Heavy Metal Leica Head. The Leica Q in Concert. By Daniel Ciric

Heavy Metal Leica Head. The Leica Q in Concert. 

By Daniel Ciric

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Yes that`s a term .. at least for me. I love Heavy Metal and all types of music that go in that direction. I also love Leica Cameras. So what’s the best way to combine that? Correct, music (in this case concert) photography with a Leica (Q). It’s very rare to see concert shooters walking around with expensive Leicas, especially at Metal or Hardcore shows, as these concerts get pretty intense sometimes and when you end up in the moshpit you definitely don’t want to have big, expensive and fragile camera equipment with you. The Leica Q is a good compromise. I am a tall and “beefy” guy and I know how to use my elbows, plus the Leica Q is so small that its easy to stay in the pit, shoot photos and not get your camera knocked out of your hands.

My Settings for a Concert on my Leica Q:

First of all .. GO MANUAL! It’s technically not possible that the camera understands what shots you want to get, especially at a concert.

Aperture

Wide open. The Q offers here an incredible 1.7 Aperture!

ISO

I usually start at 1600 and adapt according to the show. When the light gets super bride I take advantage of that and go down to around ISO 400 and if I have bad luck with the lighting I can always go up to 6400 without any trouble.

Shutter speed

Similar story. I start at 1/100 and adapt to the movement of the artists. Some hardcore bands move and jump around like crazy and when I want to capture that properly and freeze the action I have to go up to at least 1/200

Metering Mode

I personally switch around between the three modes on the Q as the light is always changing and is totally different at each show.

Autofocus

You have to go with AF-C (continuous) and it works great on the Q!

White balance

I always shoot auto white balance. With concert photography white balance has to be fixed in post. That’s my opinion at least.

RAW (DNG) or JPEG?

With the Q I always shoot DNG-JPEG. I love to have control of a RAW (DNG) file. I personally don’t need the JPEGS, which annoys me a little bit, but I think/hope that Leica will fix this with a firmware update so I can shoot just DNG files.

OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation)

In my case of (really, really crazy) concert photography I leave it off. I tried to use it with OIS on, but for me personally I get better results when it’s turned off.
Why the Q for concerts?

I LOVE the simplicity! I also shoot with a Sony a6000, which has so many gadgets and settings that no serious shooter needs. The Q has exactly what I need. No less and no more and I just love that! Some people don’t care about these things, but I do. Maybe because of my Media Design background where I also try to be as efficient and simple as possible. The switch from single to continuous shooting is so amazing and easy going. It can be turned on without looking, which is very good and bad lighting at a show. The singer starts to jump around and you want to capture more photos to get that „one shot“ and I just pull a little bit with my finger and there you go! The Shutter speed dial is also super good to use in bad lighting conditions. At a concert you have to use your camera without moving it from your eye and the only time I have to this with the Q is to change the ISO, which is totally fine and an „alright“ compromise. I personally work a lot more with the shutter speed during a show. Using the Q at a Metal show is so intuitive, that it almost hurts me when I have to use my Sony (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the a6000 and I will keep it until it dies, but the Q just makes more sense to me).

To quote Steve “This camera just makes me want to go out and shoot photos”. Of course I do have my requirements like a full-frame sensor, wide aperture and stuff like that, but when a camera makes me get off the couch and go photograph some crazy metal heads is a good camera to me. I am a Sony freak and I always used Sonys, but no Sony I was ever using gave me that feeling. If my finances would allow it I would replace all my Sonys with the Leica SL with some lenses to never lose that “I wanna get something done” feeling. Maybe that’s why I sometimes go out to shows JUST with the Q without the backup of one of my Sonys.

Sony, please don’t hate me .. I will always be your friend! 🙂

What I also love is the crop button. Of course the photos are just cropped when you use it, which you could do easily in post, but it really gives me the feeling of having 3 lenses with me. I also don’t need to mention the quality build. „Made in Germany“ .. I think that says it all. It just feels so amazing and just RIGHT to hold it and use it as much as I can. I just love that camera.

I found some blogs, where editors say that Q is not for everyone, which is true. It has a 28 mm lens, which is not very common and many people don’t know how to handle that I guess. There are also some smaller flaws, which are pretty easy to fix with a firmware update and hopefully it will come at some point! All in all it’s THE PERFECT CAMERA for me as a concert photographer and someone who loves to have a small, black and sexy camera with a red dot on it to capture the life on the streets as well.

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39 thoughts on “Heavy Metal Leica Head. The Leica Q in Concert. By Daniel Ciric

  1. Great, amazing shots in a small venue. The shots show the energy and passion on the stage and you can almost feel it getting the crowd worked up. Awesome job, worthy of any live album liner and sleeve. (Kids ask your grand dad what I’m talking about!) 🙂

    You have proven to me once again that simplicity is the best way to go. The Q takes it place alongside the Nikkormat and 50/1.4 that so many shots were taken with way back when!

    1. I am glad to be in the generation to know what a cassette or album liner are 🙂 Thanks for the compliments and simplicity is definitely key in my opinion. I never had that much fun shooting since I physically downgraded my equipment.

  2. Stunning photos – well done!!

    I’m not in doubt any longer – the Q is the one for me too!! (no longer a Sony fanboy, had the RX100/a6000/A7s, just hate those computers with the camera as a feature…)

    1. Thank you! Sony does make some really great stuff and they have improved amazingly in the last time, but for me it’s also a little bit too much computer sometimes. That`s also a reason why I just love the Q .. the simplicity!

  3. Love the images, especially the guy sitting in front of the barriers. “Eye of the Storm”. Hahahahaha

    And to me, the Sumo Cyco and Once Human pics have the most impact.

