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Leica Q is starting to lose its magic :(

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Because the M240 and the 35 is a new toy, I've been shooting it pretty much exclusively since Dec 31. I was a bit excited to find a good opportunity to exercise the old Q muscle yesterday as I needed all the angle I could get.

During the short session, Q, the camera of my life, never missed focus and was a joy to operate, but now I noticed all the obvious digital elements of the camera. The autofocus motor makes noise, the image stabilizer too, and the focus racks a bit (albeit very quickly). The EVF, while sharp and brilliant, can suddenly look like a tiny TV inside the camera. Instead of looking through the camera, I'm literally staring at the camera!

Also what I noticed recently is that while I thought I preferred the EVF for its WYSIWYG exposure preview, the files I take tend to be underexposed by a healthy bit. Screen brightness and all that. With M I rely on numbers and the dead-simple interface and I start to get very good results, get the hang of it.

Q's S-AF is swift and dead-on accurate. But now the experience feels less because every focusing action means this little focus ramp-up. And how it always starts the ramp-up from scratch even if I just shot the exact same subject half a second earlier. With M-P and its large buffer I can shoot freely, take extra safety shots (so far never needed) and it's always a big pleasant bonus whenever I lift the camera on my eye and the focus is already precisely where I wanted to focus. (This can be disorienting as I would suspect if I'm covering the second window with my finger.)

The dials on Q suddenly feel cheap and why does the shutter speed only go full stops, and why the exp comp has to be turned two notches in order for the camera to register one 1/3 stop of a change. All things that I know well by heart from my 18 months of exclusive Q shooting, but now I'm suddenly reminded of these little things.

But the files are so good, the focus never misses, no matter how hastily I shoot. And I never blow any pixel information without intention. I'm suddenly reminded how I used to regard the Olympus PEN-F, when I added it to my camera family. It felt (and feels) very much a "digital camera" with very computerized interface. But the files that I get after a shoot are still very much beautiful and agreeable.

The end result should matter, no?

Leica M has the curse on me. What next, if I should escalate? A film M?

This helps with my GAS somewhat, making myself focus and maybe put further effort into the M system as is wise whenever one gets a new system. Go in with all you got!
 
Last edited:
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
What next, if I should escalate?
M10-P :p

Seriously, I prefer the M10 over all other ILC bodies I own and have owned so far; and I myself prefer the simplicity of the original over the bells and whistles of the P model, but YMMV, and if you're into the kind of stuff the M10-P adds to the mix, you may love it.

Anyhow, the whole M10 package is very compelling, and even though it may be hard to believe, I think you'd find it a step up from the M240 quality-wise (certainly in terms of IQ, but also overall). That said, if my M8 died, I'd probably add a M262 (maybe even a M-D) instead; very solid sensor (the M240's), small body, minimalistic concept. In fact, I curse myself for not having bit the bullet when a M-D popped up for a reasonable price locally - I wasn't ready then, and it got picked up very quickly. Anyhow, the M8 does a great job as second/"cheap" body at the moment, but it can be capricious (and I don't mean the sensor - I mean the whole bundle; the camera has stopped working a couple of times already, and only a battery pull can revive it in such cases). So, it's only a matter of time, I guess (and I will mourn it once it happens).

Anyhow, I know what you're talking about. I do like the Panasonic GX80 and now GX9 bodies for what they are, but try as they might, they never feel the least bit like a rangefinder, in spite of the style. And that also goes for the even more "leica-like" LX100; it's a good camera for what it is, but certainly doesn't handle like a rangefinder.

I found the Q very enjoyable when I had the chance to handle one for spell - but that was before I got the M10. I'll keep the GX9 for the foreseeable future because it's a good performer in so many ways, but I'll just have to stop trying to approach it like a M. And in spite of all its merits, the days of the LX100 in my collection are numbered; too many little (and some bigger) compromises ...

However, I think we should consider ourselves very blessed indeed to have that kind of problem, don't you think?

M.
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
However, I think we should consider ourselves very blessed indeed to have that kind of problem, don't you think?
Right you are. As far as problems go, this is among the better ones!




Outside the banding problem at pushed ISO 6400, I don't have a issue with M240's image quality I'm actually pretty content. I adapted into the "slow and considered" style of shooting very quickly so suddenly the high ISOs don't seem that relevant anymore. I really like the warm-hinted colors of the sensor very much. M10-P surely is the camera of my dreams right now, mainly because of the quiet shutter. Actually I'm currently so confident I could go for a M10-D too. But alas, those bodies are very expensive as they are relatively new.

I can resist the M10 now, I think the next M will be irresistible if they put in the new sensor with native ISO of 50 and a better EVF solution. The new native ISO means two stops more versatility for wide-open shootists, a very big thing. Surely, a smart MS+ES combo like in Fujifilm cameras or Q would also be more than welcome.

