I handed a millennial a Leica Q, and you won’t believe what happened next. Hint: She took good and even great photos with it. Prior to me handing Emma Broback the Q, and putting down her avocado toast for a minute, she’d never heard of a Leica.
Really…this is like the song Hey Nineteen, but not about May-December romance, and we’re colleagues, not on a date. The Q came up while we were discussing Instagram, influence and the like, and she knew how to compose a photo, for sure, but just had never seen a finely crafted, German-precise camera before.
And, she took to it quite well.
Where the TL2, which I also praised, is about capturing the millenials’ attention with snazzy design, the Q is Leica making a defining statement about premium compact cameras and where their place in the market is. The retro-rangefinder body type indicates what people think a stylish camera looks like, besides maybe a Polaroid.
“Hey Nineteen, No we got nothing in common, No we can’t talk at all”
The next thing we discussed was “getting a fixed lens” like the Q and becoming a better photographer, especially one with a full-frame sensor and a fixed focal length. That’s because composing the shot, setting it up and considering it becomes the objective and immersive experience.
When you snap a pic with the Q, it pops vividly, like on a camera phone, but way better. I could see the gears turning on how those colors would look in an Instagram feed as Emma scrolled through the photos I’d taken, too.
The conversation drifted to journalism, and whenever I’m shooting (for real, paid work), it’s to convey a story and maximize the information in the frame versus just Snapchatting everything.
“Imagine you’re the set photographer on the set of Westworld and you only work during golden hour,” I said. She got that point, and I then explained how photo filters are based on famous Hollywood color graders and the look of the ’70s is what seems natural now.
Color theory is a topic for another conversation, and if she spent more time with the Q, I’d expect even better photos.
I’m sure we’ll see each other again, too. I know Emma through her dad, Steve Broback, with whom I wrote a book about blogging, and I advise him now on the Dent conference. He’s a baby boomer, but we have similar tastes in music, like Steely Dan.
If you’re not interested in the black body, the latest addition to the Leica universe is the Leica Q (Typ 116) Silver Anodized. At $4,250 it features the same tech specs as the black model, including a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor and Leica Summilux 28mm F/1.7 ASPH lens. The new silver version maintains the black model’s rangefinder form, but it adds silver touches—in the top plate, baseplate and lens, and to the control elements.
My Gen-X experience with the Q is like that of the TL2 and Monochrom. The Leicas are not the fastest, don’t have the highest-resolution sensor or really any of the normal stuff that’s marketed to camera buyers. Instead, they immerse you in the process of taking a photo.
And, that process can be very rewarding, for me and for a millennial.
You can follow DL Byron on Twitter @bikehugger