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Q3 - underwhelmed after 1 week


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I think the title sums it well. I've had the Q3 for over a week now, shot with it a lot and to be honest, I am not as euphoric as I expected to be. To put things into perspective, I have a Sony A7RV with a lot of great glass, both zooms and also primes. During the "painful" waiting time (I am pretty bad at beeing patient) I have gone a little bit wild and purchased a M11 with the 35 and 50 Luxes. While I had to make a lot of compromises in terms of creature comforts, the "Leica Look" was there, and it made a lot of fun to go out and shoot with it. I ordered the Q3 expecting it be somewhat a mixture of M11 and A7Rv, just with a fixed focal length and expected also to see the "Leica look" (I know, I know).And then... the Q3 arrived. Maybe it was me expecting a perfect melange between the M11 and the Sony A7RV, but I was somehow dissapointed. Sure, it's a nice camera, AF is pretty decent, but...

The EVF is nowehere near what the A7RV has. Not in the size, not in the resolution, not in the quality in general. The AF... is ok, but Sony is in another league. The built quality... nice, but nowhere near the M11. OK, the lens is very sharp in the middle. However, I have noticed that for example, at 1.7 not everything that I expected to be  in focus was sharp ( eye sharp, bag in the hand and the watch on the wrist not sharp anymore, both beeing the the same focal plane as the eye). My wife also  complained instantly about her portraits beeing to sharp, so I took the M11 with the 35 and tried to shoot both and replicate the pictures as good as I could. Blind testing with 10 pics, she picked without hesitation all the ones shoot with the 35 Summilux. I can correct that in post of course, but then again, I am yet to see that Leica Look. 26mm (realistically), combined with "only" 1.7 is no match for the separation the 35 Summilux can provide, let alone the 50.  And then the camera freezes pretty often (auto power off topic). Is the Sony A7RV perfect? Of course no. But the Q3 is (for me) a little dissapointing for the money they charged me. The M11 is way more expensive and has no AF and no EVF. However, it is (for me) in another class and does not try to compete with the computers that the new cameras have become. The Q3 does.  And it loses badly in a lot of departments that are crucial for a camera that costs 6000 bucks. 

Please don't get me wrong. I understand why a lot of folks might like the Q3. My combination of gear might have just put me in a position where I was expecting more for the money.  

I'll give the Q3 a couple more weeks to win me over but if that does not happen, I'll be very happy to stay with the Sony with all that super duper glas aside with the M11 with those sublime Summiluxes. 

Edited by adrianh
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Sounds like you have access to a bunch of top Tier cameras and glass. I can’t imagine how someone can use all those cameras simultaneously, and this is coming from a pro photographer. Everything you said about the Q3 is known, so it’s expected when compared to the Sony and the M11. The good news is 1 week in you can return or even sell it. 

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1 hour ago, Miltz said:

Sounds like you have access to a bunch of top Tier cameras and glass. I can’t imagine how someone can use all those cameras simultaneously, and this is coming from a pro photographer. Everything you said about the Q3 is known, so it’s expected when compared to the Sony and the M11. The good news is 1 week in you can return or even sell it. 

I will do a +1 on this.  But i will add, at least for me, it is horses for courses.  I have mentioned on this forum I use Sony, Nikon, and Fuji GFX professionally.  For vacations I used to use my iPhone.  The last one, 3 months ago I wanted something small and capable that I could use as a point and shoot BUT maintain high quality.  The Q2 fit the bill.  That was sold in lieu of the Q3, knowing it was a brand new item.  There is no doubt with a few FW updates it will mature into something light to carry with high quality images and very few issues.  It will be a very nice pleasure cam far and above the imagery with my phone.

Expectations and hype with the Q3 have made it seem the answer to every photographer's and amateur's dream,  That was never the case with me and I will hold on to it because it does things I want it to do... and very well.  Horses for courses.

Suggestion to the OP:  There is a thread on this forum for people agonizing over when they are going to get their Q3.  Why don't you make one of those members extremely happy and offer to sell your almost new Q3 to them.  I'm sure you could find a buyer within 1 hour.  And just think!  You won't be holding onto an expensive item that is underwhelming you.  No reason to hold onto it.  Now please.... go to the other forum and find someone..... Christmas in the last of July!

