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Leica Q

Time for a little update on the Q review.

When you look at both the jpgs and raw files together you see that the jpgs are very different in their exposure, underexposed in fact also the EVF is way too bright, you can turn down the lcd screen but not the EVF which is a little annoying as the shot will seem to bright when in fact its quite dark.

I took this yesterday of my beloved Alfa GTAm at f/1.7 shows just how nice the Bokeh is stunningly sharp as you would expect too, this is the sort of picture that gives you that “Leica” look if you know Leica and you looked at this picture you would probably say it was taken with an M camera.

Now if Leica can make a Q with a 50mm f/1.4 or even f/2 plus a 75mm version with a f/1.7ish lens then I would have the perfect system! I would sell all my Canon gear tomorrow, oh and they need a software update to lose the jpgs/DNG confuse! plus have a turn down the EVF option too!

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Yes I know its been way too long since my last review, however I have a new toy in form of a Leica Q.
I have never been a fan of compact cameras period, the closest you would get me to use one would be an M series camera and I’ve had a few of those over the years, my last being an M9, I have happily used that all day to shoot weddings but its 2015 now and I have always hankered after a Leica that would do a little more for me but still give the unique Leica look to my pictures.
I’ve used the S2 which is amazing but not for weddings overkill springs to mind, quite heavy too, so I wanted to try the Q ever since it was announced, finally I managed to get my hands one, and I am glad I did!
Its smaller than an M9 and lighter but still manages to feel like a Leica being very robust and beautifully engineered as you would expect from a £3000 compact. My history in using compacts is not great as I said I don’t like compromise, but I have used the Fuji range of compacts which are ok very good lenses but not very inspiring and rather slow to use.
The Q is pretty simple really and I didn’t read the manual I just got on with it, not difficult to set it up the way you want within 20 mins we were good to go!
So I’ve shot two weddings with it now and all is good so far. The focusing is very fast, seems to lock on with ease although in low light it takes a little longer. The Q has a 10 fames per second fame rate on high speed which is useful, however despite the engine being Maestro II I found that after 10/12 fames the camera took 30 secs to clear its buffer which was a little longer than I wanted, needs to be faster down to a few seconds in my opinion.
The EVF is the best I have looked through, as good as a traditional viewfinder me thinks and the rear screen is also great! I’ve not yet tested the video as its not my thing really but I will give it a go at some point.
The lens! ok so a 1.7 Summilux Asph yummy! yes its good, very good! and 28mm suites me fine I would prefer this to 35mm now Leica if you can make me a 50mm version of the Q I would be indeed a happy man or even a 90mm version? The focus action is as you would expect from a Leica beautifully smooth and a joy to use should you take the camera out of AF which after one use you might just keep it in manual!
The weather for the wedding I shot was dull and grey so using the Q at 1.7 for most of the time was fine obviously little depth of field but with the Bokeh this good why not! Having the cleaver macro facility as well is a brilliant design option and works perfectly! You can also change the picture size by cropping to 35mm or 50mm with again is useful, with the picture quality being so good then the cropped image is still good to use although obviously not as good as the full 28mm uncropped.
The file saving is only Jpeg or DNG plus JPEG! hmm I find this rather annoying as I don’t use Jpegs and they take up card space for no good reason, why can’t we have just raw Leica!? I don’t know many professionals that use Jpeg, got to be raw with a camera like this so please update the firmware so as I can have DNG on its own.
The battery lasts for around 400/500 shots which is fine I have another two on the way to keep me going. As I am using the cameras higher iso settings I notice a lack of grain until you reach 3200 iso its almost non existent until then and even at 6400 its minimal so that is perfect for low light shooting add to the the 1.7 lens and you have a low light dream of a camera! Even the max at 50,000 is grainy but its nice grain!
I’ve tried out the IOS (image stabiliser) which you can hear a slight mechanical buzz, I’ve tried with and without it and to me the picture looks sharper without it! Strange as it sounds but on a camera like this you should be able to hand hold down to 60th sec without too much vibration.
I am not going to talk about the price, its a Leica its built in Germany and its a piece of camera art, its worth all of the £2900 asking price for the results it produces, its almost flawless! If Leica are reading this then increase the buffer rate to cope with 10 fames per second and lose the jpeg/DNG to just Jpeg or DNG and you have the PERFECT camera, simple!
I thought only using a 28mm would cause me a few problems during a wedding but looking at my usual 5D and 24-70L II set up I noticed that I use the wide end of the lens 70% of the time anyway so in practise it was not a problem, in fact the only problem was people thinking I was not a professional as I was using a compact camera! “what no zoom lens”
So if like me you love the idea of an autofocus M camera with a stunning lens and a simple point and shoot ethos then go and buy a Q or rather place an order as they are all on back order at the time of writing this. For street photography I doubt if there is a better camera out there right now, the picture quality is stunning I’ve already printed an A2 print on my 3800 Epson and its even better than my old M9 and 28mm 2.8 the look and smoothness is closer to the pictures I have using my S2 and 28mm lens which is praise indeed, its that good!
I am not going into all the specs of the camera you can check that out at many other places but there is very little to criticise with the Q and the end product in which I call an A2 print is stunning!
So is the Q a keeper for me? you can guess that’s a YES! If you get the chance to even use one do it but be prepared to buy one afterwards!
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In-car shoot!

