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Author Topic: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?  (Read 3681 times)

WanderingKiwi

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Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« on: October 20, 2021, 12:40:34 am »

Hi everyone,

I've been using a Canon 400D (APS-C) and an 18-55 kit lens for a few years now.

I've come to a few conclusions:

1) I'm sick of sub-par glass and I now want the best - bar none!

2) I hate, hate, hate (!!) the weight and/or bulk of DSLR cameras (and the 400D isn't exactly heavy or large by DSLR standards to begin with, but it's still a little too bulky for me, and Canon lenses aren't exactly known for being compact).

I do lots of backpacking and I want my camera clipped onto my backpack straps so it's immediately available. Having to take off my heavy pack and reach inside to pull the camera out every time I want to take a photo gets old real quick and it's resulted in me giving up (or missing out) on lots of photos due to sheer laziness or unpreparedness.

3) Most of my shooting to date has been done at 18mm (28mm equivalent) and I never felt like I 'needed' anything else. I'm quite adaptable and I tend to stick with stuff if I'm happy with it. A whole bunch of lenses isn't necessary. One lens, or two (max) is perfectly adequate for my needs. I found 28mm quite nice. Not too wide, and not too restrictive.

4) I don't like complexity. I'm a minimalist by nature, and I'd like my camera to reflect that (not keen on a million different buttons and features that I won't use - I find it too overwhelming). 

5) I appreciate good build quality and products that are made to last. Whatever I end up with will be run into the ground & not traded every other year. 


My overall budget for a camera body and a lens(es) is: $10k USD

I'm curious if a Leica Q2 or an M10 with a 28 or 35mm lens would suffice. They're light and compact and so are the lenses. They're pretty simple in construction/features. And the glass/lens quality is amazing (I personally use Leica binoculars and I'm smitten with the optical quality of Leica products). They aren't speed demons, or geared towards video, but I don't require either.

Anyone here use those models (or similar models) for landscape/travel photography?

Pros and cons? How reliable are they in the real world (I realize you can find negative reviews of virtually anything on the internet). What can potentially go wrong with them, and are these problems comparable to the problems other brands of cameras face, or are they unique to Leica?


Thanks in advance.


Cheers,
AJ








« Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 01:00:12 am by WanderingKiwi »
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aaronleitz

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2021, 12:41:19 pm »

I own the Leica Q2 it is my backpacking camera. A few thoughts:

First off - the lens and sensor are outstanding. 50 megapixels so you can crop in quite a bit it if you'd like and the pixels are really high quality. When you get the focus right it really is sharp. Manual focus just feels solid and precise. This is a very nice camera and an upgrade of several orders of magnitude beyond your 400D.

* The camera is not as "compact" as it might seem. It is 5 inches wide and the fixed lens is substantial - from lens cap to back of body is almost 4.5 inches. Definitely smaller than an average 35mm DSLR though.

* Fixed lens. 28mm is what you have to work with for better or worse.

* Almost all surfaces and edges are metal. So it can get dinged up pretty quick if it's hanging from your neck or backpack strap and you don't have it in a case and you're not careful. I am not sure that I have warmed to the idea of having a "patinaed" $6000 digital camera just yet.

* There is no battery door - Just a hole in the camera and the bottom of the battery itself is the "door." Not a big deal but I found this strange.

* The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Camera Pod size Regular has been my case of choice while backpacking/traveling with the Q2. It fits just barely. I also use the Peak Design Capture Clip which is great but your camera is exposed to environment/elements with this setup. And If you're hauling some weight it can be uncomfortable to have an additional few pounds on one shoulder.

* The lens cap is metal and held on by friction - so it is prone to falling off if you're not careful. I use a neoprene OP/TECH Hood Hat over the lens cap to add some more friction/protection to the lens.

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WanderingKiwi

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2021, 08:28:49 am »

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and observations!

It sounds like a nice camera with a few quirks and compromises that one must try to overcome and/or adapt to.

If you had to do it all over again, would you still go for the Q2, or would you opt for a different model Leica (or something from another maker)?

p.s had a look at your website. Some very nice photos there, and I really like your minimalist landscape series.

