superior and we gain OIS. Did I get images I couldn’t have done otherwise? Definitely. Was it more fluid than shooting with a DSLR or compact at arms’ length? Yes. And I didn’t have to worry about the occasional focus misses the Nikon throws me with wide lenses. The real kicker is that this assignment was done under rather unpleasant conditions for both cameras and humans – 45C and 100% RH, with mud, dust and other unknown things swirling around and dripping from the roof. (I was on assignment for a client in Hong Kong, documenting the construction of a new subway line). I shot about 300 frames with it and it never missed a beat. I’d say that earns it a place in my bag – sorry about the new battle scars on your loaner, Leica. But at least you know it was actually used.

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I can’t help but wonder if the Q is the harbinger to the end of the M system in its current guise. Add a mount, and it becomes very, very difficult to justify paying quite a bit more for a body whose live view options are somewhat limited without an external EVF, and whose optical rangefinder needs careful and regular maintenance for accurate focusing – it was a good option back in the days before EVFs and AF, but honestly, I’ll take the EVF in the Q any day. Perhaps the choice of 28mm over 35 or 50mm was deliberate, too: it’s not exactly a mainstream focal length, nor is it easy to compose with for most people (though camera phones probably helped here). And whilst I’m pretty sure the new 28/1.4 Summilux-M is going to be a better lens, I’m not sure it’s going to be three or four or even five times better, by the time you add the cost of a body in, too. And it definitely won’t focus to the same 0.3m near limit as the Q. Needless to say, I’m concluding this review with one of my very rare ‘highly recommended’ ratings – now if only they’ll sort out the firmware niggles, and make one in chrome with tan leather, with a matching 50mm sibling – and I had several spare kidneys to sell! MT

The Leica Q can be obtained from the Starhill and Avenue K boutiques in Kuala Lumpur, or from B&H and Amazon. Images in this review were processed with Photoshop Workflow II. For more information, please email Johann Affendy at Leica Malaysia (Johann.Affendy@leica-camera.com). In addition, Jonathan Slack and Sean Reid have also published their thoughts today. 

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Comments

  1. Thanks Ming. I didn’t read every comment, so I’m sorry if this was already discussed. I’m on the fence about adding the Q to my Sl for a lightweight mountaineering option because I’ve read in Leica forums about dust on the sensor problem that some owners are experiencing. Should I be concerned?

    • Probably not, though mine has gone back to Leica for dust at the moment…I do use it more frequently under harsher environments than most, though.

  2. Hi, Ming
    I’m enjoying my Q, but there is one thing that intrigues me. When the camera is turned off, when I shake it a little, I hear something moving inside the lens. Like something plastic is detached and moving around. Have you experienced this?

    Thanks for your great work.

    • That’s the IS element. When you turn it off, it’s no longer held in place and floats. You can actually see it moving if you look through the front of the lens.

      • Ah, so it’s not only mine.
        I know that it’s probably my fault(lacking skills, not enough experience etc.), but images from Q don’t look as punchy as those from m9+Carl Zeiss biogon 25mm. Sensor differences?

        • Not sure I agree with that. I think the Q has more resolution and acuity than the M9, not to mention dynamic range. It could be lower dynamic range leading to more contrast that you’re seeing on the M9, or focus misses on the Q (which happen with surprising frequency at f1.7 – just off enough to be not quite crispy.

          • I was using the same Lightroom setting on the Q images that I created for my m9 files.
            It seems that I have to work more with Q files. Different cameras, different approach.

            Thanks for your advice.

  3. After using my Q for a while I have decided that (a) a Thumbs Up is a really good thing to add and (b) it annoys the heck out of me that the VF info for things like the aperture value won’t change to reflect new settings when your finger has half pressed the shutter. You have to take your finger off and press again to get the updated value. Why? The camera knows what aperture or shutter speed is set the moment you turn the relevant dial. I can see no reason why that information cannot be displayed in real time even when the shutter is at half press. Any idea why?

    • Let’s just say Leica’s strength has never been electronics or firmware:) and I get just as annoyed as you do.

      • Let me add another, faintly amusing one.

        Turn on the focus confirmation beep. Now focus – green rectangle and beep! Hurrah.

        Now find something it won’t focus on. You get a red rectangle as a warning. But it still beeps to confirm focus with the same beep! Yay! So it tells us visually it is not focused but audibly that it is….!

        • True! I leave the beep off though, it’s not terribly stealthy…

        • Holger Fehsenfeld says:

          Well – the beep just says: “AF finished working, look at the result shown by the color of the rectangle”. 😉😉
          Holger

          • I agree – however, it is called “AF Confirmation” which implies in my view that it confirms AF has been achieved.

            I do leave it off – I was simply playing with the camera wondering what other asinine firmware oddities I could find!

        • Your post raised my curiosity, and so for a bit of fun, I got out some cameras to check, as it isn’t something that I’ve previously picked up on, presumably because I haven’t been presented with what some will perceive as conflicting results as in your case. So here goes:

          All my Sony cameras (R1, Nex 5N, Nex 7, and A7) behave the same. Beep, green rectangle, and a supplementary permanently lit green LED at the bottom of the screen when focus is confirmed. If focus can’t be acquired, no rectangle of any sort, no beep, but the supplementary green LED now flashes.

          Fuji X-Pro 1/ X-E1. Focus confirmation – green rectangle and beep. Focus not achieved – red rectangle, no beep, but flashing green LED on the body, just below the v/f of the Pro 1 where it is easily seen with the camera held up to the eye, but on the far right by the thumb grip on the X-E1 where it is not visible with the camera held up to the eye. Other than the red rectangle, no other warning within the finder.

          Sigma DP1. Personally, I would place this as the most sophisticated application. Nice clear central white rectangle outline which turns green and beeps with focus capture. Like the Fuji Pro 1 there is also a bright green LED just below the accessory shoe and can’t be missed when using the camera with an optical viewfinder attachment. When focus hasn’t been acquired, the white rectangle flashes, and in place of a beep I get, what I can only describe as a polite “cough” and the once solid green LED has now turned into a flashing red one. Nice. In this respect, this is a particularly pleasant camera to use just with the OVF attached and is how I prefer to use it.

          Panasonic FZ50, from July 2006, and their LX7. Both the same with green rectangle, beep (although this sounds more like two beeps in quick succession) and supplementary green LED within the v/f when focused. When focus can’t be acquired the rectangle turns red, coupled with a flashing green signal in the v/f and FOUR beeps in quick succession. And as if this weren’t enough to attract your attention, the LX7 displays in addition and in large flashing red characters below the red rectangle “0.5m to Infinity” if you are too close.

          On the basis of these observations, there does appear to be a norm to which most manufacturers adhere: green rectangle + beep as a minimum for in focus, but differ in how they display when AF can’t be acquired. Awarding a Star for best overall info display, I’d give it to Sigma’s DP1.

  4. So, Ming, when is your X70 review coming?

  5. Hi, what is the reproduction ratio in macro mode of the Q? 1:1 or less (not a real macro)? Thanks.

    • Much less. More like 1:5 or so I think.

      • Hi Ming,
        so its another case of disinformation among photography brands. “Macro” means 1:1. ,-( What a pity. So Q is a 28mm lens camera with close-up function. They should´t write “macro”; Leica and many others.

