The Leica Q2 and Casual Photography

Our phones opened a new era in photography. We’re all able to take quality pictures and transmit them instantly to friends and family through social media. As a lifelong serious image maker, I’ve let my image making drift away my new casual iPhone photostream, reserving my dedicated camera equipment for deliberate, mindful creation of quality images that I mostly share on Flickr.

Now I’ve been writing about creating a cloudbased workflow: bringing images into the iCloud Photos database for sharing socially, using the iPad as a tool for image transfer from card to cloud, and mobile post-processing of images on the iPad. Is there are camera that can also provide the capabilities of the iPhone camera to feed images to the photostream?

An iPhone is about a 28mm equivalent, so it would make sense to use a 28mm lens on a full frame camera for the same casual photography. And so I’ve bought the Leica Q2 with its 28mm fixed lens as my casual photography camera.

A number of the images featured on the website in the last few weeks are Q2 captures. The Leica Q2 is a full frame camera with a fixed autofocus 28mm f/1.7 lens and a 47 megapixel sensor from Leica. It’s weather sealed and solidly built with good battery capacity and simple controls. I played with the original Q when it came out several years ago, but it’s 24 megapixel sensor wasn’t any advantage over my Leica M system adding only autofocus and providing a lighter but a bit bulkier weight.

But really it was the 28mm lens that I couldn’t get my head around. 50mm lenses are my habit, my visual sweet spot since so much about my photography is about picking out detail, owning the frame and abstracting away from reality. A 50mm subtracts while wider angles like the 28 add. There’s an in-camera digital cropping mode that acts as a visualization tool. It saves the cropped JPEG, but the RAW is the full frame capture, so it’s possible to reframe in a RAW workflow anyway.

These considerations- no cropping, isolating the subject to “own the frame” are disciplines I’ve built up in my deliberative photography process. When it comes to all of those iPhone images I’ve shot, I frame, try to eliminate distractions, work the light, etc, etc, but I don’t post-process much and crop if I need to before sharing the images by email, text or social media.

It’s using a very capable camera like an iPhone. It has a macro lens setting, so can close focus a few inches away from the subject like the iPhone. Yet it has full control of focus, aperture, and shutter speed. I can quickly move some JPEGs to the Photos app on the iPhone for posting on a social site or for use here at ODB.

I’ve created a new image project for myself. So far, the biggest problem I have is breaking the habit of abstracting away the documentary quality of the image. I’ve never been a photographer who told stories with images, but that’s what my iPhone photographs do. They display my latest BBQ success, record family get togethers, and document places I’ve visited near and far. So now I take a capable camera into that function and I’m seeing some new kinds of images being created. This is not just a technological adventure, it’s a new way of seeing for me.

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