Leica cameras and the Leica pictuers!
Updated: 2 days ago
I love cameras, all cameras, and Leica cameras are among those more favorable. However, I love cameras, not more than I love photography and the process of undertaking it.
My first Leica is M6 back in 1991 when I can finally afford it, and I never stop using Leica since. I use several different cameras since I started photography as a teenager; the Leica camera was added instead of replacing others, as it is today.
Leica had made excellent cameras true to the brand's DNA with mechanical heritage and character that fascinated me when I was a boy, a young man, and an industrial designer. It's a friend.
Do I agree that the Leica camera is capable of producing excellent images? Always. Are they the best? It is the photography question, not about the camera.
This blog is dedicating to images shot with various Leica cameras and lenses, including lenses specifically design for Leica, of the past and the most current ones, in random order.
2020 at a glance : Leica Photografie International "LFI" - not a bad year to have my images selected by LFI in 130 occasions in varies genres of photography.
The Leica M10-D - carries over from my Leica M10-D Journal
Leica M10-D is my most frequently use Leica camera in 2020, and the lens is the Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH. I started the shoot in 2021 with the exact combination!
Fai, shot with the Leica M10 Monochrom Leitz Wetzlar Edition
And I need to keep my collection going - "Behind and in front of my camera" features mostly, not surprisingly, Leica cameras!
Por, shot with Leica M10-D and converted in monochrome.
Some pictures from the new personal blog about Phone Booth with my Leica M10 Monochrom
My Leica M system cameras and the challenges
Leica made several attempts to keep the M system camera to meet the challenges and the reflex camera system's capability without resounding success until the arrival of electronic live-view of CMOS-based cameras that united the mirrorless and reflex system.
My new Leica M10 Monochrom attached with Visoflex 020 and one of my favorites close-up lenses, Nikkor PC 85/2.8D, will join my new project "Cycle of Life" something I have always wanted to shoot with Leica M cameras.
Thanks to digital development, the M system is somewhat liberated and became a more flexible choice as the brand has envisioned and wish it to be. Leica appeared well-acknowledged in the technology and where the market is moving to, evidently introducing the T/SL system and the Q cameras. Time to bring the EVF to the M camera.
"If there were no beginnings and if there were no endings, we would have the absence of inertia and the presence of stagnation."
~ Craig D. Lounsbrough
The Leica M10-D is certainly not the most effective camera for making shots for my "Cycle of Life" project, it is slow, it requires more nerve for each of the moment, it requires me to hold my breath even the camera is on a tripod. It is like meditation!
What I would say, without reservation, is that, as of January 2021, the Leica FOTOS remains the worst product the Leica offers currently!
January 21, 2021 - the introduction of Leica M10-P 'Reporter'
Finished in a scratch-resistant "NATO Green" paint and Kevlar camera trim, the edition M10-P looks more like a military camera than what Leica names it "reporter"!
Ironically, the M10-P 'Reporter' officially released one day after the US presidential inauguration day, which drew a hectic social media suppression, biased if not distorted coverage, and a disputed election resulting in no justice. Where is the real reporter?
Perhaps the term of reporter requires a new definition, maybe so for the so-called reporter camera! Leica released the M10-P 'Reporter' as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, for the memory of Leica 250 of 1933. MP of 1956, M3 with the Leicavit rapid winder, following the suggestion of iconic photographers such as Alfred Eisenstaedt and David Douglas Duncan. Indeed, the M10-P camera today is far beyond the dreams of the reporters' generations earlier. Today's reporter may have other ideas.
The Edition 'Reporter' camera is without a doubt beautiful and capable by its mean. A limited run of 450 is not an ambitious goal. But the external finish is just an exterior finish, making the a-la-carte program very much missed.
January 28, 2021 - the retune of Noctilux-M 50/1.2 ASPH
Leica did the best Leica do best - to remind us of yesterday!
The most recent feat - the reintroduction of the much-sought-after original Noctilux-M 50/1.2 Aspherical in a modern presentation.
Those who argue that the modern cameras can capture such high-quality image in near darkness makes less need of fast prime such as this Noctilux-M 50/1.2 ASPH that costs $7,695 for black edition and a special edition silver limited to 100 lenses for $16,395 apiece; they are not speaking the same language! The lens has sold out before the release!