The EVF would be even bigger if they actually managed to implement a live view that was on par with M4/3 cameras of 2015. The M240 in theory hosts all sorts of adapted glass but the live view is not very usable. (I'm relieved to read that the M10's isn't perfect either, a big help for my GAS.)
 

agentlossing

Regular
Mar 23, 2015
44
Personally I haven't shot much with rangefinders, but I totally get the appeal of the RF focus patch, and I'd really like to pick up a functioning film RF of some sort. An EVF is handy in almost every respect, but it isn't the same stripped-down, basic photography style.
 

Mike G

All-Pro
Oct 7, 2016
124
West London
Interesting topic this, I don’t have any Leica cameras, but I do have several Leica badged Panasonic lenses, so from my point of view with my Lumix G9 and the lenses I celebrate my modern equipment and revel in the task of getting to know its secrets and how to use the G9 to my best advantage! I would not deem to demean the use of a mechanical rangefinder machine if it pleases you, after all our little hobby/profession is a broad church, and I know that Leica M cameras and lenses almost have the status of a cult! Maybe sadly out of my price league but hey ho.
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Yes, the biggest part of M's appeal is the mechanical, manual, user-centric approach. And I like that the camera has indeed forced me to learn about the manual focusing and the art of exposure via center weighted average. All good skills that are of use with any modern camera out there.

What did catch me by surprise is that even the Q, such a fine camera that I hold so dear, falls collateral to the lustre -- the simplicity -- of M! And Q is a very simplified, barebones camera itself. It is kind of a promising sign that I didn't actually make a (big) mistake buying the M. But I sure will have trouble letting Q go as it's such a perfect camera by itself.
 
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
What did catch me by surprise is that even the Q, such a fine camera that I hold so dear, falls collateral to the lustre -- the simplicity -- of M! And Q is a very simplified, barebones camera itself. It is kind of a promising sign that I didn't actually make a (big) mistake buying the M. But I sure will have trouble letting Q go as it's such a perfect camera by itself.
As someone else said: Horse for courses. I think the Q fills quite a different niche than the M - it's not just a wide angle variante of the RF but a capable camera all by itself. I was at the brink of getting one a couple of times, but frankly, I'm not comfortable enough with the 28mm FoV (and I don't crop in-camera - I just don't); and moreover, whenever I feel like using it, the GR's at hand. That camera's a totally different beast again - it's small, unobstrusive and it doesn't have a viewfinder, so I tend to work at odd angles and experiment more; with the M, I *work* my images, and the whole process is enormously rewarding. I think the Q can do much the same thing - but it needs to be treated differently, it begs to be shot at a faster pace, and you sure have to get along well with the FoV. If it was 35mm, I'd own one, no questions asked. I wouldn't even need f/1.7 - f/2 and a slightly smaller form factor (depth only!) would do it for me. But that's not going to happen. So I'll steer clear - for now. In spite of the powerhouse that the Q2 is ... and in spite of all the charms of the original Q.

The M10, to me, is a workhorse camera that also has all the appeal it ever needs: simplicity without sacrificing functionality; the M8, on the other hand, is decidedly more playful in use - mostly because it's so much more limited and slow in terms of processing; even so, it *can* produce gorgeous files - JPEGs, too, with the latest firmware at least. But crucially, it's the process of shooting I like best; no other camera type comes close in use, even if it offers tons of more features and represents a much more complete package (like e.g. the Z 6).

There's another thing: My whole M10 kit fits into an ONA Bowery (ONA's second smallest bag). I have two different lens sets for that camera, and this goes for both, though not at the same time, obviously. That's 28-35(small)-50(super-fast)-90 as my dream travel combo or 35(small)-35(fast)-haven't-I-told-you-I-was-a-nut-for-that-FoV-50(workhorse)-75 for events and (environmental) portraiture; four lenses each. That's a FF body with four primes, each of which is an optical jewel. Try that with any other system (well, maybe you can get close with Sony FE, but only just, and not without some compromises).

In hindsight, I should probably have gone for the M system way earlier; it might even have saved me a considerable amount of money because I tried countless other things first. It was an interesting experience, though, and maybe a necessary one, who knows.

M.
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
I think the Q fills quite a different niche than the M - it's not just a wide angle variante of the RF but a capable camera all by itself.
Yes, Q indeed fits a market and a need of its own. It offers you Leica-quality pictures that you can operate one-handedly. And if you like it old school, the lens has probably the best manual focus feel of any fly-by-wire lens out there. Although it's too dampened for my tastes.

*If* I were to sell my Q, I would need a compact second body for close focus, macro, quiet candids. The Ricoh GR (2) would be a strong candidate. Sharp, lightweight, very compact. Or perhaps the original X100 as they don't cost much at all anymore. But I digress.

Q is a wonderful beast in that you mostly find M owners finding faults from it. Everybody else just lusts over it. :)

The M10, to me, is a workhorse camera that also has all the appeal it ever needs
I like the idea of building a mirrorless kit around an M. Like you can adapt all sorts of SLR glass to it when you're not using native lenses... With a Sony or Nikon you'll have hard time adapting M glass with success. So if the host camera is an M it's all fine. But M240 doesn't cut it and perhaps M10 is also a tiny bit suboptimal. If M11 has these aspects improved further it might be the one true camera.