Bob

Oh, here's the link:

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/377444-leica-q3-waitliststockshipment/

Edited by BobsFirstLeica
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I never understood the autofocus issue, then again I've had no issues with my SL2S at my commercial and wedding photography jobs. 

I use the Q3 in a couple ways, 

A travel camera, a backup just incase my SL2S takes a crap which it never has, throw it on my Ronin and it becomes a beautiful video camera for my social media jobs.

Honestly if I ever stopped doing photo gigs then I'll probably sell everything and go back to a M10 and 50 Lux, been my favorite setup of everything. 

Find what works, sell the rest. 

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I have a Sony system. When I got a Q2, it was like rediscovering a love of photography. Sony is stellar tech but feels like using a computer sometimes. It disconnected me from the photo. The Q2 - because of its “simplicity” (mind you, it can still do a ton) - reconnected me in the most wonderful way.

I sold my Q2 to get an M11 and a few lenses. It’s a wonderful shooting experience - but very different from a Q which is different from a Sony. I am looking to get a Q3 because I appreciate those differences and they ultimately allow me to approach photography in different ways. Which to me, keeps the art form interesting and engaging.

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I had a Q2 an liked it very much. Because of weight reasons I did not take with me my whole SL2 gear for a private journey to Nice, St. Tropez and Monte Carlo a couple of weeks ago. And took the Q2 instead with my. The photos I shot were ver good, I did not miss my SL2. Nevertheless I traded in my Q2 for a Q3 and I like it even more than my Q2. Of course the camera is not one for all purposes, but it covers a lot of needs, i.e. on journeys. For all purposes for which I need a camera  I can use my SL2 with a lot of lenses.  I have to add, that I do not need an extreme quick AF. If I wood, I would propably use a Sony A1 or a Nikon Z 9.  Or a coming Leica SL3 - maybe. But for me the ideal camera for my purposes is the SL2. For landscapes and similiar things a Phase One may be even better, but this is for me a kind of overkill. And even to expensive. Euro 66 000 only for the camera body, that is a lot.

Edited by HeinzX
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Well the idea was exactly that: to have a high quality camera when I want to travel light. And is fun to use. Horses for courses as someone righty pointed out. However, right now, it crashes way to often to be my primary travel camera. Maybe a firmware will fix the issues. If not, I'll take the M11 with the 50 and the Sony with a 16-35.  

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I would say return it if you can. Don't mess around with it another few weeks and find out that you can no longer return it. The Q3, like the other Q cameras, has some very good characteristics, but all the things you say are accurate. It's EVF is not as good as the best, its AF is not going to beat a top of the range Sony, and its lens is not sharp enough to fully utilize 60mp across the frame. The lens is quite wide compared to other 28mm lenses and it is not going to give you as much separation as a longer lens. If you want a mirrorless camera with Leica's best quality, the SL series and an APO Summicron is more the ticket, but they are obviously a lot bigger and heavier and more expensive. The AF will still not get close to a Sony. Works fine for me at least. I would say either stick with the M11 (AF really is less necessary than most think unless you really are chasing after very active subjects all the time), or look at other options. I know I have said it a lot on this forum, but if you want a light and compact camera with a super high quality lens, there is currently nothing that can offer the combo of the Ricoh GRIIIx (or GRIII). They are very cheap compared to anything Leica, the lens is sharper than the one in the Q, and it is truly pocketable. I haven't got around to selling my Q2 yet, which gathers dust, but the GRIIIx I use nearly every day.

Edited by Stuart Richardson
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First of all I do not own a Q nor a M11. I can see you want your travel camera to be not as heavy as the M11 with lens and possibly with AF too.
If you want to have exactly the same images as the M11 takes, this sounds like a mission impossible. I have been looking for a smaller and lighter companion for my M9 for 8 years now, and I always came back to the M9 with my beloved Summicron 40C as the best compromise between weight, size and IQ.

The closest small package that I found was the Leica X2 with EVF. Its has AF, is half the weight of the M9 combo and comes very close in IQ.

Recently, I acquired a TL2 with EVF, and I like the results I get with both small M lenses as with the Summilux 35 TL ASPH. IQ and Leica look are there, but gain in weight and size are not. In most cases I prefer carrying the slightly heavier M9 combo compared to the TL2 + EVF + Summicron 35 M , and if I would mount the Summilux 35 TL the TL2 combo loses any weight or size advantage it has over the M9.