It is not for discussing how good the lens is and its CP value; it is about the premium of prestige ownership and rarity. Or maybe for people to buy and sell that expect the lens to appreciate over time and profit will come, they are sometimes right and sometimes wrong. This is a big world, and someone needs to do something to service for those who do not care about price. Most photographers should care about photography.
I would not imagine a company like Leica will produce a poor lens; certainly no this one. Will it be an optical performance breakthrough? Will that matter to the final artwork? It is about doing something with something you genuinely love. Many photographers love to shoot with the camera they love; for example, Leica, such experience weighs more than producing a fantastic print. Love what you do is what mattered!
Leica Perspective Control
The Leica Perspective Control function automatically corrects receding lines and is available for the M10-P, M10-R, and M10 M series cameras through a firmware update on January 28, 2021.
While I have no intention to use the Leica for serious architecture shoots or want to, I will use some proper technical lenses such as my Schneider PC-TS Super-Angulon 28 or 50 or those from Nikon and Canon with mount-adapters.
However, the automatic correction could be interested in street portraits, although it won't show from the focusing window unless using the EVF, making the shooting painfully slow and less spontaneous. Technically one can have the camera away from the eyes and using the correction frame on the rear display. Still, I hate shooting that way, particularly for portraits, as the camera becomes a third object in the process, but each photographer finds his way; it is just not my subjective preference.
With the M10 Monochrom set to CAPTURE ASSISTANTS - Perspective Control - On - to shoot DNG + JPEG, the result is quite evident here on the screen. (Corrected JPEG on the left vs. Native DNG on the right) The Gyro inside the camera automatically detects the camera's angle, sends the information to the processor, and embeds correction data on the DNG while recording the JPEG as corrected. Capture One Pro 21 has not yet read the embedded correction data on DNG like Lightroom, which Leica recommended, but this is just a function inspection that I will stay with my Capture One Pro 21 and not bother with Lightroom.
But I have to say; initially, I thought this is perhaps not a very useful feature. I now believe it may be quite interesting for an environmental portrait on the go when there is no time to use proper PC lenses or computer correction.
February 14, 2021
The romantic photographer!
It is more than three decades since Fujifilm introduced FUJIX DS-1P in 1988, the first practical digital camera capable of saving data to a semiconductor memory card. Today, any digital camera is beyond the wildest dreams of photographers back then. The discussions and debates of whether digital can surpass chemical-based photography also shifted from technical talks to a more philosophical basis.
Photographers often have the romance as if the technology is evolving around their desire of quality and curiosity while in reality not. Not always, anyway.
It was the human endeavor to discover the unknown, breaking the boundary of common knowledge, as the case for the invention of the MOSFET (MOS -Metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) by the Bell Labs in 1959. The scientists worked tirelessly to enable the 1977 Voyager Program (Voyager 1 and Voyager 2) to carry digital cameras on the spacecraft to capture data and store it on a digital tape and then playback during transmission periods. The spacecraft went on sending back valuable images through its mission to the edge of the planetary system, including the first and still only family portrait of planets in our home solar system, including the famous "Pale Blue Dot" - on Valentine Day, February 14, 1990, by NASA's Voyager 1. The image of "Pale Blue Dot" - Earth seen from 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) away, romantically planned ten years ahead in 1981 by Carl Sagan, a member of the Voyager Imaging Team, envisioned to have the spacecraft turn around to take one last look at home before shut off the on-board camera to preserve power for more critical instruments.
Both Voyagers kept flying long after February 1990. In August 2012, the Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space, followed by Voyager 2 in December 2018, moving at the velocity of 38,026.77 mph (Voyager 1) and 34,390.98 mph (Voyager 2).
Now, digital cameras, including those on Smartphones, are used to capture anything, with no regard to the prestigious heritage. They don't have to. The camera somehow becomes something for identifying the photographer, either through the image it is producing or by the camera's look, as an accessory or fashion statement - for example, the Hasselblad 907X + CFVII 50C and Leica M Edition 60.
The Hasselblad 907X + CFVII 50C and Leica M Editon 60 share many things in common but in the opposite direction. Both camera presented in the form of their past in a modern appearance. Hasselblad 907X has only the articulated rear display but no viewfinder and Leica M Edition 60 has the viewfinder but no display. Both are awful cameras by ordinary judgments for lacking vertical grip, or grip of any kind, no ergonomic to speak about, slow to autofocus or none thereof, no IBIS, and priced wrong.
