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Selten Fotog

Manual focus lens a lie?

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The Leica Q has been billed as having a true manual focus lens with auto capabilites unlike other mirrorless cameras that have a focus by wire manual mode.   As Leica Q owners know, the lens has a small button on it that takes it out of auto focus and allows for "manual focus"...but I think it may actually not be a true manual focus we are experiencing.  I suspect it is just a better fly by wire interface focusing system.

 

Here's why.  I had the camera on a tripod and was doing some shots with the Leica Q app using my cell phone as a viewfinder so to speak.   Well I attempted to adjust the focus on the camera.....but you CAN NOT focus the lens even if it is in MANUAL focus!  The app/cell phone sure as heck can still focus the camera while the lens clearly is in "manual focus".   This indicates this lens may actually be focus by wire and it has me scratching my head as to why they even put that little button on the lens.  So which is it?  

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I suspect it is just a better fly by wire interface focusing system.

Of course it is. Some people have claimed the focus ring was mechanical because it felt like it was but Leica have always said it was actually focus-by-wire.

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I'm confused.  You write "CAN NOT focus the lens" and then later say "phone sure as heck can still focus the camera".   So which is it?  Or do you mean you can not focus the lens when using the app?

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Of course it is. Some people have claimed the focus ring was mechanical because it felt like it was but Leica have always said it was actually focus-by-wire.

I see.  All the videos I have watched on it say it is a true manual focus lens once you took the lens lock button out of its engaged point.  I guess if its on the internet its not true after all.   Well this new development changes the game up considerably for me.  Thank you.

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I see.  All the videos I have watched on it say it is a true manual focus lens once you took the lens lock button out of its engaged point.  I guess if its on the internet its not true after all.   Well this new development changes the game up considerably for me.  Thank you.

 

Curious...

Does the fly by wire make you less positively inclined towards the Q? Why would that be the case?

 

FWIW, the AF has been perfect for me and the focus peaking in manual/but actually fly-by-wire mode is excellent: very precise.

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I fail to see what difference it makes... If it's manual focus, it's manual focus... how it works, whether mechanical or focus by wire, is irrelevant surely...?

 

If you can choose to use AF or MF depending on what is the best choice with any particular scenario, surely that's all that matters?

 

I suppose it comes down to whether you want to use a camera to make striking images, or you just get off on using the gear... in which case, it's the buyers choice as to whether it's the most technically advanced, or the most purist approach available that they get off on.

 

From my perspective, anyone who is considering this camera should be looking at the Q Image thread... the camera isn't the limiting factor... as can be seen from the strength of the images there... some of the best documentary or reportage work, or some of the most beautiful landscape work on the whole forum is in that thread...

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All the videos I have watched on it say it is a true manual focus lens once you took the lens lock button out of its engaged point.

Of course it is manual focus. Manual doesn’t imply mechanical, and why should it?

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Does it realy matter? No, as far as I am concerned it works beautifully when in 'manual' focus mode. It is accurate, smooth and responsive. To title the post 'Manual focus lens a lie' is just  really another .....

If this stops you buying the camera then that is your loss and one of the stranger reasons I have heard of for doing so. IMO the Q is the best digital camera Leica has so far made and by far the best implementation of full 'manual' focus with accurate DOF scale etc I have come across on a fully electronic lens. Fuji have come close with such lenses as the 14/2.8 and the Sony FE 90/2.8 macro but still none of them have the real manual feel of the Q.

 

I would also add that the iPhone app is also one of the best implemented camera control app's I have used easily beating those I have used for the Sony A7 and Fuji's (when I had them). No you can't control the camera from the camera when the app is being used (which I agree in certain circumstances could be useful) but the level of control possible from the app is very comprehensive. 

Edited by viramati

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The aperture isn't manual either. The camera doesn't stop down while it's focusing.

 

What matters, vis-a-vis other fly-by-wire systems (e.g. Fuji X cameras), is that the manual focus system in the Q is absolute.

 

This means it will have hard stops at infiniy and close focus. It means you can have DOF markings on the lens. It means you can read and change settings while the camera is off.

 

As long as the implementation is tactile and responsive enough, why should it matter whether there's a motor involved?

Edited by Nuno Cruces

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From my perspective, anyone who is considering this camera should be looking at the Q thread.

I modified your sentence by taking out the word "image" so its not truly your quote.  But the point you were making holds true...this forum is informative.   I also agree with a couple other points made in this thread.  The camera shouldn't be a limiting factor it is just a TOOL.  I would offer that stunning images have been captured on a cell phone as proof its not the camera...it's the photographer.  The Q definitely is the BEST implementation "to date" that I have felt on making fly by wire focusing feel similar to a real manual lens.  Unless you're going to operate the camera in a fashion similar to what I described above (or something I haven't thought of yet...video maybe?) Leica's fly by wire focusing implementation will go UNDETECTED.  With another camera system, you had to swap lens to get a true manual focus lens, but this camera does not have that option.   Will I get my shot?  Absolutely....did then...did now.   This tool however, is not the bridge between the manual and autofocus lens world that I believed it was. 

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 It means you can read and change settings while the camera is off.

