Alex Habermehl was one of the few photographers given the chance to test out the new Leica Q before it was launched. Born in 1975, Habermehl took over a photo studio in Frankfurt after he had finished his training. The photographer chose downtown Copenhagen for the first field trip he took with the Q-System.
Q: As a corporate photographer, you have also taken pictures of products for Leica. How was it to try out a completely new model?
A: It was really exciting to work with a brand new camera by Leica. The fact that the camera had not yet been launched at the time I did the test, meant that I was on a secret mission, which made the trip through Copenhagen all the more exciting.
Q: The Q is a compact camera with a fixed lens, but let’s leave the technical specifications to one side for the moment: what does it look like and how does it feel?
A: Let’s start with the packaging; the fun already begins when you start unpacking the camera. They’ve thought about everything: noble, functional and no superfluous details. The camera’s clear design is very attractive; it isn’t spoilt by any unnecessary fixtures. You can see and feel the high quality of the materials, and you know that you’re holding something special in your hands.
Q: Like Leica M lenses, the Q’s lens has an aperture ring and a focusing ring with focusing scale and a finger depression. When you actually work with it, do you even notice that it’s a compact camera?
A: What I found is that I always had the feeling that I was working with a Leica. The camera was the perfect companion for my photo trip to Copenhagen. I had it close on hand, and it was always ready to shoot from morning till night, even in difficult conditions such as lots of wind and rain. I consider the Q an extremely high-performance and intuitive compact camera.
Q: With a full format sensor and 28 mm focal distance, Leica is rising above the masses. Is it easy and quick to learn to use this type of wide angle lens, or did you find photographing with the 28 mm took some getting used to?
A: It did take a little bit of getting used to, and I did need a few moments; but once you’ve mastered the feel for the focal distance, it’s a lot of fun to photograph with a 28 mm, especially in conjunction with a fully-opened aperture.
Q: Speaking of aperture, it’s noticeable that many of your pictures were taken with an open aperture. How did you find the bokeh and blurriness that the camera delivers?
A: They were brilliant. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best thing about the camera. That’s probably also why I took a lot of pictures with open aperture. You can play around really well with the blurriness, which, in conjunction with the wide angle in particular, produces great results.
Q: The speed of the Leica is also something that should appeal to people. Did you miss any shots with this camera?
A: No, but that wasn’t just because of its speed, but also due to its intuitive handling. You always have it close to you and immediately ready to use.
Q: Were you convinced by the Q’s autofocus?
A: The autofocus is another important reason why you don’t miss a shot. Even in bad weather conditions it always finds the point, with speed and precision.
Q: In addition to the electronic viewfinder, the Q also has a Live View function. How often did you use it?
A: I used the Live View function most of the time because it was very good in practically all lighting conditions. I used the viewfinder when I only wanted to concentrate on the motif, as, for example, in the case of pictures of people. Apart from that, I really like it when you can include everything surrounding the motif, per se.
Q: Where would you place the Q within the Leica spectrum?
A: I would say that the Q stands on its own. It’s small, quick, robust and you can always use it. It can be a camera for the moment, or for a photo trip. It covers everything in the high quality that one expects from a Leica.
Thank you for your time, Alex!
– Leica Internet Team
Read the interview in German here.