5 reasons why I stick with my Leica Q - instead buying the Leica M10

The last few weeks I received more and more requests from you asking " Should I get the new Leica M10 or stick with the Leica Q?". I decided to write a blog post for you, which may help you to decide.

I have a Leica Q since day one. The people who read my blog, know that the Leica Q and I haven't been in love at first sight. But with time and lot of patience, the Leica Q became a unique camera for me with a brilliant image quality.

In the beginning of this year, I had some sensor issues with the Q. Leica Wetzlar was so kind to lend me the brand new M10 with a 35mm Summilux while my Q was being repaired. I was in heaven and enjoyed every second shooting with the M10 - on the same site I started missing the Leica Q. The M10 with the 35mm Summilux is magic and so I started to be caught in a dilemma. Should I sell my Leica Q and get a M10 instead? 

Shots with the Leica M10 and 35mm Summilux

Here are 5 reasons which helped me to make my decision:

#focal length & Image quality
I love to shoot 28 & 35mm. The Leica Q with its fixed 28mm lens gives me both possibilities. I don't mind if the 35mm is in cropped mode. I do shoot mostly architecture, documentary or street photography. For this, the Leica Q is the perfect match. I can get very close to my subjects or use perfectly the wide angle lens. The image quality is superb - and the colour and B&W rendering of the Q is top of the notch! 

The 28mm Summilux fixed lens is the perfect match on the Leica Q. I have shot with many different Leica Summilux lenses on the M Body. But I never have been happier with the result like the one of the Leica Q. I don't know what Leica has done! This lens is magic, fast and sharp! The colour and B&W rendering are so aesthetic and there is no need to do a lot of post-processing.

Of course, a 35mm or 50mm Summilux could give you the same result - but just the lenses cost around 4000€ ...

#silent shutter
There is not much to say about the silent shutter. Compared to the Leica M10 it is so silent, that in nearly any situation you wouldn't be noticed while taking a picture.

#Manual & AF
I am a big fan of shooting with the manual focus on a Rangefinder. I always get really fast and precise results. But shooting all day long with a Rangefinder can make your eyes pretty tired. Then it is helpful to have an autofocus. Shooting with the Leica Q gives you both possibilities. It took me a while to get used to the manual focus of the Q, but with some patience it works really good. Most of the time I use the Zone Focusing, but if I am too lazy, the Q gives me the possibility to switch to the AF mode, which is fast and precise.

Last but not least - the prize! Shooting with a Leica is pure luxury. With a Leica camera, you will not make better pictures like with any other camera from another brand. But if you have the money and want the Leica experience you should first ask yourself what kind of images you want to shoot and do you need to shoot with different focal lengths. 

The new Leica M10 is a brilliant camera, but the body already costs 6.850 €! With one Summilux lens on top, you have to invest around 10.000 €! This is a lot of money! The Leica Q costs already 4.190 € with the 28mm fixed Summilux. 

Shots made with the Leica Q

Final thoughts
After a lot of thinking I decided to stick with my Leica Q. The Q is the more modern camera with an amazing image quality and a fantastic lens. So why should I change my system? The Leica M10 might have one or two stops better ISO, but for me, it is not worth to pay around 6000 € extra. With the Leica Q I am able to get nearly the same results. 

Another important reason for me is, that travelling with a combo of 10.000 € makes me feel very attentive that nobody steals my camera. With the Leica Q, I don't have that feeling. The Leica Q is a light and trusty travel companion. This camera helps you to grow as a photographer. Even after owning the Q around 2 years - I still learn new things about using the camera and I really enjoy this experience.

Finally, I hope that I could give you some aspects to make your decision. Both cameras are amazing and if money doesn't matter, I am sure you will be very happy with both cameras.

If you have further questions, just get in touch with me. I am always happy to help. Best, nicole

My first impressions of the new Leica M10

First of all thanks to Leica, who loaned me the brand new M10 with a 35mm Summilux, while my Q was in Wetzlar for sensor issues.

