This won’t take long. I’m totally screwed. I’m at a friend’s house and he’s a LEICA GUY. But he’s an actual working photographer, which makes him the unicorn in the Leica world. He’s uber smart, can do anything with his hands or brain. He can write code, replace the axles on his truck and bang out a hundred bike ride with one bottle and one gel shot. I feel like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade when I’m around him. And he’s evil. Pure evil. Why? Because he casually placed his Leica Q on the table and said something horrible like “This will be here in case you want to play with it.” I tried to get away. I tried to retreat. I told myself I didn’t like wearing a beret. I don’t myself I didn’t smoke Gauloises. I told myself I didn’t need a soft release to feel complete as a human being. I don’t know Seal, or Jennifer Connelly or anyone who wears a knit/felt hat in one hundred degree weather. (I am volunteering to teach Jennifer Connelly or even just stare at her for extended periods of time.)
And yet I know now I will own a “new” Leica in the near future. This horrible brand has “accidentally” leaked the specs of the new Leica Q3, which means a small portion of my brain is no longer capable of dealing with anything else other than knowing that this beast is on the horizon. My only salvation is knowing that the modern world, especially the modern camera world, can’t supply anything, so the wait time for this machine will be SO long that even if I ran to the local camera shop and threw my cash through the door, it would most likely be MONTHS before this machine will actually arrive. My belief is that influencers, celebrities and those annoying Leica fan boys will be the only ones offered the new machine. (I’m in Leica Fan Boy training camp now.)
So, this brings me to the used market. In theory, the Q2 will drop in price and suddenly become like Subarus in American mountain towns, darkening every single corner and serving as the landing pad for “Feel the Bern,” stickers. My friend has the original Leica Q, which is damn fine. I’ve played with the Q2 already and know what an evil, death dart that thing is, but the Q3 looks to be utterly supreme and this is going to be a real issue.
For those of you cursing my insanity just pipe down. The Fuji kit isn’t going anywhere. I have needs that range far and wide, so a “system” camera like the Fuji is a critical peg on my photographic hang board. Remember, I shot Leica film cameras for almost thirty years. My relationship with this brand goes WAY back, and the vast majority of the best work I’ve done was done with the Leica or Hasselblad. I have these stupid, unrealistic daydreams about boarding a plane with a Q and an audio recorder and venturing off to the Tibetan Plateau or the Amazon Basin. Shooting stills and recording sound while using my binoculars for the birds. (I have a lot of daydreams, some of which include Jennifer Connelly.)
Let me explain this in more detail. (The upcoming Q3.) The Q system is a bizarre little machine. Built in f/1.7 lens that doubles as a macro with a twist of the lens barrel, full frame, 60MP sensor, 8K video, super solid build with snappy autofocus, simplistic menus, improved stabilization, Leica specific color science and a beautiful viewfinder. The lens is a 28mm but crops to 35, 50, 75 and 90. And the camera is LIGHT and entirely silent. When you look at a file from the Q your spleen will leap from your body and hurl itself into oncoming traffic.
I can no longer deny this machine will be part of my photographic future. I curse everyone at Leica and they better hope I don’t find them in a dark alley because I’m coming in swinging. On a serious note, anything from any brand that gets you fired up to create is worth the price of admission, even if that price is equivalent to the GDP of a small equatorial nation.
I love this piece. And I love this statement: The Fuji kit isn’t going anywhere. The reason you know it. Even when I was an ambassador for Fuji I always said that Leica, for which I had the honor of working, is something else, and they play in two different leagues. I hear you with this piece, even if my sights go towards cameras decidedly at the antipodes of this Leica Q, especially in the price range.
Yes, two very different things. That’s why these X100 vs Leica Q things are crazy in my mind. Having had two X100s, a camera I do not like at all.
Ok, I’m officially jealous. One camera/lens combination is my dream! No more backpacks, no more lugging! Just me, my little camera, and my journal. A guy can dream!
You could do that with a Fuji X100V, if you managed to find one for less than the price of a Leica.
I’ve had two and there isn’t a single thing I like about that camera. The Q, even the first edition, is light years ahead of the X100. Let the hipsters have it.
I think about that every day.
Satan. Lucifer. Beelzebub. Which do you prefer as your new nick name?
I think they all fit quite nicely.
i am nothing more than your friendly neighborhood facilitator…
Or, in the words of Doc Holiday, “you might be the anti-christ.”
I succumbed earlier this month after years and years of fight. I just could be bothered to fight the urge anymore. Leica will get you.
See that SL2 in the background behind the Q? I picked up a used mint condition one and I absolutely love it. Been photographing with it every day since I picked it up.
I’m yet to purchase a beret or start smoking though.
Start with Marlboro Lights, and the color of your beret will determine how long you stay in jail.
Why the Q3 and not the M11? The first is more like a compact, point and shoot, camera while the latter feels and works more like an analog camera… They share the same resolution and the same sensor…so, after working so many years with an M6, why do you feel drawn to the Q3 and not the M11?
Autofocus, lighter, love the built in aspect of the entire thing.
I have the original Q and it has been happily by my side for years now. I’ve switched to it from the M9 because the whole Leica M System was too expensive for me. I haven’t been photographing all that much lately but my interest has started to go up again and suddenly the Q3 is coming into play… oh shit.
