Love & Pain - the Leica Q

The last few weeks I got many emails where people asked me what settings I use with my Leica Q. I thought it would be the best to write a blog post to share my settings and how I use the Leica Q.

Honestly shooting with the Leica Q is a bit like love and pain. I usually prefer to work with the rangefinders - with the Leica M I am quick and precise - no lack of time while using the AF of the Q. But I really love the Leica Q files so much, that I am constantly working on improving my workflow with the Q.

So here are a few topics of the questions:

DNG & Jpeg
The Leica Q can shoot DNG & jpegs site by site or just jpeg. The color jpegs of the Q are not as good like the B&W jpegs. Unfortunately it is not possible to shoot just DNG - which I would prefer. Shooting DNG & jpegs site by site eats the memory card and slows down the writing process especially while shooting continuously. What I have done is that I have changed the jpeg resolution to 12/ 8 / 4 M. This gives me bit better writing process. I really hope that Leica is doing a software update to shoot just DNG.

B&W Settings
I like contrasty B&W images. My current settings are:
Contrast: High
Sharpness: Medium High

Rome, 2015

Full auto mode
It is possible to use the Q in full auto mode like a point and shoot camera. The AF is fast - but depending on light situations the AF can search sometimes a bit too long, that situations can pass by.

Full auto mode, ISO 3200, Rome 2015

1Point AF Mode
Like with the Leica M - 90 % of the time I am using Zone Focusing - 1 Point AF Mode. I put the AF square in the center of my screen that I am quick to focus my object and by half press shutter I can recompose my image.

Multi Point AF Mode
I used the Multi Point AF Mode a few times - depending on the subjects the AF didn’t focus that well as I wanted and often my object wasn’t in focus but the surrounding.

Rome, 2015

Tracking Mode
I used this while shooting my dog or kids running around - this mode works pretty good.

Touch AF & Release
This is a very easy to use AF mode. Just press on the screen where you want to set the focus and at the same time the photo will get shot. This focus mode works pretty good and fast. I got brilliant results.

Touch AF & Release Mode

Touch AF & Release Mode

Manual Focus
Since a few weeks I started to work more and more using manual focusing. I found out that there is much better control and precise results whenyou are using the manual focus. In the beginning I used the focus peaking mode - but you got more distracted by the red/green/blue or white peaks, that I now just use the MF Assistant - Auto Magnification. I am still working to get better and faster with MF - but I am pretty optimistic that with a little practice I am getting as fast with the Leica M.

Manual Focusing @ f 1.7 , London 2015

Aperture Mode
80 % of my time I am using the Q in Aperture Mode. I put the time on Auto and depending on light situations I have the ISO !00/200 (sunny weather), 800 (indoor), 3200 (night). Sometimes I am lazy and put the ISO on Auto Mode. The Aperture Mode gives me the freedom just to be focused on the Aperture without thinking about time and ISO.

Fully Manual
More and more I am using the Leica Q fully manual. I think you get pretty good results using f 5,6 with 1/125 and set the AF to 1,5 to 2 meters - The ISO I mostly put on Auto / Max ISO 3200.

The Leica Q is a fantastic camera. It takes a while to get used to it. I still need to learn how the camera reacts in certain situations but I hope I could help you a little bit with the Leica Q settings. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me...

Vive la différence ! Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, Munich

Jean Paul Gaultier has always been for me one of the main fashion designers, haute couturiers of our time. For me he was always the " rock star" - the "crazy one".

When I visited his exhibition I expected that the focus would be his clothes. But this exhibition is much more. From the start to the end you get absorbed into another world - there is so much love to details, materials and craftmenship. Video installations bring the "Mannquins"  to life and give you the feeling they communicate with you. This exhibtion is much more than about fashion -  this exhibition is an artistic masterpiece.

Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition is still running till the 14th februar 2016 in the Kunsthalle München.

Camera with character - One Hour with the Leica M262

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 200

Last week the Leica Team from Munich was so kind to give me the new Leica M262 with a 35mm Summicron to test. Some of my friends asked me for my opinion about the latest M, that is why I want to share my thoughts about it.

I was curious if the Imagequality of M262 is different to the M240. Shooting with a Rangefinder is such an experience. I love the worklflow and I dont feel the need to use the liveview or video with a rangefinder, that is why I was happy to see that Leica put out a „cheaper version“ of the Leica M.