        • I don’t think I’d want a 28mm macro anyway…the distortion would make images pretty much unusable.

          • Thanks for your opinion.

          • Ming,
            My 28mm “macro” designated lens, a little Sirius job I picked up in mint condition and cheaply on ebay for £6, focuses to 0.2m and at this focus point the reproduction scale indicates 1:4. I understand that the Q can close focus to 0.17m and so it should be fractionally larger than 1:4.

            • I might be wrong about 1:4, but I seem to remember reading that in the documentation somewhere. Remember also focus breathing and the lens design itself play a role in minimum focus distance vs reproduction ratio.

              • Ming,
                You may be correct when it comes to AF macro lenses, I simply don’t know, as macro is engaged by internal lens shifting, but with a normal non-AF macro lens the reproduction ratio is a function of lens/focal length to film/sensor. So it may be that with internal AF, the indicated focus distance can’t be simply equated to a normal lens, as I attempted, as the lens doesn’t physically change its length. The only question is how accurate are the barrel markings on a particular lens.

                However, in the case of the Q, or any digital camera/lens combo, it would be a simple matter of how we worked out exposure using 5×4 monorail or technical cameras where we couldn’t use a meter probe. One simply measured the size of the subject on screen to its known actual size and this gave us the ratio and from which we could deduce exposure. With a digital camera, simply set the lens to its closest point of focus, take the image, then determine how much of the image file the object takes up, using the longest dimension. As a proportion of the whole, this will give you the ratio.

            • I should have explained that this is a 35mm camera lens and behaves like a normal 28mm w/a lens, but in calling it a macro lens, Sirius went to the trouble of imprinting reproduction ratios on the lens barrel, very desirable to macro shooters but which I don’t need to go into here. But what really surprised me was how well it performs in the macro region, this came as a real shock as I purchased it on a whim not expecting much.

        • I hate to be somewhat pedantic here, but “macro” is not defined as being 1:1, which merely indicates that the image will be lifesize, and in the days of film this was limited to the film format. So with a 35mm film format the largest image would be on the horizontal axis and be 35mm long. And on roll film it could be up to 9cm. The term “macro” was more usually used to refer to close up photography with reproduction ratios of at least 1:10 moving up to 1:1 beyond which, of course, it becomes micro photography, that is, greater than life size. In fact many true macro lenses, so designated in that they are optically corrected for near field use, were only capable of 1:2 and required an additional tube extender to reach 1:1. Such is the case with my Leitz 60mm macro lens.

          Long ago, when I was involved in close up photography, I also used an f9/135mm Repro-Claron on bellows with my Leica SL2 and really enjoyed playing with images in the 2:1 and larger ranges. DoF was a nightmare and is why I take my hat off to the experts in this field.

          • Thanks TerryB for your opinion. Maybe you´re right. Anyway I find interesting that this Leica Q joins the wide angle point of view for reportage work with the macro; almost like a wide-macro, for close-up (lets call it this way ,-) aspects of the same reportage. Its tiny, not heavy, full frame, silent and discreet, with enough megapixels for the job, beautiful design and good ergonomics. Good glass. The price…
            Its the right tool for a specific project I´m currently designing; but its too expensive for just one project. My problem.:-)

  6. How did you get 600+ shots with one full charge of the battery? I’ve been playing with mine. With auto-focus off, no auto-replay, both DNG and JPEG output with JPEG size reduced to 2M, I only got 160 at best.

    • Sounds like you may have a defective battery? I switch the camera off between use – that may be the other difference. If you leave it on continuously, you may well get no shots but 3h of live view instead…

  7. Sorry for another post and question, but I run into a few dead-ends when comparing things. What is the most-direct comparison to this 28mm wonder from interchangeable lens manufacturers? Without going into Otus or Leica M territory (due to cost), how would a person get a similar quality 28mm FOV (or very close) with a good FF DSLR? An E-mount Zeiss Batis 25mm? A Zeiss Distagon F2 in Nikon or Canon mount or either of their own 28 F1.8 lenses? I’m asking because after reading Ming’s thoughts, checking his 28mm Flickr album, and thinking about it, I went back to books of negatives from my heavy shooting days. All the true “keepers” were 28mm! I’m having the negatives scanned for inspiration. Now I’m wondering if the Q is the right choice to return to that enjoyment, or if I can really get there from an ILC (something I’m used to toting around). A 14mm on my m43 is fine, but I’m moving to full frame, except for the longer critter-watching glass.

    • Not an easy one to answer. I was thinking the Nikon 28/1.8G and a D750 would be closest in terms of spec, but minus the stabiliser and the lens isn’t as good. The Zeiss 2/28 would be a better match, but it’s slower and manual focus. The GR is functionally close because its lens is very usable even wide open, which is not really the same of the Nikon 28G. Honestly – I don’t think there is an equivalent; the Q has possibly the widest handheld shooting envelope of any of my cameras at the moment.

      • Thank you for your willingness to reply! It’s appreciated. I’ve continued comparisons, and I do now think it’s quite unique. The 28mm lens and form factor make it unique among many otherwise wonderful and effective choices. (Obviously the upcoming M 262 with a 28mm is interesting due to the rangefinder experience as is the E-mount 28mm Otus on the A7R2 but both are another league of cost.)
        Interesting times, indeed.

        • …gotta say: the Ricoh GR with its 28 is a cheap and good date. Not a Q but something to consider if $ matters. Also pocketable.

          • And that’s why it still makes this year’s list:)

          • Caleb, I agree, and I thought I’d reply to say that the older version (new, in stock) on closeout (2013 GR) actually costs more than the GR II (new in stock) that is on holiday sale. I found this when comparing prices in the U.S. at one of the big NYC stores online. I know people reading through the comments will consider the GR/GR II, and they should, according to just about everyone.:-)

      • How about the Sony A7ii and it’s 28/f2 lens? Also include the firmware update for uncompressed 14 bit Raw and a couple of spare batteries😉 Ming, would this combo be 95% of the IQ and haptics of the Leica Q, for half the cost?

        • I guess the IQ would be close, but the haptics would definitely be half. And given my recent experiences post-FW update on the A7RII – original batteries not recognised and other random freezes/ error messages – I don’t think reliability is anywhere close, either. At least we’d be able to clean the sensor more easily, I suppose. The Q is becoming notorious for acquiring sensor dust…mine included.

          • Hmmm … I’ve re-read various reviews of the A7ii (including yours) .. people like the IQ but it tends to fall flat in usability. Probably ok for a hobby photographer but definitely not professional standard. I’ve already got the RX10m1 and RX100m3, so I don’t need another camera that is unresponsive in low-light.

            The sensor dust on the Q must be a frustration:-/

            • I’m not really liking either usability or IQ; the 7RII comes closer on the IQ front but usability is worse – files are larger and things are even slower.

              One small dot on my sensor for now, which either hides or is easy to remove. Less painful than sending it back to Leica for months, at any rate.

