Leica Q3 – 1 Month Later: A Photographer’s Dream

6 min read

Hey friends, hope you’re well!

Everyone seemingly wants this camera.

It’s Leica’s brand new Q3 camera, and it’s sold out almost everywhere in the world, with a long backlog of orders, despite the fact that it costs an absurd $6,000. 

This is my first Leica, and over the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to shoot with it in a variety of settings, from Vivid Sydney to everyday cafes and life. 

I’ll share with you the unedited photos, my honest experience as a first-time Leica owner, and what makes this camera so unique, despite the fact that it’s burned a huge hole in my wallet!

New Features & Design

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So I’ll be the first to admit that I bought this camera partly because so many photographers rave about both Leica and, specifically, the Leica Q series of cameras, and the Leica Q3 looks seriously really cool to me, arguably the best-looking camera ever. 


Along with its good looks, the Q3 is the best-built camera I’ve ever used. German engineering is simply exceptional. Others have already asked me, “Is that a Leica?” Even those who didn’t recognize the brand complimented the camera: a bartender just last weekend commented on how nice the camera looked.

However, the fact that this camera looks and feels beautiful in the hand is insufficient to justify its exorbitant price tag.

It has a new 62.3-megapixel full-frame sensor (or, more precisely, 60.3 usable megapixels), up from 47 on the previous Leica Q2, and when combined with the next-generation Maestro IV processor and Summilux 28mm f1.7 fixed lens – its usability and the photos that result are, to say the least, incredible.


The significant increase in megapixels puts the Q3 on par with the even more expensive Leica M11, and it’s a welcome upgrade because I’ve started to notice over the last month the real-world benefits of being able to digitally crop to 35, 50, 75, and even 90mm focal lengths.

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Given its 60-megapixel resolution and the exceptional quality of Leica’s optics, I don’t hesitate to use in-camera cropping for the first time. It also crops into the center of the frame to keep the sharpest part of the image, so many of these images are still sharp with minimal loss. To give you an idea of how versatile it is, crop a photo nearly 2.5x and get the same pixel density as the Fuji X100V’s 26MP crop sensor. 


Because of the high resolution, the average file size for these beefy 60mp photos is 70mb, so your SD card and hard drive will quickly fill up. Quick tip: Leica recommends UHS-II memory cards, which have read/write speeds of up to 312 mb/s. The one I use is Lexar’s professional UHS 2 card, which does not throttle the Q3, and I’ll include a link to it below. 

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There’s also the new tiltable OLED touch screen, which finally tilts so you can get those waist-level stealth or low-to-the-ground shots. 

And, speaking of versatility, this camera now shoots 8K video in ProRes – it’s not exactly designed for video. Still, it works well enough, and the best feature here is not the video but the ability to capture high-resolution stills from motion capture when needed. 

Image Quality 

I’ve always heard great things about Leica’s signature bokeh and the rumored Leica Look, which is exclusive to, well, Leica cameras.

… Leica Look or no Leica Look, the photos that come out of the Q3 are stunning.

After a month of shooting, I’d argue that some of the Leica Look phenomenon is probably psychological and a bias towards spending so much money on a camera, but Leica Look or no Leica Look, the photos that come out of the Q3 are stunning.

You’ll get a lot of quality from a 60mp sensor. Still, there’s just enough softness in photos to keep them from looking overly digitized, especially when shooting at the maximum aperture of 1.7. 

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The other thing I noticed right away about the photos is that the color science is more muted or, as I like to think, “realistic” than your average camera, which is a nice change from the oversaturation in most modern cameras and color grading.

I purchased this camera for Sydney’s annual VIVID festival, which features a variety of evening glows, neon lights, and art installations. The Q3’s incredible dynamic range and high-ISO characteristics shone brightly at this festival.

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It’s thanks in part to the improved 60s shutter at 6400 ISO compared to the Q2’s previous 4s at 3200 ISO, so if you’re into the night and astrophotography, you’ll love the Q3. 

Photos have an indescribable 3D quality, color fidelity is brilliantly rendered, and backgrounds melt into buttery bokeh in ways I can’t replicate with my Sony A74 with a G Master prime lens, let alone my Fuji X100V. 

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It’s actually difficult to take a bad photo; even photos of mundane everyday items or food have a timeless aesthetic that is almost universally appealing to viewers especially now that the Maestro IV processor has improved autofocus and is extremely fast and reliable.