Ordinary judgments are not wrong; they are just ordinary.
February 15 The Bangkok Railway Station
The M10 Monochrom will not manage blown exposure in anyway meaningful, something needs to be extremely careful!
February 27 Snow Moon
The 2nd full moon in 2021 is also known as the Snow Moon, due to typically heavy snow in February, indicating such term did not come from tropical countries.
It is also celebrated by the Chinese as the "Spring Lantern Festival" - on the 15th day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. It is considered the final day of the traditional Chinese Spring Festival, such tradition traced back to Emperor Ming (28-75 AD) of the Han Dynasty, close to two millennia ago.
The Leica M10 Monochrom with its monochrome sensor theoretically can reproduce an image with cleaner and higher resolution than cameras with a Bayer RGB sensor of the same pixel pitch, for free of color and pattern noise.
Not in the case of the Moon shot! The thick Earth atmosphere softens the spatial frequency so the monochrome sensor is basically recording an image blurred by thick air and tropical humidity. It would work much better on the surface of the moon or on Mars, as some of the cameras with bandpass filters on the Mars Perseverance.
This shot is more fun than useful! This shot made with Leica M10 Monochrom at 2:41AM, almost 30min after those shots made with Fujifilm GFX100 using the exact same lens, Minolta RF 800mm 1:8 of the exact reproduction scale albeit on the different sensor. The GFX100 easily out-resolve the M10M in this situation, even without the Pixel Shift Multi-Shot.
Other shots may be different! (ref: Fujifilm GFX100 Moon shot)
February 28 Warehouse 30 Bangkok
March 2, 2021
March 4, 2021
The latest lens from Leica, following the lens roadmap of L mount APO Primes and the price index of premium M lenses, the Apo-Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH is an exciting and one that can focus close down to 30cm, breaking the 70cm barrier of the tradition range-finder system lenses! It probably signals something more significant change to follow.
Leica engineered a detent at 0.7m on the focus ring to make the user aware when the lens steps into the close-focus range using the Live View on the screen or EVF.
Not quite as expensive as the Apo-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH, which I enjoy using but less often than the Summilux-M 50/1,4 ASPH, but at USD 8,195, I would expect nothing less than exceptional.
The ten-lens elements are divided into five groups; three elements feature aspherical surfaces including one with both-side aspherical surface. Six elements are made of glasses with anomalous partial dispersion, which not only minimizing chromatic aberrations but also provide apochromatic correction, the first for a 35mm lens in the M-System.
This lens may take over the Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH as my most often use portrait lens.
March 5 Added the new Voigtländer APO-LANTHAR 50mm F2.0 Asph. VM to my M system
There are currently the only two Apochromatic F/2 standard lenses in Leica M bayonet mount. I have two Apo-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH; another is the titanium finish from the M-P 240 Titan set. The titanium finish App-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH is more compact and lightweight that does not get much use because my favorite lens for my M camera remains the Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH which balances with the camera very well.
It is difficult to explain that I have little curiosity to test for comparing the Leica Apo-Summicron-M 50/2 ASPH and the Voigtländer APO-LANTHAR 50mm F2.0 VM. I don't do lens tests unless paid very well for. These are all very well-made lenses, and it is really up to the photographer to study the lens and bring the best out of it.
March 7, 2021
March 13 Makkasan
March 17 with Katarina Gartell
March 27 Makkasan Community Bangkok
First shot of my new Voigtländer APO-LANTHAR 35mm F2.0 ASPH VM
This little girl showed her muscle to me when I asked her name, "Popeye," she replied.
March 30 Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-Ok Waterlily Institute, Chon Buri, Thailand
March 31 Bangkok Art and Culture Center
Get to take a couple of snapshots of Bangkok Art and Culture Center while awaiting the admission of the event "Videos of the East, Videos of the West" held by Ambasciata d'Italia
April 9 Izem Yilmaz - The Issara Ladphrao, Bangkok
April 14 Makkasan Community
My Leica Gallery
Talk about the Leica M System
The road ahead - original published on March 25, 2019
It is already over a century after the first rangefinder camera to the market, the 3A Kodak Autographic Special of 1916. After a decade, in 1925 with the Leica I to make the "telemeters" rangefinder popular and further success and adaptation seen in 1932 by the Leica II and Contax 1 and by 1936 the rangefinder integrated in the center of the viewfinder of Contax II. The fundamental mechanism has been evolved and improved over the decades, but the principle of the concept remains the same, best represented by Leica's M series of cameras.
