Leica Q3 - First experiences

 April ´24

Hello dear Leica fans and to everyone sensible. Yes, I'm back again. Just in December 2023, I wrote my article about the Leica Q116 – essentially a love letter to this camera. My enthusiasm was so great that I was determined to find a way to use the Leica Q more in my professional context. Therefore, in April 2024, I decided to purchase a Leica Q3. As I mentioned in my blog post about the Q1, you are again the first to hear about it this time. As you can imagine, in the first weeks I am usually (hopefully) in a highly subjective infatuation phase. At the same time, however, I cannot show too many pictures yet. For example, my first job was a wonderful baptism here in Hamburg-Blankenese, but it may not be advisable to present strangers' children and Hanseatic families on the internet just a few days later. The wedding season is about to kick off, and hopefully many new pictures will be taken that I can show you here or on my Instagram channel. I already had the opportunity to work on a few small projects and jobs with the Q3 in the first few days, some of which I can even show you. So enjoy the article – but a small trigger warning: If you would rather spend 6000 euros on a trip to Asia or invest the sum in ETFs for your children, you should definitely avoid reading this article. Instead, just buy a used FujiX100t and be happy.


Why the Q1 wasn't Sufficient for my Jobs

I loved the Leica Q1 (116). It was in my bag every free day, and I have many great memories of vacations captured with it. Since 2018, I've been using Sony cameras (A9ii) for weddings and other paid jobs. Once you've used these 'monsters,' it's hard to find rational reasons not to use them for events like weddings. They are completely silent, the intelligent autofocus makes it nearly impossible to deliver an out-of-focus shot, and we don't even need to discuss their speed and lens selection.

Of course, I also liked having a Leica around my neck. I liked the fantastic 25mm lens (yes, 25 – please check again here). I liked the colors, the feel, the lightweight design, and much more. However, the autofocus of the Q1 felt like it was decades behind. When attempting to take a few series shots, the Q1 often struggled. And even though the flip screen of a Sony might look nerdy, it's an incredible advantage in wedding reportage. Also, I think I would have had to buy another 3-4 batteries. Lastly – even though this is less about commissioned work – when I'm on vacation, I like to set my iPhone aside or ideally leave it at home altogether. Nevertheless, I also like to shoot videos – which didn't work out so well with the Q1.



The start with my Leica Q3

At first, I considered just getting a Q2, as it's waterproof and can film a bit better – which would already be an upgrade from the Q1 for personal use. Thankfully, I have dear friends and colleagues who pointed out to me: 'Why not go straight for the Q3?' – You know what, why not indeed. The price difference between a used Q2 and a new Q3 is minimal due to the VAT refund I'd get with a new product. Plus, who knows: maybe I can also use the Q3 for jobs. Unfortunately, the Q3 has been difficult to find in Hamburg, but one day, Foto Gregor here in Hamburg had a Leica Q3 in stock, and I hadn't been speeding through Hamburg's streets as quickly in a long time, eager to have this great camera handed to me by a friendly seller


Leica Q3 - Mini Review with pictures 


First, a brief technical description of what has changed – especially compared to the Q1 – and how this feels for me. The biggest visible difference: The Leica Q3 is the first Leica camera ever to have a fantastic flip screen. Unlike other photographers, I'm not bothered at all by the fact that the flip screen is a bit stiff. It's very robust and an incredible upgrade compared to the Q1 and Q2. For my taste, however, Leica could have put a bit more effort into making the display flush with the housing – it does stick out a bit. In this regard, Fuji or Sony have found better solutions. Perhaps the Q3 would have become too thick otherwise. Anyway, the great form factor of the Leica Q3 suffers a little in this area.

Fotograf Hamburg Leica Holztisch
The flip screen is not perfectly integrated into the housing

The next major difference, and for me one of the main reasons for acquiring the camera, is the significantly improved autofocus. While it's not quite on the level of my Sony A9ii, after the first three weeks I would say it's about 70-80% of that capability. As a Sony user, you just have to adjust to the fact that there isn't a 'perfect' autofocus mode that you can always rely on (with my Sonys, it's the 'Tracking Flexible Spot S' in AF-C). With the Leica Q, I've assigned the focus mode selection to one of the function buttons (nobody needs the Crop button). Most of the time with the Leica Q3, I use the 'Tracking with iAF' mode (a mix of AF-S and AF-C) – although I find the AF point a bit too large for my liking. (I hope a firmware update will improve this aspect.) Therefore, I sometimes quickly switch to the 'Spot' AF mode with a button press – or for portrait shoots, I use the 'Eye AF' mode – both work reasonably well. I have to be honest, even though it takes some getting used to the changes in operation: With the autofocus of the Leica Q3, you can work really well, even as a spoiled Sony user. I was absolutely thrilled with how the autofocus performed during my initial jobs.

Hochzeitsfotograf Streeportrait Hamburg
Leica Q3 (28 mm f/2.8 1/250) - Streetphotographie auf dem Hamburger Dom

Speed. Even though I'm not a big fan of taking massive bursts of photos, the Q3 is sufficiently fast for me. Using the excellent menu, I can quickly select the setting of 4 frames per second (with autofocus at full resolution) without the need for extra button assignments. Paired with good Sony Tough cards, you can work really well with this setup. The autofocus performs surprisingly well here.