  8. In the image “On a street corner,” did the camera set the WB, or did Ming? I know auto WB is getting pretty good, but I suspect this is a case of a WB taken in that light earlier. It’s really nice and the whole image has a peculiar, natural clarity. Any Q owners are welcome to reply with their thoughts on this camera’s WB. I often take photographs in really bad indoor lighting conditions, and I struggle most with WB under the long-tube florescent lights mixing with window light. I’m researching moving to FF but don’t want an interchangeable lens camera (I will keep my m4/3 bodies for telephoto and knock-around purposes) Thanks in advance.

    • I make sure the camera is in the ballpark, but I set WB afterwards with the eyedropper tool in ACR. Color is managed and kept consistent with my own profile.

    • Shoot RAW and fix it later.

    • Thank you to Ming Thein and Marcus for replies. I also saw that in the detailed review written by a another writer (Thorsten Overgaard) where he was using a WB card. The cinematic articles here also clued me in on the philosophy driving some of these shots, when captured or in post or both. I think Ming is my new favorite photographer/blogger. Awesome work.

  9. I just received mine here in NZ – ordered on the day of release and so far only 2 units supplied for the entire country…!
    I love it although I have not had much chance to use it in anger yet. Things I would like to change include a setting so that for shooting it is EVF only (I never use the rear screen to shoot) BUT when I press Menu that comes up on the rear screen only. I am sure that could be done in firmware.
    Also, it does not seem (at least, I can’t make it happen!) to transfer images already shot when you use the iPhone app. It transfers the ones you shoot when actually paired, but not any that are already on the card. That ought to be possible.

    • That was one of my complaints, too. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be such a setting – only one or the other for everything or full auto switch.

      Can’t help with the app, I’ve never found any of them useful to be honest.

  10. Ming, if I’m not mistaken, both the Leica Q and Sony A7Rii have on-sensor phase detect. How do you find the autofocus performance, are there noticeable differences between the two? I’ve read that the A7Rii is rather good at tracking moving subjects, how is the Q in this regard? In my experience poor interior lighting and fast moving kids is something that only higher end DSLR’s can cope with reasonably well, so I’m wondering if the latest and greatest mirrorless tech is starting to catch up.

    • No PDAF on the Q, but since it has a higher refresh rate than the A7RII, it focuses much faster in practice. The A7RII seems to both hunt a lot and give false positives – I’ve missed a lot of shots because of this. I don’t know what lenses the testers are using, but mine can’t even lock onto static subjects much of the time, let alone track them – this is true of both the A7RII and the Q. The one thing the Q can do is lock on fast enough (most of the time) in single AF that much like M4/3, if you just hit the shutter all the way and trust the camera, you’ve actually got a fairly high chance of catching the subject in focus. Neither one will replace a DSLR.

      • Surprised to hear that the A7Rii does not perform that well, I would have thought that at that price it would easily outperform an E-M1. The reason I’m asking this is that now my first-born is almost 2 years old and I’m starting to have serious trouble nailing focus indoors. The problem isn’t that much the focus speed, but there is some shutter lag that causes many missed shots. I’ve tried all possible settings but there is simply no way to work around the mechanical shutter having to close first before it can open again.

        I would like to have a more responsive camera for this use. A year from now Olympus will probably release the E-M1 successor and it’s likely to have electronic first curtain. Another option is to find something else that would cover all my needs from 28mm to around 50mm, which the Leica Q could easily do in crop mode. So if the focus speed is around E-M1 ball park and the shutter lag is shorter (something closer to D700), it just might be the ticket. The E-M1 would then be reserved for telephoto work where I’ve found it great for my needs.

        • I was expecting it to, also. More so because I paid full retail, and frankly find myself with something little more useful than a digital back. I think M4/3 is probably your best bet due to DOF/speed balance; FF will track better but you lose out a bit with shallower DOF for a given aperture (and light limitations).

          The E-M1 and E-M5II now have electronic first curtain (or complete electronic shutter in the case of the EM5II). I’ve found the Q to have no problems keeping up with the DSLRs and Olympuses in single-AF.

          • Yeah, should have been more exact, the E-M1 does have electronic first curtain, but the shutter still operates full cycle. I need to try the E-M5ii to see how much difference there is, my sister-in-law recently got one so maybe she’ll let me try it over a weekend. I’ve also heard that Olympus will release new firmware for the E-M1 next month that is said to introduce silent shutter mode and anti-shock even in continuous shooting. Very interested to see if it makes a difference or not. To me it very much sounds like they managed to prevent the mechanical closing of the shutter when using electronic first curtain. I really like the E-M1 in all other respects but the shutter lag and shutter shock issues have nagged me for the past 2 years, so I’m really hoping that Olympus has found a workable solution.

            • It’s definitely workable on the EM5II; just beware cycling fluros and shutter speed (true of all cameras, for that matter). If the EM1 update works the same way, we’re good.

  11. Hi Ming, are you aware of any flash that can swivel and rotate which is compatible with the Leica Q? Is one of the Nissin flashes, for example the i40, usable with this camera? Even a large flash is ok but I need something that can swivel and rotate so I can control the direction of light when bouncing the flash. Thanks.

    • Sorry, no idea for TTL – I don’t use flash with the Q. You can of course use any Nikon or Canon flash in manual mode…

      • Thanks, I’ll try one of my Nikon flashes then.

      • I know this is like teaching your granny to suck eggs, but the use of “any” needs to be qualified to a more recent flashgun designed to be used with a digital camera, ie. one that has a low trigger voltage. Older flashguns designed for film cameras could, and will likely, fry the electronics.

        • Of course – my bad. Thanks for clarifying that. They’ve been ‘safe’ for a decade or more though, so I’d assume it’s unlikely for anybody to have older gear sitting around as it’s unlikely to work.

          • That’s true.The potential danger area is using the hot shoe connector only, which looks like many who do not want the compatible Leica units may well wish to try out with non-Leica units. I have some very good film-era units with bags of life left in them, and which can connect with any camera that uses the simple hot shoe. One of my Metz units has a zoom head and some quite sophisticated settings even though it only uses the hot shoe to trigger it. TTL is out of the question, of course, although it can do it with a compatible camera..

            Mentioning Metz, they have their SCA Adapter system which has some Leica compatible adapters. I don’t know if Leica has retained the same shoe configuration for its connectors for its digital as opposed to film cameras, but I feel confident in saying Metz would surely have one.

      • I have the Nikon SB-28DX flash unit – is it compatible for TTL and/or Manual on the Leica Q?

        • Definitely not in TTL – each manufacturer has their own flash pin configuration – probably yes in manual, but watch the contact pins. It’s quite possible to short something if the wrong ones touch.

