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Is this the Leica Look?

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5 hours ago, ALScott said:

As someone new to Leica and only ever using Canon I got the Q3 because I wanted a smaller camera that felt real, not like a plastic point and shoot.  I was going after Fuji x100vi but saw the stupid mark ups people were getting then saw the Q3.  I had always wanted a Leica and thought it would be a good place to start and it has not disappointed in the least.  The colors are gorgeous to my eye, sharpness, low light ability, and the simple UI ticked every box for me and as I learn more, it just gets better and better.  I am relearning LrC, now it's really like just using it for the first time, but I don't feel like I have to do hardly anything to the pics.  They are near perfect to me OOC.  I could not say that about my old Canon 6D, again, not to my eye and what I like.  All of this to say I did not go down this road because of the "Leica look" people talk about but isn't that simply what it is if you are taking pics with a Leica camera and lens?  Just like there is a Sony, Nikon, Canon and on and on look?  I didn't know there was supposed to be a Leica look when I bought the camera.  It was only after I got it and got online and here just trying to learn more about the camera from other real users.  Enough rambling...


Your experience mirrors mine, except that I never lusted after a Fuji. The only thing I miss that my Canon R6 has are >100mm lenses. But the Q3 is much lighter!


Edited by David Wien
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In my experience, there are a couple of "Leica looks."
They come from -
Q cameras shot at f/1.7
Any Summilux M lens shot f/1.4
Any Noctilux M lens shot at maximum aperture
There may be a recurring theme here...


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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 4/29/2024 at 9:01 AM, AussieQ said:

Ok, so the Leica look may actually be the Bokeh that is produced due to the lens design and manufacturing.

Watch out drinking in a bar out of a straw. Everything will have that special look eventually.😀

Edited by algrove
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Interesting.  Here is my 2 cents worth.

I have used many lenses and many cameras over my 73 years.  Started with some Kodaks in my youth, then to Argus, Edixa, Nikon, Rollei, Leica R, Canon digital, Nikon digital, and then a Q2 to a Q3 with possibly a few more tossed in there at times.  Of course, with film the total look was due to the lens as any body could use the same film types.  Lens design and coatings gave the “look”.  In the camera club I was in in the 70’s to 2000’s this was the case.  We all shot Kodachrome for most of that period then some migrated to Velvia.  One member in the 70’s and 80’s had a Leica.  We would have blind competitions each week and w/o knowing who’s shots they were, I could always pick his shots out.  The Leica look was very real.  I was shooting with Zeiss lenses on my Rollei as were two other people and I could pick them out, too, but for different characteristics.

Now with digital, there are the added factors of the sensor and firmware processing of that sensor information that gives the final product a “look” even without taking into account the post processing in which you can do most anything. 

So, is there still a Leica Look?  In using my Q2/3 and R lenses on my Nikon bodies I can say I think there still is.  The most controlled situation is when I use my R lenses on my Nikon and take similar photos with Nikon lenses.  A good comparison is the Nikon 50/1.8 and the Leica R 50/2.  I can easily discern which lens took the photo especially if they were taken close to wide open.  Same thing with my R 35-70/4 and the Nikon 24-70.  When close to wide open, the R glass is much sharper and lacks CA fringing.  And the Q 28 vs the Nikon 28/1.8 also shows similar results, with the Q also having files OOC in RAW that hardly need any work vs the Nikon files from either the D750 or the Z7ii. 

But here is what I think the Leica look is about.  Wide open a Leica lens is still very sharp, especially in the center, then fades off ever so slightly at the edges giving that 3D effect people talk about.  With my other glass from Nikon or my older Canon days, the center is not so sharp and the edges fade away even more wide open so they do not pop or have that 3D effect.  I think that this is what gives Leica the different look from other glass and it still holds true in the digital age. The centers pop and the edges fade away a bit for a dramatic effect.   If you stop down quite a bit the differences between the center and edges gets less apparent, especially with other brand lenses, so the 3D effect decreases.  Any color differences can be adjusted and imitated in post these days.

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