The love of classic, mechanical rangefinder cameras by photographers, in general, has not been faded; however, the costs and practicability keep most of them away from it. As an industrial designer, I love the simplicity of Leica M cameras design and precision mechanical quality that works like a well-oiled machine, but as a photographer, I would not lie that there are no better choices for varies applications. I am lucky enough to own and collect some of the Leica cameras and lenses since more than two decades ago, so I have the opportunities to use many different models (film and solid-state capture) over time with a good number of M lenses and R lenses; while I am also shooting with varies different camera system of different brands.
I have to admit that I love Leica cameras and use them for my personal projects and travel pictures, but rarely for paid commercial assignments - a decision made on efficiency, flexibility and of course quality.
Leica had seen its glorious day back in the time when the M3 and M4 were the envy of every other brand on all measurements. As the camera industries evolved, the reflex system took the dominance role with the broader selection of lenses and automation features. Leica has been working hard playing catch up since and slowly becomes a niche choice and status symbol for many hobbyists who can afford it and want to associate their photography with legendary and iconic cameras or sometimes as a lifestyle accessory. Very few professionals use Leica as their only or the main camera even they could easily afford it.
But of course, the Leica M and R cameras are nothing less than fantastic, well capable of producing beautiful images competitively in the analog era with some professional photographers depend on them.
Into digital, Leica is always somewhat hesitant. R system had no success in adapting to solid-state capture and silenced quietly. M system had some early struggle, but with M9 the Leica M has again re-established its position - still a niche, but competitive enough in certain regards of photography. But in the digital era, the development is fast-paced, and while the overall industry embraced CMOS over CCD sensors - even the digital back makers, Leica has again become the last to adapt.
Leica is a small camera company, a small company with a big ego. But they have to, and the general photography public expects Leica to have a big ego and continue to carry the heritage. And within a few years, Leica is a company with a portfolio of S, SL, M, T system cameras, Q and a line up of luxury compacts cameras, as no one else. The overstretched line up could be a fantastic idea for top-down vertical and horizontal system integration, but the legendary M system sits in the middle as the crown jewel of Leica yet its adherence to the mechanical lens mount and M manual lenses keep the total integration from reality.
Imagine a modernized M mount with full electronic communication and swift autofocus can do? Never say never.
The move to simply M camera with Typ 240 destination back in 2012 was not a bad one, with the adaptation of CMOS sensor adds the live-view and electronic viewfinder to M camera also liberates the M camera to accept former R lenses in practical terms. Leica did not push it further, instead retracted to its conservative core with the release of M10. The M10 is superior to the Typ 240 in most ways while eliminating the video function is not necessary, although not many people missed it, Leica could have left it alone. I don't miss it, not really desire it but do not mind if it is there as I did use once with my M-P Typ 240 and a few times with Typ 246 Monochrom for curiosity causes.
In Leica's words, the multi-task role will be the responsibility of the SL system introduced in 2015 as the M system will remain true to its old core aiming to bring to the unique experience of analog photography back into the digital world. The best example is the most recent M camera, the M10-D, which introduced about 18 months after the launch of original M10.
Strategy and marketing plan aside, the currently most popular cameras bearing the name of Leica are the M10/M10-P and Q - a clear indication of who the Leica users are and what to expect. Q camera resembled the classic "Messucher" look with a built-in brilliant Summilux 28/1.7 ASPH lens is one of the modern Leica with automation features comparable to the competition and the camera I often use as "The 28mm" when I shoot with the M camera. It is an efficient and logical combination. For many, Q is the entry to the Leica ecosystem.
But, as of late February 2019, as rumors mounting on a soon-to-be-released Q2 model to feature a new sensor with a significant increase in resolution - from 24 to 47 megapixels (+95.83%) will make the M camera and Q2 combination somewhat awkward.