The 3 looks incredible but will be impossible to find and also more expensive than my entire Fuji system, twice over.
I’ve been using my Fujifilm system for work and a Q2 with iPad Pro for travel for a couple of years now and it seems to be a good combination, I can do all my ‘stuff’ on the iPad and keep which beats lugging a laptop about. I don’t shoot tons of video, but am intrigued to trial FCP for iPad which is out this week. Leicas are like motorbikes, they get in your blood and you’re screwed for life 😉
Oh and fingers crossed the announced tonight Fujifilm XApp is actually usable!
Yep, FC for iPad is LONG overdue. Probably work just fine. And the Q is a cool cam, for sure.
Dan, you know better. Any fixed lens camera is eventually gonna let you down, especially one that’s so wide. If you don’t believe it, just use the cellphone camera a little while, and unless you keep throwing updating money at that crazy market, you are stuck with what I believe is the equivalent of a 28mm like the Qs have. If you have never used interchangeable lenses (you, personally, are thus excluded), then you might be forgiven for unknowingly trying to live your life with one arm tied behind your back, otherwise, you might need professional medical help.
There’s an “adventurous, artistic” film/stills photographer who has made beautiful model shots with his old longer lenses, but now insists (or at least, until recently) on trying to do the same with a version of the Q. So far, I define his model efforts as grotesques. Considering how well he has handled the genre with the right optics, it can only be a desperate drive for purchase justification that currently blinds and binds him to the shortcomings of that camera to the purpose he’s trying to put it. That you intend to keep the Fuji system confirms you already know all this; frequent cold showers can perhaps help you resist that Teutonic siren. In uncertain weather, maybe the bicycle would prove more helpful. Incidentally, if New Mexico is anything like it appears to be in Breaking Bad, are you sure that using a bike is a sound idea at the best of times?
Cropping. That’s pointless. It defeats the entire value of starting with a high pixel-count camera. Further, cropping doesn’t give you the essentially unique perspective that using the full frame of any format does with its own dedicated lens range.
Frankly, even as a gift – especially in such a circumstance – a Q would end up lying on a shelf most of its life with me. I suppose that for those who have the mileage in photography, what the Q represents is the expensive if equally false answer to the inevitable problems of transportation and the inconvenience of bulky equipment bags, boxes etc. Unless you travel with a companion on trips, stopping for food, refreshments or even to buy gas means you have to deal with leaving equipment unattended in the car or, awkwardly, carry it with you, even to the toilet. One expensive fixed-lens camera can promise so much… the liar!
Hey Rob, plenty of legends use the 28mm. Salgado, Gene Richards, tons of Magnum peeps, and I spent the first three years of my career using a 24mm as my main wide lens, so the 28mm is just fine for me. Anyone shooting portraits with a Q is using the wrong camera. The Q is a reportage, snap shot cam. Built like a tank, simple, easy to use, really nice file and holds value like nothing else. I’ve had an XT4 for sale for over a year with no bites. If I bought a Q2 tomorrow and used it for a year, decided to sell, it would be gone in seconds. I never leave anything in the car unless facing no other option.
Yes Dan, many people of note have used 28mm optics, including one of my late favourites, William Klein. I have no bitch with the use of any focal length; my point is about a fixed lens camera having that focal length. The heroes used interchangeable lens cameras – let’s ignore the once de rigueur Rollei tlr for the moment – and were not tied to one combination. Okay, a SWC ‘blad with a 38mm was different, and, I guess, more in line with the Q ethic. However, as far as I could tell, it owed its existence to the difficulty facing the marriage of such a focal length and design to a standard 500 C type of body. Leica has no such difficulty. I guess that for Leica, Q represents the thin edge of a buyer’s wedge into the more expensive system that’s the logical upgrade.
With a career’s worth of experience behind making any such choice, I suppose that if I had to go with a fixed lens body in 135 format, then it would more likely be with a 35mm lens than wider This, however, would have to be accompanied by a second fixed lens choice, and I’d opt for either a 135mm or 180mm. Those two fixed options would mostly have satisfied my needs at both ends of the work spectrum that came my way when I was younger, and still in the game.
I understand that you aren’t actually saying that a Q will be all anyone will ever need; the thing is, however, that some folks are likely to be highly swayed by anything that comes their online way wrapped in the voice of someone with a career in photography behind them. High public enthusiasm can lead to other’s heartbreaks, is all I’m saying. 😉
Yes, even if money were truly no problem, Q does not represent a combination I’d feel comfortable with, or be wanting to use. On the wider side of life, my widest was a 24mm Nikkor, the next step a 35mm and then a seldom used 50mm. I can’t remember ever using the 24mm with a human subject.
All of the above said in honesty, if that 28mm was instead a shift lens, such a Q might, for some, be worth its weight in diamonds.
My best guess is I will get the Q2, used. i will then take it with me to Peru in the fall and ONLY use that. Just to see how it goes.
Oh look at that, exactly the kind of post I did NOT need to read.
Good, I’m here to help.
I mean for heaven’s sakes I was looking at Q2/3 videos today. Completely useless. My brain is starting to twitch, it’s exactly the type of camera that could ruin my life. Thanks Dan.
Yes, those witty takes and random street snaps don’t really tell me what I need to know.