White Balance and Colors: I was already accustomed to a very good and consistent white balance with the Q1. But the Q3 takes this to another level. When I photographed my first job, I thought, 'Huh? Where did this cinematic look come from?' The images resembled those of my favorite photographers from England. And this wasn't due to the 'Downton Abbey setting' of the clients that day. The colors and white balance of the Q3 are just delightful. I believe this is primarily because we have here a 'point-and-shoot' camera where the sensor is perfectly tuned to the Summilux lens.


Hochzeitsfotos Hamburg Blankenese
Leica Q3 f2.2 1/400

Sensor: Honestly, I would have still chosen the Q3 even if the sensor were similar to that of the Q1, as autofocus and other features are more important to me. But now that it's in there, and yes – it's not bad at all. No, just kidding. The sensor is probably the best sensor I've ever used – especially when paired with a great lens. I find it very liberating that I can switch it to M-DNG (36 MP) and S-DNG (18 MP). This way, I don't constantly have a flood of data. During a day of reporting, I can end up with 2000-3000 images on a card. It's great to have a lot of resolution flexibility in post-production. However, I've never really understood the 'fake settings' for 50, 75, or 90 mm. It's always a 28 or 25 mm lens after all.


To show you the impressive sharpness and resolution, I've brought a portrait. I deliberately left it unedited and shot it at full resolution and wide open.


Leica Portraits Hamburg
Leica Q3 bei f1.7 1/400

A portrait taken in my Stadtveränderer loft. If I later decide to choose a different crop, I have many options. The sharpness at f/1.7 is impressive. The image is completely unedited and not sharpened afterwards.

Hamburg Fotograf
same picture, different Crop

Handling & Camera Issues: After the initial weeks of enthusiasm, I naturally have to ask myself the question: "Does this camera have to be good just because it's so expensive?" The answer is likely: Yes! The camera is fantastic, but it's not perfect in many respects.

Of course, not everyone handles the wide-angle lens equally well – you can read my article on the Q1 for more on this. Additionally, compared to larger models like the SL3 or Sony A1, the camera has some disadvantages. Such a disadvantage can also be an advantage – more on that later.

A compact camera like this feels different in the hand, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) doesn't snug up to the eye as perfectly as with the SL, and overall, the camera isn't as fast. It's hard to describe, but for business assignments, I sometimes left the Leica at home in the first weeks because I found it more charming to have a larger camera in hand. It's just a bit "quirky" – if you know what I mean. Also, I find it extremely unfortunate that neither the Q2 nor the Q3 support a dedicated back button focus. You can't completely separate the shutter button from the autofocus.

In essence, I'll be able to provide a final opinion on handling with the Q3 only after a few weeks or months, but I'm confident that I'll be using this camera a lot in a professional context.


EVF Problem: When I look through the electronic viewfinder (EVF), I see a bright, high-resolution, sharp image – until the moment when the camera focuses. Then, the image around the focus point becomes slightly blurry. This is especially annoying for portraits. The resulting image is perfectly sharp later on, but at the moment of "focusing," the EVF seems to be overwhelmed. After ensuring that this wasn't due to the diopter adjustment, I went back to the LEICA Store in Hamburg to test another Q3. The issue was present there as well. It's less noticeable in AF-S mode and more pronounced when the subject is nearby – but it's a minor flaw in the system. The friendly LEICA staff attributed this to the very high resolution of the EVF. Nevertheless, you would expect better performance from a €6,000 camera. It's a bug that I can live with, but I hope for a firmware update, and this problem is not present in the LCD.

LCD Live-View:


When I compose a picture, I like to see only the relevant settings on the LCD. I've configured my view settings via the center button so that no additional parameters are visible except the golden ratio. However, when I press the autofocus button, settings like ISO and other parameters suddenly appear, which I find very disturbing. I hope Leica will improve this. When I use the electronic viewfinder (EVF), however, I have a clear image.

Alright, so far so good! Before I present my conclusion from using the Q3, here are a few pictures – all taken during smaller jobs or private projects in April 2024. I'm looking forward to showing you more pictures during my wedding photography season soon.

Leica Q3 f1.7 1/320
Leica Q3 f1.7 1/320
Leica Nordsee Fotograf
Leica Q3 f2.8 1/500
Hochzeiten in Hamburg
Leica Q3 f1.7 1/250
Wedding Photography Hamburg
Q3 & Me.



My first weeks with the Leica Q3 have more than met my expectations, even though not everything runs smoothly. As of today, I can recommend this camera to everyone who enjoys photographing reports in a personal or professional context. One of the greatest core competencies that a professional reportage camera or focal length must have is to be a discreet, highly efficient tool that I enjoy carrying around. This camera has handled my initial jobs with great success, even though the operation in some aspects is not as flawless as with a larger camera: The Leica Q3 is so much lighter and smaller than all other alternatives in this field & quality - and ultimately provides me with an almost perfect combination of possibilities. It's the one instrument that I (hopefully) will continue to enjoy using in the future.


What is your opinion on the Leica Q3? What camera do you use for your reports? -

How foolish can it be to be seduced by Leica like this?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Here's a photo of me and the camera, as well as a small portfolio film of my work as a wedding photographer.


Thank you for your interest!

A short video of my wedding photography

Kommentare: 1
  • #1

    Johnny (Donnerstag, 16 Mai 2024 00:56)

    moin Matthias, habe soeben Dein Review gelesen.
    zum Punkt EVF - hast Du mal von 120 fps auf 60 umgestellt? dann sollte die "Blurry Situation" verschwinden.
    So ist es zumindest bei mir gewesen. War ebenfalls verwundert.
    Beste Grüsse ausm Karoviertel



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