When it comes to professional photography, there’s no shortage of high-quality camera options. Canon and Nikon DSLRs are the go-to for many photographers due to their reliability and versatility.
However, there is one brand that stands out from the rest – Leica. Despite the high cost of Leica cameras, some photographers swear by them, insisting that they produce the best shots. So, who are these photographers, and why do they choose Leica?
In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Leica cameras, explore their strengths and weaknesses, and examine why they are a popular choice for some professional photographers.
We’ll also address the age-old question: are mirrorless and DSLR cameras superior to Leica? Let’s find out.
- Leica cameras are used by a variety of photographers across different genres. Street photographers often prefer Leica for their small size and discreet shutter release.
- Sports photographers appreciate the “look” and “depth” of Leica cameras, particularly the Leica SL2. Wedding photographers are drawn to the clever design of the Leica SL and Leica M cameras.
- Documentary photographers use the Leica Q2 monochrome, which is fast to focus, durable, and produces sharp images. Portrait photographers prefer Leica for its dreamy quality of bokeh and compact, versatile lenses such as the Leica 50mm f2 Summicron APO ASPH.
- Journalistic photographers use the Leica M10-P Reporter for its quiet shutter, durability, and excellent grip. Fashion photographers use the Leica SL2-S for its dynamic range, large sensor size, and auto-white balance.
- Overall, Leica cameras are known for providing a unique experience and premium quality that is worth the investment for many professional photographers.
Here are some of the types of photographers that use Leica cameras and lenses for their photography:
A street is a place of unpredictability. People, actions, gestures, you never know what is going to happen and when which is why you need a fast instinct and an on-spot-ready camera. The Leica cameras are small, compact and quick to use. They don’t need much time to set up and their discreet shutter release can make a photographer almost invisible. They are also easy to focus on and capture the exact action of the object.
The Leica M6 is the most popular camera among many photographers for street photography. All the cameras in the M series are excellent for taking candid photographs.
Leica is not a fast camera, but still, the “look” and the “depth” is appealing to most sports photographers. The Leica SL2 is the common camera used for sports photography. The versatility of this camera produces images that can tell a story, and speak to the viewers without words. The SL2 can easily acquire a fast-moving object with accuracy.
SL2 has in-camera stabilization and ISO settings which allow the photographer to focus on the action on the field rather than on menus, customizations, etc.
The Leica SL and the Leica M series are cameras appealing to wedding photographers. The clever design of the SL camera works very well in fast-moving, walking, and striding during aisle situations. The SL has the highest resolution viewfinder display for easy focussing and produces high-resolution image files too.
The Leica M10 does not extend across the face when the camera is held to the eye, unlike other SLRs which tend to cover the face. This allows the photographer to blend into the scene, and be less noticeable and less intimidating.
The silent shutter is another bonus of this camera, enabling shots to be taken without drawing too much attention to the photographers allowing compelling photographs of unposed and natural images.
Documentary photographers use the Leica Q2 monochrome with a 28mm lens which is perfect for documentary photography. This camera is fast to focus, produces super sharp images, boasts a unique black and white 47 MP full-frame sensor and is incredibly durable.
Other than the 28mm lens, you can also use the Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux-M ASPH. This lens has a metal exterior, smooth focus, and great image quality and it’s small, allowing you to carry this lens with you without adding to the weight.
Leica produces a dreamy quality of bokeh, which leads to an impactful portrait. Thus portrait photographers prefer using Leica. The Leica 50mm f2 Summicron APO ASPH is a compact and versatile lens. This lens produces sharp images and beautiful bokeh. Also, with this lens, it is incredibly easy to focus and the excellent build quality ensures the sturdiness of the camera in the long run.
The 75mm f1.25 Noctilux produces a bokeh even better than the 50mm lens. This lens creates an aesthetic and is perfect for making your subjects pop. However, this lens is not used much as its pricey and the lens is hefty which does not make it comfortable to hold for long shoots.
Photojournalism is important and prevalent in today’s world. The Leica M10-P Reporter is the chosen camera for journalist photographers. This camera features an impressive quiet shutter, giving journalists the chance to capture their subjects without interrupting a scene. It has a 24 MP full-frame sensor, a Maestro image processor and an ISO range of 100 – 50,000 which delivers beautifully.
In photojournalism, the photographers prefer an excellent grip and comfort, which the Leica M10-P Reporter provides. With high durability, this camera attracts a lot of journalists and reporters.
Fashion photography is all about finding your voice and embracing the unconventional. Combining beautiful clothing with the Leica SL2-S makes the journey even more interesting for fashion photographers.
The auto-white balance of this camera is ideal for any lighting scenario. The sensor size and resolution are large enough to capture full-body images with plenty of detail. The colours produced through this camera have a dynamic range that makes it difficult to mess up the liveliness of the image.
Leica gives the photographer a whole new experience. Using a rangefinder is so different from the traditional digital cameras that it has a positive influence on how the photographer sees the world. The Leica camera body and the lenses are expensive, but their sharp lenses, good sensor, and premium built are definitely worth the price.
There are 3 main categories of Leica cameras:
- Leica mirrorless cameras
- Leica M rangefinders
- Leica compact cameras
The Leica mirrorless range includes professional cameras like the Leica SL2 and Leica CL.
These three types of cameras work for different photography genres. There are some genres where a mirrorless and a DSLR would be better than a Leica. Even though Leica cameras have a wide range of lenses and their rangefinders are hard to replace, for some photographers, Leica could be a very expensive investment.
For example, a Street photographer would choose to shoot his/her photos with a Leica camera instead of a DSLR or a Mirrorless camera, because of its discreet shutter release and compact size. While a Wildlife photographer would choose to shoot with a DSLR because of its excellent telephoto lens.
Mirrorless cameras have the advantage of being lighter, faster and better for videos. But, mirrorless cameras have fewer accessories and lenses than DSLRs. For DSLRs, the advantage is a wider range of lenses, better optical viewfinders and much better battery life.
In the world of photography, the debate between Leica cameras and DSLRs has been ongoing for years. While some photographers swear by their Leica cameras, others prefer high-end DSLRs.
As we have seen, each camera has its advantages and disadvantages, and the decision to choose one over the other depends entirely on the photographer’s needs and preferences.
Street photographers, for example, often prefer the compact and discreet design of Leica cameras, while wildlife photographers might opt for a DSLR with a long telephoto lens. In the end, what matters is that the camera enables the photographer to capture the image they want to create.
Ultimately, it’s not about which camera is better, but rather, which camera is better suited for the job at hand. So, which camera will you choose for your next shoot?