Fingers Crossed: Leica Q Landscape Impressions By David Nash

Fingers Crossed: Leica Q Landscape Impressions

By David Nash

Leica Q_Production_2_cmyk

I have to come clean: despite happily sticking with the wonderful Nikon D800e since it came out – and having no wish to change it in the forseeable future – I’ve bought and sold so many “small” cameras over the years that I’ve never settled with. To rub it in they’re all still there to remind me, listed every time I open in my Lightroom metadata tabs. Mmm.

Then along comes the Leica Q and seems to tick so many boxes: weight, size, IQ, DNG, fast sharp lens, full frame, fast autofocus, real dials, build quality, and very important for me with varifocal glasses – a really good built-in EVF (not an ugly plastic one to stick on top!).

Oh, and there’s one more key requirement for a walkabout camera: I have to be able to take photos one-handed while holding leads for to 25kilo poodles in the other hand…….

But like many I was initially slightly put off by the 28mm as opposed to 35mm which seemed about right for a general purpose carry around camera – and also by the emphasis in reviews on street photography (Not my comfort zone. I prefer trees – they don’t move so readily). Then I thought it through – I can easily crop to 35mm and still easily print A3+ and larger, and I can zoom with my feet.

So I took the plunge. Below are some of my first shots. A little work in Lightroom for the black and white images, and I’ve included at the end a color landscape, more or less as shot.

tyninghame july 2015-16-Edit

tyninghame july 2015-22-Edit

tyninghame july 2015-8-Edit

tyninghame july 2015-11-Edit

Touch wood, this really does seem to tick all the “small camera” boxes for me. Your needs might be different. Your dogs might be smaller and lighter than mine. You might not wear varifocals and be happy without a viewfinder.

tyninghame july 2015-40-Edit

Yes there are quirks. I don’t get why there are no tabs on the menus so you have to scroll through them all, why you must have jpegs whether you want them or not. The auto white balance seemed strange at first (7500k in sunlit scenes??) but it does actually seem near enough right. And yes it is very, very expensive.

But the bottom line is so easy to use casually, and fantastic IQ from a fantastic lens. For once Leica seem ahead of the game and listening to potential users. So maybe, just maybe, this one won’t be going on eBay in a month or so…

Thanks for reading and thanks Steve for your great site!

David Nash
Edinburgh, UK


  1. I feel it takes a few weeks of extensive shooting before one starts to snag the sort of IQ a new camera’s capable of producing, and obviously David is just about dipping a toe in the water right now, what with having to handle a boisterous Poodle or three simultaneously. The IQ is there, oodles of it, and in time I’m sure that the amazing package that is the Q will assert itself. I don’t think David’s going to let eBay get their cotton pickin’ mitts on it very soon 😉 Thanks for the post !
    In India, this is a dream camera that only a few will buy, though I read somewhere that there are 82 dollar billionaires in the country.

  2. Images look great, especially the poodle on the beach. DR looks impressive. I wish Leica would have released two versions of this camera: one with the 28mm and another with something in the 40 – 50mm range. I personally would love a fast 45mm lens on a camera like this!

  3. Really interested in your comments on the 28mm focal length, because I’ve found myself happiest with 50mm so far. But looking at your images – perhaps especially the first two – makes the case for 28mm very well.

  4. I can say that when I look at these images on a large Apple Retina display–I find them to be quite fine–good eye Dave.

  5. Thanks for posting. It’s good to see more images from the camera that has captivated so many.

    I’m having difficulty identifying the EXIF information for these images. Perhaps it’s something I don’t understand about how/where to look.

    I also find that the only really crisply focus portion of the images is in the foreground of the B&W of the forest floor. (currently the third image). Could something have happened during (downsizing) posting on this board?

    Thanks, Roger

    • There is no downsizing that happens to the original file that was sent for the article. You must MUST MUST click on the image to see the original that was sent to me. if you do not click them for larger (and loo on a real display instead of a phone) they will look off.

      • Thanks Roger. On reflection I should have provided more detail on these shots. The first is f/1.7 focussed on the tree, the poodle is f/8 (on the ful size original the stitching on the colour is very sharp and clear), the plant in the forest is f/2 focussed on the lower leaves, the gate is f/4 focussed a liitle in front of the gate and the colour shore is f/6.3 focussed mid distance I recall.

      • Steve, I’m used to viewing full size. I see just one image in this article that illustrates sharp focus on my monitor and that’s the forest image. Others seem soft. The first at f/1.7 might be explained somewhat by that aperture, however the others at higher apertures I find perplexing. Perhaps somehow when I’m view large, I’m viewing at greater than 100%. I’m using a 16″ MacBook Pro Retina Display, It’s my production computer and sharpness in my final output has never been an issue.

        I’m just trying to understand what I’m seeing.

        Stay with me!! I’m using Chrome and the “large” view overfills the monitor by almost twice. I just checked with Safari and the image is much better. When viewed large, the file slightly overfills the monitor. So with Chrome, I may indeed be viewing at greater than 100%.

        In short, the overall viewing experience is better with Safari and the images look much better. There still seems to be a bit of critical sharpness missing, but that may be just the difference between my and David Nash’s preferences on sharpening.

  6. In U.S. this is still not available….most of the dealers when call say “coming soon” but no exact time choice but WAIT.

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