There's another thing: My whole M10 kit fits into an ONA Bowery
I don't personally need FF gear so I'd have options such as going Fujifilm if I needed a compact system. The more I delve into the characterful M lenses and really smooth operation of everything I think my dreams of going back to Fuji are slowly vanishing. Basically my only "hope" is that I lose it all through a house fire or a burglary, otherwise I'm "stuck" with my course towards deeper into the M territories. :D
 

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
I bought the Sony A7's I've had for autofocus and as such they fulfil that need when trying to capture pictures of my 18 month old granddaughter. However, whenever things are more relaxed I always prefer the output I get from either the M240 or the M10. I took the M10 with ZM50 1.5 Sonnar to a party in London on Saturday, not really expecting to get much because of course it would be quite dark but I put the EVF on anyway. In the end I found the rangefinder patch much more reliable, even though the light was murky!

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It was a 60's themed party at the Cafe Royale in Regent Street :) Sorry they are a bit of a muchness!
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
Wonderful and rich photographs christilou :)

That's one thing the M is teaching me. The picture doesn't have to be perfectly in focus or otherwise technically top-notch in order to be a great picture. It was difficult for me at first... pay premium money for a lens that doesn't actually have as great specs as some cheaper ones do. I have to forget about the pixels and start looking at the big picture... a thing that'll benefit me greatly with any camera I take shots with.
 

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
Wonderful and rich photographs christilou :)

That's one thing the M is teaching me. The picture doesn't have to be perfectly in focus or otherwise technically top-notch in order to be a great picture. It was difficult for me at first... pay premium money for a lens that doesn't actually have as great specs as some cheaper ones do. I have to forget about the pixels and start looking at the big picture... a thing that'll benefit me greatly with any camera I take shots with.
Indeed, I have many pictures where the moment transcends the absolute focus!
 

addieleman

Regular
Oct 20, 2012
104
The Netherlands
Man, I sooo do not need this thread! :mad: So far I've been successful in fighting off the desire for a Leica M camera, but @christilou's pictures aren't exactly helpful with that. Moreover I'm using the Sony A7R2 with the Loxia 2/35 for the most part and certainly with the most enjoyment, and I seem to be ready for an M camera with a 35mm. Sigh. Maybe I should sign up for a lottery or two.
 

marlof

Trying to focus
Dec 25, 2010
104
The Netherlands
I have more and more moved away from using bigger cameras or lenses. Even the Olympus EM1 with 12-40 feels ridiculously large these days. Back to my roots, as with the Petri Color Corrected Super that was my first and only camera in my teenage years. My most used combo now is a GX9 with 20, and I refuse to handle a Leica M. I so know that I will have to sell my car after that, and hitchhike to work every day...
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
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I do get a sense of accomplishment when being able to use the M Monochrom and M9 with Fast Telephotos on moving subjects. First shot is with the Nikkor 10.5cm F2.5, wide-open. Second shot is with the Canon 85/1.5 wide-open. The latter lens is big, heavy, and Fast.
 
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Back to my roots, as with the Petri Color Corrected Super that was my first and only camera in my teenage years.
Wow, what a camera.

@addieleman Not to stoke your fires, but I so hoped that the A7 II would quench my desire for a digital M - it was not to be. The A7 II still a seriously great camera for the price I paid, and it's a nice one to adapt lenses to as well. I'm fully aware that the A7R II and the Loxia are a cut above what I was trying to use at the time; however, I never felt it was a replacement for a rangefinder; but then, I was already using my M4-P at the time so I had a direct comparison, and furthermore, my adapted lenses never offered any electronic coupling (so, no automatic magnification and/or focus peaking). All in all, a Sony system is probably the next best thing, and seriously cheaper.

Anyhow, ever since getting the M8 and Voigtländer 28mm f/2 Ultron, the A7 II has seen less and less use - it's a much, much better performer than the M8 in any way, but the latter is so much more enjoyable in use ... In short, the old warhorse has all but replaced the young charger as my EDC FF body. I'm keeping the Sony for adapting lenses to - and because I seriously like the Samyang 35mm f/2.8 (35mm nut again). But it's more about protecting my investment in a couple of nice vintage lenses than any wish to expand that system. So, the M8 (and not the M10!) has done away with my Sony lust - neatly reversing my initial intentions. I can think of worse outcomes of an experiment ... Of course, it also helps that I can get better results from the M10 than I can from the A7 II - glass again, but also that sensor ...

M-P 240 bodies are below $3000 around here now - not a bad price for a camera that gets most things right ... Sorry if that makes things more complicated for some :cool:

M.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I took a walk in the neighborhood with the M8 this afternoon. I'll never sell it- have made a set of lenses just for it. This is with a Minolta MC Mount 50mm F1.4, custom RF cam. RF coupling is good to 0.65m. The 1/8000th second top shutter speed is unique in the M lineup.
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