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Thread: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

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    My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    I waited a while before writing and posting this review. It's always possible that I am still in the honeymoon phase but I doubt it. I usually pass through that within a week, two at the most. My training as a trouble shooter and problem solver usually has me critically assessing every camera I buy and rapidly finding a long list of faults. However the big test is do I take it with me because it motivates me to want to get those shots or does it stay home. This one I take. My review follows:


    MY REVIEW OF THE LEICA Q


    CONCLUSION
    This is going to come as a shock to many of you but: I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! I thought I would get this out first so you can stop reading if you chose.

    This is the first digital Leica that has actually met and in some ways exceeded my expectations. First, it is quick, second AF is really-really fast, the fastest I have measured beating out the Olympus EM5-II and several Panasonics. That is saying something considering the size and resolution of the sensor. The AF is very accurate with one of the lowest miss rates I have encountered and I have gone through a slew of cameras from Fuji, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic. It is up with the best of them or better.

    FIRMWARE
    This camera has exhibited the best software out of the box of any Leica I have tried. Fewer bugs is a good thing. The flaws it has can mostly be remedied in firmware and that is the one area Leica is slow to remedy so it is a good thing that most of these are minor irritations and not deal breakers. Leica needs to learn to listen better to their customers. We have been clamoring for years for a smaller fast AF camera similar to the CL. While it would be nice to have interchangeable lenses and more profitable to Leica in the long run, a good single focal length can suffice for many of us not using the camera in a professional setting.

    ERGONOMICS
    The ergonomics are the best of any camera I have handled with everything intuitive and following good photographic principals that are tried and true (aperture setting on the lens, shutter speed dial on the top plate, etc.). The simplicity of operation is excellent though not perfect. There are a few operations requiring diving into a menu that should be more readily available to be useful. For example AF mode is buried in a menu and not assigned or assignable to a dedicated button. Further, one cannot toggle a feature like touch focus to be on or off while still being able to use one point. Logically touch AF is one point with the point selected by the user rather than the camera. Therefore, it would make sense to enable or disable the touch screen as desired but not disable the shutter button from activating AF. The same can be said for face detection. In many systems you can activate or deactivate face detection separately from the other AF selections and the camera will use face detection if it can and if not revert to the other selection if the feature is activated. The result of making these deeper menu items is that they get used less frequently.

    The EVF is superb and works well in bright sunlight like we have here in Southern California. The LCD is also very good and viewable even in fairly bright sunlight but I find the EVF so good that I use it much more.

    IMAGE QUALITY
    The image quality is simply outstanding with a crispness that is a Leica signature that I really love. As good as the XV and T were, when I compare shots taken of the same subject under similar light conditions there really is no comparison. While I donít own an M240, from what I have seen the images are just as good in good light and better in low light. I havenít seen a camera that produces any better image. Additionally, the dynamic range is very good and the files are very malleable in LR with both highlight recover and shadow recovery matching or beating any other camera I have tried including the Sony A7II.

    NIGGLES & QUIBBLES
    The following are minor things that could and should be addressed by Leica in a firmware update. In my opinion, none of these are deal breakers but they would improve and enhance the operation of the camera.

    1. Provide a higher resolution JPG for image review so that at maximum magnification one does not obtain a poorer image than at the step one below maximum.
    2. Provide a means to scroll through multiple images at magnification without having to first reduce to standard view size.
    3. Allow for DNG only and an optional lossless compression.
    4. Allow assignment of the focus mode to a button
    5. Allow use of the video record button as an assignable function button.
    6. Adjustable EVF for brightness, contrast and color and add contrast and color adjustment to LCD.
    7. Ability to use LCD only for menu and playback functions.
    8. Use of touch panel for a quick menu like the Tís
    All of these are minor and not deal breakers for me though they might be for others. There are some issues with the histogram which is basically unusable but you can turn on blinkies and that is probably just as useful.

    BOTTOM LINE
    This is a great camera worthy of the Leica name and one I actually plan to keep for a while. I am really enjoying using it and I like the results I am obtaining. I highly recommend this camera to anyone that can live with a single lens at 28mm focal length.
    V/r John
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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by barjohn View Post
    BOTTOM LINE
    This is a great camera worthy of the Leica name and one I actually plan to keep for a while.
    Thanks for the review (it was quick since I have not finished reading your posts on where to buy one!), John.

    I am not in a rush to buy one and will see how this pans out in the months to come. Yes, 28mm is a favorite for me.

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by barjohn View Post
    There are some issues with the histogram which is basically unusable but you can turn on blinkies and that is probably just as useful.
    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They meet my own experience well.

    My experience concerning the histogram is that at least there is a remarkable analogy between:
    • the live view histogram
    • the histogram in playback mode
    • the histogram shown in the software Apple Aperture

    However as the histogram is very small I would prefer to see the blown highlights in the histogram in red color.

    So I would like to learn what you mean with the critics of the histogram.

    Best
    Holger

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Thank you posting your review. One question, when you say "Allow for DNG only" does that mean you can only shoot DNGs if you also shoot JPEGs simultaneously?

