I have a Q
But then will I have the As?
Whenever Leica launches anything it raises a lot of eyebrows. One because mostly it is not run of the mill, it is never conformist and almost always bordering on rebellion and two because it is always exorbitantly priced. There is an exclusivity attached to it
They hung on to CCD sensors till a couple of years back while the world was ga ga over CMOS. They introduced a camera with a black and white sensor twice over, yes you heard that right, no color. They even introduced a film camera at an exorbitant price in the digital age and now a fixed lens camera
The fixed lens camera by itself is not the surprise but what is non conformist is the 28mm lens. The norm is 35mm and an aperture of f2 but here we have a 28mm f1.7. Bring it on Leica!
First I was excited, then I was confused, then I was convinced. The excitement was around the fact that it was a full frame sensor with very fast focusing and frame rate and in built image stabilisation.
The confusion was whether I could manage with a 28mm, a focal length I had never used and whether I would be happy with a fixed focal length (FFL) camera. I had never shot with a FFL camera before. In fact I had dissuaded a lot of people from buying the Fuji X100S/T or Sony RX series
But wait, I was using my iPhone all the time and guess what, the focal length is almost 28mm and it’s a fixed lens and recently I have been clicking a lot with the phone and had started liking the focal length. But then the price? That was a killer. $4,250 is not lying around just like that unless you happen to have invested in some vintage lenses ☺. I had the Canon 50mm 0.95 lens which I sold and arranged for part of the funds and also sold the MS Optical Sonnetar 50mm 1.1. Also hunted on fredmiranda.com for a used Q and thus it landed on my lap
What to do with a Q is the Q:
A 28mm forces you to get close. Standing away from the action or subject does not engage the viewer in the picture as your subject will be a tiny object in the final picture. You have to move and become part of the action, the environment, absorb and become part of it and the pictures then start talking. The Q is a classic Leica following the philosophy on which Leica was founded
Oskar Barnack is credited with the idea of the first 35mm camera. He was in charge of microscope research for Ernst Leitz at Wetzlar, Hesse, Germany. He was a photography entusiast but due to his asthma condition and poor health could not carry around the heavy Large Format equipment prevalent in those days and thus the idea for a small, light, travel friendly, unobtrusive camera was born
So following that tradition, the Q is simple, minimal and discreet and you can walk around with it whole day hanging it around your neck
The focusing is fast so you wont miss those key moments. It is unobtrusive so when you point it towards a stranger seldom would someone scream at you. It has a wide angle which forces you to get close and become part of the action
The other advantage of a slightly wider lens is that even if you want to do perspective correction you don’t lose much and still have an angle of view of a 35mm lens or so. Most of the pictures you will see below with architecture have been perspective corrected and yet appear to have been clicked with a wide angle lens
From a technical standpoint the files are biting sharp, they scream quality and the lens and sensor combo just hits the ball out of the park. This is why a fixed lens camera works a lot better as the lens/sensor combination is optimized to give the best results
I see my self using this more and more for weddings and also as a camera to document daily life
The focus point by default returns to the center every time you switch off and switch on the camera, even if you left it at some other place before switching it off. Hopefully this can be altered with a firmware upgrade
The electronic viewfinder glass is not well protected by the rubber around it. The rubber in other cameras protrudes well around the glass so that your eyes, glasses or other surface does not scratch the glass. In the case of the Q even if you are hanging it around your neck there is a chance that your shirt buttons or jacket zipper might scratch the glass.
The buffer fills up pretty fast. Although it has 10fps shooting speed but after a few shots it starts slowing down and the LCD takes forever to display pictures as the buffer is still catching up
There is no way to click RAW/DNG only. JPEG is by default. Although I find myself using wi fi and uploading pictures on the road as soon as I click which I would obviously would not be able to do if there was no JPEG by default as every other camera I set to RAW only mode so maybe this is not an irritant after all
Stay tuned for more and for the moment enjoy the pictures