    • Holger Fehsenfeld says:

      From Leica’s manual:

      »COMPATIBLE FLASH UNITS
      The following flash units can be used with the camera. They facilitate TTL flash metering and, depending on the configuration, a varying number of the functions described in this manual.
      • With its compact dimensions and design that matches the
      camera, the Leica SF 26 system flash unit is the perfect
      solution. It is extremely easy to operate.
      • Leica system flash units
      • Flash units that satisfy the technical requirements for a System
      Attaching the flash unit:
      1. Turn off the camera and flash unit
      2. Pull the cover that protects the accessory shoe when not in
      use off towards the rear
      3. Slide the foot of the flash unit all the way into the accessory
      shoe and, if present, use the locknut to secure it and keep it from falling out.
      This is important since changes in the position of the flash shoe could disrupt the required contacts, thus causing malfunctions.
      The flash unit should be set to TTL mode to allow automatic control by the camera. When set to A, subjects with above or below average brightness may not be optimally exposed. When set to M, the flash exposure must be adjusted to the aperture and distance values specified by the camera by setting a correspondin- gly reduced power output level.
      Note:
      The flash unit must also be turned on, i.e. ready to use, otherwise there may be incorrect exposures and error messages on the camera.
      3000 System Camera Adaption (SCA), are fitted with the
      SCA-3502-M51 adapter, and allow guide number control. Other commercially available attachable flash units with standard flash foot and positive center contact, and fired by the center contact (X contact) can also be used. We recommend the use of modern thyristor-controlled electronic flash units.«

      Best
      Holger

      • Thanks, Holger. The SF 26 swivels but doesn’t rotate from side to side. I tried the SF 58 which does fire, but the zoom isn’t consistent with 28mm and it can’t be changed for some reason, making me think it isn’t perfectly compatible with the Q.

  12. Martin Paling says:

    Extremely interesting and well written review. And the photos are even better! A very desirable camera.

  13. Unlike RX1, Qs highlights areas are really blown and can’t recover in Lightroom.

    • All cameras are not recoverable once blown; there is no substitute for proper exposure discipline. The difference is in whether sufficient information is retained in one of the channels to make a visually passable interpolation or not.

      • Thanks for reply. So you mean RX1 looks better in highlights recovery because it makes interpolation inside camera? And maybe later firmware of Leica Q can fix better at highlights area.

        • Very possible either or both cameras are cooking the raw files – not easy to tell. On some cameras even the JPEG settings affect the raw files…so you never get truly ‘raw’ sensor data.

  14. Ciao Ming, today I realized that there is dust (some kind of fiber) on my two months old Q. I have used extensively, but never entered “difficult” environments. I noticed this morning that some landscapes taken in Venice had something wrong (can solve it in a click in LR) and took some white wall tests at f16: bad surprise.
    How is your Q doing?
    Already contacted the Leica Store, it’s the first time they hear something like this from a Q owner: they are going to ask immediatly at Leica, and by the end of August I’ll send back the camera for a check up and cleaning.

    • The only time I shot mine at f16 is now, to test for dust: I don’t see any. It seems that there are a few QC issues with the Q amongst this readership, at least – perhaps too many cameras produced, too fast? Hope you get a solution fast…

      • Thanks for the reply. I noticed the blurred spot at f7.1 against the plain blue sky, the test at f16 confirmed the three little specks of fabric. I’m sure they entered in the last two/three days, I checked the previous photos and there are no sign of them.
        I hope it was just bad luck and Leica fixes it. Hopefully for free..

        • It’s definitely under warranty – in short, they should!

          • I called the Leica store, I’ve been told that mine is the first Q having this problem. By the end of August I’ll be back in Italy and I’ll carry the camera to the store: it will be sent in Germany for a check up. In the meanwhile (same day of my phone call) I’ve been asked to send an f16 DNG file shot at the clear blue sky. The situation appears even worst: there are at least 5 pieces of dust/fiber. If interested I’ll let you know how the story will go.

            • Sure, keep us up to date.

              • Just a head up: got contacted by the Leica Store, we arranged a meeting by the end of the month, when I’ll leave my Q and they will clean its sensor in 3/4 weeks, in Germany. In the meanwhile (and I really appreciate it) they will give me another Q (that I was planning to use at the Venice Film Festival).

            • I would like to know the resolution to that problem as well. Keep us posted.

              • First update: got yesterday a new Q while mine will be away to be cleaned. So far I’m happy with the service, they managed to find a camera that has usually more than a month in waiting list. While I was at the store they sold another Q to a new customer, just to say how the camera is selling. Let’s see in 3/4 weeks what it will happen.
                In the meanwhile I got an assignment from Associated Press and I’d like to use it.

              • Here I am, I just came back from the Bologna Leica Store.
                I got an email a couple of days ago and today I picked up my brand new Q. Yes, brand new! Luca (from the Store) insisted so much with the Customer Service, saying that this product should not have issues like this, and a new customer should also see and “touch” the Leica Service, that they sent a brand new Q.
                It was a surprise, really, and I can’t be more satisfied: both Luca (thank you again!) and people from the Customer Service made me proud to have bought this product from Leica.
                I was so happy I added a protection case for the camera:)

                • That’s very encouraging to hear. So I assume the new one is perfect as expected?:)

                  • Yes, I checked with an f16 white wall test and it looks clean. Just to be sure I have closed the microphone holes on the top plate with a piece of black tape.
                    The Protector half case should protect the others ports and adds a little bit of size (to the front) of the camera, and the handling is slightly better.
                    The hidden pouch for a spare sd card under the magnetic flip on the bottom is a cool touch too.
                    Overall I’m very pleased with the camera and with Leica Customer Service as well.

      • Hello, Ming.

        This is something I only became aware of when I first purchased my Nex 5N (and subsequent Nex 7 and A7) when I set out to check the performance of several marques of legacy 35mm camera lenses. With my earlier cameras, fixed lens models including from Olympus (W8080) and Sony (R1) and even the Olympus E500 and Panasonic L10 dslr’s I never even knew this was potentially an issue as I seldom shot smaller than f8.

        It was only when I tested each lens through its full range of f stops that I started to notice smudges in the plain areas of blue sky with every lens when it was set to f11 and smaller and which were not visible at f8. Interestingly, these smudges appeared in different parts of the sky as each lens was put through its paces and became more clearly delineated with stopping down. This confirmed that a) the automatic dust removal function of each camera was working (this explains why the dust particles didn’t show up in the same place with every lens test, and b) however careful I was, it was very evident that new dust got deposited on the sensor at every lens change.

  15. Hi Ming
    Firstly, thanks for the great review and relentless high quality output you provide us with!
    Secondly, my question is how do you find the Q’s balance and feel in the hand after longer term use? I’m currently and xe-2 user typically shooting 35mm equivalent, but after the Q was released i bought the XF18f2 lens to get a feel for that focal length (having initially been disappointed the Q didn’t come with. 35mm lens) and i’m really enjoying it.
    So, getting to my point, the xe-2 lens mount is central on the camera, and the xf18f2 lens is quite compact – and the balance feels right – and i still use a thumbs up and handgrip. How does the Q feel with it’s off centre and quite large lens? Do you use the handgrip, finger loop or thumbs up? I’ve handled the Q in-shop a few times and find it a little slippery, and that the left hand needs to do some support. Wondering if you personally have that feeling.
    Cheers
    Rod

  16. Hi Ming,
    Thanks for this great review. Do you think that the Leica Q is capable of better imagery than the Nikon D750 + Zeiss Distagon 28/2 combo (at low ISO)? Of course “better” might be subjective, but then what would be YOUR choice?

    • Better is definitely subjective. The sensor on the 750 probably has another stop of latitude and shooting envelope over the Q, but the Q’s lens is slightly faster and has AF and IS – I suspect that under ideal conditions the 750/ Distagon will be better, but most of the time the Q will eke out a small but visible advantage.