My plan was to sell the X2 once I got the TL2, but I will keep it for when I want to travel light. I probably keep the TL2, not as an alternative for my M9, but more as a compact solution for macro and long tele shots.

IMO, the problem is that the Q3 sits right in the middle of the range where the M11 excels. Once you have that quality, it is hard to find an alternative.

Edited by dpitt
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The Q series has the AF/AE that the M series lacks, the small size and weight that the SL series lacks, the IQ that the TL2/CL lack, the simplicity the Sony A7 series lacks.

It also lacks all the things that those cameras are good for.

You just have to decide which compromises you're willing to accept (and perhaps do a bit more research before buying so many expensive cameras and lenses?)

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29 minutes ago, LocalHero1953 said:

The Q series has the AF/AE that the M series lacks, the small size and weight that the SL series lacks, the IQ that the TL2/CL lack, the simplicity the Sony A7 series lacks.

It also lacks all the things that those cameras are good for.

You just have to decide which compromises you're willing to accept (and perhaps do a bit more research before buying so many expensive cameras and lenses?)

Couldn’t have said it better.

Every camera (EVERYTHING) has its strengths and weaknesses.  You decide what is important to you.

I don’t know of anything that truly ‘does it all’.

My Alfa Spider was terrible at hauling plywood 😂

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Thanks for all the latest good answers that came over without the agressivity of  "move along to other forums" 🙂.

Firstly I am more than happy with all the other "expensive gear" I bought. Secondly a lot of the topics where the Q3 is not on par with M or the A7RV might be still acceptable, so doing "dry research" helps only partially . For example, the M does a lot of stuff differently, worse or does not have it all all in comparison to Sony, yet I love it and, if the subject allows it, I would grab it first. There is no way someone else  can tell me how much fun I would personally get out of a specific camera, at least one that  is not a simply tool for the job.

And lastly: I can still return the camera or might make someone else happy if I decide there is no place in my bag for it, without loosing money. So why should I not give it a try first?

Edited by adrianh
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I think the best answer on this was from Peter Coulson. He uses multiple brands and describes Leica lenses as having soul. He describes Sonys as photocopiers. Sony pictures are very boring, but you will generally get your shot. With Leica you will discard a lot of your pictures but end up with a handful of amazing pictures.

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51 minutes ago, LatestWord33 said:

I think the best answer on this was from Peter Coulson. He uses multiple brands and describes Leica lenses as having soul. He describes Sonys as photocopiers. Sony pictures are very boring, but you will generally get your shot. With Leica you will discard a lot of your pictures but end up with a handful of amazing pictures.

Coming from Sony to Leica I disagree, you can get amazing photos from Sony if processed correctly and so far having shot 3 events with a Q3 i've hardly discarded any. AF hit rate is around 98% which is the same as Sony, yes you have to work a bit harder but this thing can see in the dark.

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57 minutes ago, LatestWord33 said:

With Leica you will discard a lot of your pictures but end up with a handful of amazing pictures.

I use my SL2-S to photograph music, drama and dance performances. I usually delete >50% before I even start editing.......missed focus, wrong focus subject, shutter lag, mistimed facial expressions......but the colours and immediate impact of the remainder (by the end I'm down to about 33%) keep the clients excited. Which is what I want.

Edited by LocalHero1953
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6 hours ago, adrianh said:

Thanks for all the latest good answers that came over without the agressivity of  "move along to other forums" 🙂.

And lastly: I can still return the camera or might make someone else happy if I decide there is no place in my bag for it, without loosing money. So why should I not give it a try first?

You are welcome!  I have personally not experienced any freezing or lockups.  It seems it may be something to do with the memory card.  Try different brands.  That would be an issue that would, admittedly,  get under my skin. A side:  Many years ago I bought a Nikon D3S that would freeze too often.  Imagine shooting a bridal procession and having to pop out the battery, wait, reinsert, and start shooting again!  That was the last time that cam was used for something so vital.

My sense is your "heart" has to be there with the Q3.  If your instinct is not there to keep it, then part ways.  Someone suggested a lens for the A7r5.  I tested the Q3 against the A7R5 with the Zeiss Batis 25mm/2.  That's pretty close in focal length and you get somewhat a "Zeiss" look.  The results were nearly the same with the Q3.  Consider that as an option.  Good luck!

Bob

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