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 200

Shooting with the Leica M262 is not different to any other M. Everything feels right. I had the M262 for an hour. I took some random shots in the streets of Munich - to test the ISO and compare it to my files of my Leica Q and the Leica M.

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 800

The M262 produce slightly more noise than the Leica M240. But the noise looks more like film grain, which gives the M262, in my opinion, character. For me it seems that there they used a different sensor - but the Leica team told me it is the same sensor of the M240. They use a different software version, which I like a bit more than in the M240. The files of the M262 produce a but more noise, but in my opinion it looks more „natural“. 

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 3200 

I also compared the M262 files to my Leica Q files. I have to admit, that the Q files are much  crispier, produce less noise and show more details… This might have something to do that the sensor and the lens of the Leica Q is the perfect match up. 

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 1600

Would I recommend to buy the M262?
Yes. If you are looking for an experience to shoot with a rangefinder and don't feel the need for a liveview or video - go for it. But be sure that you are not a pixelpeeper and want clean files at ISO 3200 - you won't get this with the M262 or M240. There are other camera brands which do a much better job in handling noise. Of course you can fix this later in the computer.

The best camera is always the one who helps you to transform your vision. If you are looking for a camera with character I can highly recommend the M262. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Shooting Architecture - using the Leica Q as an artistic tool

I love to shoot architecture. For me a building is much more than a space where people live or work - a building with its form, light and space can be like poetry to my eyes.

A few weeks ago I have been in Rome and had the opportunity to take some pictures at the Maxxi Museum. Zaha Hadid is the architect and I always wanted to present her work seen through my eyes.

For that I used the Leica Q with the 28mm 1.7 Summilux lens. I had the Leica Q for a few weeks and was mostly shooting street photography with it. I was curious how I could use the Q, not just to shoot architecture - I also wanted to see if I could use the Q as an artistic tool.

The advantage of the Q is that it is a small and light camera. The 28mm lens is superb and so it was easy to take shots at the museum without being noticed too much. I experimented with perspectives, ISO and the aperture. Used the AF and MF. I did not have a tripod with me and took most of my interior shots at ISO 800. 

Being back home  I went through my shots and tried to analyze the files of the Leica Q. With any new camera there is a learning curve to use the camera, but also a process to read and edit the files.

I couldn't see any distortion, which makes is perfectly for shooting architecture. But I have to admit, that I didn't like the noise handling at ISO 800. In my opinion it was a bit too much digital noise and I had the feeling to loose some details. There is no problem to fix this in LR - but I don't like to spent too much time editing. At ISO 3200 the noise of the Leica Q looks great, mainly natural, and it is great to use it as an artistic tool. 

It is fun to use the Leica Q as an artistic tool. The size of the camera and the live view makes everything easy. I like to use the thumb wheel for the exposure compensation. Everything works easy and smooth.

I am using the Leica Q for a couple of weeks now... Honestly there were days where I was thinking to sell the Q again. I had trouble to get used to the AF and sometimes I think the files are a bit too clean. But then there are days where the Leica Q surprises me. I finally found a great way  to use the Q in manual focus to shoot fast enough on the street and liked using the Q as an artistic tool. I think I am gonna stick with it for while and give it time to get to know each other better.

Leica Q: Black & White Settings

80% of my work is in B&W. Usually I do process my DNGs into B&W. The Leica Q just can shoot DNG & jpeg site by site. While I was in Rome I started to experiment a bit with the Monochrome settings of the Q. I was looking for a contrasty B&W look and found that the following settings work the best for me:

WB: Auto
Contrast: Medium High
Sharpness: Medium High

ISO: 100/200 (sunny weather)
       800 (indoor)
       3200 (night) 

With these settings I get a punchy black and white look. The jpeg outcome is very good and most of the time I don’t need any editing at all. From time to time I change a bit the shadows and increase the Black & Whites to give the image a bit more punch - but that depends on the picture. 

ISO 3200

After all I am very surprised with the outcome of the jpegs at ISO 3200! The images get a grainy look which gives the picture some character. Shooting at night with the Q is very much fun!

100% crop @ ISO 3200

I hope I could help you a bit with the Leica Q Black & White settings & editing. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me...