Cheers,
AJ
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Paul_Roark

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2021, 12:39:54 pm »

I suspect a lot of us are looking for the ideal of small and light, but with high quality.   For me, that includes manual focus.  My current compromise along these lines is a Sony a7c, modified by the KoloriVision ultra thin sensor cover so that it can use Leica M lenses.  I currently have a Leica 50mm Elmar-M collapsible 50mm on the Sony.  The setup fits into the Sony RX1 case.  It's not for low light, but for outdoor shooting, from f/6.7 on, the image within an 8x10 crop is as good as any, particularly when Topaz AI Gigapixel is used.  See https://usermanual.wiki/Manual/ElmarM50mmTechnicalDataen.1257674282/pdf for the PDF on the lens. 

Paul
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2021, 02:48:32 pm »

I own a Q2 and it's a fine camera. One of the nicest user interfaces I have ever seen, and it feels great in the hand. Good lens, good image quality. I also do a fair amount of long distance hiking/backpacking. The Q2 is far too heavy - 750g - for me to carry it on a hike. I expect the total weight and size will be roughly similar with the Canon and the kit lens.

If you're ok with the weight and size, then I would recommend one of the camera pouches like the Hyperlight Mountain Gear Camera Pod mentioned above. It'll be mostly weather and ding resistant while still offering quick access.

This does not help you, but I prefer the tiny Sony RX100vi, with its 24-200mm eq lens, 1 inch sensor, and 300g weight. There are certainly compromises, but image quality is very good and I have several 16x20 inch prints from that camera on my wall. I have high standards, and the prints are excellent.
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Paul_Roark

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2021, 04:29:01 pm »

I was curious on the weight.  My Sony a7c with Elmar-M 50 f/2.8 is 825g.  The Sony RX1 is 541g.

I generally print at 22" as the narrow dimension.  (My usual mounting board is 24 x 36".)  So, tack sharp at that size is the target.

Paul
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Paul_Roark

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2021, 02:28:31 pm »

Let me modify my last post to be sure it's not over-read.  The Elmar-M is a slightly modified, traditional, 4-element Tessar design and, as such, should be stopped down 2 stops for very good sharpness across an 8x10 proportion field.  A four element Tessar design is never going to be able to deliver corners that match a good double gauss or better design.  This is fine for landscape work -- including daylight hiking -- but it's not a modern, available-light capable type of optic.

Paul
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aaronleitz

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2021, 03:42:30 pm »


If you had to do it all over again, would you still go for the Q2, or would you opt for a different model Leica (or something from another maker)?


I'd take a good look at the Fuji X100V. The fixed pancake lens makes it much more compact than the Q2 and if you get it in all black it looks just like a Leica M10. Weighs about 500grams.

Regarding weight - my opinion is that if I'm going to drop thousands of dollars on a top quality compact camera then that camera is coming with me everywhere, especially on long haul backpacking trips into remote areas. A few hundred extra grams be damned. Ken is right: your Canon 400D and lens weighs pretty much the same as the Q2 so you're not going to be saving any weight. Unfortunately the camera you're looking for simply doesn't exist for less than 450 grams or so. Unless your backpacking setup is super dialed in I'm sure you can shed 150-300 grams of base weight somewhere else if you really wanted/needed to.
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WanderingKiwi

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2021, 12:06:10 am »

Thanks everyone. I'll think it over for a while. :)

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Gigi

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2021, 06:24:44 pm »

Not sure if this will withstand commentary, but I use the Leica CL for smaller lighter camera. Either with the 18-56mm zoom, or if space is an issue, the 23mm. Also can take the M lenses, so that is pretty cool too. And while an APS sensor, it does quite nicely up to 17"x22" prints. If you need more than that or want to crop extensively, the M is also a good answer, but lightweight they are not.
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samogitian

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2021, 10:05:28 am »

