Leica Q3 Review From a Canon Photographer

Kyoto, Japan – © David H. Enzel, 2023

Emmanuel Nataf writing on PetaPixel discussing his hit rate on the Leica Q3 compared with the Canon R5:

Going back to my “hit rate,” I simply can’t get anywhere near my R5. Part of it is due to the ergonomics of the Q3: a typical Leica without joystick to move the focus and poorly placed dials (the worst one being for exposure, placed on the outer part of the body and hard to reach with your thumb). With the temperatures dropping in the past few weeks, I used the Q3 with gloves and missed countless street shots by pushing the Play button instead of the arrows, definitely killing my shots. You may wonder why I’m not using subject tracking: because switching between subjects rapidly with the Q3’s buttons is completely unreliable.

The second reason for the low hit rate is the autofocus: average in poor lighting conditions and terrible in motion. With the Q3, I’ve had to stop shooting while walking. I have to stop, compose my image and shoot when the right subject comes into the frame — a much less spontaneous experience than what I’m used to.

Lastly, the camera is painfully slow to wake up. It should be on within a few milliseconds, but it takes the Q3 a second or two to start… far too long when trying to capture an instant.

I too own both a Canon R5 and a Leica Q3. The R5 is my main camera. I love it but it is big and heavy compared to the Q3. The Q3 is small, a pleasure to hold and the image quality is great, maybe even a little better than the R5.

  • I agree that the Q3 is slow to start. But I just leave it on and then it starts pretty fast. Sure it drains the battery but the batteries aren’t big or heavy. It’s easy to carry extra batteries.
  • I adjust exposure using the camera dial and find that works well for me. The camera can be adjusted almost infinitely. You just have to experiment and see what works for you.
  • I agree that the R5’s autofocus is better than the Q3 but find that I can shoot on the fly with the Q3. I feel I’ve gotten some nice street photos with the Q3. The eye detection on the Q3 works very well.

I made the photos in this post with the Q3 while on a trip to Japan in 2023.

In my opinion, when it comes to small, light weight full-frame cameras, Leica has the market all to itself. Would I love to see more competition in this category? Sure. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

I am happy to have the Q3 in my bag along with the Canon R5.

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