I am using the Leica M10 for about 2 weeks now and lots of photographer friends asked me what I think about it. So here are my thoughts about the M10:

Leica M10, ISO 1600 - no post processing

First of all - the new Leica M10 is a real beauty! The camera feels solid and great in your hands. A bit slimmer and lighter than the M240/262, but honestly I can’t notice a huge difference. The ISO Dial looks fantastic. In the beginning I had a few problems to lift the dial, but after using it for a while, everything went smoothly.

There is not much to say about the specs. There are many reviews on the web that get more into details from the technical site. For me personally I want to find out, if the M10 is worth it to upgrade from an older Leica M or a Q.

Leica M10,  ISO 1600 - B&W jpeg out of the camera

Imagequality & Usage

My first impression about the M10 is that Leica did a very good job. It took me a while again to shoot with the M. The last few months I was hardly using my Leica Q. I absolutely like the image quality of the Q, but sometimes I have the feeling that I am more "consuming" photography. It feels like doing lots of snapshots - everything works quick and easy - and in the last few months I noticed that my interest in photography starts to die... Shooting with the M started to make me feel different again! The whole workflow process slows down and I am finally more concentrating on the composition. Now I can't cheat anymore - I need to work to get good results! 

As I said, I really like the imagequality of my Q, but the M10 tops it. The images look more detailed and crisp - the colors are great and the ISO is 2 steps better than from the Q. The M10 don’t produce any noise till ISO 1600 - the files are clean and crisp! I usually don’t shoot over ISO 3200 - but I took some test shots at ISO 6400 and was surprised about the result. There is so little noise and it is no problem to get rid of it in the post processing. Converting the files into B&W looked a bit like film grain - which looks really nice.

Leica M10, ISO 100 - Hazy, foggy day in Munich

I’ve also been very surprised about the continues shooting rate. Not that I usually shoot sport activities. But when I took some pictures from the Eisbach surfers I got very good results. The camera reacts fast and the burst rate is absolutely enough to get some good shots.

Leica M10, ISO 1250

The battery life is ok so far - not as good as the M240/262 - and I didn’t run out of battery while shooting a whole day. But, I would suggest to buy a second battery - just to be sure.

Leica M10, ISO 200

Leica M10, ISO 100

Final thoughts about the M10.

If you are a street photographer, photojournalist, portrait, landscape or architectural photographer - The M10 seems like a perfect match for any situations! 

Now comes the difficult part of my review. Is the M10 worth upgrading?  

The M10 produces brilliant, clean images and it is a a lot of fun to shoot with. As much I am thrilled about the M10 I try to see it from a rational side. First of all a camera is a tool, which helps you to express your vision - but it is also a tool you want to use with joy! 

But, be honest the M10 costs a lot of money. For those who might think about to upgrade - start first asking yourself, what needs do you have for your camera - then choose wisely - maybe it is more clever to invest in new lenses than in a new camera body. If you have the money - don’t think about it - get it! You’ll get a fantastic camera.

For myself I enjoyed shooting with the M10 a lot - it gave me back the joy I was missing the last few months working with a camera. There is just one thing I was missing at the new M10 -  the soul. I know, that it takes a while to bond with a new camera to work on a special look of your files and 2 weeks are definitely not enough time...

After all Leica managed to produce a modern M without loosing focus on their craft-ship and tradition to focus on „ Das Wesentliche“. 

Leica M10, ISO 200

If you want to get into the Leica M world and don’t want to spent to much money, I highly recommend getting a used Leica M. The „older“ M’s are still great cameras and there are currently really good deals for a used Leica M. 

I also could highly recommend getting a new Leica M262 - which has the same sensor of the Leica Q. This camera has soul, the ISO range is not as perfect as the one of the M10 and doesn‘t come with live view or video - but it focuses on the essential of a rangefinder and produces wonderful pictures. This camera has character! Currently Leica offers a Starter Set to the M262 with a Summarit lens, Flash and a Bag. Read here my user review about the M262.

