Leica – The Upgrade

Maybe you remember the post about my first Leica – the Q – back in 2021. Back then I was mainly talking about the possibility to “see what is about to happen” in your frame with a digital range finder camera and why the megapixel actually might matter for a camera like this. And I was talking about the difficulty to define the “Leica Look“, which is something almost every photographer has heared of – even the ones that do not shoot Leica. In the meantime Leica has actually released the latest addition to the Q-lineup: The Leica Q3. And I pre-ordered one only a few weeks after my last Leica post – so more than a year before the camera actually got released. Which now turned out to be a good idea because I now actually own one while for many fellow photographers it is still difficult to get one due to high demand. And Leica itself now offers a “Leica Look” feature with the Q3.

Surfers at the Eisbachwelle in Munich, Germany

It appears that Leica has had some thoughts about the “Leica Look” and they maybe wanted to benefit from the current trend of creating “looks” inside the camera. Or they thought what Fuji can do, we can do (better?). It is still a fresh feature, but you can now download “Leica Looks” via the new app to your Q3 camera and when you shoot RAW + jpg (or just jpg), the according jpg will have the “look” applied to it. There are currently 5 “looks” available from the new Leica Looks section of the app: Contemporary (color), Classic (color), Blue (b&w), Selenium (b&w) and Sepia (b&w). After installing them to the camera, they can be selected from the camera menu – but be aware to select a jpg mode because the RAW files are not changed – obviously. I quite like them and use them from time to time. But I will always enjoy developing the RAW files myself. The main difference between this look and e.g. a Lightroom preset is basically that the look is applied in camera. And that it comes from Leica. But people are spending quite some money on presets for years, so what do I know. But combined with a camera like the Leica Q3 I can totally see myself going on a “Contemporary Photo Walk”.


The other aspect I was talking about in my last Leica post is the capability of digital range finder cameras to see what is about to happen in the view finder. This was the one aspect I was unhappy about with my Leica Q, because it basically is cropping a frame in camera. And the Q had a 24MP sensor, which was not so much resolution to work with. I was speculating back then that Leica might include the 60MP sensor of the M11 into the Q3. And they did. It is a fantastic sensor. The image below is a ~39MP crop in camera. And this fantastic sensor is still combined with the very sharp fixed 28mm f1.7 Summilux APSH lens. Plenty of resolution & sharpness! Even so much that Leica added a 90mm focal length mode to the Q3, providing 35, 50, 70 & 90mm focal length with 39, 19, 8 & 6MP accordingly.

Smoking ’n’ Reading
Smoking ’n’ Reading

All of this is not meant as an advert or a review of the Q3. Apart from the look and feel of the camera and its focus on simplicity, I wanted to point out that seemingly easy features like in-camera crop or in-camera looks can actually contribute to something that made the Leica Q a great camera in the first place: More mental capacity to concentrate on your pictures rather than on the camera. The Q3 for me was a worthy upgrade and removed the last doubts in my head when going out to shoot with the Q. The Q3 gives me more mental capacity to think about the shot and makes me move my feet. It is still the kind of camera that makes me want to pick it up. It basically made me a different photographer. Again.

References & Further Reading

  1. Leica Look: https://www.artphotoacademy.com/the-leica-look/
  2. Rangefinder Camera: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangefinder_camera 
  3. Hugh Brownstone: Leica Q3: Exquisite
  4. Ted Forbes: Why Leica https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpV2z_ZuDco 
  5. Leica Q3 https://leica-camera.com/de-DE/fotografie/kameras/q/q3

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