Missed this on the first time through. I have both. I highly recommend the Q2. Letís say you are on a hike or walk with your family. Do you want to stop and adjust the focus each time? The Q2 doesnít need that. The Q2 lens is as good as most lenses on the Ms except that does use software to correct distortion. The build quality of both is phenomenal but the Q2 is much more modern in feel, for example on the M you need to take off a plate to reach the SD card slot and the battery. On the Q2 you can change the battery in just a couple of seconds since it is accessible from outside, itís a much better design. The SD card slot is a little bit harder to get too but much easier than the M.  It is also more anonymous. I donít wear my cameras as fashion statements so the Q2 is a win for me there too. I highly recommend the Q2 Mono as well. I had more or less abandoned my M in favor of the small, quirky, but phenomenal Sigma FP-L but now I have turned to a Fuji GFX 100S. That said, the M10 Monochrome comes with me everywhere the Fuji does. An actual black and white camera vs a pretend black and white camera is a game changer for me.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2021, 10:15:51 pm »

I would look carefully at a Nikon Z7II and 24mm f1.8 S.

- it's not that much heavier
- the image quality is best in class from ISO64 to high ISOs
- the lens is out of this world good
- you have the ability to add more lightweight super high quality primes such as the 85mm f1.8 S
- lenses and body are very rugged and weather proofed
- AF, when needed, is better than any of the options discussed in this thread

Cheers,
Bernard

Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2021, 03:42:46 am »

Ricoh GR series is another option: there are 28mm and 40mm options.

PeterAit

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2021, 10:15:36 am »

Have you considered the Sony RX-100? It's only 20MP but has a Zeiss zoom lens that is very high quality. Also a fast burst mode and a small pop-up viewfinder to supplement the LCD screen. My only complaint, oddly enough, is that it's almost too small and with my large hands I have needed an accessory handle to hold it securely.
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WanderingKiwi

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2021, 01:09:31 am »

I would look carefully at a Nikon Z7II and 24mm f1.8 S.

- it's not that much heavier
- the image quality is best in class from ISO64 to high ISOs
- the lens is out of this world good
- you have the ability to add more lightweight super high quality primes such as the 85mm f1.8 S
- lenses and body are very rugged and weather proofed
- AF, when needed, is better than any of the options discussed in this thread

Cheers,
Bernard

I really like this option. Seriously considering it.

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samogitian

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2022, 01:15:28 am »

Well, the Nikon is a completely different camera from what you asked for. In that case just get a GFX100S, put on a 30mm lens and call it a day. More money, but you want to talk about best in class imaging? This effectively ends the conversation. Handheld 100 megapixel medium format with IBIS? Now we're talking. 

But, at the end of the day, I still have my Leica Q2 and Q2 Monochrome (I have my Ms too, but I am seriously thinking about deaccessioning). They are fabulous cameras. The image quality is absolutely stellar, easily exhibition worthy and at 24 x 36", you will struggle to see a difference between that little point and shoot and the GFX100S although the aspect ratio will give it away. The color science is fabulous on the Q2.

There is a lot of myth weaving around Leica and much of it is unwarranted, but the build quality, the easy-to-use menus, little features like the button for setting an "zoom" crop for jpegs (I keep looking in vain for this for on my GFX100s) or the twist ring you can use to shoot macro make them a complete delight. Heck, even the much maligned Leica Fotos app just works for me.
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WanderingKiwi

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2022, 02:31:56 am »

Well, the Nikon is a completely different camera from what you asked for. In that case just get a GFX100S, put on a 30mm lens and call it a day. More money, but you want to talk about best in class imaging? This effectively ends the conversation. Handheld 100 megapixel medium format with IBIS? Now we're talking. 

But, at the end of the day, I still have my Leica Q2 and Q2 Monochrome (I have my Ms too, but I am seriously thinking about deaccessioning). They are fabulous cameras. The image quality is absolutely stellar, easily exhibition worthy and at 24 x 36", you will struggle to see a difference between that little point and shoot and the GFX100S although the aspect ratio will give it away. The color science is fabulous on the Q2.

There is a lot of myth weaving around Leica and much of it is unwarranted, but the build quality, the easy-to-use menus, little features like the button for setting an "zoom" crop for jpegs (I keep looking in vain for this for on my GFX100s) or the twist ring you can use to shoot macro make them a complete delight. Heck, even the much maligned Leica Fotos app just works for me.

Great post, thanks. I've sent you a PM - did it get through to you?