The M10/M10-P/M10-D are without question the most important cameras and the center of all attention and deserve the best of Leica. The decision to equip Q2 the highest resolution and latest sensor of Leica is not an illogical one and quite a safe move. The Summilux 28/1.7 ASPH is a fixed lens on Q2 so the digital profiling and optimization will work much better on a sensor that is more demanding, assisted with optical image stabilizer and coupled with fast autofocusing - that ensure the result of image benefitted with the new sensor.
It could be an entirely different scenario to have the new 47-megapixel sensor on M10. The tolerance of accuracy of mechanical rangefinder will be further compressed and a tall order to control the image blurring in rangefinder shooting: spontaneous and handheld - a challenge to the very foundation of the Leica M system. The digital optimization across the entire line up of M lenses is another challenge and pressure to the dated 6-bit coding system.
I have both Leica M10 and M10-D with me on my recent two-weeks-trip in Russia and shot both cameras side by side and as a result around 85% of shots made with M10-D. It is nothing to do with image quality but the M10-D is the kind of camera that is more fun and addicted to shooting. For photography the pair of M10 and M10-D is not a better option than the SONY A7RIII and Fujifilm GFX50R I also carried with me for the trip. But fun is not replaceable.
So what is ahead of Leica? In particular the Leica M system? The advancement in the sensor will not stop! The electronic viewfinder and the AI-powered AF system will only become faster, more accurate and smarter! Sensor-based image stabilizer will become more effective! The camera was hardware in the past, but today it needs to be part of the solution - the visual material eco-system. Total integration is the main-stream expectation in the coming future, and electronic is at the moment the most efficient way for complete integration. At the moment, the development of the M system seemed stagnated!
We can almost sure that a universal adaptation to the new sensor will happen after the introduction of Q2. Technically Leica could use the new sensor on the existing chassis of M10 and call it a new M camera, but that is not likely enough for the long run.
The communication between lens and camera needs reconsideration - AF without abandoning the M Bayonet is not impossible. Classic rangefinder lenses have no conflict with electronic viewfinder has been proven. Sensor-based stabilizer system is almost necessary for the high-resolution sensor for practical use.
Hardware? Or a part of the solution?
The screen-less M
The way backward - original published on January 28, 2019
Leica is the master at the art of subtraction, doing so while commanding a premium.
One of my favorite Leica in my collection is M Edition 60 which Leica describes "The essence of photography" to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the legendary Leica M system. The Audi designed M60 is a handsome camera to look at, the only Leica M camera made from milling off a solid stainless steel billet, pleasant to shoot with, which I enjoy a lot.
M Edition 60 is the first digital system camera without a rear screen, so the photographer has to concentrate on the fundamental of photography - shutter speed, aperture value, and ISO setting - digital negative only! It is one of my more often use M cameras for personal projects. M Edition 60 remains, IMHO, the most beautiful digital M camera in term of design and build in modern time probably matched only by the M9 Titanium. It works exactly like the old M7 cameras without needing to advance the shutter and change film cassette every 36 exposures. And of course missing the familiar celluloid film smell.
Leica must have got encouraged by the overwhelmed praise of the screen-less digital camera and public demand so almost two years later, in late 2016, released the Leica M-D Typ 262, a serial production version of screen-less M digital camera.
Without a rear screen and not able to connect to an electronic viewfinder nullify the video function which IMHO no hurt to have it, I did use a couple of times, but I could not care less. And that paved the way to the release of M10 without the video function.
Disable the video function is a philosophical decision. The M10 continues to use the same CMOS sensor from M-P 240 which support modest video function which M10 is fully capable of inheriting, but Leica decided otherwise. Added to that, Leica further simplified the layout on the back of the camera, trim the camera, so it goes back to the familiar M camera size of the past established from M3 through M-P, except M5. In an attempt to bring back the nostalgic look, Leica reintroduced the M3 and M2 type of film rewind knob and made it into a selector for ISO setting.
And the sales of M10 proves Leica is not wrong. The argument per Leica, except than bringing the charm of the nostalgic look back to the glorious day of its past, is a refocusing on ‘Das Wesentliche’ is immediately recognizable in the design of the camera.
All is true except as a user I still miss the type of exposure compensation implemented on the Leica M7 which is essential for autoexposure in rapid light-changing situations and particularly solid-state capture that over-exposed highlight can be challenging to handle. An option to accept an electronic viewfinder would be welcome for situations that require precise framing and object separation.