  17. Thanks for this review Ming. I still use my Leica X1 to complement my M7, but more than four years old with a few flaws I’m considering to go for a more performing (speed and AF) camera. Thinking of the T (size, weight and interchangeable lens) but now the Q is also tempting (all together they have similar prices when you include EVF). 70% of my film shooting is 35mm therefore the 28+35 crop are ok. But that 30% when I need a tele lens…hmm, this is a dilemma!
    robert
    PS: of course I know I?m the only one who can answer the dilemma:-)

  18. Hi Ming,
    Always enjoy your posts

    I actually ordered and received the Leica Q.

    I returned it.

    I had used the Leica M6 with a 21,35 and 50 for years and loved it. I tried the Leica M (240) digital and it was like a tank.
    Focus was never accurate with digital.

    I use Fuji XT1’s and X100Ts, and I have to say, I really think they are more functional for day to day use than the Leica Q.
    They also seem to have better quality (noise and banding) images at ISO 1600 and above. The Leica Q is great in the sunshine, but available light starts to suffer above ISO 1200.

    The viewfinder–all the hype for the Leica Q viewfinder–you mean to one that requires EXACT center eye placement to prevent ghosting and washed out corners….? I think the Fuji viewfinders are far better.

    Finally, Fuji has more options and customizations buttons than the Leica Q. I didn’t initially think that would matter until I didn’t have them available. The 28mm fixed lens was actually OK with me, I love that perspective and usually only use one or two lens in my photography anyway. (Hammered into my brain by workshops with Eugene Richards, Mary Ellen Mark, Costa Manos and others)

    The Leica seems to be what a first concept Fuji might have been a few years ago. But now Leica is behind and Fuji has made great strides. I do applaud Leica for going this direction–I hope to see great improvements in their product line–just don’t like this first one.

    I use my cameras daily for wedding and documentary work–give me the Fuji’s to cover what ever comes up with any light.

    thanks

  19. Christian Jansen (London, UK) says:

    Dear Ming Thein,

    a truly wonderful review. I am a first time reader of your website and I did/do enjoy looking at your photographs. As a non Leica shooter (nearly 30y Nikon) I always admired photos shot with Leica but I am not sure if this is biased by the type of photographer choosing Leica gear- most likely both. As your statements appear very modest and objective I would like to ask you about the degree of post processing needed for images presented in the review. Rational is Overgaard’s comprehensive Leica Q review with lots of tips regarding white balancing – when looking at one of his DNG files provided, WB was totally off and colours looked rather flat before adjustments in LR – not very reassuring. So, do come “Leica” colours naturally or do you have to work hard for them? Many thanks again for this wonderful review. Truly inspiring.

    Kind regards

    Christian

    • Thanks. There is no such thing as ‘Leica color’ in the digital world – anything can be profiled or made to look like anything else. Do it once and set that as a default for your ACR conversions and you’ll be fine, but getting there isn’t so easy.

      • Christian Jansen says:

        Dear Ming Thein,
        thank you very much for your reply. I highly appreciate it.
        Kind regards
        Christian

  20. Dear Ming, first of all I would like to thank you for the comprehensive review. A personal question concerning the use of jpg-files on the Leica Q : which setting for contrast/sharpness do you prefer? Best regards and thanks from Belgium.

  21. dsanchezxifro says:

    Hi Ming,

    Thank you for your great review!

    What would you think on using the Q for Landscape photography?

    Does it support Exposure Bracketing with a timer? (i.e. for shooting on a tripod for later HDR processing)

    Thanks!

  22. Hi Ming, have you noticed the LCD flashes every time you try to focus as you step down the aperture ?

  23. Guy Incognito says:

    What are your sentiments on the ideal operational lifetime of high-priced, fixed lens/sensor combinations?

    Ideally they will operate until the user breaks them! Leica M lenses made 60 years ago are perfectly functional today and held their own for many, many decades. While well engineered mechanical designs can last a life time, I am not so sure the same can be said of modern consumer electronics.

    What we gain in image quality and shooting envelop/size with fixed-lens/sensor combinations, we might lose in longevity. The lens has now become limited by the life of the electronics (depending on servicing pricing/availability). Seems a shame that nice, functional glass could end up in land fill when the motherboard breaks! With interchangeable lens systems, when bodies fail, the lenses are not rendered useless.

    The Q is entering a price bracket where I’d expect it to be built to higher standards and last longer than your average digital camera. I doubt this is the case for the Q’s electronics – I am sure the quality of the electronics is indistinguishable from any other digital camera. I view the digital M’s similarly, as beautiful as they may be externally.

    Then again the Q is ‘cheap’ for a full-frame Leica. As you say, they say, you :-p pay your money and you get your choices!

    • Guy, you raise a point that seldom gets a look in in today’s consumerism, i.e. throwaway society. There will come a time, not too far ahead, when Leica will be unable to service the Q due to the unavailability of components, this has happened with the sensor for the M8 which is no longer available. So if the electronics in the Q become unrepairable, then one’s lens becomes duff, too, and vice versa. Clearly, this fate does not await users of interchangeable lens systems so much. True, neither may become repairable, but probably not at the same time. And even then, one can update one or the other.

      Hopefully, the Q will last a long time, but it doesn’t come with the built-in longevity of, say the Leica M film cameras, and even less so than the mechanical lenses. Even my R lenses only have an auto-diaphragm to worry about, but the chances of these failing I’d put at nil.

      • Guy Incognito says:

        Indeed. Even worse, I hate to think how many will be reparable (cracked LCD) but ‘written-off’ after the customer sees the cost of servicing.

        ‘Back in the day’ bodies changed at a slow pace by today’s standards. A good body could literally last you a life time. If you’re into film an M3 or a Nikon F1 can still do the job. Back then you might be able to infer something about the photographer by the amount of brassing on their camera (owned for a long time).

        Today is the complete opposite. Thanks to the giddy development of digital technology, bodies can be made ‘obsolete’ rather quickly. Perhaps leading to an attitude where photographers are not considered “serious” unless they have the latest and greatest (owned for a short period).

        In either case, judging a carpenter by his tools is rather silly.

        I still run on the assumption that we are currently pushing the limits of manufacturing and physics with modern optics. I can’t really imagine any step changes to that technology any time soon. We can only improve by going bigger and more expensive. Who knows where sensor tech will go.

        While this seems to reinforce the ‘invest in lenses’ adage, fixed lens/sensor combinations might be a way of side stepping current optical limitations at a particular price point. Since, the lens-sensor system can be jointly optimised, limitations of lens design can be more tightly compensated for in sensor or software design. For example, pre-RAW distortion/CA correction or even curved sensors. This is significant as expensive elements in the production chain (optics, mechanics) can be shifted to cheaper areas (electronics, software).

        (Ahh the Leica-R APO teles, the Otii of the last 30 years)

    • Honestly, I think pretty much all digital is going to be a write off after five years or less. Remember that my choices these days are made from the point of view of a working pro; if I can justify it commercially, I’ll buy it. Not because I like it. The decision for an amateur is completely the opposite…

      • Guy Incognito says:

        Agreed. Just some thoughts rattling around my head… I don’t mean to sound disparaging of either your choices or the Q! Any tool that pays for itself in productivity or new creative avenues is worth leveraging for work. I also hope the Q is a sign of continued innovation at Leica – it is a good idea and Leica have been more of a brand of luxury than execellence of late.