    Keep up the good work and keep those shadows dark. 🙂

  4. These are incredible imags and show off the power of the Q in this setting. I love the look of the images and how you have captured both light and color, as well as the feel of energy that the show clearly had.

  5. Thanks for sharing. Now I know that I can attempt concert photos with my own Q. Perhaps not as successfully, but it would be my fault not the camera. I’m new to 28mm, but was impressed with the Ricoh GR 28mm. I don’t really understand the fuss about 28 vs 35 vs 50. The examples of 28 versus 35 look so close to me that I cannot see why you wouldn’t want to just crop the full 28 to get the smaller framing. The full frame 18 or 24MP sensor is just not the same as 35 mm film or 12MP photography. There’s so much room to crop. I always crop! Why wouldn’t you if it makes the image better. There’s no way to frame anywhere near perfection in a situation like a live concert where you cannot move around or easily change lenses, or in live-action photos of children or adults playing around. You shoot. The auto-focus and silence of the Q, and its light weight enhance this kind of photography. The in camera framing at the 3 focal lengths is real, not a gimmick. By framing it at 35 or 50 you know as you take it what the outcome will be, and you’ll be back far enough to avoid the minor distortion that the 28 might create if too close. The cropped image size of the imposed 50mm and 35mm images are still large enough with 24MP to get a substantial file size at any framing. I just shot kids with a 75mm lens at fairly close range, and cropped everyone of them to get the final image. The 28 mm Q just lends itself to this type of photography, without the need to carry extra lenses. You’re making the case with your concert photos, and the color seems right on as well.

    1. Thank you very much, really appreciate it. With the cropping you are right and I also crop if really necessary and there is really a lot of room with the Q files to do so, but just to be challenged and for the artistic part of photography I always try to get the right shot right out of the camera. But that`s just my point of view.

  6. Very nice camera with great IQ and resolution, although too expensive, Leica or not…

    I like most of the images, but 😉 …

    Being a full-time photographer with lots of experience as a concert(metal/hardcore) photographer, I think the IQ is a fine camera for these kind of shots, but doesn’t add a whole lotta more, other gear couldn’t do. I’d shot gigs with the usable big gear and the last 3 years mostly with m43 + lenses.

    Great you were able to capture Logan Mader recently. Always a joy to photography him in action

    1. Thank you very much, but “I’d shot gigs with the usable big gear” already tells you what I will answer to that 🙂 I personally just don’t like having big gear on me when I go shoot. At the moment its pretty much always the Leica Q or the Sony a6000. Had a look at your photos and they are bloody awesome, love it!

      1. Thanks you like my concert pics! I’d stopped using the big gear late 2012. I use m43 ever since. Not perfect, but with some fast primes I try to work around it limitations.. Lately I use a GX8 most of the time.

        An A6000 was on my mind too.. But that will cost me another investment in lenses. The body is pretty cheap nowadays.

        Are you on FB maybe? So I can check out your work.

  7. Stunning. simply stunning. Dang it’s fun to see passion in people’s art!! I haven’t seen this level of concert shot since Steve’s Seal tour pics. thanks for sharing.

    I do have a question….,perhaps for Steve or whomever else has a thought. In the photo of the drummer, the pic that is shot between the feet of the other performer, there is the appearance of banding in the lower half of the picture. Is this type of banding seen in the Leica SL as well? And why is it curved? I thought banding occurred in a straight line across the sensor?

    Thanks again for your contribution.

  8. There’s a lot here to like!! They are even better when viewed large, but that crops them on my monitor and I like that too. A lot of story here.

    I especially like the first one large and tight, a perfect shot of “tattered rocker girl” putting it all into the moment. The eight one (blue moon beams I think) looks really good with the patrons in the lower left incorporated a bit stronger – an everybody’s into it shot.

    Great stuff, thanks for posting.

    BTW: do you have any feel for the firmware update and the “improved IQ claim”. Any sense on where the IQ needed improving?

    Thanks again

    Roger

    1. Thanks a lot for the nice words! Since the Firmware update I personally did not see any difference, but what I can say for sure that Leica “forgot” about the the other flaws that pretty much is complaining about. I hope the will fix that soon. Things like

      – Shoot DNG only
      – Name your profiles
      – Turn on the image stabilisation automatically when shutter speed is too slow
      – More functions for the FN-Button
      – Turn off the touch function on the screen

      There`s many other things that users want to be changed or improved, but these are the things I would personally need.

  9. Super review showing the versatility of the Q!!! The shots are fantastic and capture the energy of the concerts. Thanks for sharing and challenging folks to use the Q in ways not normal thought about. It has become my favorite camera and stays with me.

    1. Thanks a lot! It’s really unbelievable what you can do with that thing. This camera really got me and will stay with me forever as well. Don’t know if they could do any better on the next version. The hand full of flaws and issues I have are only software related. Q for president!

  10. Kick ass photos! I have an A6000 but it’s seriously lacking in available fast quality primes, especially at the wide end. These photos make me want to go out and get a Q!

    1. Thanks a lot! The Q is the second love of my life. That`s definitely the camera that I will definitely keep until it falls apart! But I have to say that I am also quite happy with my a6000 for what it`s capable of doing for the price. When I go to shoot with my a6000, I always use the “Sony SEL50F18” and it works quite nice for a really really good price. You can see some of my sony photos here: http://www.danielciric.com/photo/concerts-2015/

      But of course .. the Q is just AMAZING 🙂 Before I got the Q I used the “RX1r Mark1” (because of Steve obviusly :)) and I wasn`t that happy on concerts, but very much so on the street. In my case the Q covers it all!

  11. All are good but I especially enjoy the “blue image”, with 3 light beams surrounding the crouching singer; crowd in the foreground/left. Great composition, sharp, correct exposure, esthetically powerful!

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