The release of Leica M10-D answered the call, which Leica describes it "Digital Body. Analog Soul." by incorporating a film advance lever from its past to use as additional camera support - similar to a Thumbs-Up which I hate to use because it takes away the hot shoe function that I use often. My Leica M Edition 60 is my only Leica I have ever put on a Thumbs-Up because what it is and without a strap to secure the camera in shooting.
Along the announcement of Leica M10-D is a new application - Leica Fotos - still somewhat sluggish, requires several attempts in each successful connection to the Wi-Fi-abled M10-D (and the other Leica digital cameras with Wi-Fi) but it does allow elementary custom settings on M10-D and convenience to share images on the go.
No more chimping, that's for sure. The M10-D although accepts electronic viewfinder but it does not allow image review on demand.
Place it against my a-la-carte black paint MP - the Leica M10-D has almost completed the backward resemblance of what the old-fashioned perceived what Leica once was, the loyal wish it is.
Now, it is interesting to see what influence this would be for the successive models and the rest of industries. Refer to my Leica M10-D Journal.
Note January 17, 2021 - as it turned out, Leica M10-D indeed is my most use Leica M camera since January 2019.
Adding mirror to the mirrorless
Stretching the range of my M cameras!
Beautiful Irina Kornia with the Leica M2 Button - one of the earlier Leica M cameras with less publicity, probably because it was introduced as a budget version of M3 with the removal of self-timer and an external film counter, which requires manually reset. In reality, the M2 is more stylish with its cleaner and elegant appearance and the unique film counter not seen in later M cameras.
Leica MP - The best Leica camera ever made as far as chemical-based photography is concerned, IMHO. The original MP introduced in 2003, about 50 years after the Leica's M3 (1954). The MP stands for a rather bold claim "Mechanical Perfection" which 16 years later still stands strong and remains in production as of today (April 2019).
Some might argue that the newer M-A introduced in 2014 is, the better example of a purer mechanical example than the original MP but except the slightly brighter rangefinder viewfinder by eliminating the part that is reflecting the metering diodes into the frame, all else are basically the same. My preference for original MP over M-A is that both are essentially a purely mechanical camera with the MP has the option of using a battery to power the meter or remove it, so it is no different than an M-A.
The MP, held in the hand of lovely Latvian model Katerian, is an à la carte edition of MP I commissioned Leica to custom-make for my birthday, black-paint MP with the removal of front and top engraving to make the camera looks as essential as it works.
The unmistakable acoustic signature of the shutter release of such purely mechanical camera immediately reveals the precision-engineered excellence of a photography tool that bears the claim of "Mechanical Perfection"!
More educational and interesting review by Erwin Puts.
My Leica SL cameras
The original Leica SL is Leica's answer to the industries in the transition to mirrorless system cameras. It is one of the first mirrorless cameras to challenge the reflex camera systems' shooting experience that it is to replace and successfully, IMHO, delivered. The Leica SL gave me the highest accuracy rate of focus among all the cameras I use until the arrival of my SONY A9 and the A7R IV. Still an excellent camera today.
My Leica S cameras
My least used Leica Camera in the digital age. The S camera inherited the design from my beloved Leica R8 & R9 which were my main cameras for sometime in the old days. Focus is not super snappy, although accurate, but the sluggish tethering performance constitutes the main reason for its lack of use. The image quality is first class but not special enough in the studio in modern digital age.
My Leica Q Cameras
The Way Forward - original published on January 16, 2019
The luxury compact camera sector was once very popular back in the film days and entering into digital age such kind of range and competition has not seen until SONY introduced the original RX1 back in September 2012 and followed up with RX1R in June 2013. The RX1 & RX1R camera featured a razor-sharp Zeiss Sonnar 35/2 lens and SONY's 24mp sensor that to this date still a competent camera except it requires an external EVF which makes the compact camera less compact and convenient, but it is still capable of producing beautiful images even by today's standard.