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by holgerf View Post
    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They meet my own experience well.

    My experience concerning the histogram is that at least there is a remarkable analogy between:
    • the live view histogram
    • the histogram in playback mode
    • the histogram shown in the software Apple Aperture

    However as the histogram is very small I would prefer to see the blown highlights in the histogram in red color.

    So I would like to learn what you mean with the critics of the histogram.

    Best
    Holger
    What I mean by that statement is that the histogram does not reflect what the actual shot will look like. For example, set the camera to full manual with ISO fixed and shutter speed selected. Varying the aperture will not change the histogram but a Ĺ press shows the way the image will look but the histogram disappears. Release the Ĺ press and the histogram reappears but it doesn't reflect what you saw in the preview. This happens because the camera holds the aperture wide open to optimize AF and does not stop down until taking the picture or after AF lock just before firing. This makes the histogram useless in manual. In any auto or semi-auto position, it is always seeking the optimum exposure by varying the shutter speed or aperture or ISO so the histogram always looks pretty good. Bottom line is that it is not very useful so I turn it off. If someone has figured out how to use it please let us all know.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by skimmel View Post
    Thank you posting your review. One question, when you say "Allow for DNG only" does that mean you can only shoot DNGs if you also shoot JPEGs simultaneously?
    Currently, the camera only allows DNG with JPG and there is no option to only take DNG files. There is an option to only shoot JPGs.
    V/r John

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by barjohn View Post

    Currently, the camera only allows DNG with JPG and there is no option to only take DNG files. There is an option to only shoot JPGs.
    Ugh. Hope they fix that in firmware quickly. I don't use JPGs and don't like taking up extra card space and slowing up write times.

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by skimmel View Post
    Ugh. Hope they fix that in firmware quickly. I don't use JPGs and don't like taking up extra card space and slowing up write times.
    Don't mind! As long as the RAW are not compressed and are rather heavy with 43 MB the additional 6-8 MB of the JPG are not really an issue ;-)

    Best
    Holger

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by barjohn View Post
    What I mean by that statement is that the histogram does not reflect what the actual shot will look like. For example, set the camera to full manual with ISO fixed and shutter speed selected. Varying the aperture will not change the histogram but a Ĺ press shows the way the image will look but the histogram disappears. Release the Ĺ press and the histogram reappears but it doesn't reflect what you saw in the preview. This happens because the camera holds the aperture wide open to optimize AF and does not stop down until taking the picture or after AF lock just before firing. This makes the histogram useless in manual. In any auto or semi-auto position, it is always seeking the optimum exposure by varying the shutter speed or aperture or ISO so the histogram always looks pretty good. Bottom line is that it is not very useful so I turn it off. If someone has figured out how to use it please let us all know.
    Thank you! That's interesting and should be corrected by FW update.

    Using exposure compensation the histogram reacts perfectly in all modes even in manual mode. And as I remarked it is very precise.

    BTW: the blinkies donít help either. Itís not just the histogram that does not reflect what the shot will look like: itís the whole appearance of the image including histogram and blinkies.

    Best
    Holger

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by skimmel View Post
    Ugh. Hope they fix that in firmware quickly. I don't use JPGs and don't like taking up extra card space and slowing up write times.
    My guess is that this will NOT be "corrected" in firmware. This camera is for a broader audience, and although it includes an LR license, Leica does not want it to be mandatory. They don't want users to be stuck without JPEG after fumbling with the menus, especially with the option of 35 and 50mm crop in JPEG. A more experienced user will not have a problem with a small JEPG as an addition to the RAW.
    - ErlingMM

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by erlingmm View Post
    My guess is that this will NOT be "corrected" in firmware. This camera is for a broader audience, and although it includes an LR license, Leica does not want it to be mandatory. They don't want users to be stuck without JPEG after fumbling with the menus, especially with the option of 35 and 50mm crop in JPEG. A more experienced user will not have a problem with a small JEPG as an addition to the RAW.
    They might need it for fast image review.
    On the other side, if I see prices and sizes of sd-cards today I wonder whats the problem to have both raw and jpg recorded???

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    They might need it for fast image review.
    On the other side, if I see prices and sizes of sd-cards today I wonder whats the problem to have both raw and jpg recorded???
    Some people like myself would absolutely never use JPEG's. So it would always be a waste of space for me.
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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Some people like myself would absolutely never use JPEG's. So it would always be a waste of space for me.
    OTOH, the OOC jpegs could be better than the processed ones, complete with the appropriate corrections.

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    OTOH, the OOC jpegs could be better than the processed ones, complete with the appropriate corrections.
    Potentially but I'd never know cuz I'd never use them. LOL
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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    Currently, the camera only allows DNG with JPG and there is no option to only take DNG files. There is an option to only shoot JPGs.[/QUOTE]


    This seems to be something left over from the Leica/Panasonic connection. I do wish Leica would get over it. I myself have absolutely no use for a JPEG created in camera.

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    Re: My Quick Review of the Leica Q

    For another review on this camera check out this review.
    V/r John

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