L1008643 L1008640 L1008641 L1008642Ok I’m not huge fan of supermarket shopping, especially at the weekends!
So last Sunday I decided to sit in the car in the car park and take my camera along, just to see what was about.
Rules are that you are not allowed to leave the car, so all pictures from the inside!
Well see what you think, overall I was quite happy with the pictures I took. I made a decision not to include people in the shots.
That supermarket was Waitrose but the new Sainsbury’s I’ve seen also look pretty stylish!
Give it a go!

Canon 1DX for weddings

Leica S2 out Canon 1DX in

I took delivery of a new Canon 1DX today, my Leica S2 system has now been sold.

Do I feel sad at saying goodbye to my Leica…well you always feel slightly down when a Leica leaves you, however my increasing frustration with Leica made this break up a lot easier!

Why? well when I first bought the S2 I knew that it had a poor flash sync speed of 1/125th Sec so I was really interested in the built in shutter lenses. I ordered the 35mm and 70mm lenses and waited….and waited… a year went by and then I had a call from the Leica UK telling me that I should have my lenses by November 2012 or at the latest December 2012. Well its April 2013 now and I have still not heard from Leica!

As a professional you need equipment as soon as possible and with Leica you do have to understand that they work to a different time scale, however I was just not prepaid to wait any longer, it was getting silly! I now think that Leica is fine for amateurs with cash and patience but for pros it gets very frustrating!

The S2 is a fantastic camera, make no mistake about that, but it is restricted by its poor 800 ISO performance. The new S camera has 1600 ISO and is apparently very good but my time with Leica is up! Had they delivered on their promise with the leaf shutter lenses then I may still be using it, but for a small loss in size and picture quality the 1DX is here._MG_6558

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I tried out the Canon 1DX on a recent fashion shoot, my good friend Tom Gentaro http://www.flickr.com/photos/54289791@N03/ He takes some pretty good pictures himself!

Using the 1DX is like night and day with the S2, ok I am sacrificing some image quality due to the lower resolution I know that, but the speed of the 1DX is astounding and I’m not just talking about the motor drive! The AF is as fast as anything I have used and as for the buffer, I didn’t manage to lock it out once! The weight is pretty similar as well.

I will be doing a full test shortly but I fully expect the S2 to win overall in the picture stakes but its the speed of use that I am now happy with. All my previous cameras over the past few years have not been blessed with speed, Leica S2 and M9, Mamiya ZD, Hasselblad HD3. Add to that the high ISO that the 1DX has even at 3200 there is very little if any noise.

I took a few test shots right out of the box and set the camera on 6400 ISO I’m amazed! practically no noise, yes a little but you could completely get rid of it in Photoshop, even at 20000 ISO its not that bad, again totally useable. I also like the Auto ISO function allowing you to set a limit and the camera will change the ISO depending on conditions. With the higher ISO quality so good then setting an upper limit of say 6400 ISO would give me great flexibility with little noise.

I’m excited about shooting my first wedding with this camera so I will let you know how I get on and with all the poor weather of late this camera will come into its own!