I've swung back to the Leica Q2 (I really need to get my hands on one) but I'm just not sure if it'll be as reliable and robust as one of the 'sportier' mirrorless or DSLR cameras from Canon or Nikon or Sony.

I'll be undergoing a lifestyle change soon which will involve living in the bush/mountains for a long period of time (and being completely self-sufficient). I'll be doing a lot of photography to document my experiences.

I'm thinking it would be an absolute pain in the arse to have to send gear away for repair, because it'll mean walking hundreds of kilometers to the nearest large town.

If I take heed of what the photographers who shoot in the most demanding conditions use (war and wildlife, and perhaps some hardcore landscape photographers) - most are using DSLR's or Mirrorless cameras from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony etc. Not many digital Leica users.

Is this an indication of these people requiring more flexibility from their cameras than what a digital Leica would afford them, or are those cameras actually more suited to being banged around and enduring severe weather?

I love the look and simplicity of the Leicas, but I think the novelty would wear very thin if I experience any reliability issues, and/or have to send it away to Leica Germany and have to wait months for a repair.

I'd appreciate some thoughts from working photographers who shoot in crappy conditions.

Lugging around two bodies (in case one malfunctions) could be an option, but I'm not a paid photographer, so I'd rather not.

I know I said I hated bulky and/or weighty cameras, but if the only way of getting a tough/reliable camera is by making peace with those characteristics, then so be it.  :(


Thanks again for your input and suggestions. I've considered every post in this thread.




« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 02:54:48 am by WanderingKiwi »
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KLaban

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2022, 12:39:46 pm »

Apologies for coming to this rather late, but hopefully better late than never.

I used and loved using Leica M series cameras for many years. Eventually a serious eye condition meant I could no longer reliably focus using the rangefinder which resulted in an enforced change of system. As much as I loved the simplicity and relatively compact nature of the Leicas something had to change.

So, I was looking for a system that offered the image quality I was accustomed to but was still relatively compact. I considered all the options and eventually decided on going with the Nikon Z system in the form of a couple of Z7 bodies, a selection of Nikon Z lenses together with F lenses via FTZ. I also wanted a system that allowed the use of Leica and Voigtlander M mount lenses as well as those from other manufacturers.

So how did the switch go?

Size and weight.

The Nikon Z body is roughly the same size as a Leica M with grip (something I frequently used on the Leicas depending on the job in hand). Not surprisingly the AF Z lenses are larger than the all manual Leica equivalents, but the possibility of using manual M mount lenses from other manufacturers goes a long way to solving this. Really, the choice of lens used is largely horses for courses, but that choice is a significant bonus. Nikon has recently introduced a couple of compact AF lenses for the Z (currently 28 & 40mm), which allows further choice.

Image quality.

The combination of the Z S lenses and the Z7 sensor delivers superb image quality, really, no more needs to be said.

Working methodology, adaptability etc.

As much as I loved the simplicity of the M rangefinders there was no doubt that same simplicity limited their use and at times made their use a pain in the backside. That said there was a joy when walking around with a one body one lens rangefinder that I still miss when pounding the streets in difficult and potentially dangerous circumstances. By comparison the Z7 is just so adaptable.

We all have differing needs. As much as I admire the Q2 the fixed lens meant for me it was never an option.

I have no regrets whatsoever with my eventual choice.

samogitian

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2022, 10:11:11 pm »

Great post, thanks. I've sent you a PM - did it get through to you?

I've swung back to the Leica Q2 (I really need to get my hands on one) but I'm just not sure if it'll be as reliable and robust as one of the 'sportier' mirrorless or DSLR cameras from Canon or Nikon or Sony.

I'll be undergoing a lifestyle change soon which will involve living in the bush/mountains for a long period of time (and being completely self-sufficient). I'll be doing a lot of photography to document my experiences.

I'm thinking it would be an absolute pain in the arse to have to send gear away for repair, because it'll mean walking hundreds of kilometers to the nearest large town.

If I take heed of what the photographers who shoot in the most demanding conditions use (war and wildlife, and perhaps some hardcore landscape photographers) - most are using DSLR's or Mirrorless cameras from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony etc. Not many digital Leica users.