Leica M10, ISO 6400 - post processed DNG into B&W

What about the Q users - worth upgrading to the M10? 

The Q and the Leica M are totally different camera systems and it is hard to compare them. Yes, the Leica M10 has the better image quality, but it also costs more than twice as much as the Q. The Q is the much modern camera when it comes to usage - you have an AF, Macro Mode, Video and much more… If you don’t have any problems shooting with an EVF and like to shoot with AF - stick with the Q. You will be more than happy and produce excellent pictures! 

Leica M10, ISO 1600

Shooting with the M is work - it takes time to get used to the workflow - but once you mastered it it is hardly to get back to another camera... 

I hope I could give you a first impression of the new Leica M10. If you have further questions - don't hesitate to contact me. I am happy to help! Best, nicole

Back to basics - the new Leica M-D

Some people might think buying a digital camera body without a screen for 5.950 € is insane… OR, maybe not?

Last weekend I had the chance to test the new Leica M-D. My Leica Dealer from Munich was so kind to lend me the camera for 2 days. My set up for the weekend was the M-D with the beautiful 50mm Summilux.

So far, everything felt familiar shooting with a M - except the missing display and the menus.

In the beginning the missing display felt a bit strange. I caught myself looking at the back of the camera after taking a frame. But after a few shots I got used to it and felt kind a „relieved“. My whole process slowed down, I started to concentrate more on my next frame and the composition of the shot. The curiosity raised while I was shooting, by asking myself, if I got the shot right and in focus.

Olympiastadion, Munich

I felt a little bit like in old days, when I took pictures during the holidays with a film camera and couldn’t wait to hold the final prints in my hands.

In these digital days, this feeling gets more and more lost. With digital cameras, smartphones etc. you immediately see the results - you can take hundreds of shots without thinking on costs or time! Nowadays it feels more like consuming pictures - not „making“ pictures. It is much more like point and shoot, point and shoot…

This process can feel pretty boring after a while and some start loosing fun in taking pictures. A friend of mine once said to me „There are so many great pictures… I am asking myself why should I stick with photography? Nobody needs to see my pictures, cause everything has been photographed?“

He is right - nearly everything has been photographed! But it hasn’t been captured the way you see it! We all are born with a unique view! This is why we should still take pictures. We should just concentrate more on our vision & composition, than on the amount of pictures we take…

BMW World, Munich

BMW World, Munich

With the Leica M-D you’ll get this feeling! It is exciting and fun to shoot with the camera and wait till you get home and see the results on your computer.
The image quality is superb! The color shots look great and editing the files into B&W wasn’t a big deal either.The camera shoots just DNGs - which I love - most of the shots you can use right away! I just did some tiny tweaking in the shadows - but this also could be about my settings.

Some shots with the Leica M-D of the Munich Mash Sports 2016:

Are there any things I didn’t like about the M-D?

Well, yes there are 2 things.
The beautiful ISO Wheel at the back of the camera is easy to use during daylight, but if you are shooting in the dark you can’t see the ISO range on the wheel. I am sure you get used to it after a while. You can put the light of your phone to light up the back of the camera, but honestly this crashes the workflow…

The other thing I didn’t like is I couldn’t find any information about formatting the SD-Card in the camera. I am sure this problem could be resolved in a software update. I resolved this problem formatting the SD Card in my Leica Q - which worked fine.

Would I get a Leica M-D?
Well, if I would have an extra 5.950 € - I might… But I would always have a second camera body as a back up where I have a display, which is important for me when working on assignments.

The M-D camera is for people who like the „film-feeling“ - the excitement in the workflow - without having the costs of buying and developing film. If you want this feeling the camera is absolutely right for you!

If you are curious about the M-D after reading this review, then don’t hesitate to go to your Leica Dealer and ask for testing the Leica M-D. It is a real fun experience!