THE QUICK

Don’t buy this camera. Leica has robbed you of the experience of shooting their cameras. It has sold its soul to the devil. Its gone the way of sony and removed the entire appeal of leica cameras (for me)… the satisfaction of working hard for your image and the smile raising sound of a real shutter.

 

THE BUILD

The build is poor. I don’t know what it’s made with, but it feels like plastic. I don’t even care if it is actually made with metal of some kind… it feels like plastic and that’s not good enough. The leica q even holds weird in my hands. I hoped the $160 plastic grip add-on would help, and it did a little. It’s a $2000 camera at a $4000 price. I’m all about paying high dollars when the experience of using it is right… it’s not with this camera.

I hate the leather strap it came with.

THE USE

I’ll start with the few good points.

1) The autofocus is way better than I thought it’d be and the switch to manual focus feels delightful…. but I’d really rather just have manual focus all the time.

2) The EVF is pretty decent.

3) The color and overall tones of the sensor are superb. Has me very excited for the next M, but if they use this exact sensor in the next M release next year I’ll be pretty disappointed. Hopefully they iterate and improve it or they’ll already be behind when it launches.

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4) High ISO is much improved, but still not up to the level of a D750 or D4s DSLR.

25,000 iso SOOC

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25,000 iso with my normal editing. Blah.

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5) Dynamic range is also fine, but I do get banding really quickly when I try to push and pull the shadows. Here is a processed file.

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Here is that same file cropped in to show the ugly banding. All cameras will do this at some point, but this one does it easier than others.

Screen Shot 2015 07 01 at 9 26 35 PM

Now on to the bad things.

1) It’s too sharp. There. I said it and I really do mean it.

2) 28mm is weird and annoying. I know why they chose this focal length. It gives you options to crop into 35mm and 50mm easily while still being able to go notably wide all from the same lens. The problem is cropping always feels like faking it (crap) to me as I’m gaining depth of field and losing pixels all while framing with artificial white lines.

3) The experience of using it is not a leica experience.

4) I actually forgot I had it with me during my second wedding with it. So. That’s not a good sign.

5) Macro mode is impressive, but not handy at 28mm.

6) The wifi integration and app are standard. Bit pointless. I did take this one photo and put it on instagram with it. Meh.

IMG

THE CONCLUSION

To conclude… I’m pissed at Leica. After the new car smell wore off I realized a piece of my soul was being surgically removed from my body with every photo I’d take with the Leica Q. I really can’t stress enough how disappointed I am with this camera.

It’s not that you can’t take nice photos with this camera (see below). I wish I had more images to share except that I was so utterly uninspired by this camera that I had trouble even taking photos around my house.

The sensor is really great (could be better though) and the lens is capable, but utterly boring.

I haven’t read other reviewers’ opinions, but if anyone is recommending you go out and buy this then I’d blacklist their blog for eternity and sleep a little easier at night.

Returned mine and started posting on forums and eBay for a used m240 to tide me over until the new M launches.

Leica… you can do better and you know it.

update: i’ve received some pretty angry mail after this review so let me just clarify two points.

1) whatever i say on my own blog is my own opinion. don’t feel bad about my opinion if you love the Q. that’s great that you love it. i hate it. we can still be friends.

2) many people are asking why i’ve even comparing the Q to the M as they’re different cameras. of course they are, but the Q is the only camera competing in its price point for the feature it provides and its styling, ergonomics, and general workflow are all completely ripped from the M body. sorry, but the comparison is more than valid. if the Q was half the cost i’d be singing a different tune, but it’s not.

Sam Hurd

Sam Hurd

Photographer
DC/NYC/Anywhere

Starting as a political news and celebrity portrait photographer in DC, Sam was instantly drawn to wedding photography as a space to promote more inventive ideas. Sam’s focus is on photographic techniques that are deceptively simple but have the potential to transform difficult or uninspiring shooting environments into one-of-a-kind opportunities for every photo made.

Most reviews, technical write-ups, and other photo nerd content is posted first, and exclusively, over on his patreon.