Taken the note from RX1/RX1R, in June 2015 Leica introduced its own Leica Q (Type 116) featured a beautiful Summilux 28/1.7 ASPH lens with a CMOSIS designed MAX 24MP CMOS sensor with beautiful built-in EVF and more responsive AF system, 10 fps burst. Albeit not inexpensive, at USD 4,495 - it is still considered a bargain Leica, particularly an M mount Summilux-M 28/1.4 ASPH will set one back at USD 6,595 - lens only. It is not the same lens, of course, the M mount Summilux-M 28/1.4 certainly worth its asking price, IMHO, and retains its value very well and indeed an excellent lens, without doubt, the Summilux 28/1.7 ASPH on Q is also quite good, capable of producing spectacular images.
Price aside, Leica Q seemed to have upper hand against SONY RX1/RX1R camera until a few months later, in October 2015, SONY released a fantastic upgrade model RX1RII featured a more precisely paired Zeiss Sonnar 35/2 with the new SONY BSI 42MP sensor and improved AF performance. EVF is now a pop-up option; although still not as brilliant as the one on Leica Q, it is enough and much better than the shoe-mount external EVF of the previous generation.
Now, in January 2019, both Leica Q and SONY RX1RII are well over three years and I personally owned and used both of them since introduction till now, so perhaps a brief wrap up will be good personal journal before the eventual replacement.
The debate of megapixel race got heated up since the larger sensor (larger than 1") digital camera eclipsed 6 million pixels and many articles declared it had matched the resolution of scanned 135mm film, but the scientists and engineers continued to push forward, partially by the market demand as well as driven by the nature of human curiosity, for scientist and engineer especially. Just similar to the automobile industry to equip the car with the more powerful engine a better braking system, the camera industry gives sets of solutions both to hardware and software to the image quality while the pixels count rises. That for me, the SONY RX1RII is a more favorable camera to use over Leica Q because it produces sharper and larger print when all other things equal which they seldom are, besides my style of shoot benefitted more from 35mm than 28mm. And that is why I use both cameras on choices.
It's a simple pick on 42.4MP over 24MP which many may disagree but I buy my camera, and others buy their camera or to own and shoot both to have a fair conversation.
The choice of camera is one of the essential tools in the social media age when people connected mostly by pictures, and many users branded together with the camera or the equipment they use and some social groups formed following such alliance, like clubs. By that, some heated debate between social groups over patronage and loyalty on their investment surfaced and showing no sign of an end.
Realistically, all current cameras are relatively good cameras! What we have today, even a bargain camera, is something most people did not even dream of decades ago and of course, not those masters whose work introduced to us photography as serious art. And photography is about the photographer and his artworks, not about his camera. But the commercial mechanism gets into everywhere, making everyone part of the campaign, and very much so on just about anything today.
Back on the Leica Q and SONY RX1RII - as an industrial designer the Leica Q is more pleasant to look at, modern and stylish, handling is a subjective matter. Many may argue over ergonomics issues, yet it is an issue to many, not a problem to others. The ergonomic concern to me is a combination of geometry, scale, texture, ready-to-use-weight and how will the camera be used. SONY RX1RII is the typical Japanese engineer-driven design that tries to put as many functions as possible onto smallest space possible, and we can't fault them, they are Japanese and Japanese consumer figure those things out more naturally than people outside Japan. My take - get used to the tool if I decided to master it, then learn it and make it work for me. The battery life on RX1RII is not great but still enough to give about 300 exposures with one charge, and the rest is management. It does produce image quality compares comfortably to the very best of today, up to the realm of cameras with 33x44mm sensor, as of January 2019.
Leica Q, as heavy rumors pointed a coming upgrade in 2019, is likely to gain a big boost in sensor resolution will undoubtedly change the equation here. People who swear that 24MP is sufficient for them should stay with what they have that already satisfied them, and I am looking for what the brilliant minds of scientists and engineers capable of delivering what is next.
Note: In March 2019, I finally get the delivery of the highly anticipated Leica Q2, which is an elevation of all aspects from the original Q. Further information "The Q2 Factor"
January 17, 2021 - I sold my SONY RX1RII a couple of months after I started shooting with Q2. I still prefer 35mm focal length and wish Leica would do one eventually. SONY RX1RII was one of my favorite cameras, a great camera, but I cannot keep everything!
Using the Q2 for my "Cycle of Life" project
Leica Q2 is, IMHO, the best travel camera Leica has ever produced so dar! It is a perfect example of how should do a camera! As of January 2021, Q2 is still one of the Leica capable of the highest image quality.