        • Don’t worry; didn’t come across that way at all. I know my buying decisions/ motivations are very different from most, which is why I sometimes have to really clarify things…

      • I still use my Canon 5Dii, bought in 2007. It still seems to have stunning image quality, though of course no longer the absolute best. 5 years seems too short for such a camera; however, for the Sony A7, 5 years seems to be stretching things.

    • Peter Bowyer says:

      In the UK we have a consumer group called “Which?” that’s well known for doing reliability surveys for cars; it would be interesting to survey camera users and see what the lifetime/reliability of their digital cameras has been.

      My data points are: my film cameras are all still functioning, my initial (late ’90s/early 00’s) P&S digital cameras all failed within 2-3 years; my (ex-pro) Fuji S2 lasted 5 years before the electronics became unreliable and it would lock up/die randomly; the electronics of the Nikon D300 I replaced it with have lasted 6 years but it’s been plagued by endless other problems (horrible camera).

      There is something to be said for mechanical items.

      • Agreed. My 1979 F2 Titan has never been serviced; ditto the 1993 Hasselblad 501CM. Both work perfectly. My cameras will inevitably develop some sort of fault after a year or two. Sometimes they come that way brand new (M8/9 card corruption, D800/E left focus problem, D750 shadow, 300/4 PF VR double images, E-M1 shutter shock…the list is endless).

        • Sorry to follow up on a small reference, you said “D750 shadow”…what did you mean by that? I don’t remember seeing that previously.

          Thanks

          • Sorry, you’re going to have to be more specific. With 400+ comments at this point I honestly don’t remember…

            • Sorry, Ming, I’ll be more specific. Directly above you said “Agreed. My 1979 F2 Titan has never been serviced; ditto the 1993 Hasselblad 501CM. Both work perfectly. My cameras will inevitably develop some sort of fault after a year or two. Sometimes they come that way brand new (M8/9 card corruption, D800/E left focus problem, D750 shadow, 300/4 PF VR double images, E-M1 shutter shock…the list is endless).”

              I’m wondering what problem you were referring to in the portion where you say “D750 shadow”, ie what is the D750 shadow problem?

              Thanks Ming

          • Guy Incognito says:

            I would guess Ming was referring to the D750’s ‘dark band’ problem. At the risk of sounding haughty; Google is your friend :-p

            For some in-house commentary on the topic of product defficiencies see: An open note to camera makers, marketing departments and agencies

        • plevyadophy says:

          I have to disagree with this nostalgia for things mechanical.

          In my view, things electronic are 1000 times more reliable simply coz there are no moving parts ( an EVF is inherently more reliable than an OVF ( no collimating needed or rattling loose elements ).

          But, and there is always a “but”, this is so only true if…………….the electronic components were made to be reliable in the first place! For example, wire core thick enough to handle the currents passing through it; soldering done to a high standard; quality components used etc.

          I think folk are confusing the era in which things were made with the materials from which they were made. The mindset that prevailed amongst a lot more manufacturers during the era of Ming’s Hasselblad is a lot different to the mindset now where products are rushed to market, cheap materials are used, and expectations ( of quality ) from both consumers and manufacturers are low; if a lot more mechanical products were made today, I have no doubt that they’d be just as unreliable as the digital cams mentioned above.

          Just my 0.02

          Regards all

  24. Holger Fehsenfeld says:

    Hi Ming,

    I had the chance to try the Fuji X100T for a couple of days and nearly made up my mind to buy it – when the Q was announced.

    I was thrilled about the specs of this camera and spent hours in the night 10./11. June reading all the relevant reviews. Knowing that you are rather critical towards Leica your extensive and excited review showed me: the Q would much better fit to my shooting preferences than a Fuji could ever do. I bought the Q the very next morning and I am extremely happy with it.

    So thanks again for sharing your experience with us.

    https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B01GqQrCLGR832B

    Best
    Holger

    • No problem. Glad you enjoyed it – I am still very much enjoying mine!

      • Hi Ming Thein,

        I would be grateful if I can ask you a couple of questions.

        1. I have just ordered my Leica Q. I am thinking of buying a UV filter for protection of the lens. Does a UV filter affects the image quality?
        2. The back LCD screen apparently is not sapphire glass, so does it need a screen protection? What is your experience?

        Many thanks.
        Chee

        • Yes, filters affect image quality. I almost never use them (except NDs, polarizers). But I do always use stick on screen protectors since the LCDs tend to get scratched by zips etc very easily.

  25. Oh my gosh! A v2 of the Ricoh GR!!! You gotta review this one Ming ;:))

    http://www.us.ricoh-imaging.com/digital-camera/RICOH_GR_II

    • Except I really can’t see anything meaningful that’s changed over the last one. Conclusion: buy the GR V, it’s just as good as it’s always been and now even better value for money. :p

  26. Thank you for a fine review…what a great camera…however it is strange you cannot turn off the lcd…and another thing…not often mentioned..the apspect ratio seems fixed! Most Pictures “live” on a 16:9 screen.

  27. Leica Friend says:

    Ming,
    I appreciate you valuable reviews. Did you buy a Leica Q?
    Will you buy one if you have not bought one yet?

  28. Excellent review matched by the kind of sample pics which are not found on other camera sites. This is my fave focal length and there’s no way I could afford this camera, so it felt a bit like watching top gear for cam’s and getting a proxy buzz. Leica should provide you with a long term review Q. I’d definitely be interested in following any ongoing reviews impressions of this camera.

    • Thanks – I am a photographer first and a reviewer a distant third or fourth. I am also aware hat even though it’s a camera test, the images still have my name on them – and I wouldn’t put anything in the public domain that I’m not happy with.:)

  29. This may be what brings me into the Leica fold. My original plan was to buy a Nikon 14-24 and hit Death Valley this winter and maybe Iceland next year before the end of the aurora season. But at a little more than 2x the cost of the 14-24 is the Q, which checks so many boxes for me; no, it’s not super wide, but it’s wide enough when it needs to be and there’s just something ‘right’ about that FL.

    And unlike professionals, I don’t have to justify the cost.:) (although at 4k+ USD, it will take me until the end of the year to save up my pennies).

    • Nah, cost justification is only if we want to remain a going concern:)

    • Somehow 28mm is also just ‘right’ FL for me. I have been to Death Valley several times and last time I shot mainly with 28mm. A few places I could have used even wider (to show the vastness of it) but 28mm is no regret. One FL that does all.:)

  30. Hello Ming,
    the Q seems to impress you more than previous cameras you tested. So i believe this one is made for you, right? Other reviewer seem to have problems with the corners. Your Q is ok in this regard?
    Sorry to ask this oot question, but you wrote some scaring things about the M8. Did you ever missed or lost a photo because of the M8? I just ask because i use mine for fun and enjoy it a lot. Don´t want to miss a picture. At the beginning a had some problems with banding when using it at 5000 iso or so, but it is better with a Samsung Card i think. Have to visit some more dark places, but may be it´s important what care you use?
    Greetins, Ingo.

