Falling In Love With Leica
I feel like I’m cheating on my long time girlfriend. My Nikon D8xx series cameras have gone everywhere with me; from punishing climbs where the air is so thin black spots dance in your vision, to sweat dripping humidity of the world’s largest caves. I’ve even managed to drop a Nikon into the bottom of the Amazon river (I left that one for the Piranhas!). For the past few months, I’ve been seeing someone else on the side. My mistress is the Leica Q.
I’ve always wanted a Leica, and the Q is huge step forward in technology. It is also significantly smaller and lighter than my D810 workhorse. I’m heading off on some long hike soon. Weight is definitely an issue, but so is the ability to take more street photography. The Leica Q excels at this.
We are still in the courting phase. I’m working out her quirks and sweet spots, but I now understand what people say about that magical, indescribable Leica feel. It’s a soft, pastel color palette and buttery bokeh that I’ve never seen in other cameras. When I open the photo in Lightroom, I often simply export the shots as-is. Why mess with filters when the photos come out of the camera like this.
I have to admit, I do like to work in manual mode most of the time, however I am finding that with the Leica, you really don’t need to. Even when I see the auto ISO skyrocket upwards, the resulting picture doesn’t look grainy, or washed out. I’m still experimenting on how best to explore the potential. Aperture priority mode feels right, and the analog twist of the ring on the lens blends well with the digital wizardry of the touch screen.
It’s those colors though that I’m rapidly falling in love with. Every shot just has that Leica feel about it. The photo below, taken of one of my favorite paintings, a Pointillism path through the woods makes me want to reach out and touch it.
It’s too early to tell whether this new love with cope with adventure travel. I think the Nikon is going to have it beat for dynamic range, and general ruggedness. Perhaps a lot of this is learning on part. I’ve had an on-off relationship with Electronic View Finders for landscape, but the one on the Leica is pretty damn good. I’ve noticed that highlights can blow out quickly, probably more due to my in-experience with the camera than anything else as I haven’t found the perfect mix of settings yet. On the Nikon, I can do it all by feel. The Leica still feels foreign. But in a good way.