 

 

I never thought of this scenario either!!   In a couple hours I am going to test your statement when I get near my camera.  I have just received the Q a week ago and am still learning it and haven't taken it out on a street walk yet.  Zone focusing is very important in street photography.  One would assume, given the markings on it and all the hype that its a manual lens, you should be able to set your zone with the camera off as every real manual focus lens does.  BUT I have read from other forum users under the Q thread that settings are lost under the saved "user profiles" in the current firmware version when the camera is powered off.  I don't care about that issue as I don't set profiles.   BUT because this is mirrorless camera, we ALWAYS shut our cameras off to conserve battery life.  With my Sony A7 once you turned the camera off it would return the focus to its starting point even if the camera was left in its manual focus mode.  Now (of course) you didn't zone focus with a Sony lens everyone knew that.  That's why Sony users changed lens to a real manual focus lens.   However, I am curious how fast will the Leica Q be able to change to a new zone focus setting (or return to its last setting if that's how Leica implemented things)  when the camera was turned back on is a great question!  This could be an issue the street photographer thinking of buying this camera should know of. 

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Not sure of the issue here. If my Q is in manual focus mode and I turn it on an off then the focus is still at the same point as before it was turned off and so are all the other settings. The focus point will only change if you move the focus ring so in this sense it is as with any 'Mechanical/manual' lens and can be used for zone focussing for street photography. Also if you move the focus ring with the camera off when turned on it will be at the new distance set using the DOF scale.

So personally I would say that the lens has a 'manual' setting in the true sense of the word BUT it is not done through a 'mechanical' linkage to the focus ring but an 'electronic' linkage.

Edited by viramati

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Not sure of the issue here. If my Q is in manual focus mode and I turn it on an off then the focus is still at the same point as before it was turned off and so are all the other settings. The focus point will only change if you move the focus ring so in this sense it is as with any 'Mechanical/manual' lens and can be used for zone focussing for street photography. Also if you move the focus ring with the camera off when turned on it will be at the new distance set using the DOF scale.

So personally I would say that the lens has a 'manual' setting in the true sense of the word BUT it is not done through a 'mechanical' linkage to the focus ring but an 'electronic' linkage.

Thank you Viramati!!  This was bothering me as I couldn't test it myself right now.  I'm glad that's not a focus issue with this lens.

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...because this is mirrorless camera, we ALWAYS shut our cameras off to conserve battery life...

 

Necessary? You can use the Power Saving feature that goes to sleep mode after a chosen amount of time (manual, English ed., p. 161).

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Necessary? You can use the Power Saving feature that goes to sleep mode after a chosen amount of time (manual, English ed., p. 161).

You don't HAVE to shut off the camera.....if you have another battery in your pocket!   Let me explain what happened to me yesterday.

 

   I did my first street shoot yesterday with my new Q.  My Sony A7 did not have the sleep feature so I was really enjoying this feature on the Q!   It was great to quickly have it ready to shoot without having to wait for the laggy start up time of the mirrorless camera (both the A7 or the Q have roughly the same start up lag time in real world use).  The only thing is after 31/2 hours into the walk...I realized the battery was completely dead!!    What happened I had only taken about 120 pictures or so!!   I have been on an 8 or 9 hour street walk with my A7 and shot well over 400 shots during that time period and still had about a quarter of the battery left using the old turn off the camera after the shot is taken technique.   Anyway, I was surprised by a dead battery after such a short time period.  Kinda ruined my day to be honest.   I REALY like the sleep feature on the Q and may just opt for buying a couple of batteries to slide in my pocket.   After the battery was recharged, I realized the in body OIS was on.   I don't know if OIS also sleeps when the screen goes to sleep but I know that does act as an additional battery drain when it is on and in use.  

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Yes the battery life is pretty dire on the Q and certainly worse than on my A7's. It's best to keep OIS off but I'm not sure if it consumes more power with it on just that it effects IQ. I have 3 batteries and if I was covering an event I would even but a 4th just to be safe.

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You don't HAVE to shut off the camera.....if you have another battery in your pocket!   Let me explain what happened to me yesterday.

 

   I did my first street shoot yesterday with my new Q.  My Sony A7 did not have the sleep feature so I was really enjoying this feature on the Q!   It was great to quickly have it ready to shoot without having to wait for the laggy start up time of the mirrorless camera (both the A7 or the Q have roughly the same start up lag time in real world use).  The only thing is after 31/2 hours into the walk...I realized the battery was completely dead!!    What happened I had only taken about 120 pictures or so!!   I have been on an 8 or 9 hour street walk with my A7 and shot well over 400 shots during that time period and still had about a quarter of the battery left using the old turn off the camera after the shot is taken technique.   Anyway, I was surprised by a dead battery after such a short time period.  Kinda ruined my day to be honest.   I REALY like the sleep feature on the Q and may just opt for buying a couple of batteries to slide in my pocket.   After the battery was recharged, I realized the in body OIS was on.   I don't know if OIS also sleeps when the screen goes to sleep but I know that does act as an additional battery drain when it is on and in use.  

 

Selten

You've been following comments in the forum for quite a while and must have noticed that comments from the early adopters referred to the weakness of the battery.  In fact, many buyers obtained 2 or 3 new additional  batteries before their bodies had arrived.    You do need those extra batteries so if you search the Q forum for the tag "battery" you will get good advice regarding where to get these.   No more ruined days!     If you search for the tag OIS you should also discover opinions on whether to keep OIS switched on for stills photography.   The Q isn't the A7 so you need to learn about its individual character and lots of that has already been discussed on this forum.     Good luck.  

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