Two years with the Q
Two years with the Q
Before starting I just want to say that this blog isn’t about not getting the Leica Q2, if I had the money to hand I would buy the Q2. This blog will cover my experience with the Q, these settings and experiences can be transferred to the Q2.
When deciding that I was going to commit and buy a Leica Q, I wondered if the fixed lens and the expense would really be worth it, well two years on I haven’t looked back.
I feel the camera has become a part of me, an extension of my vision, the camera is a great tool. Having less features than my Sony A7ii I was worried that not being able to change the lens would be a big deal at the time. What I actually found was that having limitations meant I was pushing my photography and style in unexplored directions, I was getting closer to the subject and felt I had more confidence when using the camera.
I have set the camera up for street photography, I personally struggle with the 28mm super wide at times when constructing architectural images and often feel a 50mm lens would be ideal. However, this is when I fall back to using my Sony A7ii for my landscape, and for me the Q is great for events, portraits and street photography.
The Leica Q-P has been out for some time now, released with a matt finish, a new shutter release button and de-badged. I have taped over the Leica badge on my Q and microphone holes with electrical tape as I’ve had a few people I have photographed who were very interested in the camera itself. The Q-P seems to be the same camera with a different housing, and isn’t one I feel is a worthy progression from the Q.
The Leica Q2 has been out since 2019 and the hype for this camera doesn’t seem to be dying down. With the updated battery and enough pixels to blow the the old Q (not out dated) out of the water. I have yet to hold a Q2 but from the update viewfinder and buttons, it looks to be a mighty camera that’s even weather sealed! The Q2 is a camera I would progress to!
Once I gained confidence within street photography in regards to photographing subjects close without their permission, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a Leica SF26 flash. The learning curve for the use of this was challenging, often with the flash being too powerful and over exposing the images. I experimented for over a week, even debating returning the flash and the camera back as I felt I was moving backwards. However, once I overcame some learning and technical difficulties, I continued to use the Q and have found the flash allows for real rich colours and makes the subjects stand out from the background. My photography has since moved on from using flash within my street photography as I think that the flash can be too intrusive when trying to create meaningful candid street images.
If you wanted to use flash then these are the settings I have previously found work best with the SF26 flash because the flash uses TTL (through the lens):
Flash tech set up:
Focus: Auto focus - centre focus
Shutter speeds 500-2000
Digital exposure under expose: -2 1/2
image using the sf26 flash
Within a month of having the Q I was featured in Digital Camera magazine. I went on to have other projects featured, I of course can’t put this all down to the camera alone, but having my hand on a full framed small camera has been ideal to help me to construct meaningful street photography documentaries. One of the proudest moments was talking about one of my projects at a street photography festival in London. Overall the Q has had a massive positive impact on my photography life, my photography has also been shown in local galleries and international street photography festivals.
The camera is well built but there are a few snags I have come across. I went and photographed one of the oldest woods on Dartmoor and waited for a foggy day to make the images atmospheric, but the Q struggled from this outing and the view finder became condensated which I had to get replaced. The microphone holes sit on top of the camera which I have now taped because this could be a place for water to enter the camera. The camera is not weather sealed. The writing speeds to the memory card (I have brought a card with a quicker writing speed) could be improved when using the DNG raw I find the process slow compared to other cameras. The lens cap could also be improved as I found I was knocking the Leica cap off. I bought a rubber lens cap which works well. I have often found the wide angles awkward when I am stood close to the subjects and the overall image looks as though I’m further away, I use the 35mm crop but find the wide lens to be one of the draw backs of the camera.
The Leica Q is still a worthy camera to have by your side, there are other cameras on the market that are similar to the Q but aren’t full frame, I have found the full frame useful compared to micro-four third cameras because of the low light capabilities and the depth of shadows and tones. I really enjoy the Q, it has to be the best camera I have owned and is my go-to camera, which is what you really want from a camera. You want a camera that you WANT to pick up and use it and feel confident when using the camera.
more straight outta Plymouth images:
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