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Leica Q

The Holy Grail?

Story by Glenn Charles December 14th, 2015

The Quest

For years, I have been searching for a small compact, fixed lens, full frame camera that could meet my needs as a quick and easily accessible travel camera that would yield the type of results that I demand. Like many other photographers, the Sony RX1 was the only real option and while it produced beautiful images, it had all of the issues that come with a Sony that I so detest. Fast forward to 2015 and Leica introduces the Q. A beautifully crafted camera with a gorgeous Leica Lens mounted to a simple and compact Full Frame sensor camera made in true Leica style.

As a dedicated Leica photographer, shooting both the original Monochrom and the M240, I was naturally very interested in this little camera. I sat on the fence for a while, reading reviews and looking at images. While the reviews were glowing it was the images that continued to catch my eye. Last weekend I had the opportunity to watch my good buddy Brady shoot his Q all weekend long and I was simply blown away. Leaving Minneapolis, I called my Leica Dealer Ken Hansen and the rest was history.

What follows are a set of images that I captured this weekend with the Q. They range from landscapes to macros, to street, indoor lighting shots and beautiful late afternoon sun. I shot the camera from the hip on my Bike as we pedaled the carriage trails of Acadia National Park and in the night time streets of quaint Bar Harbor.

To say that I am blown away is an understatement. While the camera firmware has some warts, the potential in this little beast is the sky. I now completely get what Leica is doing with the SL and am so afraid for my M240…


the bucksaw

Nothing to do with cameras, but perhaps the funnest fat bike I have ridden in quite some time. The Salsa Cycles Carbon Bucksaw. WoHoo


A little motion ala gnat



The lens is simply Spectacular!!


af is solid from the start

Blazing fast AF. I know the word on the street is that Panasonic had a huge hand in this project, but hey, who cares. The camera works brilliantly and the AF is as good as it gets. I shot in all kinds of light including from the moving bike and it just nailed it all the time.


the color pallette

My images are all edited in Lightroom with minor adjustments to Clarity, Sharpness and Saturation. In general, I love the color palette coming out of the Q


50 degrees in the middle of december


hand held

I did not even play with the OIS feature, but the ability to drag the shutter and shoot handheld at low shutter speeds is fantastic.


crazy friends

When we do these outings it is always good to have a friend that you can convince to do stupid things, like hike down and up a ravine just so I can get a picture of you going across that little bridge. However, in all seriousness, look at the corner sharpness of the lens. Just incredible.

wifi, finally

The app works well for transferring photos and has a very decent remote control capability opening up new ways to do selfies when traveling solo


walking the streets


Tequila and water while editing images


super low light and a simple WB correction


playng in the grave yard

The files are simply spectacular and lend themselves very well to B&W conversions. Personally I use Silver Effex on the computer and Snapseed on mobile devices.


the obligatory coffee shot


lobster season comes to an end

The docks are all pulled at this time of the year, so the Lobstermen pull their traps at high tide and then come close to the boat ramps and simply dump them overboard. With a 20 foot tide swing, one only has to wait several hours before the pots are resting on the ground and they can be retrieved for winter storage.


it is not perfect, but pretty damn close

I love the camera and am totally impressed with what Leica has done. With that said, there are definitely firmware issues that need adjusting. A grip and/or a thumbs up adapter are both mandatory otherwise the camera is just not stable in the hand. I have both a Thumbs Up adapter coming and a grip from JB Camera on its way. While the menu system is very simple, there are some shortcuts that are definitely needed.

I would love to see the option to switch between the EVF and the LCD at the FN level so that I can be in EVF mode primarily, but easily switch to playback mode or menu mode on the LCD. Please, if I have chosen EVF only and my eye is not up to the EVF, then turn it off and save my battery. Please, let me disable the Video button… I don’t need it and don’t want it and missed a couple of shots because it was accidentally pressed. Other than these and a few other small nits, the camera is simply brilliant. I am definitely All In.

Footnote: A weekend with the Leica Q in Down East Maine