Leica Q wedding Photography
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1 year ago today I got a call from Ben at Leica Manchester. My Leica Q, “rare as gold dust” was in store. Finally. After collecting, I quickly unboxed it and posted a photo on my Instagram account. A thing of beauty, it was love at first sight.
A few weeks, and several weddings later I wrote a blog post, Leica Q wedding photography, describing why I loved the camera. I’ve now been using the Q as my main body at weddings for a year, and often it’s my go to for street photography and personal images (You can read more about why I shoot street photography to improve wedding photography here). So I’ve put together some of my thoughts on the camera after sustained use, adding some of my favourite wedding images taken with it.
In a nutshell, my feelings on the Q have not changed since my previous blog post. They have been reinforced. Blistering fast (and accurate) AF, stunning image quality, great low light performance coupled with perfect size and weight. Around 70% of the wedding images I deliver are shot on the Q. My other body is a Fuji XPRO2, (which I mainly shoot 50mm or 85mm equivalent focal length). But I love to get close the the action, shoot wide, discreetly capture moments. The focal length of the Leica is perfect for this, it sees how I see.
Shooting wide open its a dream. The images are sharp and the photos have a distinctive and beautiful look. I’m constantly surprised at how quickly and accurately it obtains focus at f/1.7 on a person throwing shapes on a dark and crowded dancefloor. I regularly shoot at 12,500 ISO, and as long as the exposure is spot on, the raw files hold up well.
A couple of weeks ago a version 2 firmware update was released. Long overdue (regular firmware updates is where fuji excel!) it finally addressed some of the bugbears of using the Q. Now, when using the electronic viewfinder, you can now review your images on the LCD (whooop) and the ability to shoot in DNG only is most welcome by some. Another update with the new firmware is the ability to set the function button to toggle between user profiles. I have two profiles set up, one for normal lighting conditions and one for really dark shooting conditions:
Normal light: auto ISO (max 12,500), minimum shutter speed 1/250th second
Low light: auto ISO (max 12,500), minimum shutter 1/125th second. AF assist lamp on
The Leica Q is the perfect “wide” wedding photography camera. However a second body will always be needed for longer focal lengths. For me, another Leica isn’t an option. The digital M’s (in addition to their vast expense) are not good enough in low light, and focusing wide open at longer focal lengths is too slow/unreliable for me. The fuji is an amazing camera, but the main issue is editing a set of images from two different camera manufacturers. It’s a lot of work to get them looking comparable in terms of skin tones etc.
I only have one problem with the Q. The buffer. I use scandisk extreme pro 95mb/s memory cards, speedy things. But the camera freezes up on me regularly when the buffer gets full. I always have it set to ‘low continuous’ (3 fps) mode. During confett or the bride walking down the aisle, where many bursts are taken – the camera simply freezes, for 20 seconds or so, before you can start taking images again. I have to really limit the number of frames I take, then switch to my fuji. Some quick tests after the new firmware shows an improvement if you shoot DNG only (opposed to DNG + jpg).
This camera is still difficult to get your hands on, it’s easy to see why. It has started to creep into the camera bags of more wedding photographers. I’d love to see Leica create a 50mm version. Or maybe a new M 🙂 . I’ve shot Nikon/Canon/Olympus + Fuji and one year on, this is the camera I’ve enjoyed using the most. Its simple to use and the results are stunning.
Below are a selection of Leica Q wedding photos. You can see it’s performance in a variety of lighting conditions, and judge its ability to capture the moments that happen in the blink of an eye.