    • No, I also said the corners left quite a lot to be desired – you need f5.6 before they sharpen up adequately. Otherwise whatever is in the middle has to really dominate compositionally. I just find it less of an issue than with the GR because with f1.7 on FF, you can still have decent depth of field separation (which isn’t usually possible with f2.8 on APSC).

      I missed shots with the M8 either because of my own errors – focus misses, exposure misses – or because the hardware was unreliable (metering, card writing/ buffering etc.). I don’t see those issues with the Q. The cards definitely mattered before, less so now. I can’t see how that would cause exposure banding though – that’s more likely to be a result of underexposure.

  31. Hi Ming Thein, I want to say thank you for your excellent blog. I am a Malaysian eye surgeon living in the UK. As an eye specialist I have to take a lot of medical photographs, around the eye or inside the eye. I use specialist cameras to do that without quite understanding the optics behind it. I am also a keen amateur photographer and loves street photography. I have the Olympus EM5 with a few lenses. I am in keen to move to full frame and has always dream of getting a Leica. Therefore I am very excited about the Leica Q. I have just one question. Can you give me some detail insight why you prefer the 28 mm focal length? The is an important question for me as the Q is a fixed lens system. I tried to looked up your blog but couldn’t get an answer.

    Many thanks.

    Chee

    • I don’t think the Q is going to work for medical photography. The Q isn’t going to focus close enough, and 28mm doesn’t leave a lot of working distance for lighting etc. You’re better off with a DSLR and macro lens for that purpose.

      As for street photography, you can use anything you want; 28mm is a personal preference because it is wide enough for context without having to be so wide as to be difficult to frame for or having the perspective and geometric distortion overwhelm the rest of the composition. It’s also easier to get extended depth of field than with a tele. That said, I’d say the E-M5 is just fine for street photography anyway; full frame being ‘better’ is a myth that has to be qualified with some tools being better for others for a given purpose – I’d honestly say smaller sensors are better for street photography because they also mean more discrete cameras and extended depth of field.

  32. Ming,
    Nice balanced review.
    Regarding your reference to the GR, which exact model are you referring to? When I checked the spec it has a low resolution of just 8 megapixels, so this set me wondering. I still have my original GR1 film camera. Beautiful, and small!

    • The 2013 16MP APSC version – I think my review of that is linked in one of the early paragraphs. Definitely not the first one!

      • Thanks.

        • Hello Mingh, what about the shutter, how silent and descret is it?
          Can it be used in a stealth mode?
          How do you put the Q in preposition towards the GR?
          Will it replace your GR? Are there situations you would miss with the GR and can be met
          with the Q and vice versa?
          I have preordered the GR II and think of cancelling this and zse thr 800€ to directly move to Q.
          Want to have it as an always with me camera. Maybe start with GR II, maybe end up
          with both as I love 28mm focal length.
          Thanks for your ideas on this! Regards George

  33. Ming, came here for the review, but got caught by the pictures taken for this review. Really inspired by all the shots of everyday buildings and places, yet from such an interesting and eye catching perspective.

  34. Olivier says:

    Excellent review with excellent images!

    How would you rate the Q’s tonal response with regard to monochrome conversion? Is it as good as the GR’s? Your samples from the Q sure look very nice, but maybe they needed more processing than if they were taken with the GR? Thanks!

    • Thank you. I would say it’s good to excellent; the GR is excellent. It requires a bit more work, but not by much (and this could be because I’m also still tuning the default ACR conversion profile for it).

      • Thanks! That’s the main reason I like the GR so much and I’m glad to hear that the Q isn’t that far behind in this regard. Everything else speaks in favour of the Q, except the obvious.

  35. Prediction:
    Before the end of 2016 Leica will produce an interchangeable lens Q, probably called QM, that will fit most Leica M lenses. It will cost over $5000 and will be slightly fatter. It won’t “kill” the classical M but it will certainly break its knees and put in a wheelchair. However, souvenir, anniversary, safari etc wheelchairs will continue to be made by Leica as these rest in peace behind glass shelves or in bank deposit boxes. Remember 40% of the price you pay for a Red Dot is investment money, like when you buy bonds. When you sell a used Leica you always get that 40% back (with interest occasionally).
    No comment on the Q’s IQ, Ming’s pictures are worth 1000 words (each).

    • 😛 You’re probably not far off the money…

    • Guy Incognito says:

      Interesting prediction.

      I can see Leica producing a ‘QM’ – though I expect it would be a complimentary body in the M range. It would be the antithesis of the M-60 Edition. Instead of being rangefinder only, the rangefinder will be omitted in favor of the Q’s EVF/screen combination. This aught to make the body significantly cheaper to produce than Ms (and no more calibration!). Whether this saving is passed on to consumers is up to Leica – I doubt they would undermine M sales. I can see Leica charging M-E prices.

      Or they could offer a new full frame mount for auto-focus lenses, based around the Q body. Like the T-mount, it could also accept M-lenses via an adapter. Would Leica want to break the T-mount’s knees and put in a wheelchair so soon? Seems less likely. Never say never.

      Or… they could release an ‘investment’ edition of the M. The bodies will be made from an exotic composite of rare metals, currency and bonds. Each camera will be delivered with a ‘AAA’ rating signed by S&P, guaranteeing at least 40% of face value at maturity*.

      * subject to assertions of ‘free speech’

  36. chaospress says:

    I’m not quite understanding your comparison in IQ to the Ricoh GRD that uses a much smaller sensor. I had the first version of it and while it was great for shooting quick and unnoticed, image quality, particularly sharpness, was clearly at a lower level than the M8, M9, or Sigma DP-1.

  37. James Hughes says:

    Have you compared images from the Q to the Ricoh GRD shot from the same standpoint? If you do, you’ll notice how much ‘wider’ the Q’s angle of view is, despite the two camera supposedly being similar/equivalent. For me, personally, the Q feels a bit too wide, and I find it less easy to frame pictures compared to the GRD. Also, for me, the GRD’s 4-3 aspect is preferable to the Q’s 3-2. especially when shooting in ‘landscape’ orientation. Subjectively, 4-3 reduces that stretched ‘panoramic’ wide-angle look. Another thing I don’t like on the Q is the way the level gauge disappears from the screen when you half-press the shutter button to look focus. Sorry Leica; that’s crazy!

  38. Which one do you choose between nikon d810 w/ 24-70mm and leica Q?

  39. This is what the X113 should have been. The lens and sensor were fine, but the built-in EVF (even the same one it uses, only built-in), the manual focus implementation, the aperture ring at the front of the lens. I handled the Q at the Leica Store San Francisco today and was damned impressed.

    I currently own both the X Vario and X113 and they make a fantastic pair for travel photography and while the Q is clearly a better design, the X cameras I already have are paid for, and still as good as they were last week.

    Great review and very nice images.