Now, let’s be a little critical on the Q3, and I’ve definitely had some complaints over the last month, beginning with the touch screen. 

Although it is a better display with more pixels, it is not as responsive as it should be for a camera of this caliber. 

There is a half-second delay between tapping the menu and registering the action, which is especially noticeable when attempting to delete photos. With the poorly placed trash bin icon, there’s a good chance you’ll accidentally delete two photos rather than one if you’re in a hurry, and it’s something I really hope they update in future software updates. Start-up is also quite slow for a $6000 camera. 

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Although the digital viewfinder on the Q3 is excellent, it’s difficult to accept that the Q3 lacks a useful hybrid viewfinder when the significantly less expensive Fuji X100V includes both an optical and digital EVF that’s a joy to use. 

The camera is also heavily weighted towards the front, so when it’s sitting on a table, it always leans forwards and sits on its lens, which isn’t ideal. Still, you can solve this with Leica’s new wireless charger stand for an additional $200. 

This brings me to the issue of the Leica Q3’s lack of third-party accessories. Whereas I could choose from a wide range of reasonably priced accessories for my Fuji X100V, Leica’s official accessories are prohibitively expensive. One of the most useful accessories, the Leica thumb rest, costs $230, which is a fairly expensive piece of metal. 

One must-have item I did purchase was Cooph’s iconic Leica double rope strap. This Hungarian hand-made strap is made of two cuts of quality rope bound together, allowing me to carry the Q3 with confidence and gain more versatility from the camera. It feels fantastic, allowing me to wrap the rope around my hand for added grip, and I believe the aesthetic complements the Q3 well. 

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There’s also no built-in storage, as seen in the new Leica M11. I’d probably trade 8K video for in-built storage if I forgot my memory card, ran out of space, and still wanted to take photos. 

Finally, there’s the new in-app Leica Looks feature for the Q3, which is disappointing. Don’t expect Fuji-level film simulations, but the app is still as versatile and fun to use as it has always been. Leica Looks offers only a few fixed filters or looks that can be transferred to the Q3 from the app, and they are all pretty average.

The monochrome look in-camera is quite nice and is the only preset I use. 

Versatility & Ergonomics

The Leica Q3 hasn’t changed all that much from the Q2 in terms of ergonomics and versatility. 

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The phrase “less is more” certainly applies to the Leica Q3. It’s a solid slab of beauty, with subtle luxury in every detail, from the battery compartment to the focus ring. It’s head and shoulders above the Fuji X100V, and that camera is already well-made. 

I almost forgot to mention that the 28mm lens has a dedicated macro mode, which can be activated by simply twisting the lens barrel – this is the kind of versatility and quality we expect from Leica. It doesn’t replace a dedicated macro lens – the aperture is limited to f/2.8, and the focus distance is about 16cm – but it’s a fun feature to have when shooting close-ups. 

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This tank of a camera is clearly designed for professionals, creators, or hobbyists on the go: it’s weather-sealed, the buttons and dials are satisfyingly tactile, and it’s extremely durable.

However, it is far from the most ergonomic and comfortable camera I’ve used. It’s quite heavy for a camera this size at 1.6 pounds, and the thumb indent doesn’t provide enough grip for me, but I have fat thumbs, so it’s a minor issue, if you can call it that. 


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I was initially perplexed as to why this point-and-shoot camera is so expensive. Still, I also understand – this is a photographer’s dream in a world where most cameras now look and feel nearly identical.

They say that good things come in threes, and the Leica Q’s third iteration is as good as it gets. It hasn’t just rekindled my passion for photography; it has also caused me to see the world through new eyes and appreciate photographs in new ways.

It’s the camera I intend to use not only for my international travels but also for the past month at dinners with friends, walks in the park, and cafes. 

In fact, at one-fifth the price of the Leica, the Fujifilm X100V provides a similar level of freedom, quality, and, in some ways, even more. Most people will simply get far more value from a camera like Fuji’s X100V.

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So it’s difficult to justify the Leica Q3 for everyone, and the truth is, it’s not for the majority of people. 

But that’s fine because this camera is in a class by itself. The Leica Q3 may be that grail camera for many, just as watch enthusiasts have a grail watch they aspire to save up for.

That aspirational quality baked into the Leica family adds to its allure, and if you do get your hands on one, it may well be one of the best, if not the best camera you’ll own and cherish: it’s a photographer’s dream. 

I’ll leave a video of my original Fuji X100V review here, which I still adore and is probably the camera I recommend the most. 

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