Is this an indication of these people requiring more flexibility from their cameras than what a digital Leica would afford them, or are those cameras actually more suited to being banged around and enduring severe weather?

I love the look and simplicity of the Leicas, but I think the novelty would wear very thin if I experience any reliability issues, and/or have to send it away to Leica Germany and have to wait months for a repair.

I'd appreciate some thoughts from working photographers who shoot in crappy conditions.

Lugging around two bodies (in case one malfunctions) could be an option, but I'm not a paid photographer, so I'd rather not.

I know I said I hated bulky and/or weighty cameras, but if the only way of getting a tough/reliable camera is by making peace with those characteristics, then so be it.  :(


Thanks again for your input and suggestions. I've considered every post in this thread.

I did get it, but Iíve been away until just now, in part because of catching up with the new release of the M11 on the Leica forums.

For me the Q2 has been dead reliable, even after I got it caught under an airplane seat footrest that I accidentally closed on it. Iíve used it in the rain, in the snow, and on the beach (pretty much any camera HATES the beach).
 
An M Ö and really any camera which has removable lenses will require regular sensor cleaning (especially if you go to the beach) which may not work for you when you are on your own. But check out this video by filmmaker and photographer Ben Staley.  Unlike most of the GAS characters on YouTube, he uses his camera in some seriously wild and wooly conditions. As for the M, I feel that it is too fragile to take on such a retreat. Donít underrate simple reliability and a weather sealed body.

https://youtu.be/HFml5HGP8QE

Did I mention that Iíve printed images from the Q2 as big as 24 x 36 and was just blown away by the quality.

A year with 28mm? You canít go wrong with that size lens if you are in a landscape. Plus, youíll run across all sorts of cool things you want to photograph close up and the macro ring is perfect for that. Forget that with an M and most other lenses. As far as the limitation of that lens, well, again, you canít go wrong with that size for a landscape and, depending on your experience, having just one lens gives you a degree of rigor in your work. Cartier-Bresson pretty much just used a 50mm lens for his whole career, Winogrand used a 28mm lens, and many, many great photographers have stuck to just one lens. 

The digital zoom is really not too bad as far as such things go, if you are really in a bind.
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WanderingKiwi

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Re: Small and high quality - Leica Q2 or M10?
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2022, 11:08:35 pm »

Apologies for coming to this rather late, but hopefully better late than never.

I used and loved using Leica M series cameras for many years. Eventually a serious eye condition meant I could no longer reliably focus using the rangefinder which resulted in an enforced change of system. As much as I loved the simplicity and relatively compact nature of the Leicas something had to change.

So, I was looking for a system that offered the image quality I was accustomed to but was still relatively compact. I considered all the options and eventually decided on going with the Nikon Z system in the form of a couple of Z7 bodies, a selection of Nikon Z lenses together with F lenses via FTZ. I also wanted a system that allowed the use of Leica and Voigtlander M mount lenses as well as those from other manufacturers.

So how did the switch go?

Size and weight.

The Nikon Z body is roughly the same size as a Leica M with grip (something I frequently used on the Leicas depending on the job in hand). Not surprisingly the AF Z lenses are larger than the all manual Leica equivalents, but the possibility of using manual M mount lenses from other manufacturers goes a long way to solving this. Really, the choice of lens used is largely horses for courses, but that choice is a significant bonus. Nikon has recently introduced a couple of compact AF lenses for the Z (currently 28 & 40mm), which allows further choice.

Image quality.

The combination of the Z S lenses and the Z7 sensor delivers superb image quality, really, no more needs to be said.

Working methodology, adaptability etc.

As much as I loved the simplicity of the M rangefinders there was no doubt that same simplicity limited their use and at times made their use a pain in the backside. That said there was a joy when walking around with a one body one lens rangefinder that I still miss when pounding the streets in difficult and potentially dangerous circumstances. By comparison the Z7 is just so adaptable.

We all have differing needs. As much as I admire the Q2 the fixed lens meant for me it was never an option.

I have no regrets whatsoever with my eventual choice.

Thanks for your detailed reply mate.

It sounds like the Nikon Z ticks most of your boxes. I wish you continued success with it! Great set-up.
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