Trackbacks

  1. […] series was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50c, various lenses, a Leica Q 116 and post processed with the Monochrome Masterclass […]

  2. […] good as the Leica SL, but I honestly don’t see that much of a difference between this and my Leica Q in terms of detail, either. Refresh rate is a little bit lower, but comparable to the M4/3 cameras […]

  3. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, Nikon D5500 and 55-200 VR II, Sony A7RII, Zeiss Batis 1.8/85, FE 55/1.8, and Contax-Zeiss 2.8/85 […]

  4. […] with a Hasselblad H5D-50C and 28, 100 and 50mm lenses except for one image, which was shot with a Leica Q. Postprocessing was with the Monochrome Masterclass […]

  5. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Zeiss 85 Batis, Contax-Zeiss 2.8/85 MMG, Nikon D5500 and 55-200/4-5.6 VR II. You […]

  6. […] series was shot with a Leica Q and post processed with The Monochrome Masterclass. You can also look over my shoulder […]

  7. […] series was shot with a Sony A7RII and Zeiss FE 1.8/55, and a Leica Q. Postprocessing via Photoshop Workflow II. You can also look over my shoulder at the underlying […]

  8. […] series was shot with a Leica Q 116, Nikon D5500 and 55-200/4-5.6 DX VR II, Sony A7RII and Zeiss 2.8/21 Loxia and 1.8/85 Batis lenses […]

  9. […] series was shot with a Leica Q 116, and post processed using the Cinematic workflow in Making Outstanding Images Ep.5. You can also […]

  10. […] so stable shot with one hand and no finder. The best of the lot – so far – is the Leica Q; it’s fast, has a much larger shooting envelope than the GR, stabilization, and has the handy […]

  11. […] series was shot with a Leica Q 116, D810/ Zeiss Otus 28, A7RII and Zeiss Batis 85 and post processed with PS Workflow II. You […]

  12. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, D810/ Zeiss 28 Otus, A7RII/ Zeiss 85 Batis and processed with Photoshop Workflow II. You […]

  13. […] series was shot with a Nikon D5500, Zeiss 1.4/55 Otus and Leica Q, and post processed with the Monochrome Masterclass workflow. You can also look over my shoulder […]

  14. […] photographer’s tool – in many ways, possibly fulfilling the simpler ethos of the Leica Q, but with interchangeable lenses. In the meantime, we can always ignore those buttons, I suppose. […]

  15. […] to the quality of clouds and light. Enjoy! MTThis series was shot with a variety of equipment (Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO) and processed with Photoshop Workflow II, or The […]

  16. […] to the quality of clouds and light. Enjoy! MT This series was shot with a variety of equipment (Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO) and processed with Photoshop Workflow II, or The […]

  17. […] series was shot with a variety of equipment (Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO) and processed with Photoshop Workflow II, or The […]

  18. […] photographer’s tool – in many ways, possibly fulfilling the simpler ethos of the Leica Q, but with interchangeable lenses. In the meantime, we can always ignore those buttons, I suppose. […]

  19. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Zeiss Batis 1.8/85, Zeiss FE 1.8/55, Nikon D810 and Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO […]

  20. […] images in this article from the factory were shot with a Leica Q. Color images were shot with a Nikon D5500 and Sigma 18-300/3.5-6.3 DC OS Macro […]

  21. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Zeiss 2.8/35 PC Distagon, 1.8/55 FE, 1.8/85 Batis and Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar. […]

  22. […] found the best combinations for air-to-ground so far to be the Leica Q (but it tends to be too wide for this kind of thing, and you can really only aim it in one […]

  23. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, Canon 5DSR and 40 STM, Nikon D810 and 85/1.8 G and processed with Photoshop Workflow II. You can […]

  24. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, Sony A7RII and Zeiss 1.8/55 FE and 1.8/85 Batis lenses. You can learn the underlying […]

  25. […] shooting the Leica M’s, but the release of the Leica Q changed all that. Mentors and friends were very impressed with the camera and its capabilities, so much so that within the span of a short few months, at […]

  26. […] We have everything from the extremely compact Ricoh GR to the larger (but supremely versatile) Leica Q, and other niche cameras like the Fuji X100 series, Sony RX1RII and Sigma DP0 and DP1. I’m […]

  27. […] series was shot with a Sony A7RII, Zeiss Batis 1.8/85, Contax Zeiss 2.8/35 PC Distagon and a Leica Q. Postprocessing was with the ‘commercial’ technique in Making Outstanding Images Ep.5: […]

  28. […] of the year (high end, above $2000) – Leica Q Typ 116, with the Sony A7RII as runner up Anybody who has shot with the Q 116 will know why it justifies […]

  29. […] Specifically, dynamic range was relatively anemic (Ming Thein quotes 12.5-13 stops in his detailed review of the Q) and color balance was erratic in cloudy weather. With over 14 stops of dynamic range, the […]

  30. […] noticeably. The field curvature and violet fringing make it difficult to focus accurately, too. The Leica Q has a solidly-performing lens that’s great in the centre, but weaker in the corners til f5.6 […]

  31. […] a very lightweight kit (especially after said previous assignment) of just the 5DSR, 40 STM and Leica Q; landed up reading a book by the lake in the company of a rather good Hoyo Des Dieux and actually […]

  32. […] series was shot with a Leica Q and processed with Photoshop Workflow […]

  33. […] want to carry. Rethinking my travel kit, I’m fairly sure it’d be something around a Leica Q, D810/ 24-120VR, 5DSR/ 70-300L and one or two fast primes – perhaps the 40 STM and 85 Otus. […]

  34. […] series was shot with a Leica Q and processed with Photoshop Workflow […]

  35. […] series was shot with a Leica Q Typ 116 and processed with PS Workflow II or the Cinematic workflow in Outstanding Images Ep.5, […]

  36. […] series was shot with a Leica Q 116 and processed with Photoshop Workflow […]

  37. […] ground up. Reviews have commented that this lens is every bit as good as the M lenses. It is also sharp corner to corner at all apertures and distances, with good […]

  38. […] on exactly why. Logically, it ticks all the boxes. Yet it does not inspire goad you on, like the Leica Q, nor does it feel solidly dependable and razor sharp like the D810. It may well be unfamiliarity or […]

  39. […] lens. I was reading a lot about this cameras from the day on it was announced. First, there was Ming Thein’s excellent review of the Leica Q with a lot of pictures to get a first impression of the camera. But, to be honest again, his review […]

  40. […] a full scale review – there are so many good ones out there (Jono Slack, Thorsten Overgaard and Ming Thein being some of the best). Rather, it’s personal reflections on why this is not only a worthy […]

  41. […] come to use that mode quite a lot – the 5DSR makes a very good travel companion paired with a Leica Q and the 40/2.8 STM, which can also be seen as a 52/63mm lens if you use the 1.3 and 1.6x modes […]

  42. […] (mit fest verbauter stabilisierter 28mm Festbrennweite f/1.7) an, die nach einem ersten Testbericht von Ming Thein herausragende Qualitäten zu besitzen scheint (allerdings zum 8-fachen Preis einer Ricoh […]

  43. […] victim to, though my bank account will certainly need some time to recover from the shock of both a Leica Q and 5DSR within the space of a week. I would love to share images, but – see Surprise #2. […]

  44. […] Thein : https://blog.mingthein.com/2015/06/10/review-2015-leica-q-typ-116/                       […]

  45. […] of curiosity. Most of the reviews read as marketing fluff pieces except for one. And that’s Ming Thein’s review. In which he raved about the camera but was honest with its faults and limitations. So it had me […]

  46. […] Q Typ 116 first impressions reviews can be seen at Ming Thein, ThePhoBlographer, LaVidaLeica and Dpreview. Hands-on previews are at ePhotozine […]

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