Leica Q Review: If Fujifilm made a Full Frame Camera, It would Look Like This

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… If only Fujifilm made a full frame camera that’s small, looks good, has a great lens and good colors. If only…

I can confidently say I know a lot about cameras. I love playing with new toys, it stirs this passion in me I can’t really describe. It reminds of my musician friends who pick up a new guitar and can’t stop talking about. Or my car loving friends when they get in a fancy new car. Or my pup, when he gets a new bone to chew on. It’s exciting! At first.

And then it gets old and you get bored. That’s pretty much how I ended up with the Leica Q. I’ve always kept an eye on it but never found a good reason to pick one up. Well, a wedding offseason was a good enough reason to see what the hype is all about. I ordered a used Leica Q and figured it’ll be a great new toy to carry around Portland while I’m spending my days working on my website camping in local coffee shops.

It feels like plastic, is it even a Leica?

I was very disappointed when I held the Leica Q for the first time. It feels very light and fragile. “Is that plastic?” was my initial thought (it’s not!). After using the M series for almost two years, I had high expectations. There was no wow moment, no honeymoon phase with this camera. I saw it for what it was – just a tool. And that turned out to be a great thing after all.

I scratched the body in first few days, another reason to stop worrying about this expensive piece of equipment and just use it. I quickly fell in love with it. It’s so light and small, yet it’s still a full frame camera (!) with autofocus (!) and a f1.7 lens (!). The Leica colors are amazing, the menu is very minimal, so is the button layout.

This camera is just so simple and easy to use! My only complaint is the buffer. Man oh man, nothing can be more frustrating than having a camera freeze because it needs more time to save all the photos you’re taking. For someone who shoots documentary 99 percent of the time, it’s extra annoying. Apparently the newer Q2 is just as bad in this area, bummer.

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If Fujifilm and Leica had a Full Frame Camera baby

It took me a day or two to realize that the Leica Q is better than any other camera I’ve used as my go to personal camera in past few years. The Fuji X-pro2 has always been my favorite, small, good looking, amazing colors, but only a crop sensor with not super reliable autofocus… Then the Leica M10, full frame camera with amazing build quality and colors, but manual focus only. The Q is a perfect mix of both. It’s the type of camera I always wanted Fujifilm to make.

The fixed 28mm lens is becoming my new favorite focal length. I’ve always been drawn to wide angle lenses as I believe the best shots are taken from up close, with a little bit of distortion while showing a lots of the environment. It’s my favorite way of documenting the world, showing all the mess, not hiding anything behind a 85mm f1.2 background blur.

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Editing those colors is easy

Not much to talk about here. Leica, just like Fuji, cares about the color science and it shows. The colors are amazing, the files are very easy to edit.

You know I’m an editing geek so I care about these things a lot. Most of my presets come with standard and a “-” version and since the Leica Q files have a decent character straight out of a camera, the “-” version works perfectly. I literally import with one of the presets (HOOD -) and only tweak the white balance or exposure. Easy.

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What’s the point?

I kept asking myself this question for a few years every time I was thinking about buying the Q. What tipped me over was seeing what British photographer Greg Williams does with this camera. He’s documented the Oscars and other big events just with the Leica Q and I could swear that part of his magic is the Leica Q – the discretion of a small camera body, wide angle lens and a fast autofocus.

All of those are my priorities as well. My best wedding or couple photos have been taken that way – candid, wide, up close, showing movement and emotions.

I probably wouldn’t be comfortable bringing only this camera to an event, but it makes for a great combo body to my Sony A7iii or the Leica M10. I just can’t believe it’s a full frame camera with autofocus in such a small body. It makes it a perfect documentary tool and I’m all for that.

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