22 Oct 2016
A cat on Q
I have a new camera. I did not need an new camera-my X1 and XV are really more than adequate for my needs but I had a windfall from a photo competition win so I thought what the hell I want one of these hotshot Leica Qs that all the online photo experts are raving about.
A reasonable question at this point would be to ask why buy yet another Leica which will produce the same style of photos as my existing cameras? Why not go and buy say an excellent M4/3 camera like a Panasonic GX800 and a bagful of lenses and still come away with a lot of cash compared with the Q? Well I do have another camera system already - the Sony a7- and despite trying hard I just cannot come to love it. For me there is something special verging on magical about most Leicas and as soon as I have a Leica in my hand I seem to take better photos. Maybe it's in my head but if that is the case it's still relevant. And I have had a very long association with Leicas- I bought my first one, which I still have, in 1968. There have been quite a few since and hopefully there will still be time for a few more.
So I phoned up Photoco Camera House in Adelaide -2000kms away -and they had a Q in stock . I am sure I could have bought one a few hundred dollars cheaper online if there was any stock but Photoco is a little camera shop in the city market hall in Adelaide. It is run by Luke the third generation of the Bully family associated with the store. His grandfather was in the Royal Marines posted to Hong Kong after the end of the war and he developed an interest in Leicas and when he emigrated to Australia he opened the shop in Adelaide. It is a little gem and I used to visit it whenever I was in Adelaide on business. Luke's father,Peter,ran it for many years and I bought my M4 and M6 Leicas from him and also my X1 as well as many lenses and other accessories over the years. He once sold me a superb Durst enlarger -formerly used in the darkroom of the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper. They have an big stock of used gear.
As we have nearly lost all our real expert camera shops and this one deserves to be on the National Heritage Register and I have always been treated so well by them over the years I wanted to support them. So I gave them the order and a big pile of cash and late Thursday afternoon a big brown box arrived by courier.
After unboxing and then charging the battery it was too late and dark to try it but I did sit down and read the very thick instruction manual whch must be a first for me.
Yesterday there was maintenance work going on in the house so I was too busy to really try it out but I did manage a first shot and it had to be one of my favourite subjects the little 16 year old Himalayan one eyed Zoe or Zo Zo as we call her. This is a jpeg straight out of the camera. It was shot with the lens wide open at f1.7.
First impressions of the camera is that it really deserves all the hype. It is sophisticated but very easy to use-once you have read the manual. It's a marked contrast to the Sony a7 and its convoluted menus and scattered buttons and dials.
I decided that the front lens element is too protruding for me to use the camera without a protective filter. The filter is a 49mm filter and I have quite a few UV filters either on lenses or in my camera cupboard but usually they are not the size I need. This time I struck lucky - a very high quality 49mm filter was fitted to an old Minolta lens so off it came and onto the Q. Now all I need is some extra batteries, a screen protector which Photoco do have in stock and the handgrip-on order-and I will be fully set up.
So a camera sale is coming up and the underutilised and unloved Sony is going as well as the too much hassle Hasselblad. Details to follow.